Speaker Chambers Assures Protesters of Addressing Anti-Rape Petition

7
521
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers

House Speaker Bhofal Chambers has assured protesters against rape that members of the 54th Legislature, seeing the urgency and quick need for addressing the issue, will soon bring the petition on the floor of the plenary to address it promptly and appropriately.

The petition was presented on August 25, 2020, by a large group of citizens under the banner, “Affiliation of Women and Child Rights Advocates” to Gbarpolu County District #2 Representative and Co-chair on the House Committee on Judiciary, Kanie Wesso, and Lofa County District # 2 Representative and Chairman on the House Committee on Gender, Julie Wiah.

On a local radio yesterday, Speaker Chambers said he appreciates the action of the citizens to call on the government to look into the issue of rape, but equally wants them to do so in the confines of the law.  Speaker Chambers further said that the Legislature has already started working with the various line ministries to find a way forward to the rape issue.

“I want the protesters to express themselves rightfully. I heard that they intend to reach the residence of President George M. Weah to present their petition, which I think might have different intentions,” said Speaker Chambers.

“There are people in the crowd among the protesters who are trying to dilute the entire process of rape, but this is something that we are strongly working on. We want the citizens to remain calm and look up to us,” he said.

According to Speaker Chambers, the intention of the protesters to present their petition only to the President appears to label Liberia as a monarchial state.

“To seek only the President’s attention on national issues does not find the solution to the problem. You cannot go to the home of the President to influence him to pass a particular decree because Liberia is not a monarchy form of government,” he said.

But the protesters had earlier said that they did not trust officials of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection. Thus, they demanded to hand-deliver their petition to President George Manneh Weah.

According to him, there is a need for citizens to work collectively with both the Executive and the Legislative branches of government to find solutions to national problems.

He added: “We would like to urge our citizens that we all have collective responsibilities to protect and ensure that this country enjoys peace and stability. If you intend to disrupt the peace of others, what is it that you want to achieve?”

Even though Liberia is a signatory to the international protocol that forbids capital punishment, Speaker Chambers intoned that this law has not been repealed but remains active in the books.

“We have on our books death penalty to remedy rape. Nobody should think that this is not in our law. It needs to be domesticated. But if the majority of the citizens want the death penalty law, it is something we can support, although many countries around the world do not do so nowadays,” he stated.

Following the National Flag Day holiday, anti-rape protesters began peacefully parading the streets of Monrovia, calling on the Government of Liberia to strengthen the justice system to allow rape survivors to get justice as a means of putting to end the harmful act against women, girls, and boys.

The protest went on peacefully on the first and second days but was disrupted by officers of the Liberia National Police and other state security officers who used tear gas and brutality to disperse the protesters on the third day.  Regardless of the use of force, protesters remained persistent and continued till late afternoon on Thursday before adjourning.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Ok Mr. Speaker, don’t think that the citizens want any sociological societal laws for the sakes of pleasing them. Laws that are governed by sociology of why this or that happened. But real laws, that will stop the frontline offices from getting involved in rape cases on a personal level. Make a legislative national guideline as law that will make it very hard for the Police Department to just dismiss a rape allegations followed by dismissal or imprisonment or both. Set the guidelines as laws making it very hard if not very difficult for judges to sidestep any of the written guidelines as laws. Followed immediately by suspension from the bench and disbarment. Family members involvement and obstructing investigation a minimum of one to two years in prison. There must be some sorts of administrative guidelines enforced with penalty to officers of the frontline offices. The people know where the break down in social justice issues lies. Mainly with the frontlines officials. And your investigation should focus more in that area than on the sociological aspects of what is happening in society. Give the Police Department no room to maneuver any rape cases without outright dismissal. The same for the political and social judges. Make it very easy to have them disbarred. Once the the guidelines concerning rapes have been violated, or undermined. Strengthened that aspect of the guidelines as laws, punishable by immediate actions. The problem is in the front line offices. No coordinations between between them. Every office seems to be operating on their on guidelines. Strengthened the existing law, and make it punishable when violated or undermined. And do not forget the power of education has in this heinous and awful crime.

    • Mr. Davis! Very good recommendations and this should not just be particularly about rape. All laws on the book need to be equally enforce or punishable, if the enforcers failed to act. Rape is just another form of violence and we need to treat any other violence like rape if we really want to have control over domestic, rape, political and corruption violence in Liberia. Our laws are meant to guide us in Liberia and if they are not implemented, then we will be subjected to violence at all times. We are loosing our fight against corruption and that same sentiment will kick in for rape, sooner or later if we don’t act by holding public officials accountable for their actions.

      The recommendations are a good start to begin with, but is the administration ready and prepared to ad hear to, and implement them? I will say no because, the violence of rape is more complicated than corruptions and if we can not combat corruptions, we will not defeat rape as well. The cases involving corruption can be evidence via audit and despite of such results, we failed to punish or impliment our laws. Our eyes are on the ball as the game goes on.

  2. what can he do? lets see! we wait to see or hear it happening. they are all the same from weah to the speaker. there will be no laws and even if there will be anything that will be implemented. If FGM can be remove from DV law and the speaker approve it, what else you think can be done to protect females? everything to them is politics.
    maybe they are waiting for their own wife or daughter to be gang rape to take this issue seriously. its time to sand up and do something for the valuable females or girls that don’t have fathers Like the speaker or the president. I am 100% sure when one of this happen in their case the doer will be in the darkest hole and laws no existing will be implemented with in days or hours.
    but don’t forget God is watching. all this will come to an end one day and very soon.

    our females deserve better, they are our proud. the late Michael Jackson said in his song ” Liberian girls are beautiful” but what is beauty when some evil man will spoil her at age 3 and you as a speak or president sit and just say you will do some thing and do nothing.

    I am personally waiting to see what will be done or implemented to help protect the females and not to hear wat you will do when you know you will do nothing since its all about politics to you and the entire CDC party,

    but God is watch speaker. he will do something even if you or weah fail. God can do anything at anytime for the less fortunate.

  3. James Davis

    Good recommendations Jimmy! You’re a thinker. Try to stay on the issues like this. This piece is not only impressive, but you made some good, substantive points.

  4. Spkr Chambers has been there with us way before RAPE became a hot & popular topic, to now, be used as a political bandwagon or job seeking opportunity.
    Mr,. Spkr. We would appreciate the Police be properly equipped to carry out their duties. I.e. cars, DNA trained officers in a Lab .

    We would also like.
    safe housing or guardianship/foster parents for minors/under age hildren., being abused at home.
    we appreciate you for always stepping forward,during rape crisis. #wawarht

Leave a Reply