By Tina S. Mehnpaine – Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Political pundits say Liberia is in for a long political war after its President nominated a Nigerian-born as chairman of the National Election Commission (NEC).
Liberia will hold elections in 2023 and there are fears a die-hard to the President at the NEC can greatly influence results. Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike was nominated on March 21, 2020, by President George Weah to serve as chairman of the National Election Commission (NEC).
Leymah Roberta Gbowee, a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, has now asked President George Weah to withdraw the nomination of Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike as chairman of the (NEC), a naturalized Liberian and a born-Nigerian.
Since his nomination, there have been debates between the Legislature and the Senate, particularly with the opposition totally against his nomination.
In 2018, the naturalized Liberian was also appointed by President Weah to serve as chairman of the Governance Commission replacing long-serving statesman Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer but his confirmation was unsuccessful.
“I want President George Weah to look in his conscience and ask himself if his decision to appoint Cllr. A. Ndubusi Nwabudike which has raised so many public outcries is right for Liberia,” Gbowee asked.
According to her, the appointment is an “error” that needs to be reversed. She also quizzed if there is no qualified person within the Coalition for Democratic Change or the country as a whole that can adequately handle the affairs of elections.
“I think that the nomination was an error by the President and I think he needs to withdraw that man. It’s not that this guy doesn’t have a job that I think it’s something that would come back to hurt, not just him but his political party,” she said.
She reminded the Liberian Senate that too often people tend to play the interest of Liberia like they’re playing a game. She added that Liberia is a nation that people who abuse and misuse it never go unpunished.
She also implored Senators to put love for the country first and think of the future of their children, grandchildren. She echoed the peace of Liberia rests on what they do in ‘that room.’
She also insisted on the importance of elections. “The life and death of a nation lie in the conduct of elections. 2023 is going to be a very controversial or a very difficult election because every side of the political divide would be fighting to win and that is not a place to put someone who is a die-hard of the President.”
Gbowee also referred to George Weah as a good man who won the hearts of Liberians by his good deeds when he was an active soccer player and the level of integrity he displayed when he helped with the disarmament period.
She called for the original. “Even the President should have that conscience to say these people, they voted for me on the basis of my perceived integrity. It’s time for him to show that integrity…”
Leymah Roberta Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist responsible for leading a women’s nonviolent peace movement, Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003.
The 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate is also a trained social worker and women’s rights advocate. She currently serves as Executive Director of the Women, Peace, and Security Program at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and is the founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa.
She’s the founding head of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, as well as co-founder and former Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A).
She is also a founding member and former Liberian Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). She travels internationally to advocate for human rights and peace & security.