‘We Need Value’ -Women Tell Aspirants

By: Mafanta Kromah

The women of Montserrado County District #14 are admonishing all women politicians and aspirants in the district to be of more value. They said it is not just about putting women in the house but ones that will seek interest of women, the youth and the district at large.

They made the statement over the weekend at Kelbbah Town Hall in Barnesville, stressing their women aspirants to be of more issue-driven and push forth more ideas than money.

Speaking during the citizens engagement event of the Coalition of Political Party Women in Liberia (COPPWIL), Amelia Benson noted that politics is not all about sharing T-Shirts and head caps and also not about money sharing, noting that it is about discussing issues relevant to the growth of the nation.

She indicated that women in politics are faced with lot of challenges but noted they have to be engaged with the people and know that it is not about money but value, which they need the most.

Madam Benson asserted that it is a challenge for everyone, especially in the economic situation which is more challenging, maintaining “the people of Liberia have that ability to change the dynamics.”

Grace Morris, a resident of the district also stressed on the lack of community empowerment and capacity building in their various communities that has resulted in the backwardness of the community.

“We are looking for a leader that is not one sided but religiously tolerant, a leader that believes in God, a leader that will advocate for road in our communities and a leader that will not engage in self-investment but do project with the involvement of the district leaders and youth group,” Madam Morris narrated.

She encouraged these aspirants to have good friendship with their community members and also promote peace among community residents and the district.

Also speaking, Georgia Myers called on political women to “come to us when we call you because money cannot make you win but your relationship and interaction with your people also be close to us and bring value and solution to our communities and district problems.”

Meanwhile, the Acting President of the COPPWIL, Georgia Gage, appreciated the women for sharing their ideas and the way women can reach the house but also affirmed that if they do not help to make women enter the house, there will be no one to seek the interest of women and there will be no law passed in the interest of women.

She said they have heard the views of the District women and will do go back to work on them, in order to reach the demand of the electorates.

Moreover, the citizens’ engagement event is part of the 100% women campaign project supported by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) through NAYMOTE. The first phrase of the project was a one-week women leadership and political participation training held in Gbarnga Bong County.

This initiative is also designed to enable women aspirants who participated in the training to communicate directly with the voters, to persuade their voters to support their campaign and to improve their public speaking skills.

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ECC Ends Policy Dialogue in Eight Counties

By Mafanta Kromah

The Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) has concluded a policy dialogue with representatives of political parties, civil society organizations, local government officials, youth groups and women organizations in Gbarnga, Bong County. The forum brought together more than 60 participants.

An official of the ECC, Eddie Jarwolo, said the policy dialogues are being held in eight counties including Bong, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Nimba, Bomi, Grand Gedeh, Montserrado and Lofa.

Mr. Jarwolo who served as the lead facilitator said the forums are designed to educate the representatives of political parties, CSOs and the media on the importance of the exhibition process to citizens as well as the Corrections, Claims and Objections process.

“Political parties, CSOs and Media need to educate citizens on the importance of the exhibition process and how, who, where and when to file an objection. This is why the ECC is making sure that citizens across the country clearly understand how to conduct civic education on the exhibition process and how to file objections,” Jarwolo told the gathering during the opening.

Jarwolo said the ECC is informing participants that the person who puts forth the challenge during the exhibition period must prove all challenges in person, noting that the determination of objections shall be made by the Magistrate at the Magistrate’s office during the period for determination of objection, which shall be announced and posted at the magistrate office.

He also told participants that objector must appear in person, that the Magistrate will notify the person who is objected, that the burden of proof is on the objector, the person objected must have the chance to refute the evidence provided and if one or both of the parties are not present, the Magistrate upon proof shall proceed with the determination.

He at the same time noted that if the objection is denied, the reasons for the denial must be made known to the objector and recorded. He added that the challenges would be based on the nationality of an applicant not being Liberian, the age of applicant not being the required voting age, the mental health of the applicant not being normal and the applicant being a felon or convict.

He said the ECC also used the forum to share its findings of the Voter Registration observation with the participants.

Jarwolo asserted that the ECC deployed a total of 89 district and county observers during VR process across the country.

“The ECC observed 849 of the 2,080 voter registration centers in the 73 electoral districts in the country and documented our observation report,” Jarwolo said.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has set June 12-17 for exhibition of provisional registration roll in Liberia for the upcoming elections in October. The ECC has promised to observe the entire Exhibition process across the 73 electoral districts focusing on Claims and Objections aspect and encouraged political parties to also observe the process that would raise the standard of transparency and openness of the electoral process.

On their part, participants lauded the ECC for the initiative and vowed to reach out to citizens with the awareness.

Speaking at the closing of the dialogue, the Paramount Chief of Jorquelleh Chiefdom, Mary Larteh thanked the organizers for coming to explain these things to them.

She said “this is what we want, when we ourselves understand these issues like this, we are able to educate our people.”

She encouraged representatives of political parties in particular to explain the importance of the exhibition and objection to their supporters to take advantage of the process.

ECC is providing awareness and opportunity to registered voters and the public to confirm that NEC has correctly recorded information about them as well as providing an opportunity for the public to check the accuracy of the work done by NEC.

The ECC which is one of the largest professional civil society platform monitoring, documenting and reporting all aspects of the electoral process and have deployed over 4000 observers during the 2011 and 2014 elections in Liberia.

Members of the ECC include the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), the Women NGOs Secretariat, the Action for Genuine Democratic Alternative (AGENDA), the Center for Democratic Governance (CDG), Center for Media Studies and Peace Building. Others are Naymote Partners for Democratic Development and the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD).

The work of the ECC is done in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with support from the United States Agencies for International Development (USAID).

“Women Have Disregarded Womanhood” -Female Aspirant

By Mafanta Kromah

A female representative aspirant of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC), Grady Walker, says women have neglected womanhood, thus preventing many of them from taking state offices.

Madam Walker maintains that unlike men, women are self and strong-hearted, as such people are afraid to vote them in to power on grounds that they will forget their constituents.

Madam Walker made the statement Friday during a day-long citizens engagement event held at Brewerville City Hall.

The event was organized by the Coalition of Political Parties Women in Liberia (COPPWILL), supported by United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) through NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development.

According to her, women are many in Liberia; but do not vote for women during electoral processes, due to their inability to extend their coverage to those they represent.

She cited that when a politician cares for both men and women he or she will not have problem in a political sojourn.

She further emphasized that many women are coming down to their constituents because they want to take power; but upon ascendancy,  turn their back on the people.

Madam  added: “They are down to earth because they need the people service; but when they get the job, they have no equal.”

She maintained that women are very wicked and do not care much about what other people go through despite the fact that they are women.

At the same time, Rebecca Roberts, a resident of Brewerville said “not many women are elected during electoral period because they do not extend helping hands to the people they want to represent.

She claimed that women are selfish; as a result, when they take public offices they do not count those that vote them into power.

Meanwhile, giving the over view of the program, COPPWILL’s Vice President of Political Education and Training, Nuwoe Scott, said the engagement is to ensure that more women become representatives come 2018 (following the elections).

“We want to carry 99 percent of the women to the legislature come 2018 and to continue training those that will not make it to the House,” she said.

According to her, the initiative is to also sell female aspirants to the people and for the citizens themselves to create the platform for the aspirants, thus holding them accountable when elected.

She indicated that COPPWILL, at the end of the political process, will also hold these female aspirants accountable for everything they say to the people when they are elected.

 

 

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Liberia-China Friendship Organization Urges Liberians To Elect Leaders That Will Protect One-China Policy

The Liberia-China Friendship Organization (LICFO) is calling on Liberian voters to participate in the electoral process to elect individuals who will support and uphold the One-China Policy.

“You get the politicians you warrant if you don’t vote right by accessing the candidates who will reflect the interest of the nation and the aspirations of its people. Politicians can help guide policy, and so we need politicians who will guide and protect the One China Policy,” LICFO said in a press release issued on Monday.

According to the organization, the One China Policy is the firm foundation of the Liberia-China relations. As a result of that relations, Liberians have immensely benefited and still benefiting from the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China.

It named some of the benefits Liberia is enjoying from the relations include the reconstruction of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex after the civil war and its current renovation, the construction of the Ministry of Health and the University of Liberia Fendell Campus as well as the ongoing construction of the Ministerial Complex and the Annexes of Capitol Building, among others.

LICFO then urged Liberians to vote for those who intend to guide and protect the One-China Policy not only because Liberia has benefited and still benefiting from the Liberia-China relations, but also China is a member of the Security Council; the Council that decides the fate of any nation on planet earth. “It is good to elect those who go with us in the same direction,” LICFO added.

LICFO’s statement comes amid reports of political elements who want to sway Liberia back to the renegade province of Taiwan when they gain state power. The organization pointed out that their action, is intended to enrich themselves, because Taiwan authorities know ‘checkbook diplomacy’ very well. “They want to use your votes, get to power and deny your infrastructural developments that the People’s Republic of China is currently providing,” the group maintained.

Meanwhile, LICFO has stressed the need to elect people who represent developmental ambition that will truly lift Liberia.

 

 

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US Style: Discussions! Political “Interference?”

Uneasy suspicion has brewed over the closed door discussion initiated by the United States Embassy near Monrovia with expected Presidential aspirants ahead of the coveted October 10, 2017 Presidential and representative elections.

An official statement from the United States Embassy posted over the weekend detailed its directive that presidential aspirants wishing to engage with diplomatic mission will be done in “Closed-Door void of media presence.

Accordingly, the Liberian News Agency (LINA) report quoted a release from the Embassy as stating that the first dialogue took place Friday May 5, 2017 with the appearance of little known Cllr. Dr. Jallah Barbu of the New Liberian Party (NLP) as debutant guest.

“The U.S Embassy will continue these dialogues in the weeks that follow in order to better understand the platforms, priorities and philosophies of the aspirants. The U. S Embassy said in a statement that it hopes Liberia holds a successful election that is free, fair, open and peaceful,” said the Embassy.

However, regrettably, the U. S Embassy emphatically directed that the US officials meeting with political aspirants will be restricted to the media, which has raised eyebrows among some presidential aspirants and voters over the expressed intent of the world’s super as the October 10, 2017 elections draws nearer.

The ongoing meeting comes against heighten heels of suspicion among some self-styled Liberian politicians that previous elections held in country were reportedly influenced by Washington through the influence of the US Embassy in Monrovia.

“We applaud the expressed objectives of the US-Presidential aspirants closed-door initiatives aimed at wishing free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections, but we baffled that election discussions bordering on these objectives should not be held at closed-door, it creates suspicion” said Francis Natoe, a self-styled political observer.

 Activist Natoe said the closed-door discussion undertaken by the US Embassy with Presidential aspirants has undoubtedly sparked-off alleged discussions at popular social entertainment places that the former colonial masters often choose Liberia’s Presidents at their detriment.

Like activist Natoe, renowned Liberian Economist Samuel P. Jackson also noted that the United States of America has supported Liberia for nearly 200 years, but said that support has unwittingly led to the creation of a political class that misruled the country.

“For 133 years from 1847, the political class was mostly of repatriated American slaves and their descendants, known as Americo-Liberians, but since 1980 with the overthrow of the Americo Liberian oligarchy by a group of enlisted soldiers under Master Sergeant Samuel K.  Doe, the reemergence of the political elite is no longer based upon tribe or ethnicity, yet the consequences are the same with a small band of greedy bureaucrats bleeding a desperately poor country,” said Economist Jackson.

Unfortunately, pundits have stated that with the US seemingly supporting the political configuration in Liberia, it makes a weakened opposition even weaker and timid thus undermining the creation of a vibrant democratic society that can checkmate the excesses of the country’s ruling elite.

With over 200 years of US engagement with Liberia, political analysts have surmised that much of its support seemed well-intentioned and in fact has been the umbilical cord sustaining the nation-hood of the country.

However, some Liberians believed that US support has always been characterized by biasness towards the country’s ruling class and political elite, unintentionally expanded economic inequality and solidified social chasms.

Debated with curiosity, some Liberians interview have opined that with centuries after America began its support to Liberia, the country’s political economy is still characterized by patronage, cronyism and opportunism, all designed to enrich a few at the expense of the hapless majority.

Notably, Liberian political leaders always shuttle between Washington and Monrovia with the conviction that once sanctioned by the US, the political deal is done without many hitches.

However, with less than 10% of the Liberian population, Americo-Liberians have dominated the national politics from the founding of the colony until slain Samuel Doe led a military coup in 1980; however the debate of how Americo-Liberians held onto power for protracted period has once again surface and dominating the 2017 political discussion.

Some natives have attributed the long serving tenure of Americo-Liberian to divisions based on “light-skin vs. dark skin”, particularly because the first president was of mixed race, as were several immigrants, reflecting the nature of African-American society in dominance.

It is believed that the discussion initiated by the US will be welcomed, but with uttermost recap of the country’s political event. Reports T. Michael Johnny 0775820581

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Cllr. Gbeisay Takes On Media

By Yawah Jaivey in Kakata, Margibi County

 

Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay of the 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Kakata, Margibi County, has lambasted the Liberian media for unwarranted attacks against him in the handling of the Sable Mining corruption case. Read more

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Africa Poises For Top WHO Post-As Dr. Tedros Tipped As Favourite

 The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, has been tipped as the next Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) due to the numerous endorsements from Africa and other Asian and Western nations.

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Female Law Enforcers End Retreat in Gbarnga

By Abel R. Okai, Bong County

 

The Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association (LIFLEA), in collaboration with UN Women, has ended a two-day national retreat for sixty female security officers in Gbarnga Bong County under the theme “Enhancing a Vibrant Female Security Network”. The retreat was conducted on May 5-6 2017, at the Development Education Network Liberia (DEN-L) Compound on the Dementa Road in Gbarnga. Read more

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SCNL Condemns Ranger’s Death At SAPO National Park

The Society for the Conversation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL) has condemned the gruesome killing of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Ranger, who was assigned at the SAPO National Park and expressed regrets for the incident.

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‘Stay Order’ Amidst Transfer of Judge: Longing For Justice

Perhaps one of the biggest cases; if not the biggest corruption case which the Liberian Government under the gavel of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wants to win is the Sable Mining case being tried at  Criminal Court “C” at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia. Read more