‘She Fought A Great Fight’: President Weah Leads Tributes for Fallen Liberian Senator
Monrovia – Tributes and condolences are pouring in from all sectors of Liberia and around the world following the death Saturday of Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff.
Dubbed ‘Zico’ owing to her early days as one of Liberia’s pioneering women footballers, the late Senator was pronounced dead at about 5:15 Saturday afternoon at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, her latest stop in a series of recent travels that took her to India and the United States of America, in a bid to beat the deadly cancer disease.
President George Manneh Weah described the late Senator as fallen patriot and one of the pillars of contemporary women movement in Liberia.
Said the President in a statement Sunday: “We are deeply distraught and our hearts are filled with pains and deep sorrow upon hearing this grief-stricken news. The passing of Senator Doe-Sheriff does not only serve as a big blow to her family and Senate, but to women in leadership and our young girls and women that are aspiring to be great leaders of tomorrow. Senator Doe-Sheriff was a great inspiration to many women who felt that there was no hope for them in a male dominated society. She was one of those that championed the cause for women empowerment and motivated many women to step up into leadership roles. She paved the way for women to rise up to the fore and become voices of reason within our political spectrum; when she rose to the position of Chairlady of the Congress for Democratic Change.”
Ironically, the Senator, who was one of the pioneering figures in the now ruling CDC, bolted the party on May 19, 2014, telling the party that she was tendering her resignation with a heavy heart. “You will agree with me, no doubt, that the purpose for which we founded this once noble party has lost. Our goal was to form an institution with the sole purpose to emancipate our people, the downtrodden included, from the dungeon of poverty to the celestial heights of a decent life through participatory democracy. We have made several attempts to change this course internally, but all of our efforts proved futile as I even suffered physical harm as a result of my stance in reconciling the country while serving as chairman of the party.”
On Sunday, President Weah recalled an exemplary public servant as he expressed his utmost prayer that God will grant the bereaved family and all those mourning this great loss the strength and fortitude to go through this time of desolation. “Senator Doe-Sheriff fought a great fight. Her impeccable record of service to Nation and contributions to women upliftment will always be remembered and celebrated. As she bid us farewell, may her soul rest in perfect peace and may light perpetual shine on her.”
Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor described the fallen Senator as one who was full of life and joy. “Oh death, you have taken one of our best,” she chimed.
Former Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan said Liberia has been dealt yet another blow with the fall of the former Senator. “Another soldier has fallen. Death is the truth we wish were a lie: The president we wish were the future and the future we wish were a mirage.”
Still in shock, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence said: “I refuse to accept this.”
George Gyude Wisner II, a former Assistant Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs during the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf era recalled a leader who showed unprecedented courage at critical junctures in our political evolution as a nation. Not that she was oblivious of the consequences or repercussions of her decisions and/or actions, but once she was convinced about the correctness of those actions she proceeded forthwith. Rip Lady Zico
Julia Duncan Cassell, former Minister of Gender said the women of Liberia has lost another “Sheroe”. “It is with heavy heart that you take your rest”, she posted on her personal Facebook page Sunday.
The death of the Senator has also raised concerns about the country’s health system. “As a country, we continue to lose too many of our fellow citizens to curable diseases in their prime. It appears that our thoughts and prayers are no longer enough. When are we going to declare untimely death of a national crisis?”, wrote Samuel Sakama.
From Zico to the General and Lady Zico, the former Senator personified the values of a fighter. She was active in the development of football as deputy head for operations in the Liberia Football Association. “She suffered a protracted period of illness. She is gone to rest, according to God’s will. My deepest condolences to the bereaved family, the people of Montserrado County and Liberia in general. May her gentle soul rest in peace,” Abraham Darius Dillon of the opposition Liberty Party wrote Sunday.
Meanwhile, family sources have confirmed to FrontPageAfrica that arrangements are being finalized for the return of the body to Monrovia with funeral arrangements expected to be announced later.