Liberian youth blast President Sirleaf’s Western PR Mastermind

New York – Social media, especially LinkedIn, was abuzz today when dozen Liberian youth blasted one Ms. K. Riva Levinson, a US citizen, allegedly considered the mastermind of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s international public relations, branding and global marketing propaganda machine. The Liberian youth across the globe – from Africa, Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia and the United States – accused Ms. Levinson, who is said to be the president and CEO of KRL International, as one of the westerners who, because of money, continues to exploit Africa’s generosity by supporting corrupt leaders and dictators who squander public funds and abuse their people.

Many of the youth who contacted Globe Afrique say they see no reason why Ms. Levinson’s sole public relations work is focused on Liberia where she gets paid huge amount of money to promote the personal image of President Sirleaf when young Liberian girls are forced to engage into commercial prostitution just to enable them obtain money to go to school, feed their sibling and support their unemployed parents.

Ms. Levinson provoked the anger of Liberian youth when she posted on LinkedIn a T-Shirt image that she said is being sold in Liberia to raise funds to build President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Library, and that it was 3D. The posting drawn a fury from Liberian youth who think the president has exploited the nation and Ms. Levinson’s actions and continuous erroneous public relations activities on behalf of the president have exploited and ruined the lives of Liberian children, women and the elderly as well as the entire country.

While having a presidential library in Liberia is a noteworthy undertaken, the youth are especially unhappy with Ms. Levinson for what some described as “painting a false public profile of the Liberian leader as a wonderful, faultless great leader when living condition in the country is horrible, and when all international reports, including those of the UNDP, USAID, World Bank and WFP, paint a gloomy picture for the country.

K. Riva Levinson and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at a book signing ceremony. The book, “Choosing the Hero” was written by Ms. Levinson portraying President Sirleaf as a flawless Angel.

UNDP HD Report 2015: Worrisome Future for Liberia, Life Expectancy Rises but Poverty and a ‘Working Poor’ Workforce Riddle Country’s Potential

Unconfirmed sources say since President Sirleaf took office in 2006, about half a billion United States dollars have been stolen from the country, most of it divided up and transferred into personal accounts of high-ranking and well-connected government officials, outside cronies, kinsmen and women.  And an additional several millions United States dollars have been used for international public relations activities to promote the global image and profile of the president, an effort which several Liberian youth say is reportedly led by Ms. Levinson on a fee for service basis.

While these unnecessary international public relations sprees have worked, making the Liberian leader to win dozens of “arranged” international awards, prizes and honorary degrees from several prominent international institutions and groups, including the Nobel Foundation (an endowment that awards the Nobel Prize) that crowned her with what many Liberian youth on social media termed as “undeserved” Nobel Prize, living condition in Liberia is far worse than hell.

A typical Liberian family lives on less than $1 United States dollars a day. Poverty is beyond measured, unemployment is acute and is no longer measured; access to health care and decent education for kids are unthinkable.  The roads are terrible and for 12 years, over 96 percent of the country continues to be in darkness., according to several research and eye witness reports.

The United National Development Programme paints a blank picture of the country in its 2015 and 2016 reports. Accordingly, “The UNDP 2015 HDR report puts the poverty rate in Liberia to 81.86% with vulnerable employment population ration standing at 72% while 94.4% of the country’s workforce  is considered ‘working poor’ as they live on less than $USD 2.00 a day.  Foreign Direct Investment to the country is 84.94% of GDP and international trade is 120.81 % couple with a 53.6% of GDP that was received in net official development assistance.

Remittances to the country is 23.29% of GDP and Gross National Income (GNI) is $USD 752.00 and 83.76% of population live on $USD 1.25 a day, the UNDP’s Human Development report reveals.”

The United States Agency for International Development classified Liberia as “A low-income country that heavily relies on foreign assistance revenue. Liberia continues to be one of the world‘s poorest countries, ranked 175 out of 187 in the United Nations Development Programme 2014 Human Development Index.”

The World Food Programme of the United Nations says “an estimated 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line, of whom 1.3 million live in extreme poverty. Social safety nets are poorly developed.”

In its most recent report, the World Bank has announced that about “54 percent of the population of Liberia is living below the poverty line. This means they live on less than $US2.00 a day.”  With these ugly portrayals, hundreds of Liberian youth, especially the unemployed find Ms. Levinson’s continues propaganda of false narratives about Liberia under President Sirleaf’s poor leadership appalling and very disturbing.  One youth said on social media, “Ms. Levinson, as an American citizen, would not tolerate such in her country but she can in our country,” the post read.

Other youth on social media said there are massive paid lobbying efforts by President Sireaf’s international PR machine working to ensure she is awarded the Mo Ibrahim Prize intended for retired African leaders who have achieved certain benchmarks.  One of the youth said in his post, “As African youth, we respect and cherish Mr. Mo Ibrahim for his good deeds.  He is a role model for all young people from and in Africa.  Any attempt to award his priced award to the Liberian president who has failed Liberia will send his (Mo Ibrahim) legacy down the drain,” the post read.

Below are  some of the comments made or posted on LinkedIn about Ms. Levinson by some Liberian youth (as Globe Afrique’s research continues, some of the comments were sad to have been deleted from Ms. Levinson’s LinkedIn page.)


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