On 29th October, 2018, at exactly 12:00 pm, the former head of state joined Twitter as she celebrated her 80th birthday.
“Today is my 80th birthday. I am thankful for good health, and a loving family. What better way to start this new chapter of my life than to connect with the world on Twitter,” she tweeted.
Today is my 80th Birthday. I am thankful for good health, and a loving family. What better way to start this new chapter of my life than to connect with the world on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/7yMDzAn3Xa
— Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (@MaEllenSirleaf) October 29, 2018
She joins 336 million users worldwide as of the first quarter of 2018 and so far has only tweeted three times, has 1061 followers and has liked one post from Mo Ibrahim Foundation who wished her a birthday and welcome her to Twitter.
Ms. Sirleaf, who is a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Africa’s first elected woman president, stepped down in 2018 after twelve historic years in power.
She is credited with restoring peace to Liberia
“The best thing she did is the peace she kept for us,” 22-year-old Jenneh Sebo told BBC.
She gained popularity at home and abroad for helping to bring stability to her country after years of civil war.
The Harvard-trained economist erased nearly $5bn (£3.2bn) in debilitating foreign debt after three years of being in office, paving the way for foreign investment and boosting the annual government budget from $80m to $516m by 2011.
Also read: A tale of 5 bold Kenyan women with nerves of steel who inspired change at a great personal cost
However, many people, including activist Leymah Gbowee, who won the Nobel Peace Prize alongside President Sirleaf in 2011, have criticised her for ‘betraying women’ who their lives on the line and rallied the whole country to elect her as president.
“In terms of delivering a women’s agenda, we really didn’t see that,” Gbowee said.
“She’s said she’s not a feminist, that feminism is extremism,” she added. “I say, well, if it is I’m a proud extremist.”
Many women launched a mass peace movement in 2003 that helped finally end the gruesome war.
They organised sex strikes, until their men put down their arms. They forced a meeting with President Charles Taylor, getting him to agree to go to Ghana for peace talks. Once there, they surrounded the room threatening to take off their clothes until some sort of peace deal was reached.
It was these women who later then rallied the country to vote for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005.
Congratulating Liberia President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on the accession of Liberia to WTO pic.twitter.com/Ncry0llD38
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) December 16, 2015
Well, at least she on Twitter now and she can begin telling her own side of the story one tweet at a time. She joins a group of social media-active African heads of state and former heads of state including Paul Kagame, Uhuru Kenyatta, and Muhammadu Buhari, among many others.
Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta is Sub-Saharan Africa’s most followed leader on Twitter with more than three million followers. Rwanda’s Paul Kagame currently has 2,754 tweets and 1.49 million followers while 75-year-old Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, has about 1.4 million followers.