Flashback from similar protest in 2013
Flashback from similar protest in 2013: an angry widow carries a placard that explains her frustration

Dozens of aggrieved widows of former soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) on Tuesday (May 27) besieged the Capitol Building, the home of the National Legislature, in demand of the benefits of their late husbands.

The widows blocked the two entrances to the premises of the National Legislature, preventing the members of both houses of the Legislature as well as visitors from leaving the grounds of the Capitol Building for almost two hours.

The Chairperson of the widows, Esther Myers, told the Liberia News Agency that their action was prompted by Government’s failure to pay benefits owed them.

Two of the widows stripped themselves naked on the grounds of the Capital Building, a situation that made lawmakers and visitors to the legislature to run helter-skelter.

Madam Myers indicated that her colleagues did what they did out of frustration, because the government has failed to honor its commitment to them.

Although Madam Myers could not say how much the government owed the widows in benefits, she explained that the government paid some money to them in 2006 and promised to pay all of the benefits at a later date but has failed to do so.

The widows removed the road blocks from the two entrances to the Capitol Building following the intervention of Montserrado County Senators Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and Joyce Freeman-Sumo and Grand Gedeh County Representative Zoe Pennue.

The lawmakers assured the widows that they will ensure that appropriations are made in the 2014/2015 National budget to address the widows’ benefits issue. Meanwhile, a meeting has been scheduled between members of the National Legislature and the leadership of the widows for next week Thursday.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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