15 February 2018

Liberia: The Need for a Woman Senator to Replace Pres. Weah - Bridging the 26-Male - 2-Female Disparity

After a heated political contest for the Liberian presidency, the dust is now settled with the election of Amb. George Weah and Senator Jewel Howard Taylor as President and Vice President respectively, but there is still a debate as to who fills the two vacant seats created as a result of their elections to the echelon of political leadership in Liberia.

Their ascendancies signaled the need for more women representation at the Legislature. As it stands, out of the 15 counties that are represented by 30 Senators, Madam Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence [Grand Bassa and Madam Geraldine Doe-Sheriff [Montserrado] are the only women Senators on Capitol Hill. Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor's climbing to the 2nd highest peak of the leadership ladder in Liberia cannot require a better celebration if her fellow women are not elected in Montserrado and Bong Counties to replace her vacant seat and that of President Weah.

It is important to note that out of the 2.1 million registered voters in the just ended 2017 General and Presidential Elections, 49% of this number are women. This is a clear demonstration that demands the equal and active participation of women at every sphere of Liberia's governance system. The disproportionate reflection of women in our politics as opposed to men is not only unfair, but democratically unjustified. No time is better to bridge this gap than now! Henceforth, women in politics and leadership must be the fulcrum of our national discourse.

Too much efforts and resources have gone into gender mainstreaming and its practical realities in terms of achievements in public and private sector leadership driven by men and their women counterparts. Liberia being a signatory to several international conventions and charters on rights and gender parity must use this occasion to ensure the Liberian Senate does not remain the way it is currently with only two of its 30 members being women. This is an argument worth having, and a reality worth emphasizing.

Gender parity in the body politics of Liberia still remains a major challenge that needs keen attention. If our national leadership is to be more proactive and robust in making decisions that affect the general good of all Liberians, then women participation should be given more priority and attention in strategic positions in national leadership.

Being specific, the vacuum created at the Liberian Senate resulting from the departure of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, thus reducing the number of women in the Senate from three (3) to two (2), is a big cut in women participation in national politics at the Legislature and a limitation in pushing the women's agenda by themselves.

Given the recent opening, political scholars believe that particularly in Montserrado, another woman must join Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and the people of Montserrado County need to see this as a necessary struggle in support of our mothers who can better have their issues put on the front-burner of national politics by women Senators and Representatives.

Unarguably, why not proffer the name of a potential young Liberian Entrepreneur, Madam M. Leelai Kpukuyou? Madam Kpukuyou, the Secretary General of the Liberian Business Association, is a dynamic personality who is a beacon of hope for many disadvantaged youth, underserved women and vulnerable communities. The poorest of the poor have known hope through her advocacy and humanitarian services. This worthy character is smart, hardworking, eloquent, potential and productive in all that she does as a leading private sector executive.

Montserrado will know no regret, if it unanimously rallied around supporting a lone female ticket in Madam M. Leelai Kpukuyou for the senatorial seat of the County, which will shortly be officially declared vacant according to constitutional dictate.

Youth and women advocate who can ably represent the people of Montserrado County. Women have dedicated their lives to advocating for the protection of Women, children and inclusive women participation in the governance structure of the state therefore; a young potential, innovative, creative and eloquent woman must be given the chance to deliver excellent leadership at the Liberian Senate.

Coming out of a humbled beginning and growing into the high caliber entrepreneur Leelai is today, we hold no reservations in her ability to lead Montserrado County to a nobler destiny. There are so much great development potentially this County has, much of which still remains untapped, only because in leadership, you can give what you don't have, and can't deliver above your limits. Leelai has proven borderless in terms of leadership innovation and the time is right for the great people of Montserrado to give her a chance and if the County must experience rapid transformation.

Interpersonal interaction with Madam M. Leelai Kpukuyou, and even watching from afar with the evidence being the solid nature of her entrepreneurial business franchise and how burgeoning they are, she can make a better Senator for Montserrado; hence, we are sending a clarion call on all of our citizens especially women to look in the direction of this capable, qualified and competent young woman when the process unfolds to fill President George Weah's vacancy at the Senate.

Over the years, she has stood tall in advocacy for young women, vulnerable groups, against gender-based violence, and the need to invest in human capital to reduce the human resource gaps facing technical service areas in the job market in Liberia. Her personal initiatives are least to mention, as the hundreds of beneficiaries are living evidences.

Young and visionary Leelai has a proven track record of advocating for women and girls in Liberia as well as women participation in national leadership. Therefore, we believe that she can better perform in such capacity to serve as a strong voice for the youth and women of Liberia, which constitute a larger portion of our Country's population.

As a subscriber to and enthusiast of feminism, we think women should be given the chance of national leadership, and we choose Madam M. Leelai Kpukuyou, a successful entrepreneur whose leadership innovation has been and remains vital to the transformation that is evident today at the Liberian Business Association (LIBA).

Prominent and eminent women of Liberia, we have sounded the whistle, your involvement and full support is hereby requested and together, success is sure in putting Leelai there as Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff's companion to represent the great people of Montserrado County at the Liberian Senate in the 54th Legislature.

Media Contact:

Paul Kermee Kerkula-----0886994833

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