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Be courageous, fight for women’s political emancipation’-Senator Botoe kenneh, Rep. Mensah encourage female traditional leaders

By Lincoln G. Peters

Two female legislators, namely, Madam Botoe Kenneh, Gbarpolu County Senator, and Madam Moima Briggs – Mensah, Electoral District #6 Representative, Bong County, have encouraged traditional leaders and grassroots women to tighten their belts and fight for women’s political emancipation across Liberia.

The two female legislators made the call on Monday, 2 May 2022 in the Cecil Dennis Auditorium, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia, during a one-day mediation dialogue with traditional leaders held under the flagship program of the “Women Situation Room (WSR).

The program was initiated by the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace and Security in partnership with ZOA-Liberia with support from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. 

The one-day meditation dialogue with the traditional leaders launched a project titled: Sustainable and Inclusive Peace in Liberia through promoting women’s leadership and participation in civic and political life and their strengthened role in conflict resolution.

The program is aimed at finding common ground between traditional practices and electoral processes so that they cannot come in conflict with each other, using Senator Gbotoe Kanneh’s situation in the 2020 Gbarpolu County senatorial by-election as a case study. 

The program was graced by 100 chiefs from Bong County, Montserrado County and several community chairpersons from Montserrado County.

It also brought together prominent women including former National Elections Commission chairperson, Cllr. Francis Johnson Allison, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Olubanke King Akerele, Gbarpolu County Senator Botoe Kenneh, Bong County District #6 Representative Moima Briggs – Mensah, former Education Minister Evelyn Kandakai, and United Nations Senior Gender Advisor, Ms. Comfort Lamprey, among others.  

In separate remarks, the lawmakers encouraged local traditional female leaders to be courageous, believe in themselves and tighten their belts to join the revolution that will emancipate women in order to ensure that women’s voices are heard and their plights are given attention and addressed.

According to them, there are too many challenges and disadvantages against women who are willing and ready to change the status quo by contesting for electing political offices.

Narrating her election experience, Senator Botoe Kenneh urged fellow women to believe in God and establish good relationships with one another, adding that women do not support each other because most women fail and do not interact with other women until they are ready to contest for elected positions.

‘’I was a dry 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 choose me,” said Senator Kanneh. 

“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,” she added. 

“Look, sometimes, when you are not molested, insulted and harassed, you will not be strong. During [the] election, women had too many names. During my pre-camping, they put out country devil on many occasions and I went through all those tough times and I came through,” she continued. 

For her part, Bong County District #6 Representative Moima Briggs Mensah called on the women to join their quest for increased women’s participation in the Legislature in order to ensure that the plights of women are not ignored by the majority of men.

According to her, women’s political careers are killed only because potential women that contested before and did not win are given appointed jobs, saying through that, they are mostly encouraged to support another candidate and forget about their dreams.

“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,” said Madam Briggs – Mensah. 

Extolling the women for the advice and also motivating the traditional women, the Establishment Coordinator of ABIC, Cllr. Yvtte Cheeson-Wureh encouraged the women to learn from the experience shared by both lawmakers and other prominent women.

She noted that her institution remains committed to enhancing and developing the capacity of women for leadership.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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