‘If Women Feel Betrayed by Ellen, This Should not Be the End of Women in Politics’

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Montserrado County Independent senatorial aspirant Miatta Fahnbulleh has said that she does not expect support or endorsement of her candidacy from the hierarchies of the Unity Party-led government, but there are many individuals who are wishing her well in disguise.

Aspirant Fahnbulleh, who is popularly known as Aunty Miatta, said that the culture of protection of jobs and positions in the Liberian society had made people to be careful of openly expressing their political leanings, as many of them are afraid to lose their [government] jobs.

But in spite of these, Aunty Miatta, who has been in the vanguard of women and children’s  advocacy for over 35 years, said that she stands as a formidable aspirant who will emerge winner of the toughest battleground on the Liberian political landscape—Montserrado County.

The Montserrado County female aspirant spoke with the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview yesterday at the headquarters of her campaign team in Monrovia.

Ms. Fahnbulleh is the daughter of Mother Mary Brownell, a household name in Liberia due to her advocacy work, especially during the Liberian civil crisis.  During that period, she organized women groups to engage leaders in the crisis to help bring an end to the war.

Miatta said though she is not dependent on hierarchies of the government, she believes she will emerge as the winner of the ensuing election.

“With the women of Liberia backing me as well as some well-meaning strong men who know the power of women [in] leadership, I’m definitely going to win this race.  I’m very positive about that.”

Many may have felt betrayed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after overwhelmingly electing her on separate two occasions, said Fahnbulleh. However, that should not be considered the end to women supporting women for political participation.

“I know what is being said in the background and I have heard on many occasions that many sisters and daughters are saying that they feel neglected by the President.  But I don’t think this should be the end for women participation in political leadership.

“In an illustrated example,” aspirant Fahnbulleh said, “This situation is like a young girl who is dearly in love with a guy and this guy gives her with a broken heart. Does that mean she should not fall in love again? I will say no; when love presents itself again you have to give it a try.”

The renowned and highly respected African musician and activist did not disclose whether she enjoys the full blessings of the President, but noted that the Liberian leader has endorsed the 19 female aspirants in the ensuing elections.

Also, it is a fact that the President’s son is running for Senator.

Miatta disclosed that many women were feeling reluctant to even participate in the voting exercise, but with her emergence they are now coming in great numbers to support her.

“I believe in the empowerment of women, especially political empowerment, something we have been advocating for the past 35 plus years.  If others are now feeling reluctant and are no longer pushing the idea, we will continue to do so because we believe in the power of women leadership,” said Madam Fahnbulleh, who was a staunch supporter of President Sirleaf in both elections in 2005 and 2011, said.

Her song ‘This Is Our Time’ reverberated throughout both elections, bringing inspiration to many women. The song also added some impetus to the process, but we don’t know whether it would be heard this time around. She is also the founder of Obaa’s Girls Educational Outreach, an all girls’ school.

Meanwhile, Madam Fahnbulleh said that those desires that drive her most for which she decided to enter the race is to ensure quality education, most especially for girls, women and youth empowerment are the primary reasons for which she has entered the race.  She also wants to advocate for a better health care system.

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