Liberia: Women Legislative Caucus’ New Chair Assures Re-Election of Current Members￼
Capitol Hill, Monrovia – It was a show of women’s solidarity and leadership celebration at the event marking the induction ceremony of the new officials of the Women’s Legislative Caucus at the Rotunda of the Capitol.
The event brought together top women politicians including Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, Senior Advisor of the Caucus- who delivered the keynote address and Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, inducted as the new Chairperson of the Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) along with her corps of officers.
In her induction speech, Senator Karngar-Lawrence declared that her leadership will prioritize the re-election of all caucus members contesting in the pending 2023 Legislative and Presidential elections.
To achieve the goal, she disclosed that she and her team are instituting aggressive retention plans to tackle the weaknesses and challenges of incumbent female legislators.
The WLC, she added, will work with women in very part of the country with support from local groups and international partners to make the plan workable.
“It is a sad reality to have only eleven women at the Liberian Legislature who are the second highest group in the country,” she said.
“Before the induction ceremony, we have been having consultation with both local and international partners to develop a plan for the women’s legislative caucus realizing that advocating for women’s rights and good governance require more women in leadership.”
She further mentioned that part of the caucus’ plan is to encourage mentorship and guidance for female representatives and senatorial aspirants and lobby for funding from partners to identify all potential aspirants and work with them in their various political parties.
“We look forward to unifying women; bringing them under one umbrella as well as suggesting regional conferences, especially in rural Liberia, craft a legislative agenda that will allow women speak out the loudest on children and governance issues.”
Delivering the keynote address, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor rallied the women to foster cooperation and undertake meaningful activities that cover the welfare of everyone; regardless of their political affiliations.
“We must connect our voices to make one loud shout,” she said. “We can’t keep complaining that we are not many. Those who are here now must take on the responsibilities and make things happen.”
According to VP Taylor, to be elected is not a right but a privilege – and as such, female legislators should impact their generation.
She said women must never believe that they are insignificant, “but to make yourself significant you must be willing to work, walk the walk, and get ready to go to places people can’t go, and as well listen more.”
For her part, the induction officer, former Chief Justice and former Senator Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott cautioned the newly inducted leadership of WLC to work not for themselves but the “troubled youth and women” across the country.
“You are women and members of the Legislature who have been impacted by culture and system that discriminate and exclude women. You do not represent your political parties, sex, or yourself, rather, you represent a country that is troubled,” she intoned.
Continuing she said: “You represent a country that is two hundred years old but has just gotten serious for nation-building. You are now the mouthpiece of everybody who are going through pain in this country. You also represent the troubled youth and women of Liberia.”
Meanwhile, others inducted include Senator Botoe Kanneh of Gbarpolu County as Co-Chair on National Affairs, Rep. Moima Briggs-Mensah (District #6, Bong County) as Co-Chair on International Affairs and Rep. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (District #4, Montserrado). Others are Rep. Julie Fatorma Wiah (District#2, Lofa County) as Financial Secretary, Ellen Attoh-Wreh (District #3, Margibi) as Treasurer and Rep. Mary Karwor (District #2, Grand Bassa) as Chaplain, while the immediate past WLC’s Chairperson Reps. Dr. Rosana G.D.H. Schaack District #1, Rivercess), Bomi County District Representative Haja Fata Siryon (District #3, Bomi), Hadja Mariamu B. Fofana (District #4, Lofa) and Finda G. Lansanah (District #1, Bomi) all serving as members.
The WLC was established in 2006 in Ghana after the 2005 elections that brought former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on board as first female President. That election brought to the Legislature fourteen women including five Senators and nine Representatives.