Farewell to Liberian prez

The Citizen (KZN) - - NEWS -

As votes were be­ing counted yes­ter­day across Liberia to de­ter­mine the next pres­i­dent and leg­is­la­tors, South Africa’s speaker of the Na­tional As­sem­bly, Baleka Mbete, pic­tured, com­mended Ellen John­son Sir­leaf on her suc­cess­ful pres­i­dency.

“We owe thanks to our mother, sis­ter and leader for the calm and de­ter­mined way in which she helped sta­bilise the coun­try and made Liberi­ans feel at home in their own coun­try,” Mbete told the 10th An­nual Con­fer­ence on Women’s Rights dur­ing the fifth ses­sion of the Pan African Par­lia­ment (PAP), at the Gal­lagher Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, in Midrand.

“Bring­ing real and last­ing so­lu­tions is in the hands of the PAP. We can’t rest un­til there is peace and se­cu­rity on the African con­ti­nent,” said Mbete.

She ex­pressed grat­i­tude that or­gan­is­ers were ad­dress­ing the painful is­sue of fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion (FGM), de­scrib­ing it as de­grad­ing and a form of dis­crim­i­na­tion and vi­o­lence.

The con­fer­ence was of­fi­cially opened by Haidara Aichata Cisse, the chair­per­son of the PAP’s women’s cau­cus, who said women would re­spond to the mis­man­age­ment in­flicted on Africa by un­fair de­ci­sions such as the travel sanc­tions placed by the US ad­min­is­tra­tion on Chad and the pro­posed sanc­tions on the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo. “Africa shall no longer ac­cept veiled coloni­sa­tion.”

Her com­ments on the dis­crim­i­na­tion African women faced were equally strong. “Africa’s pri­or­i­ties must fo­cus on women and youth for the con­ti­nent to de­velop. How can the con­ti­nent’s full po­ten­tial be reached if over half its pop­u­la­tion is ex­cluded from full equal­ity?” asked Cisse. “As wives and moth­ers we must also fight the prac­tice of FGM, which is un­ac­cept­able in the 21st cen­tury.

Jus­tine Coul­son, the UN Pop­u­la­tion Fund’s re­gional di­rec­tor for Eastern and South­ern Africa, said gen­der em­pow­er­ment was es­sen­tial. “Coun­tries won’t reap the ben­e­fit of gen­der div­i­dend if dis­crim­i­na­tion against women is not elim­i­nated.” – ANA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.