News / Africa

Nobel Laureate Gbowee Laments Liberia’s Political Disputes

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee poses in New York October 7, 2011.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee poses in New York October 7, 2011.
James Butty
Liberian Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee has warned that recent developments are undermining Liberia’s young democracy. 

Her warning comes amid a dispute between Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpaan and members of the House of Representatives. 

The lawmakers reportedly requested funding for certain development projects, but Kpaan refused to fund the projects saying some of them were full of "ghost names."

A secret recording purported to be the voice of Representative Edward Forh was heard to be soliciting portions of the development funds. 

The lawmakers charged Kpaan with contempt and sentenced her to 72 hours in jail.  A group of women, led by the acting Monrovia Mayor Mary Broh, went to the city’s central prison to stop Kpaan’s imprisonment. 

Gbowee said such developments drain the citizens’ positive energies.

“I was speaking with a group of people and I said, currently, the mood of the city, Monrovia, is like when you live in a house and both parents decide they are going to divorce, and the children just tend to be wondering what their fate will be.  There are too many national issues that need to be addressed and some of these things are really not necessary; the distraction is not necessary for our very young democracy,” she said.

Butty interview with Gbowee
Butty interview with Gboweei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Local radio stations last month aired a secret recording which Kpaan said was the voice of a member of the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus soliciting portions of the county development funds.

Earlier, Kpaan had reportedly threatened to publish a recording in which she said Representative Forh asked her to steal part of the funds intended for development.
Gbowee called for Forh’s immediate suspension from all legislative-related matters pending an investigation.

"For a man who is referred to as Honorable, who took an oath to defend the constitution and to implement the laws of the land, it’s that a full-scale investigation is done.  And, while that investigation is ongoing, it’s important that he is suspended as a kind of deterrence to any individual, whether in the House of Representatives or the House of Senate, who may decide that tomorrow I want to try [a] similar thing," Gbowee said.

A group of women, led by the acting Monrovia Mayor Mary Broh, went to the parliament building to protest Kpaan’s treatment were assaulted by an angry mob.

Gbowee denounced what she called the “physical attacks” on famed Liberian singer Miatta Fahnbulleh and Broh.  But, she said the women should have shown respect for the rule of law.

"We need to come to a place where our advocacy does not overstep the boundaries of the law.  If someone has been cited or sentenced to prison by some mandate, whether legal or illegal in your opinion, let the due process of law take its course and, at the end of the day, you can go and do peaceful protest.  But, I think the manner in which the women went to the prison to take Superintendent Kpaan from the grip of the sheriff was wrong," Gbowee said.

She also said women, as custodians of society, cannot be acting like gangsters.

Gbowee, who was appointed by fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to head the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, resigned that post last year, accusing the president of failing to promote the spirit of reconciliation.

She said the only regret she has is that Liberians are still grappling with the way forward for reconciliation.

"Reconciliation for any nation does not depend on any one person, and it’s not an event, it is a process.  Stepping away from that formal role does not in any way stop us or hinder us as Liberians from taking a way forward.  So, my regret is that we are still are trying to find our way to reconciliation. Do I have regret for stepping out of my formal role?  Absolutely not," Gbowee said.

Reports from Monrovia Sunday said Broh has tendered her resignation to Sirleaf.

Local reports said members of the national legislature had given the president an ultimatum to rid her government of both Broh and Kpaan.

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Teah Shadrick Jr from: Monrovia,Liberia
March 04, 2013 5:35 AM
Why is true that Liberians are still crying for reconciliation some of our government official are still not understanding the quest of the citizens.like what is going on in Liberia,where you will fine a government official stopping the lower house decision i think is a big joke to our democracy,And i will strongly recommend the immediately stepping down of Representative Edward Forh.For the sick of social justice.thanks to Mary Broh for stepping down i also pray for the president to sent Mary Broh to immigration as a boss.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid