Reactions to Leymah Gbowee’s October 8, 2012 remarks against the President in Paris, France during the launch of the French Edition of her of book may not just end, probably until the arrival of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf from her Official visit to Japan.
Ongoing reactions across the country, especially Monrovia continue to be characterized by condemnations and personal attacks of all sorts, mainly from individual women and women’s groups.
A grpu of Liberian women in Liberian women reportedly from more than 50 women organizations, following a meeting last Friday at the Gender Ministry on UN Drive, said in a press statement that the statement made by Madam Leymah Gbowee against President Sirleaf was a “disgrace” to womanhood, also deeming the statement as “ill-timed and unfortunate”.
The statement emanating from the Ministry of Gender headed by Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, noted that the women in their wisdom acknowledged that it was ‘most unfortunate for Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee to have made such derogatory remarks against the President when, in fact, women around the world had expressed pride that two women from Liberia emerged for the first time as Nobel Peace Prize Winners.
While others condemned and rained insults at Leymah during the Friday meeting at the Gender Ministry, a few soberly reflected on the need for a dialogue upon Madam Gbowee’s arrival in the country.
All of these reactions-condemnations and bad-mouthings by the women followed Leymah’s resignation as Chairman of the Peace and Reconciliation Commission due to the non-cooperative attitudes of a number of government agencies that should have developed the commission’s Terms of Reference, as well as the President’s failure to promote the process of national reconciliation in Liberia.
In addition to her foregoing justification, the Nobel Laureate spoke of corruption and nepotism as the hall-mark of the current administration, something the President has deliberately failed to address.
Since her appointment almost a year ago by President Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee has served the Commission on a “Pro Bono” basis-no pay; no official vehicle; no housing. According to her, she thought to reject all of the foregoing so as to be as independent as possible on issues of reconciliation in Liberia, emphasizing that she did not want to accept these things because she wanted to be free to express herself without any embarrassment.
The woman even rejected claims by the Independent National Commission on Human Rights that US$500,000.00 for her program was provided to her commission, something she officially informed the President of Liberia about, but could take no action. According to her, not a penny did she receive from the Government of Liberia for the commission, least to say the US$300, 00.00 mentioned by officials of the Ministry of Information.
In as much as I differ with Ms. Leymah Gbowee on grounds that her justifications were flimsy owing to the fact that corruption and nepotism were no longer strange to talk about across our country, her resignation was the most honorable action she took to protect her image. How many Liberian public officials would choose to resign his or her position amidst dissatisfaction/disagreement with the President and her administration on issues of national concern? None! As we currently observe, they would rather choose to “live low and let the beat go on”.
Out of frustration and ‘the ways things are going in the country”, the woman decided to call it a quit, of course, providing her own reasons. That was honorable thing for any well-mean and reasonable person to do in such situation.
Unfortunately, the Liberian women in leadership from “more than 50 women organizations, representing all shades of political, religious, community and non-governmental organizations” did not care to thoroughly reflect/examine Leymah’s decision and reasons, but to exhibit the highest degree of sycophancy/hypocrisy and deceit to true Liberian womanhood by pretending as if they were very unaware of what their colleague said.
Also in their meeting, the Liberian women in leadership stressed the need for Leymah to be invited to a meeting to resolve the matter, as well as a wide range of issues and approaches relative to how the women of Liberia can continue to show positive leadership to other women in Africa and the world at large. Now, after vehemently demonizing Leymah Gbowee without caution, they expect that she would allow them to finally crucify her.
Discussing the matter with her upon arrival in the country and finding the way forward, should have been the foremost and most honorable thing to do other than the route they initially chose. How can a guilty Leymah Gbowee now sit with the Liberian women in Leadership to find a way forward amidst the uncompromising antagonisms already being harbored against her?
Leymah made us to understand that in the wake of all of frustrations, she twice and thrice communicated with the President, but to no avail. If and only if this and other claims by her are true, why could the Liberian women in leadership wait for the reaction of the President instead of “jumping into conclusion?
Remember, these were the same Liberian women in leadership who once hailed Leymah Gbowee, singing halleluiah that are now shouting: “Crucify her, crucify her!”
Today, they pretend to love and cherish President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; who knows, tomorrow they could also behave to Ma Ellen as they are doing to Leymah.