The National Elections Commission, (NEC), the institution charged with the statutory responsibility to conduct national elections, has set 16 November of this year, as the date for four representatives by-elections in four of Liberia’s 15 political sub-divisions.
Counties the elections are slated to be held in are Bomi, Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh, but already, reports are emerging suggesting the intimidation and molestation of a female candidate, Madam Abigail Freeman, in Nimba County.
We, without mincing words in categorical term, frowned on such acts of intimidation and molestation being reportedly meted out against the lone female candidate in Nimba County, and call on those involved in such undemocratic acts to desist and allow a free course of the electoral process.
Over the years, Liberian women have been denied the opportunity to participate in national politics by many of their male counterparts, thus for so long until recently, caused many females to have not played major roles in the representation of their various constituencies.
Studies show that although women are the best managers and can to a very large extent are capable of properly managing entrusted resources, even those of a given nation, over the years, due to the fear factor posed by a male dominated political field in Liberia, many of the female gender have for so long shy away from participating in the decision-making process of the country fearing that they will not make major impact whenever they decide to contest for elected posits.
History has proven that women who attempt to vie for elected positions usually face some level of intimidation, harassment, humiliation, discrimination and marginalization which often time discourage them, thus coercing into submission to back off.
Our understanding that latest, is the case rearing its ugly face in Nimba electoral district #2 pending by-election, where media reports have it that the lone female candidate in that part of the country has complained of being humiliated, harassed and intimidated by her male counterparts and their supporters.
It is our understanding that Madam Freeman has since filed an official complaint to the Liberia National Police and NEC, but the situation remains unabated.
For us, we think that like their male counterparts, women have the right to contest any elected post regardless of their gender. Women must be allowed without intimidation or harassment to participate in the decision-making process of their country, let them be given the democratic space to represent their people.
That is why as we go through these by-elections especially in Nimba and Bomi where two female candidates are contesting; we call on the male candidates to stop all forms of discrimination, harassment and intimidation against the women.
We call on all and sundry to do all within their power allow the two females contesting these by-elections to do so freely, void of fear of being harassed. This is our plea and we are of the ardent hope that these by-elections will be free of every imaginable vices that tend to deny women their right to freely contest any elected post.
To this end, we detest the harassment and intimidation of female candidates in these by-elections!