With less than 60 days to the October 10 general and presidential elections in Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic has urged the National Elections Commission to guarantee that every registered voter is secure to vote as they wish.
“We want to see a process that is free and fair, that is what our constitution calls for. “There are many women on that commission, but we want men and women on the commission to know that they have a sacred duty to our country and its people to make sure that the process enables everybody to have a freedom of choice,” she said.
The former Liberian leader stated at the start of a peace event for Liberian women organized by the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa (GPFA) at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town that the NEC is fully responsible for ensuring that Liberians vote for their respective choices.
The peace forum’s primary purpose is to provide a cross-section of Liberian women with a venue to consult, reflect, and strategize approaches to ensure peaceful elections in 2023.
Liberian women from all backgrounds and political affiliations will identify major concerns influencing peaceful elections and women’s participation, as well as the Liberian women’s manifesto for peace, during the following few days.
“Now, we are approaching a very important event and the event is to choose our leaders, the constitutional duty that each of us has, the responsibility -because it is that choice we are all going to live with,” Madam Sirleaf calls for peace.
She furthered: “Based on peace, based on civility we will be able to respect each other, being able to talk without getting into those things that lead to difference, those things that lead to unfair expression, and those things that lead to tension in the society.”
According to her, this is a communal effort, a genuine effort for women to understand the process, to encourage one another to do the right thing, and to call on our leaders and institutions to follow the Constitution and do the right thing.
Similarly, Sirleaf stated that women demand change, emphasizing that women have always been a vital part of nation-building in Liberia, from the call to halt 14 years of war to the beginning of a post-war administration with Africa and Liberia’s first female President.
“Throughout our history, women have made a difference. Whether in my trial, the women who stood for me through signatures, whether when the war was ragging and Leymah was able to bring women together to make sure that the Accra Peace Accord would succeed, whether it was time where the judges could stand up for us, there were always women,” Madam Sirleaf said.
She also stated that the women want to see a Liberia in which their children may grow up with the same goal of obtaining an education in a safe environment that includes quality schools and a good neighborhood.
The contemporary political scene is full of contentious and toxic politics and statements. Twenty years into the peace process, in which Liberian women have played a critical role, it is critical that women continue to demonstrate leadership in the peacebuilding and sustaining process.
While acknowledging the importance of women actively participating in politics and all political processes, it is also incumbent on women to demonstrate leadership during the process by interacting constructively and peacefully across party lines. This is crucial because violence in any form is harmful.
The Liberian Women’s Peace Summit (LWPS) would offer structured consultations for Liberian women to assemble, discuss crucial issues for peaceful elections in 2023, and create a public position statement.
“Many nations have been at war, like Liberian, they have done a lot of what Liberia has done but can’t still find their way,” Layma Gbowee.