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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs