Liberia: Senate Holds State Funeral for Fallen Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff
MONROVIA – The Liberian Senate has held a state funeral for fallen member, Sen. Geraldine Doe-Sheriff at the Capitol.
Report by Henry Karmo, [email protected]
Thursday’s activities held in the Rotunda of the Capitol brought together Members of the House of Representatives and Senate.
Former legislators, too, some of whom served along with the late Senator in the 53rd Legislature, also attended the Thursday activities to pay their last respect to her memories.
The event was an all-Senate affairs as Senators themselves where seen playing major roles, including serving as guards for the casket bearing the mortal remains of the late Senator.
Throughout the program, senators came in pair and stood guard at both ends of the casket.
Family members, too, attended the ceremony but had no role to play except to sit and witness the ceremony that the Senate controlled.
It is expected that the family funeral will be held on Saturday, March 16, the day she is expected to be interred.
Before Senator Doe-Sheriff’s death, she served as Chair on the Senate Executive Committee, and also played key roles in other working committees, including Transport, Ways, Means and Finance, Gender, Health and Social Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Public Accounts amongst others.
She proposed several bills, including ‘An Act for the Establishment of Vocational Education in all Public Schools in Liberia,’ ‘The National Drugs Abused Rehabilitation Bill’, ‘A Bill to Sustain Democracy Through Public Funding of Political Parties, Coalition and Alliances,’ ‘The Decent Work Bill of 2010,’ ‘A Bill to Create the National Whistleblower Protection Act,’ and An Act to Establish a Policy on the Use of the White Cane to Safe Guard the Rights of the Blind to Public Facilities in Liberia.’
The late Senator was also a major player in crafting a bill that calls for affirmative action in the ethical participation and representation of women.
Some of those bills she sponsored and co-sponsored, including ‘The Decent Work Bill of 2010,’ and the ‘National Whistleblower Protection Act,’ were passed into law.
Senator Doe-Sheriff also wrote several communications on national issues, including the alarming situation of sea erosion for coastal dwellers. Her push led to costal defense work on the coast of Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.
The Montserrado County Senator battled cancer for a little over a year. The Senator was pronounced dead at approximately 5:15 p.m. Saturday.
Madam Doe-Sheriff won following the death of Senator Hannah Brent also of the Congress for Democratic Change now Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
At that time, she described her victory as an indictment on the policies of President Sirleaf. “First of all, I believe that Liberia has won as a nation and as a people. The people resounded their wishes that they wanted a change; they wanted a new dispensation,” she had said following her victory.
On May 19, 2014, Doe-Sheriff announced she was quitting the CDC, 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. Nevertheless, I thank you all so kindly, especially the ordinary Cdcians for the opportunity to have served as chairman and the many moments shared together in the party. I will miss all of those precious times but what is most important, is our country Liberia. On this note, I humbly beg to part ways in peace and wish the party well in all that you endeavor for the future.”
During the 2017 Presidential election, the Senator threw her weight behind then Vice President Joseph Boakai, who ran on the Unity Party ticket for president.
In January 2018, the Senator briefly flirted with the idea of running for President Pro-Tempore of the Senate as she brushed off speculations that her colleague senators had overwhelmingly come to a consensus in support of Grand Kru Senator Albert Chie’s bid to succeed Gbarpolu Senator Armah Jallah as President Pro-Tempore of that body.
The Senator dismissed suggestions that she was embarking on a losing bid for the post. She argued that those throwing around suggestions that she was unqualified for the position were in error.
Few months into President George Manneh Weah’s presidency, Senator Doe-Sheriff slammed what she said were attempts by detractors to draw a wedge between she and the President owing to her leaving the CDC for the UP and her open political support for Boakai.