By David S. Menjor
Following reports that all political parties vying in the October 10 polls are collecting thousands of US dollars from both female and male aspirants for primaries and fees at the National Elections Commission (NEC), the United People’s Party (UPP) has exempted female contestants by paying for their primaries.
It may be recalled that some partisans of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) resigned and crossed over to other political parties on grounds that their party was charging them huge sums of money to contest and manipulate the primaries.
Speaking yesterday at a one day Liberian Women National Political Forum (LWPF) held at a resort in Sinkor, Monrovia, the chairman of UPP, T. Q. Harris, said women’s participation in national leadership is a priority at his political institution.
“We are not receiving many female aspirants because of our commitment to pay for their participation in our primaries or help them settle all financial obligations with the NEC. This is what we need to encourage as a nation and work hard to let them feel the significance of being among us,” Mr. Harris said.
He noted that women who will succeed to run on the UPP ticket would be qualified for such an honor and privilege, and have made proven and meaningful contributions at the level of their communities and districts.
“Our country needs a transformed leadership and we have noticed that women in their good number will help in the crafting and implementation of developmental agendas when elected to the House,” he pointed out.
Mr. Harris said his party is passionate about helping women succeed in their endeavors to lead.
Although he did not say how much his party is paying for each female candidate, he said the UPP has made helping women an integral part of its political journey and will not allow to be held responsible for the failure of any competent and qualified lady not participating in the political affairs of the country. He expressed disappointment in parties that are marginalizing women and called on them to know that male dominance has been in existence for centuries, with very little success.
Harris said presently his party has completed payments for both the primaries and the NEC for 16 female aspirants and is still looking forward to helping more women across the country.
For his part, the chairman of the Coalition for Liberia’s Progress, Mr. Gabriel B. Saydee, said while it is true that women need help, they must also learn to be patient with their parties and work hard to merit consideration by delegates at primaries.
He called on political parties giving women immense support to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) demanding that they not leave the parties after winning elections.
“We saw it around here with Mrs. Geraldine Doe Sheriff who won the Montserrado Senatorial seat on the ticket of the Congress for Democratic Change in 2014 but later left the party for her own best-known reason,” he said.
Nine political parties, including CDC, LP, CLP, UP, UPP, among others, participated in the one-day political forum and agreed to support their female aspirants.