By: Jeremiah Cooper
Liberia-August 4, 2023: In an effort to ensure women and other stakeholders maintain peace and stability during the October elections in Liberia, the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa has begun a two-day peace summit for women in Africa.
The peace summit which began Friday, 4 August 2023 at the Ellen Johnson Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Montserrado County is expected to climax on Monday 7 August 2023.
The summit targets over fifty (50) female politicians and businesswomen across the country.
According to the founder of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Madam Leymah Gbowee, the political landscape of Liberia ahead of the October elections is loaded with divisive and toxic politics that continue to threaten the peace and stability that Liberians continue to enjoy.
“Aspirants, leaders, former leaders, we are hopeful that we can all talk about where we find ourselves as a nation. It is not by accident that we are having elections twenty years exactly after the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in Ghana”, she said.
Madam Gbowee called on women to ensure that the elections are peaceful, as they have done for the past twenty years.
She furthered “Twenty years ago we were thinking about what could be the future of Liberia after the elections. But as women, every woman in this country whether through prayer or fasting, or political conversations; we must come together using our intelligence to bring Liberia to peace”.
“It is the determination of Madam Sirleaf and myself as Nobel Peace winners and also she as a former president and me as a community leader decided to come to speak together in one voice that peace is what we need in Liberia, ” she added.
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner disclosed that at the end of the peace summit, women politicians and top businesswomen will sign a manifesto to promote peaceful elections in October.
“There are many nations that have gone to war and there are many nations that have been at war for decades and can’t find their way like what we have done in Liberia. Today is the beginning and we hope that on the 17 of August after this conversation we will have a manifesto that will say this is what the women of Liberia think” Madam Gbowee emphasized.
For her part, Liberia’s former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf encouraged the women of Liberia to continue striving for the restoration of a better and peaceful Liberian society.
The former Liberian leader noted that women are unique; as such, they should live up to their full potential and ensure that Liberia is what they want it to be.
“Throughout history, women have made a difference. Whether in my trial, the women who stood for me through signatures, whether the time when the war was raging; Layma was able to bring women together to make sure that the Accra Peace Agreement succeed and with the fear of God we win”.
Madam Sirleaf also lauded the women of Liberia for their fight against ills and continuous quest for gender equality in every sector of the country.
“Today as we set the need once again for women to come together to say we want things to change, we want a difference; we want to see a Liberia where our children can grow up with a singular purpose, singular education in safety; in a calm environment with quality schools, good neighbourhood”, she said.
The Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa is a nonprofit organization that envisions a peaceful, reconciled and empowered Africa that is responsible for investing in sustained individual and collective growth and development.