Gbagba: A Multi-media 'Revolution from Below' Teaching Children about Corruption (UNESCO blog)

“Police officer, what does the Liberian government need to do to encourage you to stop taking bribes?”, said a young girl from a packed audience at Monrovia City Hall Theatre in Liberia’s capital. Dressed in black and white uniform with her school’s signature red beret, the student held a microphone tightly pressed under her mouth.

Why President Weah Should Read My PhD Thesis on the Promise and Peril of (Dual) Citizenship (The Bush Chicken)

When President George Weah announced in his inaugural address to the legislature last month that he would actively advocate for the passage of a contested dual citizenship bill and the removal of a so-called “racist” Negro clause from Liberia’s Constitution, I was bombarded with calls and e-mails...

Completed in 2014, my thesis is the first comprehensive scholarly investigation of the promise and peril of dual citizenship for Liberia, based on fieldwork conducted in five countries spanning three continents, during which I spoke to Liberian officials of government, homelanders, returnees, and diasporic Liberians, as well as Sierra Leonean policymakers. I embarked on this study because I wanted to fill an important gap by elevating our public discourse and policymaking around citizenship. Since then, I have published two scholarly journal articles in *Citizenship Studies and *Migration Studies and a book manuscript is forthcoming.

What Liberian President-elect George Weah Must Do (Al Jazeera English)

When footballer-turned-politician George Weah is inaugurated on January 22 as Liberia's 25th president, he will face the challenging task of reviving a resilient yet deeply divided, poorly managed, post-war country.   

Weah was the frontrunner among 20 candidates who ran in the first round of elections last October 10. After an electoral litigation battle that dragged on for weeks, he won the December 26 runoff with 61.5 percent of the vote. Though turnout was low - 55.8 percent compared with 75.2 percent in October - Weah's die-hard followers delivered his most decisive victory.  

But the euphoria will be short-lived if he repeats the mistakes of his predecessors, including Africa's first elected woman head of state - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. 

Dance When the Spirit Moves You and Four Other Lessons in Effective Leadership for Development (Mo Ibrahim Foundation blog)

I applied for an Ibrahim Leadership Fellowship, not because of some blind faith in the international development industry, but because I’d acquired a healthy skepticism of it.

Having analysed and obsessed over the pitfalls of post-war recovery in my country Liberia and in other contexts in West, Central and North Africa, I’d been itching to put my policy-oriented development research expertise to practice. I wanted to escape the ivory tower of academia in Europe and work in a regional institution based in an African metropolis.

The African Development Bank ticked all of those boxes. That the Bank credits its very existence to Dr Romeo Horton – a Liberian central bank governor who believed strongly that Africa needed its own development finance institution – made my appointment here even more symbolic.

My first 100 days were a steep learning curve in how to manage people, projects and priorities.

Schooled in the Ways of Activism (Pambazuka News)

In October 2006, I barreled into the Oxford office of Fahamu, Networks for Social Justice, looking for something socially redeeming to do with my limited free time. Back then, I was a 25-year-old firebrand just starting a masters degree in African history and politics at the University of Oxford.

Quite pompously, I thought I knew everything there was to know about political, economic and social transformation in Africa. I thought community activism was my forte. I couldn’t have been more naïve or wrong.

The nine months I spent at Fahamu as a multi-media producer intern felt like an incubation period, a launch pad of sorts for deepening my commitment to radical social justice, scholarship and storytelling about and for Africa. These were some of the most transformative moments of my lifetime.

Silver Lining, Silver Bullet or Neither? Post-War Opportunities and Challenges for Liberian Diasporas in Development (Liberia Strategic Analysis)

(2017) "Silver Lining, Silver Bullet or Neither? Post-War Opportunities and Challenges for Liberian Diasporas in Development" in Liberian Development Conference Anthology: Engendering Collective Action for Advancing Liberia’s Development. Monrovia, Liberia: USAID/Liberia, Embassy of Sweden and University of Liberia: 211-228.

Liberia Has a Big Election Next Week — and a True Test of Democracy in Africa's Oldest Republic (The Washington Post)

In landmark elections slated for Oct. 10, Liberians will vote in the country’s third postwar presidential and legislative races. Incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first female president — is ineligible to run because of constitutionally mandated term limits. So January 2018 will mark the first time in recent memory that a democratically elected Liberian president will hand power to a similarly elected head of state.

Is Liberia's Sirleaf Really Standing Up for Women? (Al Jazeera English)

In a public statement earlier this month, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Africa's first woman elected head of state - vowed to campaign actively for female candidates running in presidential and legislative elections in October. While her pronouncement may appear praiseworthy, it is too little, too late.

Africa's Lessons for Trump's America (New African Magazine)

Random Acts of Activism [a column]

Compared to Liberia, which emerged from a civil war and elected a woman as president, the US’s skewed democracy, with its bizarre electoral college and its recent penchant for electing the least qualified, has a lot to learn.

During the African Studies Association annual meeting held in Washington, DC in December 2016, Ghanaian scholar Dr. Takyiwaa Manuh wittily encouraged Americans to “consult Africa on how to trump your Trump.”  

A Clinton or Trump Presidency Will Be More of the Same for Africa (Al Jazeera English)

Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author of the anti-corruption children's book, Gbagba.

As the two most unlikeable presidential candidates in US history go head-to-head in this week's elections, it is clear that a Clinton or Trump presidency will result in few changes, if any, for the continent of Africa.