Liberia: Female Senatorial Candidates Crave Support Ahead of Ahead of December 8 Special Senatorial Elections

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Monrovia – A group of women senatorial candidates that have been certified by the National Elections Commission (NEC) have launched passionate appeals to pro women groups including the United Nations Women for support as they gear up for their respective campaigns ahead of the December 8 polls.

The women, in separate comments, made the pleads at a special introductory event organized by the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Liberia Chapter in collaboration with the United Nations Women.

It was aimed at showcasing and soliciting support for female candidates contesting in forthcoming elections.

Of the 116 candidates that have been certificated by the NEC, only 20 are women including incumbent Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (Grand Bassa County), Magdalene Harris (Bassa County), Dorothy Toomann (Bong County), Botoe Kanneh (Gbarpolu county), Hawa Corned Borpleh(Grand Cape Mont County), Jebeh Dekel Brown (Cape Mont County) and Felicia Duncan (Grand Gedeh).

Others include Betrice Wonnah Johnsson (Grand Gedeh County), Edith Gonglo-Weh (Nimba County), Grace Scotland-Briama (Sinoe County), Rosalind Sneh (Grand Kru), Janjay Bloh (Rivercess County), Envangeline Israel King (Montserrado), Siah Jarmie Tandanpolie (Montserrado County) and Cecilia Siaway Teah (Montserrado County).

Still others are Represenatives Mariamu Beyan Fofana and Julie Fatorma Wiah (Lofa County) Dedeh Nohr Jones (Lofa County), and Princess S. Macauley (Margibi).

Although some of them are rival candidates, all of the women that attended the forum spoke of a singular mission: to increase the number of women at the Liberian Senate.

Currently the Senate has only one female in Senator Karngar-Lawrence who is also running against several male contestants including former Foreign Minister Gbehzongar Findley who once served as President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate.

Senator Karnga-Lawrence, who is currently the political leader of the Liberty party said she is the ideal candidate because she has been tested and given more results despite being the only “woman left in the lion’s den.”

She said her re-election cannot be underemphasized because she is a strong floor fighter amongst 29 men in the Liberian senate and making decision for women and disadvantage population.

“I have been pushing women issues, talking about SGBV and good governance. Corruption has been strongly fought with one woman that is why we need more women to be voted,” she said.

She added that women are caring leaders and deserve the space at the political table to make decision with the men to impact the entire population.

Also speaking former Nimba County Superintended Edith Gonglo-Weh said although this will be her third term to run for the Senate, she is more determined to push the agenda of women, children and underprivileged people just as she did during her years as Superintendent of the County.

The event brought together several women groups including the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Center, ‘HE For She Crusaders’ and the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, among others.

Addressing the forum via Zoom video call, UN Women Representative Marie Goreth Nizigama pledge the UN Women’s support to the candidates and said the December 8 polls must sound like a judgment day for women representation at the Liberian Senate.

Madam Nizigama, said   considering the emergency in the House of Senate; there may be no woman if none of the female aspirants win in the pending elections.

“It behooves us to pay keen attention to these polls,” she said.

Speaking further, she said while no country has achieved gender equality it is now time to accelerate efforts with added momentum for the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in these difficult times.

She disclosed that UN Women has an elaborate communication plan underway as well as technical support for the women with hope to provide other strategic support as may be articulated in addition to much needed high level advocacy for success in these polls.

Earlier, she mentioned that the UN General Assembly on October 1, 2020 held a high-level meeting on Beijing+25. She said this was the first time since its Special Session in 2000, on “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the 21st century”, that the United Nations General Assembly devoted a high-level meeting to follow up on the Beijing Conference on Women.

She said the General Assembly’s action is “clearly an effort to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

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