16 August 2017

Liberia: Kissi Women Campaign for Peace Through Song

Warmth calmed the room when a group of traditional singers graced the Monrovia City Hall on August 4, 2017 as Madam President made her way through the crowd of people who were there to show her their gratitude for the peace instilled in Liberia today. In the Kissi dialect, the women's choir sang, "Thank you God and bless us with many more great people like Madam President."

What was amazing was that the group of strong-spirited individuals 'spiritually covered' the room with sounds of calm using their culture conga drums and sassas. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf instantly walked over to the colorfully dressed women and thanked them as she was appreciated for upholding the peace. "Up until today, we cannot get tired of singing praises of support and faith for our President and leaders," they said.

"The Kissi Mass Choir is a group. During the colloquium (2009), I carried 150 women there and we filled up the stand. In all, we move toward supporting our leaders for our country's peace," chairwoman of the choir, Ma Siagorpeh stated.

The chairwoman said her choir has been in existence since 2005 and was formed for Madam President's spiritual safety. Consistently showering the President's national activities with their praises of peace and worship, these women have described their testimony of how peace has now become a part of their lives and cannot be altered.

"Women who didn't have the opportunity to go to China, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Togo, Nigeria and other parts of the world are going now. When the peace is in the country, it's more important than money. Money can't buy the civilian, only God can buy your life, only God can make us to have peace," added Ma Siagorpeh.

"This election, God knows who he is choosing and knows who should be in these elections. Our prayer is for God to help us and let our country remain in peace," she said.

The women considered the resources that Liberia is showered with from minerals: diamond, gold to nature and the abundant rain. "We are telling her thank you because now the country is built up of gold, diamond and minerals; the rain you see falling everyday is our country's blessing. Yes, Ma Ellen's time is finished, but we pray that God builds up the next person and loves them and lets the country be fair. That's the message," she added.

Another woman, who felt passionate about what she shared with the Daily Observer, said, "First of all, our lives are safe, we can lie down and sleep and in the morning wake up, find food and eat. We thank God for this government. The government has done well for us, especially our lives, for our children who are now going to school normally; and afterwards, they graduate normally. When this destruction called Ebola was here, we really wondered how it would go away and the President took a stand and she moved it away from us. We as women have strength. She empowered us. Before her time, when your husband doesn't give it to you, you can't get it. When the President took over the country, even if men decided not to feed us, we are able to feed ourselves, we are able to sell and change $5 to $10 and so on," added Rachael.

Calm, Above All, Determines the Betterment of Liberia

Meanwhile, Dr. Robtel Najai Pailey, who has been closely monitoring President Sirleaf's performance, in an interview in June stated, "Sirleaf has worked to construct peace, reconciliation, social and economical developments... there has been peace for 12 years to a certain extent and that is the President's legacy. Something she has been able to maintain with the help of the United Nations and the Liberians who at that point were tired and weary of running from bullets."

With the clear indication that peace is one thing that most Liberians agree has fitted back into society's norms to President Sireaf's credit, the realization that the next presidential leader would have to maintain this and pass it on is what keeps people like the Kissi Mass Choir always hoping for a better Liberia.

According to Ibrahim A-Bakir Nyei, a political analyst, the next successor would have a huge challenge in maintaining and sustaining the peace while producing a healthy leadership. "These things the President has strengthened are remarkable to the extent that Ellen has raised the bar in the presidency. The next president has to maintain that status and even do more. Her leadership came with huge credence, credentials of international and national service; and she leveraged her international connect to bring peace to Liberia with backing. Because of her government, Liberia has retaken that position it once held in the international community," he added. Having a free and fair election proves that there is peace, he concluded.

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