The Orator of 172nd Independence Day of Liberia, Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, has taken exception to the underrepresentation of women in President Weah’s Government. She said President Weah who is a self-proclaimed feminist in chief, should walk the talk. She challenged that men are not smarter than women in Liberia, hence are preferred for more positions in government.
“Mr. President, I will address this to you directly. It is not acceptable for us to have only two women in the cabinet. I, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Nobel Laureate challenge any Liberian to tell me that the men in this country are smarter than the women, hence the men should be given prominence in jobs and elected position. I believe that it is high time that the women who fought through tears and blood from the founding of this country to the bringing of peace to this nation should be given positions of leadership based on their competence. As a self-declared feminist in chief, you are being called out to walk your talk. It is time to stop the old boy’s network”, she said.
Liberia’s 172 Independence Day Orator Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee also questioned the speed at which individuals in government are acquiring wealth.
Madam Gbowee said midst harsh economic conditions, Liberians cannot be stronger together when corruption is still at its peak in the country, saying Liberians cannot be stronger together, which according to her, individuals who were poor yesterday are now living in mansions and driving cars that cost enough money; money she said can help build good schools for the future leaders to have a better education.
“How can we be stronger together when women are still dying in the hundreds during child birth?”
The Independence Day orator indicated that Liberians couldn’t be stronger together when there is a serious war on the bodies of women without any legal recourse in many instances, and the prevalence of selective justice.
She indicates that transparency is something Liberians heard repeatedly from the government, and it’s about time that the government shows action in fighting corruption, and not words.
“You cannot preach against corruption and then not declare your assets and keep it locked up. Show us what you came with so that in a few years when you’ve got two houses, we will know that you already had those resources in the bank,” she said.
The Nobel Laureate called on officials in government to declare their assets, cautioned them not to keep their assets locked. She warns that if officials of gov’t deny Liberians information on their assets, wealth accumulated justly maybe question when they’re no longer serving in government.
She said: “Transparency is something that we heard repeatedly. The fight against corruption is not in words; it is in action. You must walk your talk. You cannot preach against corruption and then not declare your assets and keep it locked up. Show us what you came with so that in a few years when you’ve got two houses, we can know that you already had those resources in the bank.”
She added truth has evaded the country causing Liberians to lie to gain prominence, to gain positions of authority, saying, “Let us stop lying. The truth will bring unity.
“From generation to generation, our leaders have been fooled by some religious and traditional leaders. Bishops have become partisans. Pastors and Imams have become praise singers. Traditional leaders repeatedly twist our cultural practices to please a powerful few, giving unmerited traditional titles. It’s time for us to bring truth back into the national history,” Gbowee averred.
The orator further that Liberia is not a political party, it’s a nation for all Liberians, stressing that in order for Liberians to move forward together, Liberians must recognize that men as well as women, the blind, the physically challenged, and youth groups are equal parts of the society.
She questions the President for having only two women serving in his administration, which she said, is not acceptable.
“I Challenge any Liberian to tell me that the men in this country are smarter than women. Why men should be given prominence in jobs and elected position? I believe that it is about time that the women who fought through tears and blood from the founding of this country to the bringing of peace to this nation should be given positions of leadership based on their competence. As a self-declared feminist in chief, you are being called out to walk your talk. It’s time to stop the old boy’s network”, Lymah Said.
She said despite the differences, Liberia is our home and we share a common duty to move Liberia forward by taking responsibility as citizens and not expecting government to take on the tasks that are in the hands of Liberians, saying that a typical example could be taxi drivers putting bags in their cars to help passengers, and Liberians should stop throwing garbage in the streets.
“We, all 4.5 million of us are called to use our unique gifts and talents in service for mama Liberia”.
Madam Gbowee, with her early characterization of Liberians into three groups: the No Position, the Opposition and the Ruling Position, concluded that the common symbol of unity in the country is the broom.
She continued: ”A broom isn’t a broom before it is tied together. Before being bound together, a broom is a collection of straws scattered with no defined purpose. The scattered straws remind me of the current state of three groups, the No Position, the Opposition and the Ruling Position. When these groups are separated and scattered from one another we are unable to work together to meet our common goals.
“We cannot be coordinated and we move in opposite directions from one another. To become a broom that cleans the house, the hundreds of tiny straws need to be held firmly together with a very strong cord at the top. Similarly, when the three groups come together, united by the cord of our common values: transparency, truth, equality, and love for country, we turn an unproductive situation, an unproductive nation around. When the three groups come together in the service of our nation, we will have true peace. Let us remember that peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of the conditions that give each person a purpose. Peace is all we have standing between our country’s development, and sliding back. To have peace, to really have sustainable peace, as it is said in our national anthem, we must unite together through our common values and collective efforts. For we are truly stronger together”, the great Orator concludes.
Writes: Emmanuel wise Jipoh