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Thwarted, But…

-While 30% Women Quota Remains In Limbo

Esau J. Farr

It is clearly not a secret that women in Liberia are, if not thousand miles, then millions of miles away from ever seeing their dream of thirty percent (30%) women’s representation in the political arena of Liberia.

This was demonstrated recently at a local hotel in Monrovia when participants at a one-day Stakeholders conference organized by the Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) trashed count four (#4) of a carved resolution which called for political parties enforcing and ensuring that women have 30% representation on the ticket and governing structure in Liberia.

The count read “That Chapter 4.51 (C) be amended to enhance greater women participation in election and punitive measures prescribed for non-compliance”.

The participants also resolved that Article 83 A of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia be removed from the Constitution of Liberia thereby setting up new election timeline for the holding of elections in Liberia, something that was overwhelmingly supported by majority of them.

The 30% Quota was starched out by the organizers (ECC) after intense debate for and against.

Those against the inclusion of the 30% women representation in elections and or politics argued that the space should be made open for all to compete for positions in elective offices on ground that if a specific percentage of elective posts are set aside for women, it will open more debates and gaps where the youth and people from the physically challenged community will demand percentage thus creating serious embarrassment and hindrances for the accreditation of political parties during election nearing period.

Some political parties representatives alleged that despite making registration free for female candidates on their various party tickets, they (political parties) could not reach the 30% benchmark as enshrined in the 2014 Election Law of Liberia.

“Look, can you imagine, despite announcing and implementing female representative candidates’ registration free, we (UPP) could not still get the 30% women quota on our party’s ticket.

Others for argued that leaders of political parties in Liberia need to understand that the culture of silence in the country is deeply responsible for women shying away from politics and as such, they (women) must be encouraged by all to ensure the gender equality instead of gender equality (50-50).

“All of you who are saying that women were asked to take part in the 2017 Representative Election free of charge need to understand that the issue of the culture of silence that kept women of Liberia at the back is still having effect on women in this country. Come to think about; when women began to participate in politics? It was the early 1950s; so, we still need more time and chance to grow,” some of the women at the conference reminded those against the 30% women quota.

After the trashing out of the count calling for the 30% quota, the Executive Director of the ECC, Atty. Oscar Bloh cautioned participants that though they were successful in trashing the count, but it does not mean that ECC or other group of Liberians can’t push the issue for electoral reform concern in Liberia.  TNR

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