Saying Liberia cannot succeed in achieving its objectives of socio-economic transformation if we continue to marginalize women, President George Manneh Weah has praised his predecessor, first female African President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her illustrious and exemplary leadership, both at home and abroad. President Weah said former President Sirleaf’s career has spanned a lifetime of extraordinary achievements which amongst others saw her to rise to the echelon of national leadership as the first female to attain such height in Africa.
“My illustrious predecessor, Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is well known for her exemplary leadership, both at home and abroad. Her career has spanned a lifetime of extraordinary achievements, many of them as the first female to attain such heights,” the Liberia leader succinctly to a memorable audience at the launch of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Center for Women and Development, with its flagship program – The Amujae Initiative.
The program was held at the Farmington Hotel in Harbel, Margibi County and brought together an array of dignitaries, including Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The launch coincided with the International Women Day which falls on March 8.
Addressing the occasion, President Weah acknowledged that the nation, Liberia, and its people remain very proud of the notable achievements of Madame Sirleaf as the first democratically elected female President in Africa, and the first of two Liberian females to have won the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. “These, and many other international accolades bestowed upon her, reflect a lifetime of advocacy, hard work and commitment to the betterment of Liberia and humanity in general,” the Liberian leader said.
Former President Sirleaf, President Weah said, came to office at a critical juncture in our country’s history. “With Liberia reeling from the devastation of many years of war, she took on the difficult task of strengthening democracy, peace and security,” he asserted
“When I assumed the mantle of authority in 2018, I undertook to build upon the foundation she had left in order to consolidate our democracy, preserve the peace and ensure economic viability. Without the foundation she had laid, my task of nation-building would have been even more difficult,” the president averred.
President Weah explained that Liberia, throughout its long history since 1847, has had many Presidents, with him being the 25th. He asserted further that it is worthy to note that, in spite of the many presidencies the country has experienced, Liberians have not had any such Presidential Center to capture history and serve as a platform for research, documentation and the promotion of noble causes in the interest of the people.
“The Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development is the first of its kind in our history. It will not only archive the papers and documentation from her career and presidency, but will also chronicle her activities for the empowerment and protection of women, and serve as a springboard for the continued promotion of her causes and interests,” he disclosed
He therefore assured former President Sirleaf that his administration will give its “fullest support” to such a worthy endeavor. “Rest assured of my commitment to working with you in advancing the empowerment and development of women,” he promised.
President Weah said statistics show that women in Liberia constitute over 51 percent of the population and that the evidence also shows that it is the women of Liberia who bear the brunt of supporting the majority of our households to earn a livelihood. “It is the women of Liberia who lead in raising and educating our children,” he also said.
Weah who once declared himself Feminist-In-Chief during a Shero Program at the Monrovia City Hall also recalled that it is the women of Liberia who lead in agriculture to feed our nation and in building the infrastructure, adding that the women of Liberia are the fulcrum around which the life of the nation revolves.
“It is sometimes said that there is no force in this world more powerful than an idea “whose time has come.” As we continue to observe the celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, there is a global and collective recognition of such an idea, which I now quote directly from President Sirleaf’s Nobel Peace Prize Citation,” he highlighted.
He said democracy and lasting peace cannot be achieved in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society, noting that by extension therefore, Liberia cannot succeed in achieving its objectives of socio-economic transformation if we continue to marginalize women.
In fact, if we do not accept and recognize women as equal and respected partners, or even as leaders in the attainment of our national objectives, we will not be able to build that “wholesome, functioning society” that one of my predecessors spoke about many decades ago, President Weah said.
He then reiterated his pledge that he and his government will give their full support to the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development.