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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs