Liberia: Fahngon Insists Bearing a Child Doesn’t Disqualify Participation in a Beauty Pageant
MONROVIA – Giving birth to a child does not disqualify a lady from contesting a beauty pageant, argues Deputy Minister for Public Affairs of the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism Eugene Fahngon.
“First and foremost, bearing a child is not a crime and bearing a child should not stop you from achieving your goals or pursuing opportunities,” Fahngon said Thursday at a press conference in Monrovia.
When questioned by reporters about the Ministery’s decison to select a participant who has a child, Fahngon refused to comment further on the issue.
“I will not comment further simply because it is an allegation, I will comment on the facts next week in my press conference,” he said.
The Deputy Minister’s comment comes on the back of a recent decision to recall the Liberian contestant who was selected to participate in the ongoing 2019 edition of the Miss Africa continent pageant in South Africa.
Farsina Farmah, who was recalled, was selected by current Miss Liberia Wokie Dolo to represent the country but was shockingly ordered by MICAT to return home because she was “unrealistically sent to represent Liberia by La Queen entertainment owned by Ms. Dolo.”
On Wednesday the Ministry issued a release stating it had selected Tina Finda Nyunkar, first runner-up for Miss Liberia 2017 pageant to replace Ms Farmah.
“To our utmost surprise took her runner up from Miss Earth to Miss Africa and when the Ministry got to know took the appropriate steps that were necessary to keep the tradition and custom of having the winner of Miss Liberia go to Miss World and the runner up to Miss Africa,” Minister Fahngon said.
The decision sparked mixed views in the community of pageantry after it was later discovered that Ms Nyunkar is a mother.
Are There International Rules?
Most beauty competitions have set standards that bar ladies who have had a child or children from contesting.
While there is confusion over the selection of Ms Nyunkar to represent Liberia and the standards that are set across many countries, many say MICAT has breached these internationally accepted rules.
For example, the African Union annual beauty competition requires that applicants should not be pregnant, married or have a child or children.
For Miss South Africa, a prestigious beauty contest on the continent, one of its requirement to participate is that entrants should “never have been pregnant, never have given birth, and not currently pregnant”.
In Ukraine, the winner of the 2018 Miss Ukraine was dramatically stripped off her crown after organizers discovered that she had a child and was previously married – which made her ineligible for the beauty pageant
Miss Great Britain previously had similar rules banning mothers and married women from contesting but abolished the rule in 2013 as part of a move to make the pageant more relevant.
MICAT Comes Under Fire
As the debate echoes, a former Miss Liberia, who asked for anonymity, told FronatPageAfrica that universal competitions across the world don’t allow a contestant to have a baby and participant.
Meanwhile, Ms. Dolo, who is accused of selecting a contestant, says she’s surprised that the government will request her to seek permission before sending a contestant.
“Does the ministry grant Districts pageant organizers permit; I am surprised that they will want to say I should have asked for a permit before sending Farsina,” she wrote on social media Thursday evening.
“Madam Assistant Minister Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs & Tourism (MICAT) where is the 50 thousand USD budget that Miss Liberia 2017, should’ve used to undertake her projects?”
“Where is the furnished office the Ministry’s promise for the Queen to sit in and work, where is the Queen monthly paycheck for her reign and diplomatic passport since you’re concerned about protocol.”
‘Dethroned’ Miss Liberia?
Earlier during the press conference, Minister Fahngon had referred to Ms. Dolo as former “Miss Liberia”, adding that her reign has ended even though the Ministry has not held a ceremony to dethrone her.
“We like to appeal to former Miss Liberia, Ms. Dolo, we’ve seen a number of disturbing posts from her but we will like to clarify to the public that Ms. Dolo reign came to an end,” he said.
He, however, disclosed that it is customary that the winner of Miss Liberia goes to Miss World while the runner up attends Miss Africa.
Minister Fahngon confirmed that even though Ms. Dolo was given a permit to conduct the Miss Earth pageant but it came as a surprise to the Ministry when a runner-up from the just ended Miss Earth pageant was sent to represent Liberia at an international pageant (Miss Africa).