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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Resigns

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid