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Editorial: Holding The Gender Ministry Responsible

The gruesome murder of five year-old Patience Nyantee in Gardnerville in last December continues to remain “under the rug” without any public attention because of her poor family background.

The New Dawn, in its front page banner headline, US$150 For Justice, on Thursday, March 3, 2011, quoted residents and closed friends of the mother of the late Patience allegedly murdered by her step father as saying that she could not pursue the case further due to the demand of US150.00 by an un-named official of the Ministry of Gender and Development to follow-up.

In an inquiry into why the late Patience Nyantee’s murder case could not be pursued by her family, Esther Nyantee and others, a neighbor of Esther in the Tusa Field Community, Alfred N. Toe, informed this paper that Esther had told him that the Gender Ministry had requested the money in order to do a follow-up to case. Toe, along with other residents said that Esther Nyantee had given up based on the alleged US150 payment she could not afford.

At the Gardnerville Magisterial Court where the case was forwarded, the Presiding Judge confirmed that in deed the late Patience parents have not followed up the case since suspect Jerry Weah first appeared. But the man responsible for Counseling at the Gender Ministry, Rev. James Cooper asked our reporter out of his office when contacted to comment on the allegations saying, he had no answers to the allegations.

“Who at gender that made the request? Or go look for whoever that gave you the information your come! I have no answer for you!” he insisted. At that point Rev. Cooper opened his door and ordered our reporter out of his office. Although Rev. Cooper has denied the said interaction but whatever the case it is the Gender Ministry which should be leading the way to the Justice Ministry for the late Patience and her parents.

The perceived lack of interest in this case only confirms the difficulties people with poor background in Liberia today go through for justice. For the Gender Ministry to assure the family of the late Patience of its support in following up the case and only to be demanding cash for that is something that we see as a total betrayal and disservice to the cause of humanity.

When the Angel Tokpa situation arose sometimes ago in Monrovia, the coordinated position taken by Liberian women and their organizations, as well as the Gender Ministry  was so overwhelming that Justice for the little girl and her family became very efficient and effective. But for the late five year-old Patience and her family, the allegation of US$150.00 as demanded for justice is alarming.

Let assumed that the allegation is untrue, the fact that the gruesome murder of little Patience was well publicized, we are even wondering as to the conspicuous silence of Monrovia-based Liberian women organizations, as well as various rights groups. Where then are our women advocacy groups? Where are our usual loud-speaking women? Why are they not talking about this case? We believe, probably, because Esther Nyantee, the mother of the late Patience, may not just be their ‘type’ due to her poor background.

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Esther has cried, cried and cried and can cry no more for justice; she has even been up and down everywhere to no avail, only because in today’s Liberia and among her own women, she does not deserve justice.

Even when the issue was raised recently with the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during her interactive talk show, Conversation with the President on UNMIL and other radio stations, it was baffled, as the President could give no response,  but the general outlook of the judicial system, something far from the justice Esther and her late daughter  really deserve.

We see this total injustice to the poor and that the Ministry of Gender and Development must be held responsible for the delays and all associated problems. We believe that had the Ministry not given the assurance to pursue the little Patience murder case, probably an alternative would have been found and adjudication would have progressed.

Those who find themselves in authority at that Ministry must remember that what we do here today, and how we do it, will go a long way in determining the kind of country we envisage for ourselves, our children and our children’s children. We must all live life today, as if we are living it tomorrow for we know not what tomorrow may bring.

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