A man without a woman is a non-starter. Man and Woman come from the exchange during birth and as we celebrate another Mother's Day on May 8th, let us always remember this relationship between man and woman. It is no accident that International Women's Day was celebrated on another 8th -- March 8th.
As all men are not gentlemen, all women are not mothers. A mother is necessarily good as a gentleman is also necessarily good. So, it is wrong to call a gentleman a good gentleman as it is wrong to call a mother a good mother. In fact, the same reasoning applies to religion as it is wrong to call a Christian a good or bad Christian because all Christians are followers of Jesus Christ who is always good.
All Muslims are followers of Allah, who is always good. We have the same Creator, whether the name is God or Allah or Ngala (the Kpelle language, the most widely spoken Liberian language, for Our Creator). It is this working realization that got Liberia the World Prize for Religious Harmony under the leadership of Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis and Sheikh Kafumba Konneh in the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL). What we are saying here is related to Mother's Day as we are talking about the truth for the glory of 'our creator.'
A mother is necessarily a good person because she not only holds a child in her womb for at least nine months but she gives birth to the child and is the one who takes main care of the child, watching over the child day and night through crying and even toileting. The mother instills good values in the child as the child grows up in age to become an adult. What the mother does is Walk The Motherhood Talk, instilling good values for life.
Starting with a religious body, let us attend an Usher Day Program. At the Program, a rich married man lifted the collection and crowned the usher of the Year, his girlfriend. Then the rich married man took the entire usher board out for lunch at a restaurant. This girlfriend is a woman but not a mother.
The head of the church is a preacher but not a pastor because a pastor guides the pastoral flock from doing bad to doing good and the flock follows. The preacher continues to look at the immorality of the relationship between the rich married man and the usher but says nothing, meaning that the preacher supports the immorality. The preacher is not a pastor. The usher of the year is not a mother.
On account of the immorality exhibited by many of the religious leaders, they cannot serve as the conscience of the nation by speaking truth to power. Madiba Mandela of South Africa was not a religious leader but he was the conscience of the people of South Africa and spoke truth to power. When the apartheid system wanted to stop Madiba Mandela, it took him to Court before sentencing him to death.
At the Court, he said: “I work to protect the rights of white people just as I work to protect the rights of black people, but if needs be, I am prepared to die in doing the work that I am doing." The Court gave him a life sentence and he spent 27 years in the Robben Island Prison. Although Madiba has passed away, his good name will never pass away.
Women who have not passed away comprise fifty five per cent of the National Legislature of Rwanda, now being used as the reference point for pushing women’s rights. Let us look at the evidence. In 2014, the President of Rwanda and 2018 Chairman of the African Union (AU), ordered the execution of two Rwandan opposition leaders.
There was no due process for the opposition leaders. In 2018, the government of South Africa expelled the Rwandan Ambassador to South Africa because he was facilitating the assassination attempt on the life of a Rwandan opposition leader who had fled to South Africa. All of this violation of basic human rights in Rwanda was taking place when women held the majority percentage of seats in the Rwandan Legislature.
So, we need mothers. We do not need women in the Legislature, as many women in Liberia are calling for thirty percent representation in Liberia's National Legislature. At the 2022 Induction Program of the Association of Liberian Lawyers (AFELL), while serving as a Speaker, I told the audience that committed women should occupy as many seats as they are qualified for, rather than limit themselves to thirty percent. Such limitation is undemocratic because democracy calls for the will of the majority of the people.
If there were 100 vacancies and women qualified for 90 of them while the men qualified for only ten vacancies, then the women should occupy the 90 vacancies. These committed women are, in effect, mothers because of their good records while non-committed women, women with no good records, are not mothers.
We are celebrating Mother's Day at a time appointed by Our Creator for all of us to come together. In the month of March 2022, International Women’s Day, Ramadan and Easter converge. In the month of May 2022, May Day and Mother's Day converge. What a Blessing for all of us to converge as children of the same Creator, called God, Allah and Ngala. In Unity, we have the Power to know that the World Without Mothers is a Non-Starter. In Unity, we have the Power to get good persons elected to make the world a Better Place for All of Our Creator's children.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
The author: Togba-Nah Tipoteh
Board Member, Liberian Women Initiative (LWI)
Spokesperson on Gender Sensitivity,
Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL).