By Naneka Hoffman
The subregional organization, Mano River Union, is calling on all four member states of the MRU to reaffirm their commitment towards gender equality and foster an enabling environment for gender-equal governance space, workplaces, and equality in health and wealth.
Speaking over the weekend at the Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia, the Resident Coordinator of the MRU in Liberia, Christian Jallah, said the union is sincerely praying that the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in the country will be void of violence and transparent as Liberians go to the polls to vote.
Mr. Jallah says they should work for the generation of quality, saying “with each one considered as equal to the other because the MRU will continue to advocate for more women in the sub-region to have positions in governance and to provide the enabling environment for entrepreneur growth so as to break the barrel of backwardness.”
According to him, more actions are needed to have more women participate in decision-making process especially, in politics, public service, and private sector development.
Mr. Jallah assures that the MRU will continue to support the Mano River Women Peace Network and all women’s organizations in the call for positive actions and urges governments of member-states to continue to support women’s programs that promote gender equality in national development issues.
“We have come a long way, but much still needs to be done because our women are still in the minority in decision-making positions as the 30 percent requirement in legislative and other positions of decision-making has not been achieved.”
He observes that female politicians and entrepreneurs are still marginalized and discriminated against hence, as Liberians commemorate 20 years of peace, they must be able to reveal through their historical lenses and actions about women’s role in the peace process that the nation currently enjoys.
Meanwhile, the people of Grand Cape Mount County have reportedly donated 750,000 Liberian Dollars as their contribution for the reconstruction of Radio MARWOPNET.
Radio MAWOPNET got burnt as a result of lightning that struck the building, destroying the entire station and equipment.
In remarks, the national focal point of MARWOPNET Liberia Chapter, Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah, discloses that the United Nations Development Program based in Sierra Leone has also donated large sum of money which has helped in purchasing transmitter for the radio station.
“That has been main focus and it is almost finished thanks for our partnership with the Mano River Union because its Secretariat has been instrumental in securing equipment through the UNDP Sierra Leone for Radio MARWOPNET Liberia Chapter”, Madam Saytumah reveals.
She commended the people of Tienne, Grand Cape Mount County because they have been undertaking the re-building of the structure free of charge.
The Executive Director of the Liberia Crusaders for Peace, Juli Andy, underscores the need for Liberians to respect one another’s views in order to maintain the peace.
She says the impending elections will go and leaders will come and go, but Liberia will remain, and this is the only country Liberians have because political differences do not necessarily mean enmity.
“The warning signs are on the wall my people; if you know what we all went through, we will not forget the role played by people like Comany Weeseh, George Weah, and others.”
Delivering a sermon at the service, the Director of Women and Children Department at the Providence Baptist Church, Reverend Charlotte Kaicora, notes that as the country goes through the current heated campaign season, many Liberians are praying to God for a particular leader.
According to her, promotion comes neither from the East, nor the West, but from God in heaven regardless of political affiliation.
“We need to give thanks to God because He knows what is best for us and no one can unturn or overturn God’s decision. God is his own interpreter, and he will make plain when the time comes because, as we gather to pray, this should be our prayer, Lord, not our will but let your will be done.”
The President of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, Sheik Fumba Sheriff, paid homage to the founding fathers of the Council.
He recalls that they include the late Sheik Kafumba Konneh, Bishop Michael Francis, Lutheran Bishop Ronald Diggs, and Bishop Nah Dixon for their role in initiating the peace that eventually brought the West African Peace Keeping Force (ECOMOG) to Liberia.
“In the sight of Islam, the key to heaven’s door is under the feet of our mothers, and pray for God’s blessing on women in Liberia in the maintenance of peace in the country”, Sheik Sheriff urges.
The President of the Liberia Council of Churches, Reverend Doctor Samuel Reeves, who is also President of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, assures the LCC’s support in whatever initiatives geared towards peace in Liberia.
During the service, former Education Minister, Dr. Everlyn White-Kandakai, presented buckets of flowers to Madam Theresa Leigh-Sherman, former President of MARWOPNET; Madam Alelia Hooke-Ward, founding member; Madam Mary Brownell, former Chairperson of the Liberia Women Initiative and Madam Etweda Cooper, first Secretary General, Liberia Women Initiative.
The service was organized by the Manor River Women Peace Network and graced by women from the Islamic and Christian faiths, River Gee County Senator Caminay Wesseh, former Senator Grace Minor, women representatives of the MRU that comprises Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Editing by Jonathan Browne