Men -- both the former colonial landlords and (more recently) the egomaniacal, homegrown dictators -- have made a mess of Africa. So even in socially conservative Liberia, voters were more than willing to trust their future to a woman. The AP reports:
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was sworn in Monday as war-battered Liberia's new president, making history as Africa's first elected female head of state and pledging a "fundamental break" with the West African nation's violent past.Yes, that's the same Taylor who was defended and befriended by televangelist Pat Robertson.
... Two U.S. Navy warships were visible offshore for the first time since the war ended in 2003, a rare show of support also meant to protect two high-profile American guests, first lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Security was tight, with armed U.N. peacekeepers surveying the scene with binoculars from atop surrounding buildings. The U.N. redeployed 500 peacekeepers
... Sirleaf will serve a six-year term as head of Africa's oldest republic, founded by freed American slaves in 1847.
The country has known little but war, however, since a rebel group led by Charles Taylor plunged the country into chaos, invading from neighboring Ivory Coast in 1989.