By Hannah N. Getermianh, Tina S. Mehnpaine
Women of Liberia in their quest to raise US$10,000 for the legal fees of their embattle sisters in the just ended December 8, 2020 senatorial elections have surpassed their goal.
The women during the first day of the fundraising were able to raise US$5,376 and L$17,260 both on mobile money and in cash. On the second day, with more engagements of passengers and drivers who were on their way to different destinations, raised US$4,550.65 while they are yet to tally the previous amount generated on the last day as more money was coming in from supporters.
The rally brought together men who referred to themselves as “He For She”, as well as market women and rural women who dropped their widow’s mite.
Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh, in an interview during the rally, described the actions of the National Election Commission (NEC) towards the electoral cases as ‘Undermining’ the democracy of Liberia.
She said Liberia as a country cannot boast of its democracy if it cannot provide its citizens free, fair, and transparent elections, adding, “Anything that challenges the transparency and fairness of our electoral process challenges our democracy.”
Gongloe-Weh said her complaints about fraud and irregularities came from the commission’s workers, and that is why she does not have confidence in the NEC hearing officer.
“My complaint is against NEC workers in the county, but guess who’s judging the case? NEC,” she told the media.
According to Gongloe-Weh, there will be no justice if the commission is serving as a judge for a case against itself.
“Where is the Justice?” she questioned, “It leaves room for doubt and a dark cloud over NEC.”
She however said she cannot blame NEC because there is a law that gives them the power to do so.
She said, “We need to amend our election laws, particularly the law that allows NEC to serve as judge and defendant.”
“It is time for the entire country to rally to change that law for the future to safeguard future elections and protect our democracy because the election is a pillar of democracy,” Gongloe-Weh indicated.
She said depending on the outcome of the board of commissioners’ ruling; she will take an appeal at the Supreme Court.
“We are challenging the system not because we want to be a Senator at all cost, but it’s about the women of Liberia. It is about the electoral system. NEC must demonstrate preparedness and integrity. Our case is about fraud and irregularities and we are going to pursue it to the end,” she added.
Cllr. Yvette Chesson Wureh, Establishment Coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Center For Women Empowerment Leadership Development Peace and Security, said her institution is very pleased with this initiative that women are coming together to support each other.
She said women coming together to support Kanneh and Gongloe-Weh are from different locations and political parties, but they saw the need to rally support so that young women can feel comfortable participating in an election.
“If you decide to go for the political office, you must do so on a level playing field so that nobody will hunt you like a bear in a bush just because you are a woman,” Cllr. Chesson Wureh said.
“If your ideology does not match, it is important to let the constituents decide by voting you out, but not to bring the country devil to frighten women,” she said.
Chesson Wureh further disclosed that they are holding strategic meetings regarding the collection of funds to support more women.
Cllr. Chesson Wureh, who is also the co-chair for ECOWAS FemWise and the Initiator of the Women’s Situation Room, said they are going to establish a political fund for women who want to go into politics.
Also, she disclosed that her organization is organizing training, such as capacity building in women’s political participation and how to go about entering the political space.