Nobel Prize-winner Sirleaf appoints Catholic nun to inquiry commission

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  of Liberia has appointed a Catholic nun, Sister Mary Laurene Browne, as the head of a commission of inquiry into the violence on November 7, the eve of the second round of presidential elections. The clashes between police and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) supporters, the party of the other candidate on the ballot, Winston Tubman, had caused a few deaths and several injuries. Following the clashes Tubman retired from competition, calling on voters to boycott the elections, saying they were marred by fraud.

Sirleaf (who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a few days before the first round of the presidential election) was re-elected with 90.7% of the votes in the second round, for which only 38.6% of voters voted, according to the final figures published by the electoral commission.

Sister Browne has a deep knowledge of the country’s history, because she lived through the various stages of the civil war from within”, says Fr. Mauro Armanino of the Society of African Missions (SMA). The Italian missionary has lived in Liberia for several years. “She is a person who also has an important intellectual role, being Headmistress of the Catholic Stella Maris Polytechnic, and is part of the Board of the University of Monrovia. She was also very close to Archbishop Michael K. Francis. “Sister Browne loves her Country deeply and sincerely. I do not remember the exact year, maybe in 2004, Sister Browne had given a speech on the anniversary of national independence”, said Fr Mauro. [more]

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