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Former Soccer Star Still Leading In Liberia Presidential Election

Liberia’s National Election Commission said Saturday that former international soccer star George Weah was still leading the presidential election with nearly three-quarters of the ballots counted.

The commission said Weah, candidate of the Congress for Democratic Change party, had just over 39 percent of the vote and Vice President Joseph Boakai had just under 30 percent.

Charles Brumskine remained in third with almost 10 percent of the vote.

Liberians voted Tuesday at more than 5,300 polling stations to pick a successor to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected woman president.

The race had 20 candidates in all, and observers expect a runoff election will be required. A candidate needs just over 50 percent to avoid a runoff.

The election’s final results must be announced by October 25.

 

The Value Of Peace Vs. The Consequences Of Electoral Violence

There is a lot for Africa’s oldest republic to gain if PEACE reigns after October 10, 2017 polls, but there is also a lot to lose if VIOLENCE prevails. The over 2.8 million youth in Liberia have a chance once more to choose PEACE over VIOLENCE. We caution them to refrain from all acts of violence and stand up for peace ahead of Liberia’s historic Presidential and Legislative Election.

Never again must Liberian youth allow themselves to be used as anti-peace agents and architects of violence, but as ambassadors of peace, champions of national unity, vessels of fraternal love, and builders of a new beginning and prosperous nation. Never again must they allow their energy, intelligence and youthful exuberance to be misused. We hope Liberians, especially eligible voters, will cease this occasion to pursue a common agenda for inclusive change through patriotism and nationalism.

It has been proven globally that PEACE is the ultimate choice of hope, unity and prosperity. With PEACE, Liberia shall forever rise to a peak of social justice, equality and economic freedom. Peace everywhere and anywhere has become a catalyst of commonality, a source of solidarity and a bond of shared prosperity. The process of transformation in any country starts and ends with PEACE.

It is essential to reecho that the development of Liberia wholly depends on a free, fair and transparent election. As Liberia democratically transitions in the next 24 hours, there is an unquenched yearning for PEACE across its 15 counties and 73 districts. Judging from Liberia’s horrible past, it is important for all Liberians to conduct themselves in a peaceful, civil, matured and patriotic manner. Only Liberians can maintain and sustain this 14-year-old peace that citizens of the country currently enjoy.

The reward for sustaining PEACE in Liberia during, on and after October 10, 2017 is crucial to consolidating Liberia’s emerging democracy and strengthening its stability. PEACE in Liberia must never be traded for anything, not even to protect any politician’s interest or in exchange of anyone’s parochial agenda.

Whenever this priceless commodity (PEACE) is threatened by violence, the future of the nation becomes gloomy and uncertain. The consequences of violence are not only huge, but deadly and debilitating. Violence has done more harm than good to Liberia – The 15-year civil crisis is a history to reference.

Must Liberians continue to use this route (violence) as a means of finding solution to deepening political differences and disenchantments? We say NO and absolute NO forever! Liberians will have to understand that violence only destroys, and cannot build. As Liberia and Liberians gradually recover from the wounds of war, the need to promote and guarantee PEACE during, on and after this October 10, 2017 Election cannot be overstressed.

Everyone, including politicians, partisans and sympathizers as well as officials of NEC, has a role to play in securing this PEACE at all cost. Electoral violence cannot be an option, and it must never be. We hope opposition political parties as well as the ruling party will adopt the classic and democratic approach of the opposition and the ruling party in Kenya’s recent election.

Using the court system to settle electoral disputes and/or allegations of electoral frauds is a unique democratic approach to utilize. Dialogue through diplomacy and negotiation must not also be ignored or overlooked during this process. Democracy can never flourish in the midst of violence and instability. PEACE is the answer. It is worth noting also that a peaceful Liberia is tied to a free, fair and transparent election.

Therefore, we call on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to demonstrate the highest degree of independence and impartiality during this electoral process. By doing so, public confidence and trust would increase. There are a lot more to learn from electoral violence, not only in Liberia, but nations across Africa:

  1. At least 3,000 persons died with hundreds of thousands displaced after Ivory Coast was engulfed by a post electoral conflict for 4 months 14 days between November 28, 2010 and April 11, 2011.
  2. About 1500 persons died with 600,000 displaced between December 28, 2007 and February 28, 2008 after the main opposition leader RailaOdinga of the Orange Democratic Movement said the election of incumbent MwaiKibaki was characterized by manipulation in Kenya.
  3. There was sporadic post-election violence across Uganda after Yoweri Museveni was disputably re-elected as President on February 18, 2016 for a fifth-term. At least 22 persons were killed. Main opposition leader Kizza Besigye and other opposition rivals said the election was rigged.
  4. During the 2003 Federal and States elections in Nigeria, at least 100 people were killed and many more were injured with properties destroyed.
  5. Violent protest by the opposition against the government left over 50 people dead and 49 injured ahead of Guinean Legislative Election on 28 September 2013.
  6. On August 31, 2016, three (3) protesters were shot dead in Gabon with dozens wounded and properties destroyed after incumbent President Ali Bongo won opposition politician Jean Pin with a narrow margin of less than two percent.
  7. There were violent clashes in Brazzaville with heavy firing in opposition camps in March 2016 after opposition decried foul-play in an election that gave Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso another term. Lives and properties were destroyed.

Let us not forget also about the violent protests sweeping across Djibouti and Chad in April 2016 where there were fierce clashes and blood battles between supporters of the opposition and the ruling establishments. Never must we forget about Zambia’s most recent electoral violence after the main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema accused the incumbent Edgar Lungu of vote tempering on August 11, 2016.

We hope Liberians can learn from these hard lessons and conduct themselves peacefully. Beyond this end and in pursuit of peace, we are cautioning all candidates to accept the choice of the Liberian people after the voting process. In our opinion, democracy can only fulfill its true essence if losers are willing to accept the ultimate will of the majority. Consequently, the power to announce official election results lies with NEC and NEC alone according to Liberia’s constitution and new electoral law.

The days of creating havoc are over. This kind of Liberia has no space in the collective dream of the Liberian people. Now is the time for every Liberian to stand with PEACE, because the prize of violence is terribly painful. Its consequences are huge, and Liberians must never travel this road anymore. But the value of PEACE is precious and priceless. On this path, Liberians can reconcile, unite and build a new nation of indivisibility and prosperity together.

Let Liberians not forget that beyond political lines and interests, they remain Liberians. They must do all they can to ensure a peaceful transition and guarantee a peaceful nation. Say NO TO VIOLENCE, and YES TO PEACE.

Done, sealed and officially issued in Monrovia on this 10th Day of October A.D. 2017

TEF Ends 2017 Gathering Of African Entrepreneurship

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, concluded its 3rd annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum on 14th of October 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria.

The 2-days forum October 13-14, brought together 1,300 African SMEs, policymakers, incubators from 54 countries including Liberia.

The most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent, the Forum continued its strong tradition of showcasing innovation across sectors, including Agriculture, Technology, Healthcare, Fashion and Energy/Power Generation.

Launched in 2015, the Forum was born out of the Foundation’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a decade, through the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.

During a keynote address, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, the philanthropist and Founder who is also the Chairman of the United Bank for Africa, spoke of his belief, that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential.

“Africa’s development, which must be private-sector led and entrepreneurially driven, will have at its heart, young African innovators and their transformative ideas.  Only they will create the millions of jobs Africa needs. The Forum has brought together Africa’s most important developmental force, her young entrepreneurs who will become catalysts for Africa’s economic liberation.

We have united the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, putting the entrepreneurs at centre stage. I want to thank those heads of government and other key policymakers, who have supported our firm belief that the private sector is the engine for growth and the private sector players, who are models of our philosophy of Africapitalism – the idea that business will drive change and that change must deliver economic and social wealth” he explained.

The two-day event, which involved plenary panels and masterclasses, provided the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs with a platform to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers and investors.

Focusing on the Forum’s theme of training and mentoring, speakers discussed topics that educated, empowered and inspired the entrepreneurs, addressing the key stages needed to successfully launch a business.

The speaking programme emphasized the Foundation’s role of uniting entrepreneurs and policymakers, as a means of ensuring that private and public sectors work together to create the best possible operating environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. Political and private sector leaders from across Africa.

At the forum several Liberian entrepreneurs formed of this great and unique occasion with dignitaries from Liberia, Benin Prime Minister; Oba Otudeko,  Nigerian senior officials of government and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote group who used the occasion to addressed the conditions needed for stimulating entrepreneurial growth.

Also in attendance were senior members of global development institutions, including Wale Ayeni, Senior Investment Office, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Director Human Resources, Afrexim Bank and Andre Hue, Deputy Country Director, Agence Française de Développement, spoke of a new paradigm, driven by the need for a private sector-led change.

“The private sector working with the public sector can achieve so much by way of development. African governments should move beyond rhetorics and implement their ideas,” Oba Otudeko enthused.

Addressing the 3rd cohort of TEF entrepreneurs the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “This generation of young people will do the exceptional. You are the reason Africa will work. The length and breadth of display of talent have shown that there is indeed hope”.

The Forum also witnessed multiple partnerships between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Foundation, and between French bilateral development bank, Agence Française De Développement (AFD) and TEF. Commending both agencies for their commitment to promoting youth entrepreneurship in Africa, Elumelu called on other individuals and developmental institutions to partner with the Foundation and expand the scale of its impact.

“We call on friends of Africa to partner with the Foundation, to scale our impact beyond the 1,000 entrepreneurs a year. Real opportunity exists to tap into Africa’s potential and our entrepreneurs offer a gateway to participating in both economic success and creating social wealth”.

TEF partners including Microsoft, Sage One and Greentec also held training workshops and side events aimed at approaches to strategically scale up business. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has proudly supported the forum.

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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.

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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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President Sirleaf Hails Judiciary for Cooperation

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has congratulated the Judiciary for the cooperation and coordination experienced between the two branches over the years with a call to make Liberia proud as the country goes through the period of transition since 1944. “Please make our country proud as we go to these elections,” President Sirleaf stressed.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf spoke on Monday, October 9, 2017 at ceremony marking the formal opening of the October Term of the Honorable Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia. She was accompanied by several government officials including the Minister of Justice and Dean of the Supreme Court Bar Cllr. Fredrick Cherue.

The Liberian leader commended the Judiciary for working together in the spirit of cooperation something she refers to as cordial. She reaffirmed government’s commitment to peaceful, credible, free, fair and transparent elections.

She furthered that the October 10 elections remains very critical to the maintenance of peace and security as well the survival of the democracy in Liberia.

For his part, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor thanked President Sirleaf for taking steps aimed at strengthening the rule of Law and the empowerment of the Judiciary. “Madam President, we in the Judiciary want to congratulate you for strengthening the rule of law, which is better than what is used to be,” he said.

He made particular reference to improved salaries, renovation and construction of new court houses across the country, the provision of logistics, among others. Chief Justice Korkpor noted that President Sirleaf kept her promise made to the Judiciary when she took over the leadership of the country.

Speaking further, Chief Justice Korkpor reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s earlier decision not to go on break during the October 10, 2017 elections, but would remain at post to handle post- elections issues growing out of the elections.

He said out 30 cases were brought before the Honorable Supreme Court during the March Term of Court; of which 9 were pre-election cases. He noted that to date there are no pre-elections cases before the court.

He recommitted the Supreme Court to dispense justice without fear or favor for all adding: “We will remain focused and independent.”

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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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Carter Center Forms Part Of Liberia’s History Making

Carter Center International Election Observation Mission Co-leaders to Liberia for the October 10, 2017 presidential and representative elections have expressed its excitement of being a part of the history making process which is expected to take place in the country.

It can be recalled that Liberians from all walks of life turned out in their numbers on October 10 to vote in an election that has been described as the first democratic transition to be held in Liberia after 73 years, thus handing power from one democratic elected president to another.

Speaking to reporters at one of the voting centers in Sinkor Tuesday, a member of Carter Center International Observation Mission, former president of the Central African Republic (CAR), H. E. Catherine Samba-Panza asserted that she was very happy to be part of Carter Center team to support the democratic process in Liberia.

“I am honored to join Jason Carter and Jordan Ryan in leading the Carter Center observation mission in Liberia. It is a very important mission for Liberia and Africa at large,” she said.

The Carter Center official further added that they had meetings with all of the political parties as well as civil society organizations, expressing hope that the process would be peaceful.

“Our hope is that Liberians come out to participate in the voting process so they can sustain the peace in Liberia,” she noted.

Also speaking, Carter Center Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Jason Carter said his institution deployed its team members across Liberia including both local and international observers.

“We are excited about the day and we are in the process of bringing and collecting information, but it is very early in the day so we will not be able to make any statement about the process until few days after the election,” he asserted.

For his part, Jordan Ryan, Carter Center Vice President of Carter Center Peace Programs, said Carter Center is currently using electronic mechanics to collect information from various polling centers across the country, noting that they we will be getting real time report that will help them analyze the electoral process.

He asserted that Carter Center currently has 50 international observers along with the locals that are assigned all over the country to monitor, gather and give comprehensive information to the institution.

“As you know international observers are here not to say this and that, but more to talk about the process and that is what we are looking at very carefully,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Carter Center has disclosed that it will hold a press conference to release its preliminary statement and findings on Thursday, October 12, 2017 in Monrovia to give more details on the electoral process.

 

Presidential Candidates Happy Over Turnout

The standard bearers of the ruling Unity Party (UP) Vice President Joseph Boakai and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Weah have expressed happiness over the massive turnout at Tuesday’s general elections.

Speaking to journalists after casting their ballots in Paynesville City at separate locations, the two presidential candidates expressed satisfactions in the process thus far, and expressed the hope that they would win on first round.

Vice President Boakai said he would hope to win on first but if it is not so, any result come up, he would graciously accept.

For Senator Weah, the massive turnout showed Liberians’ quest for change.

Several residents of Paynesville turned out in mass to cast their ballot for president and representatives of their choice; but the process in some areas were relatively slow due to late arrival of political party representatives and setting up of polling centers as well as manual processing.

In a related development, the Chairman of opposition political party, Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, was invited by the police in Foya, Lofa County, for allegedly inducing voters to vote his party’s candidate Dr. Mills Jones and the MOVEE representative candidate in that district.

Police spokesman Sam Collins could not confirm nor deny the report, but told the media that Kemayah is freely moving about his normal businesses. “Kemayah is freely moving about and he has voted,” Collins said,

Also in Bomi County, local journalist for the state-broadcaster ELBC, Melushi Roberts, reported that a vehicle bearing the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) hit and killed instantly an independent local elections observer identified as Morris Konneh.

He reported that the driver while trying to reverse instantly hit the deceased and killed him instantly. Accordingly, Roberts noted that the driver escaped the scene and police

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Impressive! -As Democracy Gains Strength

Election periods often have the potential to create tension and threaten social cohesion. Rising tensions can sometimes spill over into outbreaks of violence. Factors leading to violence include a lack of understanding of and confidence in the electoral process and rules and regulations governing the elections, in addition to manipulation of individuals or marginalized groups, particularly urban youths, by unscrupulous politicians.

Until Tuesday, this had been the worry of many Liberians and partners, having observed the reported tearing down of campaign posters and fliers. The situation prompted some concerned people calling for the postponement of the elections. Campaigns for non-violent elections intensified across Liberia because, in the minds of campaigners, tensions were at hand.

Long time politician, Mr. Togba Na-Tipoteh, who withdrew from contesting the presidency, is one of those who called for the postponement of the process, citing irregularities.

But the anxiety was very high on October 10 when Liberians turned out in their numbers to vote in the most-touted and historic elections. Generally, the momentum was impressive, setting the pace for Liberia’s peaceful transition in many decades.

Polls were closed at 6pm on Tuesday, in accordance with NEC schedule and ballot counting began. However, many Liberians remained resilient in queues Tuesday night to vote.

In comparing this to previous postwar elections: in 2005 and 2011, the overall atmosphere of Tuesday’s elections indicated that Liberia is making headway.

Observations by In Profile Daily and reports from polling centers across Liberia indicated that Liberians were in high excitement but peaceful mood to vote.

Diana Johnson, 34, in an excited mood after voting early Tuesday on Somalia Drive, said this: “I have exercised my right. I have voted for my children’s future. I am calling on all Liberians to go to vote because the process is good.”

According to Diana, she joined the queue as early as 4am on Tuesday, adding, “I did not sleep because I knew the queue was going to be very long. This is how I was able to vote soon.”

The queues were long and the voters impatient at some polling centers due to the snail’s pace in the process. Also, there were reports of misunderstandings in some places. However, the reports, according to National Elections Commission (NEC) workers and observers, were not harmful to the entire process.

Be as it may, democracy is gaining strength and Liberians were able to express their constitutional right. Furthermore, mature politics is taking roots in Liberia based on the manner and form Liberians conducted themselves.