Connect
To Top
 

Liberian Women March for Peace in Face of New Male Leadership

On October 9th, the day before the presidential election in Liberia, hundreds of women marched to make one last statement before the country’s leadership was turned over to a man. They marched to keep Liberia at peace during the elections.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was the first democratically-elected female president in all of Africa. She took her position in 2006, winning the first election since the country’s civil war, which lasted 14 years. The civil war began in 1980, when Master Sergeant Samuel Doe overthrew the government, and in retaliation, former government minister Charles Taylor began an uprising to overthrow Doe. Rebel groups formed on top of that, and widespread rapes and killing ensued.

1.5M women survived the war, but were left with horrifying memories of their family and friends being raped and murdered. Men were blamed for the state of the country after the war, and once Sirleaf joined the running in the 2005 election, activists like Bernice Freeman rallied the women of the country behind Sirleaf, urging them to register and vote.

Sirleaf is Harvard-educated and had a great deal of government experience, as opposed to her running mate George Weah, who had no college education, but was an accomplished athlete. Weah was in the presidential running in 2005, and returned this year, along with Sirleaf’s estranged vice-president Joseph Boakai, lawyer Charles Brumskine and former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings.

Last week, the male-dominated senate moved to amend a rape law that made rape a non-bailable offense. Unsure of what the new president will do about this proposed change, the women of Liberia are living in fear of what is to come after the elections. At the women’s march, they wore shirts that said, “Remember Our Past” and held banners that read, “Don’t Touch Our Peace.”

“We’re giving the country back to them and we don’t know what they’re going to do with it,” said activist Ansahta Garnett. “It’s almost like they are going to reverse everything we’ve done.”

Sirleaf has not had a perfect term. The country still struggles with unemployment, government corruption, and a healthcare system that was destroyed after the Ebola epidemic, which lasted from 2014 to 2015. However, she did manage to bring back electricity and running water to most of the country and build roads that allow citizens to travel easier. Most importantly, she has kept the country war-free.

Weah technically won this year’s election, but with only 38.4 percent of the vote. The election rules dictate, however, that if no candidate receives more than half of the vote, the decision will be made after a “runoff” with the runner-up. In this case, the runner-up is Boakai, who won only 28.8 percent of the vote.

Although Weah chose a woman as his running-mate, that woman happens to be Jewel Howard Taylor, the ex-wife of Charles Taylor, one of the instigators of the 1989 civil war. Jewel Taylor is said to have vowed to put Charles Taylor’s previous “agenda back on the table.” The followers of Weah and Boakai fight constantly, and people have been hospitalized over these fights.

On October 29th, it was reported that the runoff election, which was scheduled for November 7th, will be postponed due to the belief that Sirleaf tampered with the election results. It is still unknown if these accusations are true, and the women of Liberia anticipate that the violence will ensure after the final results of the election.

Featured Image by GovernmentZA on Flickr

Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Be Informed

  • How to Manage Perfectionism

    Perfectionism can be extremely harmful as well as difficult to manage. Luckily there are ways to cope and improve your mental...

    Lydia SchapiroSeptember 24, 2020
  • Naomi Osaka Advocates for Racial Justice

    Learn about how star tennis player, Naomi Osaka, shows her social activism and support to racial justice on the court.

    Lydia SchapiroSeptember 16, 2020
  • Sustainability at Home

    Cultivating sustainability in the home is easier than you think! Learn about the easy ways to make your home more eco-friendly....

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 27, 2020
  • How Will College Change in the Fall?

    Keep reading to learn about the question marks surrounding the coming semester.

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 26, 2020
  • Egypt Making Strides Toward Equality

    Egypt took a step further in the direction of women’s rights a few days ago, approving a law that would protect...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 21, 2020
  • Black Mothers: The Risk of Giving Birth

    Serena Williams was not the first black woman to be ignored by her doctor post-partum. Black mothers consistently balance the joy...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 14, 2020
  • No More Bumps: 5 Steps to Smooth Skin

    Ladies, it’s hard to feel nice and smooth after shaving when ingrown hairs and bumps immediately take the spotlight. However, not...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 13, 2020
  • Healthy Social Media Use

    Social media presence has increased for decades, remaining incredibly prevalent in everyday life. Cultivate healthy habits by learning about the effects...

    Lydia SchapiroAugust 12, 2020
  • No Woman was Surprised by What Happened to AOC

    A few weeks ago, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was insulted by Representative Ted Yoho being called a “f—ing bitch” and “dangerous.” Afterwards,...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 12, 2020
  • The Meaning Behind #ChallengeAccepted

    Recently, a trend has surfaced on Instagram where women nominate one another privately to post a black and white picture of...

    Kalyn WomackAugust 11, 2020