President Sirleaf Convenes Reconciliation Meeting Between Widows of late President Samuel Doe and General Thomas Quiwonkpa

Thursday, 26th August 2010
Mrs. Nancy B. Doe (L), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (C), and Mrs. Tarlor Quiwonkpa (R), at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.
Mrs. Nancy B. Doe (L), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (C), and Mrs. Tarlor Quiwonkpa (R), at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.
Photo Credit: Adama B. Thompson/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Thursday, August 26, convened a meeting between Mrs. Nancy Doe, widow of the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe, and Mrs. Tarlor Quiwonkpa, widow of the late Brigadier-General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa, former Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia and member of the erstwhile People’s Redemption Council.

The President described as a rare opportunity a meeting between Mrs. Doe and Mrs. Quiwonkpa, and thanked the two women for honoring her invitation.  The President spoke of the contributions of both the late President Doe and Quiwonka in the service of their country, stressing the need for unity.  “We can be a part of one family to hold our country together for our children and grandchildren,” the Liberian leader told the two widows.  The President urged them to bury their differences and work together for the growth and development of the country, adding, “All of us can hold together and make this country better.”

Mrs. Doe and Mrs. Quiwonkpa welcomed the reconciliation meeting and commended the President for the initiative. They recalled the close bond between their husbands, and hoped the meeting between themselves would help to further reconcile the people of Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties.

“We are all one people,” Mrs. Quiwonkpa said, as she struggled to contain her emotions. Mrs. Doe, reflecting on past events, said it was time to reconcile and set bitter memories aside.  “I have nothing against anybody. It was the will of God. When He signs something, nothing can stop it,” she asserted.

Mrs. Doe recalled that her husband and General Quiwonkpa were very good friends from the mid-seventies, and added: “The enemy went between them and we lost them today.”  She said it was important that those who are still alive work together in peace and harmony. Mrs. Doe thanked the President for initiating the meeting, the first between the two women since the deaths of their husbands. “You are the mother. You put us together. We will always be with you,” the former First lady assured the Liberian leader.

Thursday’s meeting was also attended by Grand Gedeh County Representative Zoe Pennue; George Wright, a son of the late Gbeku Wright and cousin of President Doe; as well as a maternal aunt of the late General Quiwonkpa, Madam Vorga Geh, who praised the President for the assistance she continues to provide for the family, including for the burial of her sister. The Liberian leader was praised for convening the meeting, an initiative described as a motherly gesture that would go a long way in the healing process among all Liberians.

Thursday’s discussion followed a meeting on Monday, August 23, between President Johnson Sirleaf and Mrs. Quiwonkpa. During the meeting, the President stated that national reconciliation remains a priority on her national development agenda; and that infrastructural development can be meaningful and sustainable if it is built on a foundation of freedom, peace, and unity.

The President said that a series of violent events in Liberia’s recent past challenge all Liberians to forgive each other and work together in unity if the prevailing peace in the country is to be sustained and national reconstruction accelerated. She said peace-building will remain the pillar of her Administration so that Liberians, foreign investors, and our foreign partners will continue to maintain confidence in the country and contribute to Liberia’s reconstruction.

The Liberian leader encouraged Mrs. Quiwonkpa, who is based in Minnesota, in the United States, and other professional Liberians in the Diaspora to consider returning home to contribute their quotas towards national healing, economic empowerment, and infrastructural development.

Mrs. Quiwonkpa, who is in the country for the first time since the death of her husband in November 1985, thanked the Liberian leader for what she referred to as her “many humanitarian contributions to the Quiwonkpa family over the years,” especially since the death of her husband.

Mrs. Quiwonkpa, who arrived in the country recently at the invitation of President Sirleaf, informed the Liberian Chief Executive that she has visited several areas of Monrovia and its environs, and intends to tour as many counties as possible before returning to the United States.
She expressed satisfaction over what she called the marvelous infrastructural development projects the President has undertaken in a short period.

Mrs. Quiwonkpa also welcomed the President’s decision to run for a second term, and expressed her willingness to return home during the 2011 elections to help mobilize votes for the President’s re-election.