14 November 2017

Liberia: Rural Women Want Speedy Resolution of Electoral Crisis

Photo: Julien Harneis/ Focus on Land in Africa
Some rural women.

President of the National Rural Women of Liberia, Ma Kebeh Monger (Middle), Gbarpolu County RWL president Ma Bendu Jar and Margibi County RWL president at a news conference

The National Rural Women (NRW) with membership throughout Liberia has called on the National Elections Commission (NEC) and politicians involved in the October 10 election crisis to speedily resolve the issue at stake and conduct the runoff presidential election in the shortest possible time.

According to the women, they want to see a peaceful transition of power from one elected president to another.

At a press conference yesterday at its headquarters in Monrovia, NRW president Kebeh Mongar said they are interested in securing the future of their children because as mothers they are the supervisors of the country.

"We are appealing to Liberty Party's Charles W. Brumskine and other political parties to accept the results from the NEC so that the country can move forward," she said. "We are asking our son Charles Brumskine to waive his right for the sake of peace and allow the elections to go on. We tell him 'thank you' for the peace that he holds by not putting people in the street."

Madam Mongar said the country is not going through physical war but the prices of essential commodities are very high and the US rate has gone up.

She said, "We are not interested in having an interim government because there is no war in the country. The past interim governments we had because of the long civil crisis is something that made us afraid when we hear about an interim government."

Also speaking, the president of the Gbarpolu County branch, Bendu N. Jar, said if there is any problem in Liberia, it is women who will suffer most, and therefore Liberian politicians must see a reason to maintain the peace and stop provoking each other to anger.

Madam Bendu said politicians should stop considering their own interests and promote the interests of Liberians.

In a brief remark, the president of Margibi County branch, Esther J. S. Clarke, said they have come together as mothers to call on Liberty Party to take things easy for the betterment of the country.

Madam Esther thanked the Liberty Party for not causing violence in the process by taking the matter to court. She said the case has gone so long that it has claimed their attention and are therefore intervening in the matter by calling on the LP to allow the process to go on.

Since arguments in the October 10 polls flared up, many Liberians have been raising concerns with regards to what becomes of the government when the second term of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's administration expires early next year.

Many Liberians, including the rural women have been commenting on the eventual constitutional crisis that could subsequently result in an interim government.

Liberia experienced a series of interim governments during the civil wars from 1990 to 2005 and therefore the majority of the people are worried about the difficulties faced during those periods.

The ongoing case of election fraud and irregularities is a first for Liberia in its recent election history. The public's assumption that a delay in resolving the current electoral crisis may result in a constitutional crisis is in reference to Article 64 of the 1986 Constitution, which states: "Whenever the office of the President and the Vice President shall become vacant by reason of removal, death, resignation, inability or other disability of the President and the Vice President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall be sworn in as Acting President until the holding of elections to fill the vacancies. Should the Speaker be legally incapable or otherwise unable to assume the office of Acting President, then the same shall devolve upon the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. In any further line of descent, the office shall devolve in order upon the Deputy Speaker and members of the Cabinet in the order of precedence as established by law. The Elections Commission shall within ninety days conduct elections for a new President and a new Vice President."

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