As the contest to replace Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Liberia’s President gathers momentum, a woman with little political experience is jostling to become the fourth elected female head of state in Africa.
40-year old former model and philanthropist, MacDella Cooper is matching feathers with over 20 other all-male aspirants to direct the affairs of the continent’s oldest republic after the October 10 elections.
Since declaring her intention to contest the country’s presidency in October last year under the platform of her party, Union of Liberian Democrats (ULD), Cooper has toured the length and breath of Liberia campaigning under her “five-star platform of hope and reform” : free education, universal healthcare, electricity in every home, decentralization and land ownership.
“Our nation still grapples with huge challenges….While I would hasten to acknowledge the significant progress made by this government in terms of socio-economic transformation, the task to improve the lives of our people is far from completion,” Cooper said on her campaign website.
MacDella Cooper, who once modelled in New York for Ralph Lauren, is blessed with three children from three different men, including American businessmen, Richard Parsons and George Opong Weah, a former World Footballer of the Year who also happens to be one of her opponents in the forth-coming elections.
Although a total of 22 candidates have so far shown interest to succeed Ellen Sirleaf, Cooper, who witnessed the Liberian civil war as a 13- year- old girl, believes politics is just an idea that should be expressed without enmity.
“I’m a new breed politician that believes that politics is just an idea….George Weah is a very good friend, so is Alex Cummings, so is Joseph Boakai, everybody in the race. I have no enemies, everybody is my friend,” Cooper told VOA in an interview last week.