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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Letter to Leymah Gbowee

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Dear Leymah,

We might never have met but I have been one of your secret admirers owing to your composure, humility, advocacy and your beauty. Over the years, you’ve used all of these attributes for impact and results. Who will forget your leadership of the women prostrated daily in the hot sand wailing for peace as war raged on. Most of those fighters were sons of those very women. Their sons turned against the populace by men seized by evil. You and your kind were taken over by good and you all sought the right thing for the nation.

In my life I’ve come to respect people like you, Leymah Gbowee, Samuel Kofi Woods, Tiawon Gongloe, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh and all those who commit their youthful years fighting horrors in Liberia. You were the ones who are clear examples, true role models! You refused to sell your souls to the devils like most others did. No amount of power, money and influence had swayed you all.

Further, I’m a strong believer in female leadership in Liberia and have strongly weighted in for women leaders in our country: I mean women who earned their places at the table and could mentor other young women to follow. Who dare count you out? Without Madam Sirleaf in the picture, you’re automatically the new female icon.. Sadly, sometimes back in 2022, I read a post on Facebook in which you mentioned that you’ve taken care of other people and it was time you took care of yourself.

You see, Leymah, when one excels or international acclaim as you’ve done, being a peace laureate, life is no longer about self but nation and people. If you did follow those who were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize before your, especially from society faced with widespread poverty, diseases, and filth being generated by failed state such as Liberia, those laureates focused on correcting the governance system. How they do this is to engage the government and partners. In most cases they will speak to the plight of the suffering people as with the case of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa.

I understand you don’t want to get involved into national politics as you find yourself aloof the fray per your status, but advocacy just began! You need to go after governments to do what is right for the people. I can understand you may not want to anger the ruling party. In the same vein, I would ask that you respect those in the opposition. There are some decisions that are left to professionals to decide; like a clean bill of health. A mere look at anyone cannot say what their heath condition is.

In recent days, Facebook has been inundated with a rather hasty and poorly written comment believed to be from you. I’ve not seen a denial yet. But the comment tends to speak to the health and age of Unity Party candidate, Joseph Nyumah Boakai. I’m thinking this is not from you as it would definite become a betrayal of advocacy. You cannot limit anyone from doing what they feel capable of doing only on grounds of age. Leymah, that’s discriminatory and a violation of that person’s rights. The Liberian Constitution provides qualifying ages for elected positions but has no ceiling on how old one must ne to get disqualified from the ballot.

In such instances, I’m sure we all might want to resort to common sense but that must be measured by happenings in other nations around us. Should the Unity Party nominate Mr Boakai, he’ll be the oldest ever to contest the Liberian presidency. But will he be breaking any law? No. His opponents have nothing to offer against his competency or decades of public service records, so they have turned to his age. They are claiming old age is an illness. For that same misconception to be amplified by you, it speaks volumes. It draws you neutrality into question in this era of national campaign.

In so many years, it is the first time in known memories that Mr Boakai has spent days in the hospital seeking treatment. Don’t you think that’s unusual for a man his age? I will think the best that you and everyone interested in the health condition of Mr Boakai can to is ask the hospital to speak about his health. They cannot release his medical records, that against the law, but they can say whether or not he’s fit to carry on normal political activities. He’s a public official and the public has the right to know. Let’s not forget, Mr Boakai has to consent and I expect him to accept.

Right now you are acting contrary to the norm and meddling into partisan politics which could do damage to your image; if damage is not already done! My candid advice is stay clear of party politics if you want to be above the fray or plunge in and get ready for a political firefight with these politicians. You cannot have your way both ways!


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