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August 23, 2017

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Nobel winner slams co-laureate Liberia leader

PARIS--Leymah Gbowee, the social worker who won last year's Nobel Peace Prize with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, on Monday publicly disowned her co-laureate for failing to fight graft and nepotism in the war-scarred African nation.

"People are very disappointed. We have a deficit when it comes to having a moral voice in the country," Gbowee told AFP on a visit to Paris for the launch of the French edition of her book "Mighty Be Our Powers."

Gbowee, who said she felt guilty for not speaking out earlier, also revealed that she was stepping down as the head of Liberia's reconciliation commission in frustration at its lack of progress.

"We worked hard for peace," she said, adding that Sirleaf herself was critical of the regime of William Richard Tolbert, who was Liberia's president from 1971 to 1980. Tolbert had placed cronies and family members in top jobs before being toppled in a violent coup.

"What has changed?" said Gbowee. "Her sons are on the board of oil companies and one is the deputy governor of the central bank. The gap between the rich and poor is growing. You are either rich or dirt poor, there's no middle class."

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