-As Rep. Briggs suffers severe disappointment in Deputy Speakership election 

By Jerromie S. Walters

In what many still express concerns about, the women of Liberia find themselves feeling let down and disappointed by the House of Representatives of the 55th legislature. Specifically, the betrayal of Deputy Speakership bid of Representative Moima Briggs Mensah which has left a bitter taste in their mouths. Despite earlier assurances of support, the sudden change of heart by her colleagues raises serious questions about trust and integrity within the legislative body.

Bong County District #6 Representative Moima Briggs Mensah, a dedicated and capable female legislator, had thrown her support behind Cllr. Koffa’s Speakership bid. However, shortly after his election and  before the Deputy Speakership election, she faced an unexpected request from Cllr. Koffa and other lawmakers to decline her bid in favor of Representative Thomas Fallah, who’s from the CDC.

While holding her ground, and as she reneged to concur with their proposal, Representative Moima Briggs Mensah found herself confronted with yet another disappointment. Despite her experience and qualifications, none of her colleagues stepped forward to nominate her for the Deputy Speakership position. Women rights defenders believe the legislators action 

undermines the democratic process and raises concerns about unfair practices within the House of Representatives.

“The implications of this turn of events go beyond one individual’s political aspirations. The disappointment among the women of Liberia stems from the broader issue of gender inequality and underrepresentation within the political sphere. Representative Moima Briggs Mensah’s bid for the Deputy Speakership was an opportunity to advance women’s participation and influence in decision-making processes,”- a women rights defender says. 

She says with her (Representative Mensah) hopes dashed, it only serves to reinforce the existing barriers faced by women in Liberia’s political arena.

“While the disappointment may be palpable, it is crucial for the women of Liberia to channel their frustration towards positive change. This setback should serve as a catalyst for increased determination and mobilization, both within the political sphere and among civil society organizations. It is time to rally for stronger gender representation and demand accountability from our elected officials,”- she states.

The House rule makes nomination mandatory to become a candidate. As it has played repeatedly in the case of women, Representative Moima Briggs Mensah’s disappointment highlights the challenges faced by women.

With this betrayal and his involvement from the onset, she questions the honesty and integrity of the Cllr. Koffa to lead the august body. Representative Briggs raises questions about the integrity and reliability of both Representative Fallah and Bility who were nominated, as she now appears to have absolutely no trust in the new leadership.

Women, in their numbers from different civil society organizations, assembled at the Capitol today, Monday, January 15, 2024, in solidarity with Representative Briggs. Unfortunately, it went the other way.

Disappointed also in the female lawmakers, Representative Moima Briggs Mensah says her disappointment after being betrayed by her colleagues at the legislature is a stark reminder of the challenges faced by women like her who rely on the support and trust of their fellow women. “Even the women did not nominate me.”

Representative Briggs Mensah is a second-term legislator of Bong County District #6. She was re-elected during the October 10, 2023, legislative and presidential elections. Representative Mensah earlier contested for the Deputy Speakership following her first election as a representative but was unfortunately defeated. 

She has been vocal on several critical national issues at the legislature, including budget debates, to genuinely benefit Liberians. Mid-2023, she rallied her colleagues at the legislature to ensure that a remedy was provided to address the mass spread of children who are involved with street selling.