The Co-Chairperson of the Lofa legislative caucus and District #4 Representative Mariamu Beyan Fofana have revealed that members of the county’s caucus have unanimously concurred to prioritize peace and reconciliation in their first one hundred days in office.
In an exclusive interview with FrontPageAfrica Tuesday at her capital building office, Rep. Fofana, who is also the Chairperson of the lower house’s committee on Gender, asserted that she and members of the Lofa legislative caucus, including Senator Sumo G. Kupee and Rep. Moses Y. Kollie have already embarked on peace and reconciliatory programs aimed at eradicating violence from the midst of Lofans.
According to her, she alongside Senator Kupee recently convened a peace talk in Zorzor District where several citizens were said to be living in disunity, something which resulted to an immediate cessation of normal business transactions.
At the climax of the peace talks, Representative Fofana maintained that a final decision to reunite the citizens was reached as they definitely resumed normal business activities as Lofans:
“We went there and settled almost all of the disputes that were there and the Senator is very happy with the level of work we did. We had a mass meeting and we decided that we needed to come together to do something that will interest all of us. For example: The youths in Konia decided that we build a town hall that they will use to have their regular meetings. I already contributed five bundles of zinc for that project.
According her, as part of the caucus’ agenda for their first 100 days in office, peace and reconciliation will be top priority as they hope to engage peace experts from various groups including civil society organizations and religious groups, thus embarking on peaceful co-existence initiatives:
“We will be getting people from Monrovia here from different organizations that have been involved in peace building. We first want to build a level ground, and then we will invite the experts to go there and give series of lectures. We are targeting village-to-village, town-to-town and starting with palava hut talks,” Rep. Fofana noted.
Commenting on her agenda for the empowerment and protection of women in Liberia as she is in charge of Gender issues in the House of Representative, she disclosed that she would focus on the capacity building of rural women in the areas of adult literacy and agriculture development:
“Especially for rural women we would like to build capacity in this adult literacy program. Because it is not just enough to give them money for them to do businesses when they do not have the basic knowledge of book keeping.”
Quizzed as to whether she was in full support of the anti-gay bill being introduced in both houses of the Legislature, Rep. Fofana, though discouraging gay rights in Liberia maintained that criminalizing gay practices would need more facts and explanations: “The point is, we are talking legal issues verses morals.
What is this whole gay thing? Is it legality or morality? I don’t favor people becoming gays though I have to admit, but am I necessarily thinking that they are criminals? No.
Rep. Fofana told FrontPageAfrica that those wanting to criminalize gay rights in Liberia must come out with sufficient facts as gays don’t exist and people have given unnecessary attentions to the issue of gay rights:
“I haven’t seen a single person in Liberia who was discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. So why try to bring law against something that does not even exist? I feel that we don’t have any problem.
You only have to legislate something when you feel there is a problem in the society. It is not even the gay people who are asking for protection, it is people who are anti-gay who are thinking that they (gays) should be criminalized. I am not saying am not supporting it (anti-gay bill), but we need all facts to be able to make credible judgments.”
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WRITTEN BY STEPHEN D. KOLLIE: SDKOLLIE2009@HOTMAIL.COM 0776329124