The Splits -As Liberians Prepare for Runoff

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye

Reconciliation, which was not achieved under the Ellen-led government, remains a challenge that will greet the next government. Liberia continues to experience a divided population as indicated by turbulence in political parties-splits!

Even though Liberians are not engaged in large scale and physically violent activities, high division on political lines, is likely to create a mental menace among Liberians, and could be counter-productive to development.

Division among officials of top political parties is showing its face in  recent times, with claims and counterclaims.

The ruling Unity Party (UP) and the opposition Liberty Party (LP) are currently experiencing splits, with supporters and sympathizers following their respective sides.

Vice president and standard bearer of UP confirmed how the party is being divided in blocs, with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her followers on one side while those who believe in him on the other side.

The situation is being considered a fall of the UP, which is one of the contenders in the presidential runoff.

For the the LP, some of its executives recently endorsed George Weah of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) and the endorsement has been greeted with controversies. It appears controversial because the party’s leader, Charles Brumskine, who was in the United States during the endorsement, returned the following day and distanced the party from the executives’ decision.

But the controversies continue to grow as the endorsers have stood their grounds that it was the party’s decision to carry out the endorsement while other executives, including Brumskine, are on the counter. Brumskine maintains that every member of the party has the right to endorse any candidate; but said the executives acted on their own and not the party’s.

Chairman Ben Sanvee, vice standard bearer Harrison Kanwea and campaign chief Musa Bility have all spoken that the National Executive Committee agreed at a meeting to endorse Weah.

It is also being reported that Benoni Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP) and some supporters are planning to endorse VP Boakai, days after other executives of the party endorsed Amb. Weah.

This political bickering is being sparked by officials committing their parties to the dislike of others; something analysts say could make the future of forming political parties bleak.

At the same time, it is alleged that Professor Wilson Tarpeh has been removed as CDC’s campaign chairperson due to misunderstanding among executives of the party. Tarpeh is a professor, who may be at grief along with his supporters as well.

It may also be recalled recently that former Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) executive governor, Mills Jones was expelled as a political leader of his party, Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE). Jones subsequently resigned; and he, too, may have gone with his supporters amid the splits.

While national split is a creeping menace, pundits say institutional division, as being experienced in major political parties, is more dangerous and could undermine the peace and reconciliation of Liberia as well as development. Institutional division, they contend, is very difficult to manage, thus calling for expeditious interventions.

They noted that Liberia has a multi-party system with numerous political parties, in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone; and so they must work with each other. They also underscored the institutionalization of political parties where members will support and have voice.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

 

 

WONGOSOL Creates Aware On Peer Violence On Gender Based Violence

The Women NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) held a one day Forum in observance of the 16 Days of Activism aim at educating young people on peer violence on Gender- Based Violence in schools and communities.

The one-day Forum brought together 25 youth from various institutions and organizations including communities to discuss Gender- Based Violence reflecting on real life stories that can be documented and reported for justice purposes.

In a special statement, Madam Beatrice Newland echoed the growing wave of violence occurrences against women and girls in many parts of Liberia that need to be addressed.

Madam Newland who is currently serving as the Gender Justice Coordinator on the Funding Leadership Opportunity for Women (FLOW) Program in Liberia, reported increased reports of violence against women in Liberia, mandated that everyone fight to reduce violence against women and girls.

The Gender Justice Coordinator of OXFAM encouraged young and older men nationwide to begin speaking of the negative effect of violence against women and girls in every aspect of their lives in order to desist perpetrators from the thought that women and girls are less important or could be mistreated in relationships, on the job or marketplaces at their will and pleasure.

She recognized the efforts of WONGOSOL in her fight to reduce violence as part of this year’s Sixteen Days of Activism under the national theme, “Let’s Embrace Our Diversities for Safe Education and a Violent Free Society”; while under the Funding Leadership Opportunity for Women (FLOW)is “Tracking Violence against Women Beyond Borders.”

Meanwhile, Mrs. Newland stressed that regardless of gender violence against women and girls; the government and partners and men need to support the wellbeing of women and girls and they must act now!

Nevertheless, Madam Newland maintained that due to this growing number of gender -insensitive reports, the Government of Netherlands has been moved to finance organizations including WONGOSOL,FCI, NIPO, YOCEL and Organization for Women and Children (ORWOCH) to reduce violence affecting women and girls nationwide through different programs and strategies in Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and Montserrado Counties as a medium to support and sustain women and girls access to justice.

During the forum, several pieces of information including video clip of violence, stories emerging from communities among families were revealed as tangible ways of how violence can be perpetrated against women and girls in the home, communities and school houses in Liberia.

In her closing remarks, Marpue Spare, Head of WONGOSOL, called on young women to begin reporting immediate inappropriate touches on their body parts by anyone to reduce violence cases.

She noted that this could be some of the factors for perpetrators to violate young people in the Liberian society, among families and elderly peoples and as the results of the limited knowledge of parents to pursuit justice; today cases are compromise leading survivors with no redressed.

Madam Speare believes that if youths are reporting incidences of violence,  the move will prevent the prevalence of sexual attacks faced by teenager’s girls as well as boys who are also being solemnized in Liberia and cannot be reported.

In conversation with this paper, a beneficiaries of the forum in person of Timothy Zahn, the Administrative Officer for the Organization of Women and Children (ORWOCH), agreed with other speakers and participants to do away with an age – old perception “that is not my business” to report violence cases”; but the immediate reporting of incidences of violence against women and girls in communities is the best approach to curb the act; despite of who the person could be.

He added that most Liberian women’s survivability solely rests on the shoulders of men and this has contributed largely to the lack of respect for women as well as the poverty level of the country economic hardships being faced by families.

Zahn believes that women have great prospects and can explore for the better, if they are given the chance by their male counterparts.

He also called on victims and families to take courage and test the legal system of Liberia to seek justice and do not compromise violent cases against being perpetrated against them.

The Administrative Officer for the Organization of Women and Children (ORWOCH) admonished the current and incoming lawmakers not to touch the already existing good laws on the book that protect the rights of women and girls.

He urged them to strengthen these laws and re-enforce them to bring perpetrators to book so as to relief women from inflicted pains they suffer each day.

For her, the President of ECOWAS Women in Liberia, Mouna Ahmed believes that Liberia needs stronger laws in defense of women, something she thinks is because of some poor traditional practices of the laws from the unset are against women and these laws can be fought only when there are stronger advocacies for women’s rights throughout the country.

 

Poor Christmas Detected -Election Stalemate Blamed

By Teacee Gbeway – 0770464275

As Liberia joins other countries around the world to celebrate one of the most important festivities in the history of humankind, Liberians seem dejected to pay usual attention to Christmas due to economic hardship being experienced in the country at present.

“Nothing to celebrate with,” some citizens have told the In Profile Daily when the paper  interviewed  some residents in Monrovia on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 as to how they intend to celebrate the Christmas’ season.

According to them, since the beginning of time, this carnival has been a time to share gifts with families and friends, but due to the hard economic constraints citizens encounter on a day-to-day basis in Liberia, coupled with the election stalemate, it is very difficult to be convinced that 2017 Christmas’ celebration will take the form past celebrations.

A  cross- section of Liberians from different localities in Monrovia and its environs  observed that things have become  very tough these days,  in that rather than getting ready to celebrate  Christmas, people are living in  fears, not knowing what will be the outcome of the presidential run-off election.

“My daughter, there is nothing to celebrate during this other season because this government already made things hard for us. People that are working are not taking pay; then this election business came so the little we have to share with others we’re holding fast to it; with the fear of not knowing what will happen next,” Joseph Cole who sells sticks on Johnson Street told this paper.

Mr. Cole, believed to be 65 years old, noted that by this time during their days, parents were done with shopping for their households, as well as given gifts to loved ones and other relatives but emphasized: “It is not like that these days due to hard economic problems.”

Also,  a dried bony fish seller only identified as Ma Lucy, said since the pronouncement of the presidential run- off, things have turned extremely hard in the country, most especially when it comes to marketing and  as a result,  parents find it difficult these days to put smiles on the faces of their  children back home.

She used the interview to call on the two political parties in the run-off, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) to accept whatever result comes January 2018 so that the country can become stable again and things get normal.

In other communities and even on commercial vehicles across the city; as well as Liberians who travel from the hinterland to-and-fro, there are public outcries over the increasing economic hardship, which is being blamed on the stalemate still being experienced over the delayed presidential run-off.

It has also been observed that money is not flowing because business people are skeptical to release cash because there is still uncertainty about the future of Liberia, once a new government has not been announced in the country.

 

19 Liberians Repatriated From Libya

By Mafanta Kromah

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, B. Elias Shoniyln, in a conversation with Concerned Liberians for Justice  said 19 Liberians have been repatriated from Libya through Sierra Leone.

Shoniyln made the disclosure Monday, December 18, 2017 during the Concerned Liberians for Justice Protest at the Ministry to hand deliver a petition to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to organize a proactive repatriation program for many dying Liberians who continue to be subjected to modern-day slavery in Libya.

He said the ministry is working in its possible best way to get Liberians back from Libya through engagement and collaboration with the Libyan Embassy in Liberia, and with the Liberians Association in Libya.

Shoniyln maintained that the 19 Liberians came through Sierra Leone and through dialogue with the Sierra Leonean Government.

He explained that another Liberian woman has been identified among Nigerians who were repatriated through the Nigerian Government, noting  that the lady has two kids and is now under the care of the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria and that their ticket has been arranged to return to Liberia.

However, Shoniyln indicated that with engagement and collaboration between the ministry and the Liberians Association in Libya, they have been told that there are not many Liberians but will keep searching to identify and send Liberians back.

He requested the protesters to also help spread the information to Liberians that “anyone that has family member or friend in Libya to report the information to us at the ministry; that will help us in identifying our brothers and sisters out there.”

Few weeks ago, the Concerned Liberians for Justice on behalf of Liberians in Libya, hand delivered petitions and recommendations to Amb. Mohammed Omar Tabil Mohammed, Ambassador of Libya to Liberia and the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh Gray of the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs on the issue of Liberians being humiliated in Libya.

The group recommended that joint effort be established between the Libyan Embassy  in Monrovia and the Government of Liberia should ensure that the lives of Liberians are protected and  they are given the opportunity to repatriate, as similar cases  seen in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon.

The group is  demanded the government  to institute a Libya-Liberia Repatriation Program, a program that will provide needs for Liberians suffering injustice to be repatriated through a joint negotiation with the Libyan Embassy  in Monrovia and other private investors.

Meanwhile, Shoniyln apologized on the ministry behalf for not providing update to the public on efforts being made to get Liberians repatriated and promised to provide a press release on what the ministry has done and what it is doing to get Liberians suffering in Libya home.

He, also on behalf of the government, applauded the Concerned Liberians for Justice for their efforts in ensuring that their brothers and sisters are safely repatriated home.

 

UL Honors, Retires Several Long-Service Staff

The University of Liberia (UL) has retired and honored several long-service staff for their dedication to duty over the years.

Ceremony marking the retirement and honoring of the long-service staff was held Friday, December 15, 2017 at the Fendall Campus of the UL, outside Monrovia.

According to a UL release, the retired and honored staff served at the state-run university from 12 to 53 years.

Speaking at the special honoring program, UL President Dr. Ophelia Innez Weeks, described the honoring of the staff as very important, because it was the celebration of the time and dedication of the retirees in their respective capacities while serving at the University.

Dr. Wes said it was their contributions together with others that have got the university where it is today, noting that a professor is not better than a janitor because they all have significant roles to play in the administration of the university.

She lauded the honorees and their families for their time rendered the University, while at the same time at the same time encouraged them to always stop by whenever there was a need to do so.

The honoring and retirement of long-service staff is an annual event that concludes commencement activities of the UL. This year’s honoring program was the first for Dr. Weeks since her inauguration as president of the university in September of this year.

Speaking earlier, the visiting Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor A. Idowu Olayinka, said whatever the UL must have achieved over the last 98 years of its existence can be attributed to the people who are serving the institution.

“Without human capital no institution can succeed,” noted Professor Olayinka as he thanked the retirees and administration for organizing the program.

He then promised to take the idea to his university upon his return.

Responding on behalf of the honorees, a former maintenance officer of the Plant Operation Department of the UL, Mr. Peter Tomah, thanked the university’s administration for the honor bestowed on them.

Mr. Tomah stated that though he has been retired, he will always be around to help in whatever way he can.

Former Maintenance Officer Tomah, who served the university for 53 years, said he did so because of his passion to serve his people and country.

He among other things used the occasion to urge the university to review some of the courses that are being taught as electives to be offered as major courses, noting that some of them could be the areas from which graduates could make their living.

Meanwhile, 18 professors and staff, which included three females, were retired and honored during the retirement and honoring program.

The program brought together the honorees and their families, friends and loved ones as well as administrators of the University of Liberia.

 

LEC Boss Heads TRANSCO CLSG Technical Committee

The Managing Director of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Mr. Ernest R. Hghes, was recently appointed as the head of the TRANSCO CLSG (Cote d’Voire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea) Technical Committee,at a recent meeting of Board of Directors.

The meet was held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire at the Sofitel Abidjan Hotel Ivoire from December 11-13, 2017, bringing together Board members from the four CLSG countries and Secretary General of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).

The technical committee is responsible to review all technical issues relating to the implementing of CLSG projects in the four West African Countries and advise the board of directors. The appointment of Mr. Hughes will serve as a major boost for Liberia energy sector. Liberia will have a big say during the implementation of the CLSG project, which is to shortly commence.

Speaking recently in an exclusive interview, Mr. Hughes said he was very grateful for such preferment to serve as head of the TRANSCO CLSG technical committee by the Board of Directors and promised to ensure that all technical guidelines relating to the implementation of the project are followed. “I am very grateful for such opportunity to serve as head of the TRANSCO CLSG technical committee; I will use this opportunity to ensure that all technical guidelines are followed for the success of this project”, he said.

The CLSG project is aimed at addressing the energy deficit problem in the ECOWAS sub region. Predicated up this, the Heads of State agreed to set up a regional energy policy to promote a regional energy market and pool resources.

The West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) was created in 1999, with a master plan for priority regional energy projects, including the 1303-Kilometer power line project (225KV) linking Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG Project). The project includes one (1) Control Center (SCADA) and twelve (12) substations, four (4) of which will be in Liberia, five (5) in Sierra Leone and two (2) in Guinea and one (1) in Cote d’Ivoire. In 2013, an International Treaty was signed by the Heads of States and ratified by the four parliaments, dedicated the creation of the Special Purpose, TRANSCO CLSG, a Supranational Company with Board of Directors and equally owned by the four national power utilities name CI-Engegies(Cote d’Ivoire), LEC (Liberia), EDSA (Sierra Leone) and EDG (Guinea).

 

USAID Gives over 3M To Liberia’s Forest Sector

The United States Agency for International development (USAID) through the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate change program (WA BiCC) has awarded two separate conservation grants to enhance conservation activities in the Country.

The grants which worth 1.8 and 2.7 million United States dollars each will facilitate the implementation of a three year project in the Gola transboundary forest landscape between Liberia and Sierra Leone and the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary Forest Landscape between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

The two projects will be carried out by the Society for the Conservation of Nature (SCNL) Royal Society to protect Bird, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, Fauna and Flora International respectively.

SCNL and Royal Society to Protect Bird will work in the Gola Transboundary forest landscape between Liberia Sierra Leone while Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and FFI will both operate in the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary connecting Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire

Launching the project in Liberia, Forestry Development Authority Managing Director, Darlington Tuagben, said SCNL along with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds will support the Livelihood of communities and the inclusive and sustainable management of the Gola transboundary forest landscape.

Mr. Tuagben noted that the project will not only focus on livelihood activities but on the socio-economic and biodiversity surveys including community ecoguard program and capacity building of local communities and FDA field staff.

“The project will support conservation working groups and also provide training to local judiciary staff in Counties were the project will be executed to tackle illegal wild trafficking and strengthen regional collaboration”

“Cross-border traffic is currently uncontrolled and many illegally leaving Liberia, not bring and benefit to us as a Country. I am confident that the two projects will help us to deal better with these problems for a more sustainable way forward, keeping our treasures alive for future generation” the FDA boss emphasized.

“The Forestry Development Authority wishes to thank USIAD and the WA BiCC program for this opportunity given to her conservation partners. We looking forward to the implementation of the projects and are committed to continue working in close collaboration with our partners, for a more sustainable management of our forests and increase conservation successes for Liberia, its neighboring countries and the world as a whole”.

“The two forest Landscapes host a unique treasure of endemic and threatened species such as the critically endangered western chimpanzee, the endangered pygmy hippo, vulnerable forest elephant and many more species.at same time both landscapes are facing significant threats, such as illegal mining hunting chewing stick extraction and encroachment for farming”. Mr. Tuagben

“The aim of these grants is to conserve biodiversity, create livelihood and find way to use the forest. More the three thousand people will be impacted around the Gola transboundary forest, as a result of agriculture interventions and support rising of awareness and cost benefit sharing”. USAID Nature Resources Management Team Leader Lisa Korte said.

“USAID is providing 1.8 million United States dollars to Royal Society to protect Bird and Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia and 2.7 million to support the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation to carry on conservation activities” Madam Korte said.

“The Gola and the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo landscapes are historical owing to their unique biodiversity. In both Sierra Leone and Liberia at two thousand two hundred people will benefit from the farmer field school, the organizations members as well as government agencies will also benefit from the grant”.

The grant for the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo forest will support the livelihood of surrounding communities and contribute to improve management of the landscape”. Madam Korte added

The Head of the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program Dr.Nouhou Ndam urged the beneficiary organizations to make use of the dry season by speedily going back to the various landscapes.

“The Mano River basin has been identified as the area that has the largest forest landscape and for that reason the WA BiCC project was directed to the basin after vetting of proposals” he said

The launching program was attended by local chiefs and local government officials from Gbarpolu, River-Gee, Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties where the two landscapes are located. Their presence is part of efforts to make them feel part of the project and take ownership.

Teahjay in Dragnet

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has commenced the prosecution of former superintendent Milton Teahjay now Senator of Sinoe County at the 14th Judicial Circuit Court in Rivercess County.

The prosecution, according to LACC release, commenced on December 12, 2017

The prosecution is in relations to allegation that the former superintendent misappropriated proceeds from the sale of illegally tapped rubber and funds from the rental of county land to a logging company and also violated established government regulations in keeping with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Acts in awarding several contracts.

The charges of economic sabotage, misappropriation of entrusted properties and criminal conspiracy will also be brought against  Senator Teahjay

The Commission sought a change of venue from Sinoe County where the crime was committed to Rivercess County and a team of lawyers and investigators of the LACC are said to currently be assisting with the prosecution.

Civil Law Court Certificates PATEL Chairman

Judge Scheaplor Dubar  issued a Clerk Certificate to PATEL Head Tenwah on Wednesday December 13, 2017, indicating that due diligent inspections of the case filed in the recent action for Declaratory Judgment, reveals that since the ruling on the motion for Declaratory Judgment was filed on November 23, 2017, his contenders have failed to file their Bill of Exception up to present, including the date of the issuance of this Clerk Certificate.

Predicated upon that, the Judge is left with no option since they have decided not to perfect their appeal as announced in November.

Before the ruling for Declaratory Judgment, Mr. Presley S. Tenwah filed a six- count Petition for Declaratory Judgment against some of his colleagues who contested his leadership to include Kebbeh Collins, Patience F. Dean, Alexander C. Wento and George W. Mumakeh incorporators of the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia Incorporated (PATEL).

The legal battle ended with the Judge ruling in Tenwah’s favor, indicating that he  has not violated any provision of the corporation as claimed by  those who claimed to be  executive members of the organization.

The Judge proved  Tenwah’s legitimacy by citing Article V (b) of the Union’s Article of Incorporation, stating that: “The board shall not make policy (ies) to remove the incorporators, the registered agent or the present chairman from the management of the union for any reason. The union shall always be headed by the incorporator. The board of directors shall not take any action that will take away any of the powers/authorities granted the incorporator or his designated representative(s) of these articles of incorporation.”

In respect to the second issue, the Judge said Article V (b) clearly prohibits the board from making any policy to remove the incorporators, registered agent or the present chairman from the management of the union for any reason. “It also states that the union shall always be headed by the incorporator, and that the board of directors shall not take any action that will take away any of the powers and or authorities granted the incorporated,” the Judge noted.

KRTTI Graduates Over 90 in B-Certificate 90 in B-Certificate

By: Yawah Jaivey in Kakata, Margibi County.

The Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI) in Kakata, Margibi County, has graduated about 91 teachers from its first postwar B-Certificate Pilot Program.

Mr. Nuwoe Kellen, Coordinator of the B-Certificate Program at KRTTI, giving overview of the program at the graduation ceremony on Saturday, December 16, 2017, recounted that the program was basically established to professionally train Junior Secondary School teachers for the duration of two academic years and subsequently place them in schools across the country.

“The B-Certificate Program existed before; but was shut down due to the civil unrest in Liberia. Later, it was reactivated after a partnership agreement between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the European Union (EU),” Kellen informed the audience.

The European Union, he said, provided technical assistance by hiring subject consultants and a curriculum was designed by the consultants and the local team. Kellen further noted that the validation of the curriculum was done by various stakeholders in November of 2005 and a team was then setup to manage the program at KRTTI.

He revealed that on 15April 2016, the B-Certificate program at the pilot stage was officially launched with the recruitment of one hundred (100) C-Certificate in-service teachers from all fifteen counties for their participation into the project and since then, the Government of Liberia remains the sole sponsor of the program.

“Trainees including 25 females and 75males were trained in four subject areas: Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science and Language Arts. Twenty-five (25) trainees were initially placed in each of the four core subject areas and they were offered pedagogy and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses to enhance their teaching skills,” Kellen disclosed.

The KRTTI’s   B-Certificate Program Coordinator at the same time praised staffers of the program for their cooperation and dedicatedservices to the successful completion of the program.

He used the occasion to honor some staffers for their exceptional performance during the implementation of the project.

For his part, KRTTI’s Director, Mr. Shadrach Y. Kerl, praised the Ministry of Education (MOE) and partners for their supports towards the successful implementation of the B-Certificate pilot project.

Kerl underscoredthe need for stakeholders in the educational sector to validate the curriculum to determine the continuation of the program and subsequent implementation at other teacher training institutes.

“As we speak, this class is called special class because it is a class of the pilot phase of this whole program; this is a proud symbol of the Liberian people today that we’re closing the gap between primary and secondary schools that has been open all this time and we want to officially declare this program open for continuation,” Kerl noted.

At the same time, Dr. Romelle A. Horton, Deputy Minister for Instructions at the Ministry of Education (MOE), expressed confidence that, with the graduation of the ninety-one teachers,  government achieved in its effort to having more professionally trained teachers in Liberian school system.

Minister Horton disclosed that the Government of Liberia, in partnership with the European Union Mission to Liberia, has secured the needed funding towards the continuation and sustainability of the B-Certificate program at the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI).