• As it pushes for more women’s voices at the decision-making table.

Amb. Josephine Nkrumah, ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia

By. G. Bennie Bravo Johnson

During the 14 years of civil unrest in Liberia, approximately 250,000 people were killed, thousands of others fled for their lives to neighboring countries as refugees, women played a key role in ensuring that Liberia got lasting peace. During this time, there were no rules of law, and the damage to the infrastructure totaled millions of dollars.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of women’s roles in Liberian society, given that women have always been seen as a means of preserving the nineteen years of uninterrupted peace that Liberians have now enjoyed.

Due to the crucial roles that women play, the Economic Community of West African States is keen on ensuring that their opinions are taken into account during the formulation of policies at the national level.

The Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Madam Josephine Nkrumah, delivered a speech on Thursday, August 18, 2022 at the “KUKATORNON” (WE ARE ONE) Peace Festival, the program marking Liberia’s nineteen years of uninterrupted peace since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord on August 18, 2003 in Accra, Ghana.

According to Madam Nkrumah, the history of peace in Liberia cannot be recounted without mentioning the significant part that women played in securing that peace for their country. She said the story of Liberia’s peace cannot be told, and if it is, it will be inaccurate, because the significant role that women played in earning peace for Liberia needs to be mentioned.

She stated that women have always played a significant role in the process of constructing peace in Liberia, and she asserted that women will contribute more effectively to the process of constructing Liberia and maintaining peace when they are a part of the decision-making process at the national level. “When women in Liberia become active participants in decision making, they will play a pivotal role in the process of bringing about peace in the country.” Madam Nkrumah said,

She continued by exhorting Liberians to move forward in peace, national cohesion, and unity in order to eliminate the possibility of inequality and to strengthen Liberia’s peace.

At the same time, Madam Nkrumah acknowledged the significant role that ECOWAS played during the civil unrest in Liberia and the signing of the comprehensive peace accord, both of which contributed to Liberia achieving a peace that will last.

She praised ECOWAS for its consistent assistance to Liberia in the formation of the national transitional government and the international contact group, as well as for its role in facilitating the elections held in Liberia in 2005, 2011, 2017, and in the senatorial elections conducted for 2020.

In addition, Madam Nkrumah reminded Liberians of the significance of the elections that will take place in 2023 without the presence of UMMIL. She stated that the manner in which the elections are carried out should demonstrate the development of Liberian democracy as well as peace and stability in the country. “As Liberia prepares to hold its general elections in 2023, the country’s leaders need to be aware of the significance of these elections, which reflect the development of democracy, peace, and stability in the country.”

She closed by imploring Liberians to be committed to supporting the rule of law and the process for addressing issues in order to preserve the peace that had been so painstakingly earned; she stressed that peace is not the absence of controversy, but rather the ability to resolve it. “Peace does not imply there are no disagreements; rather, it means that we are committed to abiding by the rule of law and the process to resolve disagreements,”

She ending by emphasizing that even while Liberia may receive assistance from international partners in achieving and sustaining peace, only Liberians alone are capable of ensuring that the peace will last.

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