MONROVIA: While some Liberians, during the 2023 elections, are making partisan choices, there are others who are looking a fair play, equity and inclusion. Amongst them are several women groups that believe that as far as the pending November 14 runoff is concerned, the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) headed by President George Manneh Weah is worthy of their support, citing the fact that it is the only gender-balanced, and national inclusive ticket.
The women groups particularly point to Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor who is on the ticket, stating that they believe her position in the country amplifies women emancipation and a platform to elevate discussion centering around gender equality and women empowerment.
The women said conduct an evaluation of the two parties with respect to what Liberian women stand to gain should any of the two parties wins the presidency on November 14, 2023.
They said the result of the evaluation showed that a female occupying the second exalted position in the land is a good starting point to table their grievances before decision-makers at the highest level.
The groups therefore opine that Madam Jewel Howard Taylor should be the rallying point of all Liberian women at the moment so that she will be able to project what the women want to achieve in this country and that she is the only option available.
One of the women groups, “The 2023 Female Candidate Networks”, which a national conglomeration of some women who contested various legislative seats in the country but were unsuccessful, endorsed the re-election of President George Manneh Weah who is on the same ticket with VP Taylor.
The group noted in a statement that it has made the decision because “the message of women empowerment and women’s political participation, which the female candidates took to their constituents while campaigning in their various districts and counties, finds expression in the Weah-Taylor ticket, a gender-balanced ticket.
In a formal statement of endorsement read by Madam Snorte Sherman, a former representative candidate of district # 12, Montserrado County, the group introduced themselves as women candidates who contested the just-ended election as independent candidates, some on various political party tickets with different ideologies and interests in the first round of elections.
“Today, we are very proud of ourselves for putting aside our different political interests and narrowing them down to a single interest which is to uphold our legacy to fight and support women in leadership and women’s political participation,” said the 2023 Female Candidate Networks.
The women groups that met at a local restaurant, Musu Spot in Monrovia, encouraged themselves by congratulating each other that whether win or lose, they were proud of themselves for contesting because those of them who contested as independent candidates and those who ran on political party tickets know first-hand the challenges that they faced in being nominated as a candidate, least to talk about running a campaign in a male-dominated space.
“Now that the legislative election is over and a run-off election has been announced for the top two presidential candidates, it is now upon us to decide which way to direct our many supporters in the best interest of the women of Liberia and our country at large,” the statement said further, adding that as women candidates, they cannot escape or ignore this time of decision-making in Liberia’s body politic.
“We had sat in our various corners, those corners we ran to many times when we were faced with campaign challenges, when we felt left out in the decision-making process of our country and when we felt our rights had been violated. These corners keep reminding us about our ideology, our goals, and our values,” the group further said. “Each time we get reminded, we come out stronger.”
The 2023 Women Candidates Network maintained that making decisions as to what side to take in this runoff election at this critical time in “our country’s history is not an exception to put aside our ideology, our goals and our values but to stand on it to make the right decision for our beloved country that we so much pledge our allegiance”.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, as we gather here today, we the undersigned 2023 Female Candidate Network after careful revision have reached a decision to endorse one of the candidates contesting in the November 14, 2023, runoff election. We, the members of the 2023 Female Candidates Network, are pleased to endorse the Weah-Taylor ticket.”
Another women group, “Urban Women For Development”, in a statement on Monday of this week, said that it was high time women from various persuasion of life must strived to rally one of their own since indeed there is a female on a ticket in the run off to underscore that their advocacy for women empowerment and participation in politics and leadership is not a fluke.
“At this juncture, we can see clearly that there is a pathway for women to be at the high table of decision making with Madam Jewel Howard Taylor contesting on a ticket as a running mate and fortunately for us she is an incumbent that needs to be promoted as a sign that the women of this country are ready to take their destiny in their own hands,” the group said in a statement.
“Therefore, we called on every woman voter in this country to turn out on November 14, 2023 to vote the CDC ticket that is being represented by President George Manneh Weah and Madam Jewel Howard Taylor so as to ensure that we have a female representation at the highest level of decision making in the country,” the statement continued.
For its part, Gender Sensitivity Network, through its public relations officer, Miss Patricia Minolata Jones, said besides being a female candidate, Madam Howard Taylor is eminently qualified to occupy any position in the country including the presidency, describing her as “an academically decorated scholar, well versed public servant, a mother and a robust face of women emancipation and participation in governance in this country”.
Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf broke the record as the first democratically elected President in Liberia and Africa, said a female activist to remarked at the program.
She continued: “There has not being a major challenge from the women for the presidency but they could take relief from the high profile position of VP Taylor and leverage on the feat to stay afloat politically.”
“Obviously, we didn’t expect a back to back female presidency after the expiration of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s tenure but we could leverage on the current position of Madam Jewel Howard Taylor to encourage ourselves and see for greater things ahead. Our best bet going to the runoff is to vote for the CDC ticket where one of our own, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor is there as the running mate of President George Mannah Weah, the incumbent president,” she said.
No other voice could crown the quest for women leadership better than a female sensitive publication, The Women Voices whose publisher, Madam Helen Nah Sammie who early this week rallied support for the first female democratically elected Vice President.
She said: “VP Taylor is our only option. There is no other option and we don’t have any trusted ‘he-for-she’ amongst the male candidates.”
Madam Sammie is said to have premised her decision to back VP Taylor to the hilt in the run-off to the level of advocacy by the VP to address gender-based violence, promote women’s economic empowerment and increase women’s political participation in the country.