27 February 2013

Liberia: Women Groups Speak Out - On Political Standoff - Call for Restraint

For the first time, women groups in Liberia have spoken out on the political standoff between suspended City Mayoress Mary Broh and suspended Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpaan on one side and the House of Representatives on the other side, craving for restraint to be exercise by the two parties for the sake of what they called "cordial and stable political environment in the country."

Madam Cecelia Siaway-Teah of the Women Political Movement of Liberia (WPML) who spoke on behalf of the women groupings said the contention between the two parties undermines the credibility of democratic governance.

Saying that the law should take its course in this matter which has already got the involvement of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Madam Siaway-Teah, said women organizations would want to see women get involved in the matter so that the two parties can come to the bargaining table.

"We want this matter resolve because the women in Liberia are in defense such a hard earned peace and tranquility which everyone must fight to uphold".

Madam Teah who neither condemn nor commend either of the parties said though no one is above the law as women organization it is important to note that every citizen (especially official of government) in the country is under obligation to uphold the tenets of democracy as enshrined in the Constitution, the Geneva Convention and the United Nations charter on human rights of which Liberia is a signatory.

"As worrisome as it is, we do not want to see this kind of situation taking place between the Legislative and the Executive branches of government", she said and added "intervening as a women organization clearly speaks to the fact that gender parity which must be revered gives each group (male and female) the chance to adequately perform assigned duties and responsibilities as enshrined in the Liberian Constitution."

"I feel strong about our involvement because as women organizations we are under moral obligation to the state and its people, including the women and members of the House of Representatives to help provide a platform to resolve the current political saga."

She pointed out that though the women were too fast to have interrupted the functions of the legislature, the punishment ordered by the House was too harsh and called on the legislature to resolve the situation so as to save the democracy which many have sacrificed and died for.

She however warned that no one was above the law, adding "and equally so we have to respect the organic law of the land."

She used the occasion to appeal to the both parties for calm in order to have the matter reconciled because if not it will leave a negative impact on the society.

"Our children will want to see their parents sustain peace and uphold the organic law of the land because all citizens have statutory obligation to respect our laws so we can be respected by others in the comity of nations," she warned.

For her part, the head of ECOWAS Women Civil Society for Peace Oretha T. Dennis called on everyone in the matter to respect the due process of law so as to send a clear message to the younger ones that no one is above the law.

"I am calling for both parties to calm down and do the most honorable thing and respect the organic law of the land", Madam Dennis noted.

She said the punishment of incarceration for 30 days was not enough because "the corruption allegation against anyone needs to be decided in the court.

The House of Representatives some times ago found the suspended Superintendent Kpaan guilty of four counts and even ordered her to pay back US$50,775 unaccounted from the Forestry Development Authority.

More besides, she was asked to reinstate the Montserrado County project management committee chairman, and to bring the county money under one account.

She failed to do any of those thus propelling the action of imprisonment for three days against her.

Suspended MCC acting Mayor Mary Broh acting upon her own order thwarted attempt by the Sergeant-at-arm to incarcerate the Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpaan upon arrival at the Monrovia Central Prison on Friday.

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