-As senator-elect Kanneh claims Victory’
By Hannah N. Geterminah, Tina S. Mehnpaine
In fulfillment of their promise made to gather at the Fish Market in Sinkor to raise funds to support two embattled female candidates from the December 8, 2020 senatorial election, prominent Liberian women and others converged on Wednesday, March 3, to raise the funds intended and result from there seems encouraging, as many women enthusiastically contributed both in person and through mobile money accounts.
The women, during their first day of the fundraising, realized US$3,980 and L$12,260. Of the total money, US$1,396 and L$5,000 were raised through mobile money, with US$1,262 and L$7,260 collected in physical cash.
The monies raised will go towards legal and logistical support for Madam Botoe Kanneh, who the NEC finally declared as the winner in the Gbarpolu Senatorial race, and Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh, who was declared earlier as a loser in Nimba County in Nimba County but took a complaint to the NEC Board of Commissioners. Madam Weh has meanwhile raised the issue of fraud and irregularities.
Kanneh, in an interview with reporters shortly after the first day of the fundraising exercise, claimed that she has already won the case against Rep. Alfred Koiwood, candidate of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
She praised the women of Liberia for standing by her in ensuring that her votes are secured and she becomes the winner.
Kanneh further vowed that when she is finally declared as the winner after the legal battle, she will work with the women of Liberia to ensure that the political ordeal she encountered is not repeated against women in future elections.
“Well, I want to tell the Liberian people, especially the women who will participate in the 2023 general elections, to be very strong. If not, we will fall in the deepest pit because it has started with me, and tomorrow it can be any other woman,” she said.
Reflecting on her experience, Kanneh said, “I was the only woman in that county and I went through all forms of violence; notwithstanding, I will work with the women to prevent other women from experiencing what I went through.”
According to the embattled Senator-elect, it is important to prepare well before 2023 because it will be a mass election that needs collective efforts from the women of Liberia.
“For me, the [national] security apparatus will not be the best people to guard the 2023 election but we, the women of Liberia, should be our own security. We should have that faith that, come 2023, whether violence or no violence, we will go into the process and come out victoriously as women of Liberia.”
Additionally, she said there is a need for lawmakers to start the process of amending the act the gives the National Election Commission (NEC) the power to prosecute electoral fraud, whereas they are the ones creating room for the fraud.
“We need some amendments in the electoral process. After all the problems are created by the same election magistrates, cases go back to them for ruling. We need the legislators to look into it. NEC should not be the hearing officer in the case of electoral fraud and irregularities because the magistrates are always the problem,” said Ms Kanneh.
Presenting the total amount of money collected, Atty. Mmonbeydo N. Joah, Executive Director of the Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH), said: “The money raised is evident of the unity amongst Liberian women that they are committed to making sure that Madame Botoe Kanneh and Madam Edith Gongloe-Weh are victorious in the entire process.”
Joah, the chair on the fundraising committee, said more women are making their contributions regardless of their locations, which shows that they are unified.
In a joyous mood, Joah said, “Women oh women. Thank you for your support and your contributions to this process. We are certain that we will come out victoriously.”
MacDella Cooper, political leader of the Movement for One Liberia (MOL), said: “We decided to stand with the female candidates so when NEC gives its ruling, we will have money for the court process because that entails finance.”
“I am so excited we came out and raised the resources that will be used for the case hearing at the Supreme Court,” she added. “We accept a fair process, but if we do not get a fair ruling on the case, we will have to take the next action. We trust our court system that all will go well and justice will be served.”
She said, “We are standing with them to the end of the process. Women have always given their support and will continue to lean on one another’s shoulders. We came together to raise money and we did, and we will also raise funds for other female candidates.”
Kebbah Mongar, President of the National rural Women of Liberia, said, “We are here to support our female politicians. Women from the 15 counties are giving their support, this is our fight and we are prepared to win this battle.”