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‘Lesser Evil’ Theory -Will It Hold?

By: Lewis K. Glay 0886469835/lglay.inprofile@gmail.comAs a run-off presidential election is almost a full gone

conclusion in the 2017 elections, a ‘lesser evil’ theory which was reportedly used as a tramp card during runoffs for a two –term regime of Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is said to be resurfacing in Liberia.

In several quarters, Liberians who are supporting Vice President Joseph Baokai to succeed President Sirleaf are said to be poised to begin the debate in their splinter groups to portray VP Boakai as the lesser evil as compared to Senator George Weah when it comes to who should be preferred for the Liberian presidency.

The theory worked against what was previously the Congress for Democratic Change but now Coalition for Democratic Change, in the past two presidential and legislative elections held in 2005 and 2011 when the ruling Unity Party consistently remained in the lead  and finally won the presidency in succession.

However,  opposition political parties, though have been greatly divided over  coming together to form a formidable force to take on the ruling Unity Party in the ongoing elections for the presidency,  the expected runoff between the CDC and UP which has a twist in the party that is in the lead is being interpreted differently around Liberia.

From opposition bloc, the fact that CDC is leading UP demonstrates that Liberians in the majority are wearied about the continuity of the ruling party and that it is time for a new breed of leadership to take over the mantle of power from the Ellen-led regime.

Vehemently, supporters and sympathizers of the ruling UP have maintained that a CDC-led government will not ensure building on the progress the Sirleaf-led administration has made over the years except a Boakai-led regime.

Difficult though, among 18 opposition parties that took part in the elections, how many intend to support the CDC or UP in the runoff seems to be critical to predict.

The difficulty in this prediction stems from past experiences during the 2005 and 2011 elections when supporters of opposition parties who could not go for runoffs could not be policed to votes for candidates their presidential candidates preferred at the time.

Meanwhile, it is expected that in days to come before the conduct of the runoff, the two parties now in the race will fiercely campaign and there are reports that negotiations are already taking place behind closed doors as CDC and UP seek support from parties now out of the race.

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Cape Mount Citizens Recommend To Next Government

By Mafanta Kromah

As Liberians foresee a runoff election in November between the Coalition for Democratic Change and the ruling Unity Party, citizens of Garwula District in Grand Cape Mount County, who are in the private sector (business and farming), have started listing issues they expect to be addressed immediately by the next regime.

According to those in the farming sector, the next government to be ushered in January 2018 should prioritize the agriculture sector to help improve the lives of Liberians by supporting them to grow and produce their own stable food.

Speaking to In Profile reporter recently in Cape Mount, Boima Paasewe, a resident of Sinji, said rice is the stable food in Liberia but it is being imported, noting that the price of rice is high in their communities thus making living conditions difficult for them.

Paasewe said it would be better for Liberians, if they start to grow their own foods, something he noted, can only be done when the next government invests in the agriculture sector by providing farming materials to farmers and connecting farm- to  market roads across the country.

Abraham Sillah, a marketer from Bo Waterside, was another citizen who spoke to the In Profile Daily. For him, he indicated   that they expect the next government to prioritize education system that is being described as mess by the current government, stressing that they want the system to be improved from mess to excellent.

“Government learns from the failure of another government and this government has failed to invest in our education system to make the system more standard like international schools. We also need to boost of our facilities and staff in our country,” he said.

Sillah further noted that their county needs vocational training institutes for the young people, as well as well trained teachers that will help put their system on path.

According to him, primary teachers in the county are mostly volunteers who recent graduates of high school that are yet get to enter collage.

“They only focus on the high school and forget to know that the foundation of your high school is the best. If you don’t perform well at the low level how do you expect yourself to perform well at the high level when your foundation is not built?” Sillah wondered.

He continued: “In Cape Mount, when it comes to the new legislature, we the ordinary citizens want county hearing to start from the bottom to the top. We are the only people that know our problems and only us know how they can be solved, let our lawmakers engage us on the way forward on problems they will be solved so that everyone will take ownership of the project.”

Meanwhile, Hawa Sonni, a business woman indicated that she expects the next government to have control over prices of commodities and exchange rate, noting that due to the increase in exchange rate in the country, everything is on the increase.

She said life will only improve in Liberia if government has control over exchange rate and the prices of goods and services.

“We sell in Liberian dollars to go in search of US dollars and in the end we buy the United States Dollars at very high cost and when we buy our goods we definitely need to get all we put in it. So how life cannot be hard when our own country money is being down played for other country’s money? Liberians need to grow and open their eyes to the realities,” she expressed.

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Senate Pro tempore hails Weah, Boakai …Wants Citizens Shun Violence In Runoff

The President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate and Chairman of Gbarpolu Country Legislative Caucus Sen. Armah Zolu Jallah has congratulated Senator George M. Weah and Amb. Joseph N. Boakai on their emergence as forerunners of the October 2017 presidential election in Liberia and lauded Liberians who participated in the election for helping to make the event a peaceful one.

In a press release issued by his office, Senator Jallah declared that as is now increasingly becoming evident that there will be a run off for the presidency, he was urging all Liberians to elect a leader of their choice and work in concert in support of their choice in administering the affairs of the country.

Pro tem Jallah further pointed out that it is Liberia that matters regardless who becomes president and it the support from citizens that ensures good governance and able representation.

In conclusion, Pro tem Jallah cautioned all citizens to refrain from innuendos and insinuations that ignite chaos and the maligning of character of fellow citizens and concentrate on the substantives of society and go to the poll on November 8, 2017 resolute to do justice to Liberia.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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WONGOSOL Wants Amended Rape Law Recalled …Condemns Legislature; Vows To Lobby Others

 

Women of Liberia and a network of women’s organizations, under the Women’s NGO Secretariat of Liberia (WONGOSOL) condemned  the Liberian Senate’s passage of a contemptible amendment to the 2006 Rape Law.

In a release issued on October 12, 2017, WONGOSOL said the amended version of the rape law is crafted to allow perpetrators to receive both bail and parole, which was proposed by Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay and passed without public consultation during the Senate’s session on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017.

The decision by the Senate to amend the rape law undermines efforts by various women groups and international partners to address rape in Liberia.

WONGOSOL believes that a handful of Senators chose to amend the rape law in the absence of majority of their colleagues and without any consultation with the public or other stake holders.

“We are highly suspicious of the motives of the senators who voted in favor of this amendment in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the bill was passed by men, for men, to the great detriment of the women of Liberia. Although there are just 3 females at the senate; this bill was passed without a single female in attendance. Even if all three had been there, they would have been vastly outnumbered. This is a terrible affront to the women of Liberia, especially the women of Sinoe”.

“We stand in solidarity with the innumerable survivors of rape and will give voice to the victims that have succumbed to this horrific crime. We can only imagine the motives behind this bill, as it was introduced and passed with so many senators absent and so many Liberians focused on the elections. We called on Senator Teahjay and supporters of this bill to explain why, when their constituents are focused on jobs, roads, healthcare, education, and others”.

According to the women, after representative of Grand Gedeh Morias Waylee was publicly accused, the conversation about rape and impunity of rapists flooded homes, communities, and radio waves and that there indeed seems to be a nationwide consensus.

They recounts that said action by the senators would strengthen the abusive manner in which rape and sexual violence have being dealt with in the family way.

Meanwhile, according to the women statement, such decision by the Liberian Senate continue to abuse and dehumanize the women of Liberia,  throughout the campaign season on grounds that Liberian women from across the country have been making their voices heard on the issue of rape and impunity for rapists and statutory rapists.

The Women demand that they do not support the lawmakers’ action and acknowledge everyone to condemn the decision.

The women also called on all representatives and presidential candidates to publicly denounce the Senate’s decision to amend the rape Law.

Accordingly, the women said they expect lawmakers to be progressive by ensuring budgetary allocations and policies that would further invest in the implementation of such law and other critical actions including the establishment of county level SGBV crimes units, and branches of criminal court “E”; investment in forensic technology for the gathering and preservation of evidence and adequate support and services for survivors.

These actions, according to them will address the problem of pre-trial detention as well as ending violence against women and girls and not degrade women by ignoring their dignity.

They called on the lawmakers to rethink such                                “regressive legal direction” when Liberia faces multiple transitions- UNMIL drawdown, elections and recovery from Ebola and its impact on the economy and social cohesion.

The women angrily expressed that the actions of lawmakers must seek alignment to human rights and public health crisis of sexual violence and all other forms of violence against women and girls.

Moreover, the women said the state’s obligation is to address this developmental challenge and that the process will not be accepted in quick fix mode.

“We are demanding that the sitting members of the House of Representatives vote a resounding “NO” if and when this bill is introduced for concurrence.  We plead with the international community to stand in solidarity with us; to support us in sensitizing the public on this issue and apply pressure to the power brokers with whom they interact as we call on our lawmakers to recognize the value of mutual accountability, transparency and consultations.  By this, we request that they commence a process of external engagement and consultations with stakeholders in the women’s rights sector, the Association of Female Lawyers and other justice/protection groups to get concrete indications of the impact of the rape crisis on women and girls across Liberia”.

Meanwhile, the group of angry women appealed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to publicly denounce the proposed amendment and make it known by vetoing the bill should it be forwarded for signature.

They women are confident that President Sirleaf as the first female president of Liberia and Africa should not allow such action to happen under her watchful leadership.

The demonstrators said the action by the Senators has the potential to undermine gains made since 2005.

The UNCHR 2016 Report cites multiple challenges, including institutional weaknesses, corruption, lack of due diligence by government as well as logistical and financial constraints; a widespread culture of impunity for SGBV, undue influence by traditional actors, cultural and patriarchal attitudes, as well as gender stereotyping and social pressure to informally settle cases out of court as barriers to survivors getting justice.

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Ellen Urges Liberians Pray For Guidance -Launches Women’s Situation Room

 

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is urging Liberians to continue praying for God’s guidance to enable them elect a new leader who will move the country forward.

She thanked God for the peace enjoyed because God has been able to work through them to keep the peace. She said the Presidential and Representatives elections are critical and defining to Liberia.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Sunday, October 8, 2017 at the Triumphant Life International Ministries located on Robert Street in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County during a Thanksgiving and Intercessory Service for peaceful campaign, elections and transition of power.

The Liberian leader emphasized that citizens need to vote wisely if Liberia should continue on sturdy path of peace, rebuilding and development. She expressed delight over the peace Liberia continues to enjoy since the inauguration of her administration, a major achievement she attributed to the efforts of all Liberians.

She commended the Church for its continued prayers and supplication for the nation and its people, especially in these times of Liberia’s history.

The worship service was not only held to thank God for Liberia’s peace and the just ended peaceful campaign but also to intercede for peaceful elections and political transition, which also brought together dozens of Christians from all walks of life across various political backgrounds, among others

Prayers were offered for God’s protection and blessings on President Sirleaf and her government as her tenure comes to an end in January of 2018 when she will peacefully turn over power to the next elected government.

Delivering his sermon, Rev. Amos O. Bockarie, Senior Pastor of the Triumphant Life International Ministries – who spoke from the theme: “God is seeking for a Man” from the text Ezekiel 22: 29-30 said the decision Liberians will take in 48 hours will either make the country or break the country. He noted after 12 years and with what that have been achieved by President Sirleaf, including roads construction, press freedom, youth and women empowerment, education, police, army among others needs a man to stand in the gap because according to him Liberia has reached to a place for which God is seeking a man. He added, since 73 years ago, Liberia has not experienced peaceful transition terming it as the first time ever since 1944.

He praised President Sirleaf for job well done. “Madam President, you have done well; you could not do more than your best, thank you,” he said.

Meanwhile, in another development, President Sirleaf has launched the Women’s Situation Room-Liberia 2017; stressing, the 2017 elections has demonstrated maturity. She congratulated the women for their initiative in creating the Women’s Situation Room and urged all Liberians to be peaceful as Liberia goes through the period of transition.

For her part, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, initiator of the Women’s Situation Room and Establishment Coordinator of the Angie Brooks International Center said peace before, during and after election remains critical and substantial and as such must be upheld all. She used the occasion to congratulate President Sirleaf for maintaining peace in Liberia. The ceremony, which took place in Mamba Point – was attended by high-profiled Liberian women including international partners.

Following the launching ceremony, the Liberian leader attended the campaign rally of Alexander A. Suah in District # 5, Montserrado County and announced support for him because according to her Alexander Suah has done some good things for District #5. She said Mr. Suah is known to be respectful and knows how to conduct.

 

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UP, CDC Again? . . . NEC Announces Provisional Results Today

 

 By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

“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,”

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to commence the release of preliminary results of the October 10, 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections today, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has said

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.

Accordingly, the NEC has unequivocally reaffirmed that the commission is the only institution clothed with the constitutional authority to announce election results; thus warning political parties and candidates to desist from unilaterally announcing results.

Following the close of polling centers around the country, results were posted at various voting precincts in the presence of poll workers, local and international observers as well as the media.

However, as media correspondents around the country give unofficial results, the October 10, 2017 presidential elections might again showcase the old political rivalry between the ruling Unity Party (UP) and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

The UP and the CDC were locked in a runoff in 2005 and 2011 respectively with the former emerging victorious in both elections under the political leadership of outgoing President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

In Southeastern Liberia, the CDC of former soccer icon, now Senator of Montserrado County George Weah is reportedly ahead of the UP of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander Cummings respectively.

Media correspondents reported that the CDC emerged top in some parts of the Southeast followed by the UP and the ANC, which has reportedly favored the UP in previous elections.

However, the UP firmly tightened its grip in some parts of Lofa, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Bong respectively, while Senator Prince Yormie Johnson remains potentially positioned in his stronghold of Nimba County as the Liberty Party (LP) of Cllr. Charles Brumskine struggles for votes in its stronghold of Grand Bassa County.

“Unconfirmed statistics from 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,” said a NEC polling officer on condition of anonymity.

According to the NEC official, the final aggregated result is expected to again feature the usual political contest between the two most populated political parties.

Although the NEC will commence the announcement of provisional results today, however, unconfirmed results indicate that the Unity Party (UP) and Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) will again prove political supremacy.

 

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NEC Assures Commitment

By Mafanta Kromah

 

With just five days to the presidential and representative elections, the National Elections Commissions has assured the public that it is committed to holding free, fair and transparent elections.

 

Speaking at the NEC regular press conference on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya said the commission is aware of news reports that some individuals and politicians have questioned the integrity of NEC regarding the number of ballots printed.

 

He assured the public that NEC has put in place full accountability mechanism to account for every single ballot, stressing that the number is at the level because there are others that might make errors and want to replace their cards.

 

At the same time, Korkoya noted that electoral preparations are in tight and it is working hard to meet the tight deadline in advance of the October 10 polling. He said the final batch of representative ballots and the remaining of all other elections materials are expected in the country today, October 5.

 

He further disclosed that the commission has taken delivery of a shipment of electronic equipment from South Africa including photocopiers, expressing thanks and appreciation to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for making the request to the South African Government for which the equipment  in question were given to the NEC.

 

Chairman Korkoya noted that the deployment of elections materials is in progress and their operational personnel are in root distributing elections materials to NEC various warehouses across the country,

 

However, the Chairman has disclosed that there have been clashes of timetable between the Alternative National Congress and the Unity Party, indicating both parties submitted plans  for campaign rallies on the 7 of October but noted that the ANC submitted their full details of campaign activities to the NEC first.

 

He said an official communication is being sent to the Unity party to look for other options for holding its rally.

The NEC chair called on political parties and independent candidates to be responsible and not release unofficial election results that could mislead voters and supporters.

He noted that the NEC is the only body in this country that has the power and mandate to release election result.

Meanwhile, Korkoya has reminded political parties and independent candidate that campaign officially ends 12 midnight on Sunday, October 8 .