The House of Representatives may now be intervening in the “row between the Government of Liberia and Widows of former soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia” over benefits due them by the former. The House’s intervention is a result of a sit-in action on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 by the former AFL widows on the grounds of the Capitol Building, which prevented the movements of Legislators and their staff to and from the Capitol. The former AFL widows, in their hundreds, stormed the seat of the Legislature in demand of what they claimed their late husbands’ benefits.
According to them, the government has continuously reneged on its promise to give them the benefits of their late husbands for serving the country, saying “they were frustrated and traumatized because the government continues to fool them.”
It was in view of the foregoing that the women claimed to have stormed the Capitol Building in order to attract the attention of the legislators – and truly their action did attract Speaker Alex Tyler, who designated Grand Gedeh and Lofa County Representatives Zoe Pennue and Moses Kollie to engage them on their concern(s). While the intervention of the Lawmakers may be necessary, it is equally important and appropriate for the Government of Liberia-either through Madam President, the Speaker or Minister of Information, to issue a definite position on this matter.
Whether or not the government is indebted to the widows of the former AFL as claimed by them, it must go public to say it; if it is actually indebted to them, it must pay, and if not, it must be straight to the point. Even if the Government of Liberia, through Madam President, had just made a promise to assist, it must also be clear so that we don’t have repeated situations as we had last Tuesday at the Capitol Building.
We are of the strong conviction that the government must no longer allow such ugly situation to always disrupt public peace and obstruct government operations- if it is truly obligated to women, such obligation must be settled once and for all, and if not, it must also make itself very clear so as end this matter. We think last Thursday’s action by the women did not speak well of our nature as Liberians and a government. And so, while the House of Representatives may be intervening in some manner and form, the government is also challenged to ‘clear the air’ on this matter once and for all.