Liberia made history when it elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Africa’s first female head of state in the country’s 2005 presidential elections. As President Sirleaf nears the end of her second term in office, Liberians are preparing to head to the polls again for the 2017 elections. The West African country could once again make history by becoming the first country in the world to elect a female president to succeed another one.
According to the Liberian Observer, Macdella Cooper, a former fashion model turned politician has become the first female aspirant to indicate her interest in the October 2017 elections under the Union of Liberian Democrat party.
The 39-year-old is an electrical communication graduate from the College of New Jersey and the mother of three. She made the announcement at a press conference in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, where she told reporters that she believes she has the what it takes to lead Liberia into a future of abundance and prosperity. She explained that it was unacceptable that more than a third of all Liberians continue to live on less than a $1 a day.
We have gathered here because we believe in the prospects and potential of our great country. Liberia is the greatest country I have ever known. Though we have had a lot of setbacks as a people, as well as having a situation in the past when only a portion of the country’s population enjoyed the wealth of the land…with a MacDella Cooper presidency we will make Liberia a great nation where everyone will be treated equally and given the same opportunities to bring out the best in them.
I can’t change the whole world but I can help our kids and young people get better education that will lead to a better future. These will be the ones who’ll transform our nation.
Cooper fled Liberia for neighbouring Ivory Coast in 1990 at the height of the brutal Liberian civil war. She remained a refuge in the Ivory Coast until 1993, when she moved to the United States to be with her mother and siblings. On her website, Cooper describes her younger self as a “well-adjusted” and “popular” girl who went on to enjoy a full academic scholarship to college.
She is the founder of the MacDella Cooper Foundation, a not-for-profit charity that created Liberia’s first tuition-free boarding school for orphans and indigent children. The charity has been providing educational opportunities and basic necessities for abandoned children in Liberia since 2004.