, , ,

Third Term Or New Breed?

Liberians seem to be pondering over the best alternative in deciding who gets to the Executive Mansion, having already disallowed 18 presidential candidates by vote counts in the 2017 elections not to handle the gavel of authority for the presidency.

Though the National Elections Commission (NEC) has not released final results to determine who wins the presidency, the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) are expected to go for a run-off as indicated by the percentages both parties have so far accumulated from the votes obtained.

With CDC Candidate George Weah  securing 39.0 % of the total votes while UP Candidate Joseph Boakai  obtaining 29.1% of the total votes, with 95.6% of the total polling places already reported,  the claim by  presidential candidates and their supporters about one round of election does not seem to hold.

Long before the elections were conducted, analysts and political commentators, having followed the trends of event in the country, surmised that the ruling party and one opposition party would enter second round for the presidency, no matter how popular any of the 20 presidential candidates might have claimed to be in the race.

Before  and during the period of campaign, opposition political parties struggled to amalgamate strengths  to oust the ruling Unity Party, on grounds that the UP has led the country for two uninterrupted  terms and that giving the party another chance for  third term would suggest supporting  a one party system.

However, supporters of the ruling party have argued that the UP is the best political institution to lead the country and continue the level of development which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has undertaken in what is now becoming her 12 years of administration.

Influential members of the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives joined the Joseph Boakai presidential bid and campaigned for his election while opposition political parties were segmented to take on the ruling party.

It is recalled months before active electoral activities kicked off, in their numbers, opposition political parties assembled in Ganta, Nimba County  for a conference geared towards determining what to do to oust the UP at the polls.

The Ganta conference produced what was called ‘The Ganta Declaration’ which those parties in attendance pledged their commitment to. It was then gathered that those parties concerned would support any opposition party that would remain in the race for a run-off.

Nevertheless, staunch supporters of  UP argued that the ‘Ganta Declaration’ would not hold because of power struggle among the very opposition politicians, citing what transpired in 2005 and 2011 when  most of those parties attempted forming coalitions but  did not achieve the goal;

, ,

“Betting On Africa To Feed The World”

The African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture today as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16-20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

The Norman Borlaug Lecture titled “Betting on Africa to Feed the World” will be on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration.

President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday, October 19. The prize is to agriculture while the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.

The World Food Prize board announced President Adesina as the 2017 Laureate (http://APO.af/nNtr9w) in June for his work in improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers, and for laying the foundation for the youth in Africa to engage in agriculture as a profitable business.

The World Food Prize, founded by Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug, is the foremost international honour recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

, , ,

‘Remain Calm’!-Women Situation Room Cautions Political Parties & Supporters

By Abraham Morris-231886294820- abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

The Women Situation Room (WSR) of the Angie Brooks International Center (ABIC) through its Establishment Coordinator, Cllr. Yvette Chesson Wureh, has cautioned standard bearers of political parties and supporters to remain calm and patiently await the collation, tallying and final results by the National Elections Commission (NEC).

Addressing a news conference Monday, at the offices of the Women Situation Room (WSR), in Monrovia, the ABIC Establishment Coordinator said the WSR continues to monitor the counting, tallying and pronouncement of preliminary results.

Therefore, Cllr. Wureh reiterated that the phase of electoral process is as important as the registration, campaign and voting process, which has the propensity to derail the process and cause conflict.

The WSR appreciated the resilience and vigilance of the general public who called to report threats and incidence of violence which Eminent Women of the physical Situation Rooms in Monrovia and Suacoco were able to intervene in a timely manner in collaboration with NEC and the Liberia National Police (LNP).

She pointed out that the WSR is a women’s peace-building mechanism for the mitigation of conflict before, during and after elections in African countries.

According to her, the WSR mobilizes women in collaboration with youth to lobby and advocate stakeholders to support the call for peaceful elections.

She said the WSR is a non-partisan and neutral process that was initiated by the women in Liberia in 2011 with technical support from ABIC for Women’s Empowerment, Leadership, Development, International Peace and Security.

Cllr. Wureh said the WSR rollout a series of activities leading to the setting up of two physical situation rooms.

She said these included the setting up of a mini call center during voter registration; the talking bus which captured issues from communities in hotspots counties, the Youth Peace Torch, the  15,000 Women Peace March for peaceful elections, training for the Yanna Boys followed by the ECOWAS Youth Peace Summit.

As a result of its demonstrated effectiveness in preventing and mitigating election-related violence in several countries in Africa, the WSR was endorsed as best practice by the 2012 AU’s Gender is My Agenda campaign. The UN has also recognised the WSR as best practice in conflict and violence prevention.

The WSR is an initiative that mobilises, harnesses and taps into the expertise and experiences of women to act and mitigate potential conflict, leading to violence that could emerge before, during and after elections.

It empowers women and youth to play an active and direct role in peace and security efforts, and to engage in peace processes and conflict prevention mechanisms in accordance with UNSC resolutions 1325 and 1820.

The initiative was first used during the 2011 elections in Liberia, and has since been successfully replicated in Kenya (2013), Senegal (2012), Sierra Leone (2012), Nigeria (2014) and Uganda (2016), among other countries.

There were also plans to use it in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Togo. The operational approach of the WSR is expected to differ in individual countries, allowing for flexibility to adapt to local conditions and dynamics.

Cllr. Wureh said owing to the several challenges confronted by NEC during these elections, the WSR recommended that provision be made for lighting in the polling places to ensure increase visibility.

She also recommended that a change in the dates of elections should be considered so that elections are held in the dry season thus eliminating the problems during elections in the rainy season, which adversely affect the ability of NEC to distribute ballots materials and staff.

Should there be a run-off declared, the WSR through its Establishment Coordinator recommended that NEC conduct as immediate training of polling staff due to the high percentage of invalid votes (7.2%), which as their observer reported, were due largely to polling staff inking fingers before ballots were deposited as well as inefficiencies.

 

 

, ,

Bahá’ís To Climax Founder’s Anniversary

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Liberia is expected to climax the observance of the 200th bicentennial celebration of the birth of its founder, Bahá’u’lláh at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Monrovia.

The Bahá’i Faith is the world’s fastest growing religion established in every country and territory across the globe with closed to 7 million believers. It is an independent world religion that teaches the oneness of God, the oneness of religion and the oneness of mankind.

Its founder, Bahá’u’lláh (The Glory of God), was born in Persia; modern day Iran in 1817 and declared Himself to the world in 1863 as the promised Manifestation for all religions and peoples of the earth. Here in Liberia, the Bahá’i National Spiritual Assembly was established since 1975.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’is of Liberia in a press release issued in Monrovia recently, encouraged friends and everyone to investigate the healing message of Bahá’u’lláh for all mankind.

“Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’i Faith has brought teachings to unify the whole world; teachings that address the current situation of the world’s countless challenging problems,” said the release.

“Bahá’is are using the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh to offer service in communities they reside in through moral and spiritual educational programs for children, spiritual empowerment of adolescence girls and boys through mentorship and collective community worship for youth and adults,” the release furthered.

The Bahá’is Faith came to Liberia in the early 1950s and has taking root in all fifteen counties before the civil war through its popular radio programs (Radio Bahá’i) and community engagements.

Today, Bahá’is in most of these counties are very active, spreading the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh through religious and social activities and are all planning to host guests as they celebrate the 200th birth anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh, founder of The Bahá’i Faith in accordance with guidance from the Universal House of Justice (The Bahá’i World Center) on Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel.

 

, , ,

Let The Will Of The People Prevail

FOLLOWING MONTHS OF intensive campaign for the presidency and representative seats in Liberia, Liberians have demonstrated their power in deciding the fate of their politicians.

THOUGH THERE ARE reported irregularities which some candidates have cried fouls over with threats of legal redress, and to some extent a call for re-run of election, we must hail Liberians for the peaceful atmosphere under which the elections were held across the country on Tuesday, October 10, 2017.

WE ARE EXTREMELY grateful to individual Liberians for electing their next 73 representatives, majority of whom will be new comers at the 54th National Legislature.

AS A MATTER fact, what we observed regarding the election of members of the House of Representatives in the 2017 elections is a repeat of what transpired in 2011 and 2014 elections, when majority of the lawmakers who sought re-election were ousted thereby signaling that the power is inherent in the people and not in those who serve them.

HOWEVER, WE STILL have the biggest decision to make, judging by the results so far  being released  for the presidency which no one presidential candidate has been able to secure 50 plus one percent of the total votes cast to be declared a winner.

YET, WE OWE it to our people as watchdogs in society to acknowledge that the people have spoken and their determination is that the number of presidential candidates in the race could not give any candidate an outright win for the presidency, except a run-off which is now seen irreversible.

ALREADY, JUDGING BY the results released, it is clearly shown that the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) will go for a run-off once the National Elections Commission announces the final results and no party gets the 50 plus one percent votes of the overall votes counted across the country.

INDEED, WE POISE to witness the process as we have done throughout the months, weeks and days ago, hoping that the voices of the people will be heard and respected.

FINALLY, LET THE will of the people prevail, by allowing whosoever that is truly elected through the ballot box is given the chance to lead Liberia in fulfilling a smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another.

 

 

 

 

,

Three Elections, Three Runoffs

THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS Commission (NEC) is expected to commence the release of preliminary results of the October 10, 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections on Wednesday, October 12.

IF THE RUNOFF holds, it would be the third time in three consecutive elections; 2005, 2011 and now 2017.

WHILE THE PROCESS is nerve rocking and leaves the nation open, it must be said that our democracy is being tested to the brink of making or missing it.

AS IT STANDS now, unconfirmed statistics from various polling centers around the country is a glaring indication that the ruling Unity Party and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change will certainly faceoff in a possible runoff,”

THESE TWO PARTIES, over the past two elections have faced off, with CDC withdrawing from the last runoff in 2011.

WHILE EACH PARTY anticipates a resounding one round victory, the preliminary results coming through media lines from across the country may not be the kinds of numbers needed for such victory.

ALTHOUGH NEC CHAIRMAN Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, told a news conference Wednesday, October 11, 2017 that the process was freely conducted despite delays in opening polling precincts and verification of names in some instances,

THE POSSIBILITY OF a 50 plus one victory may not be possible for either CDC or UP.

AT THIS JUNCTURE, Liberians are bracing themselves for one of the hottest runoff campaigns in the history of Liberian politics.

THE HOPE NOW is that Liberians will embrace yet another runoff without violence.

THE ELECTION WAS impressive, it shows that our democracy is gaining strength and that the nation is moving in the right direction.

THREE NOTEWORTHY ELECTIONS, three runoffs, Liberia is on the move, especially if a run off can successfully be conducted, that is violence free.

 

Amb. Ruhle Presents Letter of Credence …..To Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma

Liberia’s newly accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Sierra Leone has pledged to work tirelessly and in concert with officials of that Government, to further solidify the already excellent relations subsisting between both countries and peoples.

“The natural ties that bind our two peoples transcend the physical boundaries. Liberia and Sierra Leone have so much in common: culture, language and tradition, among others,” she said.

Highlighting the two countries’ shared experiences, she stressed that today, both countries are applauded for their courage, strength and resilience. “Our countries are considered to be tested and positively evolving democracies; success stories of post-conflict recovery and firmly committed to peacebuilding and inclusive socio-economic development,” she added.

According to a dispatch from Freetown, Liberia’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Her Excellency Mrs. Musu Jatu Ruhle, made the statement when she presented her Letters of Credence to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma at State House recently.

Ambassador Ruhle succeeds Ambassador Jarjar M. Kamara, who has been appointed Senior Ambassador-at-Large, Republic of Liberia.

She indicated that the close relations nurtured between Presidents Sirleaf and Koroma have cascaded to the peoples of both countries. “It is no surprise that the volume of cross border trade has increased significantly, involving imported goods and locally produced agricultural food items. Trade fairs on either side of the border are regularly attended by marketers from both countries. Security networks along our border are united in formulating strategies that foster peace, security and integration,” she emphasized.

Ambassador Ruhle stressed that while the natural integration of peoples of both countries is a welcome phenomenon, she looks forward to strengthening cooperation with Sierra Leone as the world is becoming more challenging as criminals engage in transnational crimes, including drug and human trafficking, smuggling of goods and small arms.

She also highlighted the Mano River Union which has given confidence to its member states and provided a mechanism by which simultaneous infrastructural growth can be developed and sustained in the sub-region. “We look forward to collaborating with your government for the implementation of projects beneficial to the people of the Union. The ongoing initiatives for construction of road network, peacebuilding, security and environmental protection and progress towards the establishment of a sub-regional framework to sustain and ensure peaceful democratic transition in member states, all offer prospects for a brighter future,” she added.

Accepting Ambassador Ruhle’s credentials, Sierra Leone’s President, His Excellency Dr. Koroma first appreciated the warm sentiments and fraternal greetings extended to him, the Government and people of Sierra Leone by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

He indicated that both countries have long standing bilateral relations built on a platform of mutual trust respect for sovereignty and the belief that all nations have the right to aspire for prosperity and peaceful co-existence. “Both countries have gone through turbulent times with civil wars in the 1990s and the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014 – 2015,” he recounted.

President Koroma assured Ambassador Ruhle of his personal support and that of his Government and people in the accomplishment of her mission. “I also wish to acknowledge your desire to further strengthen the bonds of friendship between Sierra Leone and Liberia and to chart other areas of cooperation that will be beneficial to our two peoples,” he said.

He noted that Liberia, in recent times, witnessed the plummeting of its post-war GDP that were unarguably and admirably the best but unfortunately not resilient enough to stem the fallouts from the outbreaks.

However, he stressed that the fortitude, patience and hope have paid off as both countries weathered the various storms; noting that in spite of such difficulties, they both have also celebrated years of democratic maturity, peace, security and stability; respect for human rights; and manifested, with tangible evidence, their aspirations for the attainment of sustainable and inclusive development.

On the democratic front, President Koroma said both countries, from the end of conflict at the turn of the century, have observed and enjoyed peaceful democratic transitions, and are on the verge of conducting elections, which hopefully and certainly, would receive local and global acclaims as well as accolades as being peaceful, transparent and fair.

On the global front, he said, as developing countries, both have had convergent views in their global engagements.

He used the opportunity to again on behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone express deep sense of gratitude to President Sirleaf, the Government and people of Liberia for the outpouring of condolence messages, financial resources, medical and emotional support following the August 14 mudslides and flooding disaster that claimed the lives of an uncountable number of his compatriots while wreaking untold havoc in the hillside communities.

 

 

 

,

As NEC Announces Provincial Results: CDC, UP Battle Presidency

 

By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has released its preliminary results of the October 10, 2017, presidential and legislative elections tallying 15% of the total results throughout the country with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) leading the chart with 42.66% and the Unity Party (UP) snatching 25.88% of the votes.

NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya announced that the provisional results released represents 15% of the total population of valid votes cast and that additional result will be announced in subsequent days until October 25, 2017.

The provincial tally shows that in Bomi County, the CDC obtained 44.4% of votes, while UP snatched 33.1%. In Bong County, the CDC received 39.4% and UP 24%, while in Gbarpolu County the CDC also obtained 41.6% and UP 37.4% as in Grand Bassa County the Liberty Party (LP) received 48.4%, CDC with 32.5% and 8.3% for UP.

In Grand Cape Mount County, the CDC received 46.4% and 37.5% for the UP, while in Grand Gedeh, the CDC got 76% and the UP 12.07% and in Grand Kru County, the CDC receives 58%, the UP 10.8%, while the LP received 9.2% respectively.

In Lofa County, the UP received 78.1% of the votes, the LP with 8.8% and the CDC with 5.87%, while in Margibi County, the CDC got 47.8%, the UP with 34.6%, Alternative National Congress (ANC) 7.2% and the LP with 6.8%.

In Maryland County, the CDC obtained that 26.2%, ANC 31.5, UP-15.0%, while the CDC in vote rich Montserrado County received 76%, UP 26.6%, ANC 9.6% and the LP 7.2% and in Nimba County, the Movement for Democratic Reconstruction (MDR) of Senator Prince Johnson topped with 52.6% while the UP obtained 18.17% of the votes.

In River Gee, the CDC snatched 60.7%, while the UP got 15.9%, while in Rivercess County, the LP obtained 37.3%, CDC with 36.1% and the UP with 13.7% respectively and in Sinoe County, the CDC received 69.3% and the UP with 13.17% of the results.

The NEC in a statement said it is important to point out that results published by the Commission are only provincial results and that all other organizations should refrain from announcing anything other than the official results released.

“Candidates and political parties should also be patient and await the official results and not rush to premature conclusions.

The NEC said it is committed to the timely release of the results, but cannot be done at the expense of accuracy, pleading that reports results that are not verified by the commission should not be reported because it has the propensity to ferment problems.

Women Build Colleagues Capacity  …..Celebrates Int’l Day of “The Girl Child”

 

The Women NOG Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) has ensured the training of fifteen adolescent girls from across Liberia. The initiative was aimed at build the capacity of adolescent girls discover their potentials in their strive to defend the rights of women.

WONGOSOL’s Program Advisor Madam Lena T. Cummings revealed, the project funded by IBIS, OXFAM and the Netherlands  Government hopes to see young Liberian women prepare themselves  to  take over authority as aging women rights advocates gradually retire.

The training as part of this year’s Sixteen Days of Activism this year’s under the national theme, “Take the Girl Child to Work, and provided the selected females an opportunity to have firsthand reports as to the manner in which women and girls were being treated during the 2017 elections- day exercise in parts of the country.

The girls who were seen writing journals on their personal experiences during the process according to Madam Cummings, were selected from various junior and senior high schools and universities within the country.

WONGOSOL believes, Liberia as a part of the international celebration, has joined other girls around the world to celebrate such global objective geared toward eliminating the many challenges facing women, considering that women and girls are a part of the human race and that they deserve dignity and respect by all state parties around the world.

When they spoke to this paper Thursday with regards to their achievements, two beginner advocate, Christine C. Atuanya, Rachel Jallah thanked WONGOSOL and partners for the initiative .  They however revealed to this paper that they have gain a lot of new experience and even though their observations saw no sign of electoral discriminations among women.

According to The issue of violence against children, especially for girls, is very high in Liberia. Sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) is widespread with 13.6% of sexually active girls under 15 years reporting their first sexual experience was forced against their will.

A third of girls aged 15-19 are mothers or pregnant, and girls in south-eastern Liberia are four times more likely to be married early than girls living in Monrovia.

Meanwhile, a UN Women Report, there are 1.1 billion girls in the world who deserve equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more.

Observer Missions Release Report

By: Teacee Gbeway

International election observers accredited to Liberian have released their preliminary findings of the October 10, 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections.

The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) described the October 10, 2017 polls as peaceful and largely conducted in a transparent manner that allowed Liberians to freely express their will.

EISA Election Observer Mission commended Liberians, the National Elections Commission (NEC), candidates, the security agencies and stakeholders for a peaceful and well managed process.

They also appealed to Liberian stakeholders to maintain the same spirit of serenity and peace demonstrated during the entire process.

In its version, the Carter Center said the mission is deeply honoured to observe the entire-election process and commend Liberians for their clear enthusiasm and determination to peacefully express their will at the ballot box.

The Carter Center in their preliminary statement said they observed polling precincts throughout the 15 counties of Liberia.

Carter Center said the report showed that opening of polling precincts, closing, and the counting process were generally conducted according to procedures in the approximately 145 polling places visited.

President Sirleaf Congratulates Kingdom of Spain

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has sent a message of congratulations to the King of Spain, His Majesty Felipe VI, on the occasion marking their National Day on Thursday, October 12.

National Day (Fiesta Nacional de España) or Hispanic Day (Día de la Hispanidad) is celebrated as an annual national public holiday in Spain on October 12. It commemorates when Christopher Columbus first set foot in the Americas in 1492.

The anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the New World on October 12, 1492, is widely celebrated throughout the Americas; it is known as Columbus Day in the United States and as Dia de la Raza in various Latin American countries.

Celebration of the anniversary in Spain dates to 1935, when the first festival was held in Madrid. The day was known as Dia de la Hispanidad, emphasizing Spain’s connection to the Hispandad, the international Hispanic community. On November 27, 1981, a royal decree established Día de la Hispanidad as a national holiday.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, President Sirleaf, on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia and in her own name, extended cordial congratulations to King Felipe VI and the people of Spain

“I note the significant progress that our two countries have made over the past decades within the context of our bilateral ties which continue to build momentum in our political, economic and cultural relations,” the Liberian leader said.

She anticipates that this collaboration will continue to positively impact the bond of friendship subsisting between both countries; noting, “As we endeavor together to contribute to the attainment of global peace and security, may I assure you of Liberia’s fullest commitment and our intention to support international efforts in fighting global terrorism and climate change.”

The Liberian leader, then, extended best wishes to His Majesty’s personal wellbeing, and for the people of the Kingdom of Spain, happy celebration and continued peace and prosperity.