Liberia: Legislative Candidate Weighs in on Sex Abuse Saga
Monrovia – Cornelia Kruah-Togba is taking on a topic many in Liberia’s national legislature have been shying away from. The District 13 legislative candidate is accusing the US-backed academy for failing to take responsibility for the sexual abuse and exploitation of young Liberian girls.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica recently, the candidate slammed both the charity and the Liberian government’s handling of the saga.
Said Kruah-Togba: “More than Me” is not taking enough responsibility for what happened. They are still trying to find loopholes and distance themselves from the action of an individual who represented them and caused harm to children who were under their watch.”
Recently, the embattled head of More Than Me, Ms. Katie Meyler temporarily resigned after a report found that dozens of girls were allegedly raped by an employee.
Meyler announced she would step aside after a report by ProPublica and Times Magazine revealed the abuse.
While the organization, which is devoted to women’s empowerment, says it has taken steps to safeguard girls at the school, the District 13 candidate explained that the action falls short. “I also feel that the government could do more to ensure justice for the girls and that this incident is not repeated.
They need to ensure that all linked with this case are investigated and dealt with in accordance with our laws.”
Lamenting what she described as serious neglect in her district, the candidate said she believes the area has been neglected for quite some time, leading her into action. “I am running because we have a district that has been misrepresented and neglected. From 2005-2017, we have been represented by one party (CDC)- this signifies continuity. One would expect that said continuity and stability would result in the implementation of policies, programs and initiatives that positively impact the residents.”
To the contrary, she said the same challenges and problems that existed in 2005 currently exist and there have been no significant efforts made to address them. “We had a representation that lacked accountability and promoted segregation in order to “divide and rule”. I want to ensure that power within the District is decentralized and we shift from being a District where about 80% of our current community leaderships were appointed by the former lawmaker”
Asked what would having an additional woman in the lower house mean for the advancement of women in politics, Mrs. Kruah-Togba said increased women’s participation means there are more women to inspire and support young women to take up leadership positions. “This does not however have a direct effect on the passage of gender focused bill as women would still be in the minority.”
Mrs. Kruah-Togba, 28, a mother and wife has resided in the Nigerian Shop Community in New George Estate for twelve years.
She has long been involved in efforts to provide scholarships and capacity building to students in and out of District 13.
She co-founded and managed the University Students Initiative (USI), an organization that provides opportunities for community service projects, scholarships and job placements/internships for students at five universities in Liberia.
In her professional career, she has occupied prominent posts, including serving as Program Assistant in the President’s Delivery Unit at the Ministry of State, Executive Assistant to the Minister of Public Works and working as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Education. In these various positions she performed with distinction, exhibiting leadership, which led to being admitted into the Order of the Star of Africa as an Officer by Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2017.
She has worked as the Angie Brooks International Center’s Youth Program Officer, where she developed and implemented a mentorship program to pair 200 youth with renown professionals and provide career training and employment opportunities. A graduate of the St. Teresa Convent and the African Leadership Academy in South Africa, she also holds a B.Sc. in Economics from Stella Maris Polytechnic, where she was the senior class president. Cornelia has a Master of Arts in International Politics and Economics from Kingston University in London. She is currently enrolled at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law.