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From Foreign Policy:

As I noted in my piece, the president has made the colloquial phrase, "Monkey still working, let baboon wait small" her campaign slogan. It's an appeal to Liberian voters to keep in mind that recovering from 20 years of civil war takes time, and they shouldn't make any quick decisions or judge her performance before she's completed her work

This is a campaign trail quote from the current Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The first part ("Monkey still working") I understand to mean she's saying she still has a job to do. It's the second part I don't understand. Also, (this may be cultural) what do the monkey and baboon symbolize?

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"let baboon wait small" isn't even grammatically correct, I have no idea what she's saying there. – kekekela Oct 23 '11 at 21:49
Voting to close as too localised. The isn't about English, so much as about local idioms/political slogans in Liberian Pidgin English - which although widespread there is only one of 30 languages spoken in that country. – FumbleFingers Oct 24 '11 at 2:50
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The Farafinna blog explains this

There is a saying in West Africa 'Monkey woke, babu eat'. This means that the baboon doesn't do any efforts but is always ready to reap the benefits of the monkey's labour.

and then talks about the new slogan

Here, Sirleaf and her team i.e. MONKEY apparently achieved a lot since they came to power after 14years of civil war, so why would they go now; people should give them another mandate to complete their work. Only after can the 'BABOON' i.e. opposition come and reap the fruits of the post-conflict administration's labour.

There is also the more general comment

I noticed in the UP posters is the fact that the party uses broken english, a lingua franca spoken by Liberians; something i am yet to see on other parties' posters. A way to be closer to the people?

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Nice job! That quote makes a lot more sense now. – Andrew Oct 23 '11 at 21:56

It is broken Liberian english, similar to Jamaican patois. "Let baboon wait small" means "let the baboon wait a little." For example, "Open the window small" means "open the window a little" in Liberia.

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In West African creole (e.g. Sierra Leone's Krio) babu (baboon) is the name for a chimpanzee,which is more clever than a monkey, and thus elite. Baboons, interestingly, are called "gorilla". Lost in translation is a two way street! Di old ma is cautioning rent seekers to stand down (or at least be patient).

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