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FOJ Hosts Seminar For Urban Women ..Prepares for 2017 Elections Showdown

By: Yassah J. Wright/0880645821

 

Scores of urban women gathered at a one day leadership training seminar organized by the National Women Congress of the friends of Dr. J. Mill Jones (FOJ) in collaboration with the Montserrado county chapter at the sport commission on Friday, September, 9, 2016, under the theme: “The role of women in the impending 2017 general elections.

The seminar brought together over 250 urban women leaders trained in various life skills and also ways of propagating the vision and aspirations of Dr. Jones to the effect that it resonates with consciences of the masses of the Liberian people.

Speaking at the occasion, the National Youth Chairman of FOJ, Evans R. Bryant, said for several decades, Liberians have lived in abject poverty, experienced bad governance, political exclusion and foreign domination of their national economy and resources to redeem them from the odds that has become an ultimate importance.

“The economy empowerment of Liberians is an idea whose time has come; women are very important and they need to rise up and play major roles in traversing the crushing layers of Liberia’s democratic system during the era of economic deprivation, nepotism, exclusion and corruption, which appears to be growing space and no longer confirmed to their borders,” said the FOJ Youth Chairman.

He disclosed that group of Liberians from diversified sectors of the society came together to form the “friends of Dr. Jones” as a political sorority that will serve as the vehicle to champion the needs and aspirations of Liberians.

Bryant cautioned youth: “ Do not use your today to eat your tomorrow; being useful during electioneering period. The 2017 general and presidential should be an issue based, people should vote beyond party lines; beyond tribal lines and beyond religious lines and fraternity.

The FOJ Youth leader reckoned that the time has come for Liberians to choose a potential national leader on the basis of proven leadership abilities embedded with the requisite experience, high moral rectitude, character credential, academic astuteness and propinquity with the masses of the Liberian people.

Bryant said friends of Dr. Jones strappingly believed that their political leader has the proven ability and excellent brainpower to revive the nation from the existing state of backwardness, the shackles of underdevelopment and massive corruption.

He continued: “Dr. Jones vowed during his response to petitions from across the 73 districts of Liberia that he is prepared to take difficult decisions necessary to put the country on the path of transformation, the idea of collective responsibility that will make Liberia more prosperous and also reconcile the country.

He said women should pursue fundamental principles and objectives as they endeavor a break with the past and increase awareness and sensitize citizens about the enviable leadership credentials of Dr. Jones and his vision for Liberia.

In addition, the National Vice Chair for Administration of the women congress of FOJ, Sarah Y. Cummings said the one day leadership workshop is squarely intended to build the capacity of the women to reach out, mobilize, concentrate, rationalize, coordinate and consolidate the ongoing activities across the 73 districts clearly propagate the party’s vision to local communities.

Cummings said, the national women congress of the FOJ is a main-stream political action group nationally agreed upon and geared towards uniting Liberians to hold together under the canopy of fraternal solidarity to overwhelmingly elect Dr. Jones in 2017as president of the Republic of Liberia, stressing the need to engage all sectors of Liberia and sensitize electorates about the increasing imperativeness to achieve their overall ambition.

 

Floodgate At NEC?

 

The Executive Director of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Lamin Lighe, at the expenditure hearing of the budget on Wednesday, disclosed that funds collected for political parties and candidates’ registrations sit in an escrow account at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning as the commission seeks additional funding.

Asked by Representative Julius Berrian as to what NEC does with funds collected from political parties and candidates’ registration, Executive Director Lighe informed the Joint Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget and the Public Account Committee (PAC) that the account is being controlled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning

But responding to the question, Deputy Minister for Revenue, Dr. James Kollie, noted that the funds from the escrow account are sometimes sent to consolidated account or sometimes released to the NEC for pressing pertinent matters.

However, the NEC or MFDP could not further elaborate as to how much is in the escrow account or how many dollars have been withdrawn from that account thus prompting pundits and some lawmakers to describe the situation as “fishy.”

Executive Director Lighe said the NEC needs 45.6million for the upcoming 2017 Elections and the Government of Liberia is expected to provide US23million dollars while there are commitments of US7.1million.

He also indicated within  2016-17, the commission needs about 2.9million for voter and civic education. The NEC Executive Director further said the NEC can no longer afford to postpone the process, because doing so would hamper the entire process because election is timing.

Lighe is therefore calling on the Committee to speedily pass the budget and also ensure to increase the commission’s funding so as to enable them smoothly execute the election process.

In 2005, the NEC submitted an annual budget to the Budget Bureau for consideration and approval. Upon approval of the budget, funds were paid in a timely manner, according to the planned expenditure, into an account established by the NEC. International donor support was critical in both the 2005 and 2011 national elections. While the NEC has not published its 2011 elections report, the estimated 2010–11 budget was over USD 38 million, of which over US 27 million dollars (70 per cent) came from international donors.

During the 2010–11 electoral cycles, funds from gender mainstreaming projects were intermittently redirected to processes regarded as more critical to the success of the national elections, such as voter registration, poll worker training and technology acquisitions.