Legislators Want Safe Space For Women Participation in politics

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

Two female lawmakers, Senator Botoe Kanneh of Gbarpolu and Representative Moima Briggs of District #6, Bong County are calling for a safe environment to allow women to participate into political processes freely against the backdrop  of under-representation of women which constitutes a serious democratic deficit, undermines the legitimacy of the contemporary democratic ideal and  promotion of women in decision-making positions at the local and other high profile national levels.

The two lawmakers spoke at one day mediation dialogue with traditional leaders under the flagship program of the ‘’Women Situation Room (WSR)” initiated by the Angie Brooks International Center for women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in partnership with ZOA-Liberia with support from the United Nation PeaceBuilding Fund where a project titled “Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Liberia Through Promoting Women Leadership and Participation in Civic and Political Life and Their Strengthen Role in Conflict Resolution, using Senator Botoe Kanneh’s  experience in the 2020 Special Election a case study.

The lawmakers urged the grassroots women to stand firm and fight for women political emancipation across Liberia. The both lawmakers in separate remarks encouraged the local traditional females leaders to be courageous, strongly believing in themselves and joined the revolution that will emancipate women in order to ensure that women’s voices are heard and their plight are given attention and addressed.

Being used as a case study at the dialogue, Madam Kanneh narrated her election experienced during the senatorial election in Gbarpolu County and told the women to believe in God and established good relationship with their fellow women and others were they found themselves, adding that women do not support each other because most women failed and do not interact with their fellow women until they are ready to contest for elected position.

‘’I was a dried meat seller, and cooked bowl seller that never even thought of venturing  into politics but over the years I served as a humanitarian and through this process the same people that I have been serving chose me. However, I told them no but later I accepted after they put me in jail on grounds that I was supporting the people in the bush. Look, sometimes, when you are not molested, insulted and harassed you will not be strong.”

For her part, Bong County district 6 representative Moima Briggs Mensah called on the women to join the quest for increased women participation at the legislature in order to ensure that the plight of women is not ignored by the majority of the men.

According to her, women political careers are killed only because potential women that contested before and did not win are given appointed jobs and through that they are mostly encouraged to support another candidate and forget about their dreams, saying that half of the cake is not the whole because being a policy maker is better than being driven by others.

“When women come together things will change at the legislature as we did in many homes. It pains my heart when I take a walk at the Hotel Africa beach and see our children between 15-16 years smoking and nothing is done about it. We have to do something to make sure that our children stop spoiling because babies are seriously spoiled. We have to make sure the senate passes the drugs law. Women let us wake up. We are no longer interested in 30% but 50% so that the decision can be made equal to protect all’’ even government one-stop-shops in the county are controlled by men, how will you report this? She concluded.

Further extolling the women for the advice and also motivating the traditional women, the Establishment Coordinator of the Influential Liberian-Based Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) Cllr. Yvtte Cheeson-Wureh encouraged the women to learn from the experience shared by the both lawmakers and other prominent women, adding that her institution remains committed to enhancing and developing the capacity of women for leadership.

Also remarking earlier at the program, the United Nations Senior Gender Advisor Ms. Comfort Lamptey  said “We have to work to make sure the environment for women to compete is safe. In a democratic environment women should be given the space so that we can have a developed society. Lot to be done to ensure that the environment is conducive for women participation.

The program which was held at the Cecil Dennis conference room at the Ministry of foreign Affairs brought together prominent women including former National Election Commission chairperson, Cllr. Francis Johnson Morris, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Olubanke King Akerele, former Education Minister Everlyn kandakai, United Nations Senior Gender Advisor Ms. Comfort Lamprey amongst others.

Comments are closed.