Civil society organizations (CSOs) want the passing of the gender quota, which is a necessary step to address the historical under-representation of women in politics and promote equal participation in Liberia.
This is a position statement issued on Tuesday in Monrovia at a press conference by CSOs, which included Medica Liberia, Progress and Opportunity for Women’s Empowerment and Rights-Liberia (POWER-Liberia), Women NGOs Secretariat Of Liberia (WONGOSOL), African Women Leaders Network Liberia Chapter, Her Voice Liberia, Sister Aid Liberia, Organization for Women and Children(ORWOCH), Paramount Young Women Initiative(PAYOW), Women Solidarity, Women in Peace Building Network(WIPNET), GFC, WASD, Liberian Feminist Forum and My Voice, My Safety.
According to the Advocacy Officer of Medica Liberia, Christiana T. Wayon, women rights actors and other CSOs have recommended the following actions to members of the House of Representatives to prioritize the approval of the portions of the bill related to section 4.5 of the National Elections Law that were approved by President George Weah and finalize the legislative process.
Wayon stated that President Weah should publicly declare his approval of the portions of the bill related to section 4.5 of the National Elections Law and ensure that it is printed into hand bill in a timely fashion.
She underscored that all political institutions that are party to the aforementioned MoU should take the lead in disseminating the content of the MoU to their constituents and publicize their support for the amendment of section 4.5 of the National Elections Law.
She indicated that the National Legislature should notify ECOWAS of the intent to the amended version the Elections Law.
“We firmly believe that implementing these recommendations will contribute to a more inclusive and representative political landscape in Liberia,” she maintained.
Meanwhile, the Program Manager of the Women NGOs Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL), Willet L. Salue, said Liberia’s legal framework falls short in promoting and ensuring women’s political participation and representation in national politics.
Salue stated that, despite women accounting for nearly half of Liberia’s population, their representation in elected public offices remains alarmingly low.
According to her, the existing provisions in the New Elections Law, particularly section 4.5, sub-sections 1(b) and 1(c), lack the necessary specificity and enforceability to advance women’s participation and representation in elected positions.
She noted that the ambiguous language used in section 4.5 on the nomination of candidates, which merely states the need to “endeavor to ensure”, proves insufficient.
Salue emphasized that President Weah exercised his authority to line-veto certain provisions of the bill, citing existing Constitutional provisions, the ECOWAS Protocol A/SP2/12/01 on the Democracy and Good Governance, and how the vetoed items could cause concerns and delays in the election process, but the passage of the New Elections Law will enforce the listing of women candidates on political parties’ tickets in the pending general and presidential elections.