The orator of Liberia’s 172 independence day celebrations, Leymah Gbowee, has expressed dismay at the dearth of women appointed to cabinet positions in President George Weah’s government; she cited only two women appointed so far to serve in his cabinet as an example of his failure to live up to his self-acclaimed title as Feminist-in-Chief.
The Noble laureate in her speech called on the President to remember that Liberia is not a political party but a nation for all Liberians. “In order for us to move forward together, we must recognize that men as well as women, the blind, the physically challenged, and youth groups are equal parts of the society” she declared.
Continuing she said, “Mr. President, I will address this to you directly. It is not acceptable for us to have only two women in [your] cabinet. I, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Nobel Laureate challenge any Liberian to tell me that the men in this country are smarter than the women, hence the men should be given prominence in jobs and elected positions.”
“I believe that it is high time that the women who fought through tears and blood from the founding of this country to the bringing of peace to this nation should be given positions of leadership based on their competence. As a self-declared feminist in chief, you are being called out to walk your talk. It’s time to stop the old boy’s network,” Madam Gbowee said.
Madam Gbowee’s speech has been hailed by the public for its candor and not surprisingly, according to insider accounts, has caused a stir in official circles similar to that caused in 2012 during her Independence Day Address when she took then President Sirleaf to task on corruption and nepotism.
Back then she declared that corruption and nepotism in President Sirleaf’s government was perfectly symbolized by the high government positions occupied by President Sirleaf’s three sons. Robert was head of the state oil company and a senior economic advisor; Fumba, head of the National Security Agency; and Charles, deputy governor of the Central Bank.