21 January 2013

Liberia: Laureate Gbowee - Weah Is Competent to Lead Liberia's Peace Initiative

Nobel Laureate Madam Leymah Gbowee has declared that Ambassador George M. Weah is competent to lead Liberia's peace initiative. In 2011, Madam Gbowee emerged joint Nobel Peace Prize winner with fellow Liberian, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Yemeni Peace activist, Tawakkul Karman, for what the Norwegian Nobel Committee called an honor "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

Last year, Madam Gbowee, who is also the Founder and President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation, resigned as head of Liberia Reconciliation Initiative. She cited nepotism and the failure of the Unity Party (UP) led Government to promote the "spirit of reconciliation" in the country as some of the reasons for her resignation.

The flag bearer of the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) was appointed by President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf in late 2012 as Liberia's peace ambassador. Weah accepted the position at the Vision close of the 2030 Conference held in Gbarnga, Bong County.

"It is with great honor and privilege that I humbly accept the appointment as ambassador for the country that I love," Weah announced. The political leader of the CDC intoned that there were many challenges on the road to securing sustained peace and security in the country.

For him to overcome the challenges, Weah said: "Government must muster the political will to support this initiative to the fullest and facilitate the implementation of programs and recommendations that would be put forward in the interest of peace and reconciliation."

He stated that reconciliation was not just the seeking of peace, adding that reconciliation entails the "search for peace through social justice, equal opportunities, equitable distribution of the national wealth and increased political participation".

Said Weah: "All Liberians have a responsibility to show by example, tolerance, forgiveness and mutual respect that we are committed to the search for peace and guaranteed security," adding that:"The machinery of aggression and coercion must be replaced by a system based on opportunities in which everyone will have a stake in the prosperity and challenges of their country".

He then promised to seek the full cooperation of all Liberians and the support of the international community in his peace ambassadorial role. But his appointment was greeted with mixed reactions. Some Liberians welcomed it, while others expressed their opposition against the appointment. Those against Mr. Weah's appointment believe he cannot effectively perform his task while serving as political leader of the CDC.

Recently, the CDC announced that its political leader will stand as a senatorial candidate in the ensuing mid-term elections in 2014. But according to Madam Gbowee, Amb. Weah enjoys the confidence of the Liberian people and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and as such, he is competent to execute the assigned task.

With focus and determination, she assured that the CDC political leader would accomplish his duty. She made these comments over the weekend when she spoke in an interview with reporters in the Rock Hill Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

"Ambassador George Weah is a son of Liberia and he has a constituent. I believe that if he (Weah) puts his mind to it, he can do the work. He is competent and he enjoys the confidence of the people and the President of Liberia," she amongst other things added.

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