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Dual Citizenship: Factor In 2017 Elections?

NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoyah

“Dual citizenship, is it a factor in 2017 elections?  The settlers who came centuries ago and settled here came from Americas and today Liberia’s national leadership is primarily decided in the United States. When people want power they run to the United States to seek favor. People have Green Cards and are living in the States and here…. What negative impact the so-called dual citizenship has had on previous elections Chairman Korkoya conducted since his appointment at NEC? Every Commissioner shall be a Liberian citizen, be of age not less than 35, and shall be of good moral character.”  

Liberians have turned their screen board on the doors of the National Elections Commission Chairman, Cllr. Jerome Korkoya, following what appears to be a leaked document about him, alleging that he has a dual citizenship, but there are  divided opinions on the issue in different quarters.

Allegedly, Chairman Korkoyah  has both ECOWAS and American passports and his accusers said  he voted as an American citizen during the 2008 American elections, but he has sharply refuted the claims and challenged anyone to carry him to court and prove the allegations.

The crux of the accusers’ concern is that Chairman Korkoya should resign as head of the NEC because, in their minds, he is not a Liberian citizen to lead the electoral process that will determine the next national leadership of Liberia, but he has resisted the call as well.

One of the main stakeholders pushing the resignation campaign against Chairman Korkoya is Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, who has called on President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to terminate  Korkoya’s service at NEC, claiming that there are several proofs to that effect that he has a dual citizenship status.

For  Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe, he is quoted in Daily Observer  as saying that Chairman Korkoya  may have committed perjury if  it is true that he bears an American passport.

Cllr. Gongloe was quick to quote Section 2.3 of the Election Laws of Liberia, which speaks of qualifications of appointees to the NEC, stating, “Every Commissioner shall be a Liberian citizen, be of age not less than 35, and shall be of  good moral character.”

However, there are political parties , including the Coalition for Democratic Change of Senator George Weah, the Movement for Progressive Change of Simeon Freeman, likewise ordinary Liberians who are opposed to the call for Korkoya’s resignation based on accusations that he holds ECOWAS and American passports, and that he reportedly voted in American elections in 2008.

For those defending Chairman Korkoya to stay on and conduct the pending presidential and legislative elections, they argue that he had held successful elections since his appointment by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, one of the such elections being the 20 14 Special Senatorial election.

Others have also argued that when Cllr. Korkoya was nominated for the position which he had to go for confirmation hearing at the National Legislature, the Senate, or citizens who knew about his alleged dual citizenship, would have flagged the issue to deny him being confirmed and later commissioned by President Sirleaf.

Over the past almost twelve years, many appointees of the Unity Party-led government have kept their families abroad, particularly in the United States why they are working in Liberia. There are some who are accused of buying houses in the States.

It can be recalled that during the first term of the regime, former Public Works Minister Losene Donzo appeared for confirmation hearing at the Capitol Building and admitted being a citizen of America but was still confirmed.

“Dual citizenship, is it a factor in 2017 elections?  The settlers who came centuries ago and settled here came from Americas and today Liberia’s national leadership is primarily decided in the United States. When people want power they run to the United States to seek favor. People have Green Cards and are living in the States and here,” a former employee of the UP-led government commented on the issue Tuesday in Monrovia.

The former employee argued that what Liberians need to contemplate on presently is how to develop the country and that it is only sincere Liberians who can do that.

According to him, calling for Korkoya’s resignation based on his alleged dual citizenship status is an attempt to distract the attention of the citizens from the processes leading to the holding of free, fair and credible elections, wondering, “ What negative impact the so-called dual citizenship has had on previous elections Chairman Korkoya conducted since his appointment at NEC?”

 

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Police Raid “Zogos” In Ganta, Nimba County

By Gborontaye Gboron in Nimba County

 

Police in Ganta City, Nimba County have arrested several persons said to be drugs (narcotics) users. Some of the drugs users carry out criminal activities, thus giving them the name “zogos” in a Liberian parlance.

Police told this paper that the alleged drugs smokers were arrested in an area called “Congo” believed to be highly populated with criminals.

“We arrested some car loaders in the streets and in the  Congo community; but the LNP is questioning them to know among them who are the real zogos that people of Ganta City are talking about,” Ganta Police detail commander Adolphus Zuah said.

Zuah said Congo Community is considered a criminal hideout, pointed out that some residents in the community conceal information from security.

He said the LNP continues to call on the citizens to report any criminal activities in any part of Ganta if the city must be crime-free.

“We have in custody about eight men who were arrested by the Police; but we are investigating whether they are the notorious criminal that people are talking about before they can be charged,” Zuah maintained.

It can be recalled that citizens of the city appealed to Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman  to intervene in the alarming crime rate in Ganta, blaming it on the alleged drugs smokers and car loaders.

The citizens told the Police IG to ensure people referred to as car loaders are removed from the streets as they were posing threats to movement.

They also mentioned of possible violence during the pending national elections if the alleged criminals are not removed from the the streets because they could take advantage of any situation to cause havoc in the city.

“Please try to take the zogo boys from the streets of Ganta because crime rate in this city has creased since you took them from the streets in Monrovia,” said Old Man Freeman Goannue, during a town hall meeting between IG Coleman and citizens in Ganta.

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NATMOTE To Train 100 Women Aspirants

By: Mafanta Kromah

 

The National youth Movement for Transparent Election (NAYMOTE) will on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 host a weeklong training for 100 women aspirants and women campaign managers from across the 73 electoral districts in Liberia.

The women’s leadership and political participation training is meant to prepare female aspirants for the 2017 legislative election. The training will be held at the Development Education Network Liberia (DEN-L) Compound, based in Gbarnga, Bong County. The overall goal of the training is to increase women’s representation in the legislature and empower them to participate in competitive politics and governance in Liberia.

According to the Executive Director of NAYMOTE, Eddie Jarwolo, participants were selected through competitive vetting process and they will be trained and equipped with the necessary tools, knowledge and skills to participate in grassroots campaigning and campaign events, and learn about campaign communications, public speaking, message development, press relations, voter contact and requirements of becoming a candidate and among other key areas.

He said the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nation Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for Peace Consolidation, Mr. Yacoub El Hillo, will delivery the keynote address on the topic, ‘The Role of Women in National Building and Accountable Governence’.

Other speakers at the opening session will include, the Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America, Mr. Samuel Watson, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and the Co-Chair of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Sarah Toe.

NAYMOTE’s Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo further noted that after the weeklong training his institution will partner with Coalition of Political Parties Women in Liberia (COPPWIL) to host 10 citizens engagement events across 10 electoral districts in Montserrado and Margibi to find out what issues are most important to voters as well as host mock campaign events for graduates in the 10 electoral districts to improve their public speaking skills before the actual campaign period.

Mr. Jarwolo said his institution look forward working with COPPWIL to setup a ‘National Women Campaign Coordinating Team’ which will be responsible for fundraising, directing and supporting all women candidates across parties lines during the elections period.

Naymote Partners for Democratic Development is a good governance and research institution working to promote democracy and participatory governance in Liberia. Established in 2001, the institution has been one of the leading grassroots organizations promoting democracy, peace building, human rights and civic engagement in Liberia. It’s the organizer of the Young Political Leadership School based in Liberia

The United Nations Mission in Liberia Quick Impact Project support is the supporter of this program.

(Edited by Fredrick P. W. Gaye)

 

 

 

COC Row Rolls: Ellen’s Misstep? -Qualification Crisis Greets Ombudsman

By: Lewis K. Glay  /  0886469835/lglay.inprofile@gmail.com.

 

  “Massquoi was issuing UP batches and other campaign materials to people when he was Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization during campaign time for the 2011 elections.”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, presumably wanting a close on the argument on the controversial ‘Code of Conduct’ now being made by the Supreme Court of Liberia as a law binding on Liberians, seems to have slipped in her judgment in naming appropriate team members of the office of the Ombudsman released on Monday, April 3, 2017.

Already, the wave of public criticisms over the appointments of members of the Ombudsman Team has compelled the President to rescind the nomination of Atty. Massa Jallabah due to her age limit which is said to be a qualification deficiency, coupled with her alleged inexperience to occupy such critical position that has very significant bearing on the pending 2017 elections.

It also appears that the wrong judgment of the President points to the appointment of the Chairperson of Ombudsman Team, former LNP Director Chris Clarence Massaquoi, who most recently was admitted into the Liberian Bar Association as Counselor of the Liberian Judicial System.

Critics have claimed that Cllr. Massaquoi is still inexperienced to handle judgments expected to arise from cases coming from complaints the Code of Conduct would prick against would-be violators.

Moreover, it is not only Massaquoi’s  alleged inexperience in the legal profession for such a delicate duty, but he has been branded as being ‘unreliable’ to pass fair judgment due to his link to Ellen Cockrum’s imbroglio  which  brought the Ellen-led administration into public dispute, coupled with his alleged bad ‘administrative practice’ at the Liberia National Police over the years.

In many political gatherings, Massaquoi is still known to be a staunch member of the ruling Unity Party whose Vice President Joseph N. Boakai is a strong contender for the presidency during the pending elections. As one observer noted, “Massquoi was issuing UP batches and other campaign materials to people when he was Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization during campaign time for the 2011 elections.”

Another member of the Ombudsman Team, Atty Edward Dillon, is not off the hook of suspicion as critics focus the make-up of the team by President Sirleaf. Dillon is linked to a close tie with Cllr. Charles Brumskine who is political leader of the Liberty Party, a party President Sirleaf is being alleged of supporting for the 2017 presidency, even though this is yet to be proven.

Atty. Dillon is also seen as having a strong connection with the Liberty Party on grounds that his brother- Darius Dillon is an influential partisan of the LP; however, it is not established  the kind of correlation  to justify such claim.

Accordingly, Section 5.1 of the contentious Code of Conduct termed as an act on political participation dictates that  “all presidential” appointees such as ministers and other public officials, including those in tenure positions desirous of contesting for elected offices must resign two and three years respectively prior to elections.”

As  it stands, three opposition political  parties- Liberty Party, Movement for Economic Empowerment and Alternative National Congress whose contenders are seemed to be in violation of the Code of Conduct are fiercely resisting the legality or lawfulness of COC to bar their would-be candidates  from participating in the pending elections.

However, opinions are divided over the Code of Conduct row, as there are some Liberians who support the enforcement of the law while others have argued that the law only targets certain potential would-be candidates in the elections.

Meantime, the wave of reactions from the public including that from the House of Representatives as quoted in the News Newspaper on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, following the release of the names of members of the Ombudsman office, appears to create deepened concerns as to how and when the legal fray would be laid to rest before the conduct of the pending elections.

ECC Wants Code Of Conduct Section 5.2 Amended

By Mafanta Kromah

The Election Coordinating Committee (ECC) is calling on the National Legislature to amend Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct and also called for a national conference to look at the modality in the implementation of the Code of Conduct particularly around Section 5.2.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday March 5, 2017 at the ECC office on 16th Street Sinkor in Monrovia, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the ECC, Oscar Bloh, noted that ECC respects the opinion of the Supreme Court regarding the legality of the Code of Conduct.
However, Bloh said the ECC is making the call “given the country’s history of political and socio-economic exclusion and in the spirit of consolidating the democracy and increasing citizens participation as well as strengthening the constitutional provision of all persons being equal before the law (Article 11c) and equal opportunity for work (Article 18).”
He stressed that the Government should conduct a national conference with all stakeholders from all sectors including the three branches of government, various embassies, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and all political parties to discuss the implementation of Section 5.2 of the Code of Conduct.
In the same development, Bloh expressed the Committee’s concerns over the appointment of certain individuals by the President to enforce the implementation of the Code of Conduct.
He maintained that the Code of Conduct falls short of stating the qualifications, competencies, experience and tenure of individuals to run the office of the Ombudsman and how they can be removed.
Recently, the President issued Executive Order Number 83; she also appointed Christian Massaquoi, who has headed several security positions in the current government and is considered to be one of the president confidantes, as member of the office of the Ombudsman.
Atty. Edward Dillon, another appointee is said to be in close relationship with the Liberty Party and also said to have word in the office of the Brumskine & Associates/Pierre, Tweh & Associate Law Firm when the Ombudsman is an independent autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct.
Chairman Bloh affirmed that Section 4 of the Executive Order gives additional power to the office of the Ombudsman that is not prescribed in the Code of Conduct (Section 12.2) formulated in keeping with Article 90 (c) of the Liberian Constitution, noting the additional power includes the ability to investigate on its own initiative violation of the Code of Conduct.
Based on the said information on the two individuals, Bloh said the ruling establishment and to an opposition party undermine the “spirit and intent of the independence of the office of the Ombudsman, therefore they are not the most suitable Liberians to occupy these positions.”
“Given the sensitive nature of the implementation of Section 5.1 and 5.2 of the code of Conduct and their implications for the peace and security of the country during electoral process, we call on the president to withdraw or recall the appointed names mentioned above and undertake a wider consultative process with diverse stakeholders in nominating names to fill the office of the Ombudsman. If our call is not considered, we urge the Senate not to confirm them for same reasons provided above,” Oscar Bloh, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, indicated.
The Election Coordinating Committee is a non-partisan professional network of civil society organizations that mentors documents and report on election issues to promote transparency and accountability in the democratic process. The election work of the ECC is conducted in Partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

LADA Offers US$85K Grant To Two Agriculture Institutions

The Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) on Tuesday provided a grant of US$85,000 to the Joan Agriculture Center and Bravo Sister Enterprise.

LADA is an international non-governmental organization that is working with smallholder farmers through private sector investment in the agriculture sector in the Country in order to increase their income and to boost the sector.

Bravo Sister Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Wedour Emily David signed for her entity  and   Joan Williams Chief Executive Officer of the  Joan Agriculture Center  signed  for her entity while  LADA Chief of Party Daniel Gies  signed for his entity.

Speaking to reporters following the signing ceremony, Bravo Sister Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Madam Wedour Emily David lauded LADA for the grant.

She said LADA will pay fifty percent of the $75.000.00 grant  while her entity will pay the balance fifty percent.

She said her entity, “Bravo Sister Enterprise” with over 300 employees is evolved in cassava and corn processing, gari processing, Fufu dust processing ECT and is being sold in various super markets, shops.

According to her, with the grant her entity is now empowered to train more Liberians most especially females to encourage in the business and used the occasion to call on Liberians to develop interest in agriculture for the growth and development of Liberia.

Also speaking the Joan Williams Chief Executive Officer of the Joan Agriculture Center who received a grant of US$ 10,000.00 congratulated LADA   for their kind gesture and noted that the grant will boost her agro dealers’ initiative.

Madam Williams in a joyous moon explained that out of the US$ 10,000.00 her organization will pay US$5.000.00 while LADA will pay the remaining US$5.000.00

She said agro dealers business which  she is evolved  in the sale of farming equipment , including fertilizers and  other  agriculture  supplies has improved  as  she has opened another office in Ganta City Nimba County.

Expressing her thanks and appreciation to LADA, the Joan Agriculture Center Chief Executive Officer noted that the grant will be wisely used for its intended purpose.

LADA Chief of Party Mr. Daniel Gies  lauded Joan Agriculture Center and Bravo Sister Enterprise  for their patient  and commitment  and  said that LADA  will continue to  mobilize  private  input suppliers ,agro dealers and aggregators around organized  producer groups.

Mr. Gies also said that LADA   will increase the use of quality agricultural inputs and technologies and ultimately increase smallholders’ fat5rmers incomes.

He said that LADA has identified for its value chain rice, cassava and vegetable but will also focus on the Government of Liberia priorities for the agricultural development.

New Promotion Film of China’s Guangzhou Unveiled

On the morning of March 28, 2017, a five-minute promo video of Guangzhou was premiered at the opening ceremony of 2017 Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference.

Guangzhou is the capital and most populous city of the province of Guangdong in southern China.

The video, titled “Guangzhou, Flower City in Bloom”, showcases an artistic, international and high-tech Guangzhou with beautiful environment and happy life.

According to a dispatch from Augustus Chen of Information Office of Guangzhou Municipality, the the story of the video is about a foreign man and a Chinese lady, knowing each other and falling in love in Guangzhou. From their perspective, the video shows the city’s legend & originality, color & warmth, growth & vitality. In this video, you can see traditional Guangzhou as well as modern Guangzhou.

Hailed as Flower City, flowers are certainly the highlight of the video, the city flower kapok, azalea along the street, flowers in the park, flower fair, and flower market.

Culture is also an important part being shown in the video. Kwon-glazed porcelain, Cantonese Embroidery, Cantonese Opera, herbal tea, fashion design, sculpture, and more are presented to show Guangzhou’s charm and character.

The main melody of background music is “Colorful Clouds Chasing The Moon” (in Chinese 彩云追月), a classic piece of Cantonese music. It is a new orchestration of Chinese and Western musical instruments, including flute, guitar, gong & drum and jazz drum.

Previous to this, the 30-second version of this promo video was displayed on the “China Screen” at New York Time Square from March 11 to 17, drawing coverage of about 400 foreign media, including USA Today, Yahoo, Deutsch Press Agency, ABC, NBC, and FOX. In only two days, the video was viewed for over 5 million times online, 200,000 times on Fackbook and Twitter, with numerous likes.

A New Zealand net friend Loh Siewling commented that Guangzhou’s changes over the past 20 years are incredible; the city’s airport used to be like a bus station, no highways nor skyscrapers could be seen in the city; now Guangzhou is like any other modern mega-cities in the world.

Netizen Doris King who liked the video said the the city is so beautiful and the buildings are amazing. Many overseas Chinese from Guangzhou also commented that they missed Cantonese morning tea a lot.

FLOWER FAIRS

Guangzhou has the nickname ‘Flower City’, thanks to its year-round warm weather which other parts of the country is denied of. The locals’ enthusiasm for flowers as decorations at home reaches its prime when the annual Flower Fairs is held just before the Chinese New Year.

Usually lasting for around a week and finishing late on the eve or a week after the Chinese New Year, the Flower Fairs are staged in all 8 districts of the city and reaches the climax right on the eve of the Chinese New Year. You should expect to see various types of flowers in rows, as well as the crazy crowd around them. People believe that flowers are symbols of prosperity, so at the turn of the year it’s extremely important to have the flowers with you to change the feng shui and hope for good luck for the coming year.

It is said that Guangzhou has held flower fairs for more than 500 years now and the locals truly believe the old saying, “No flower fairs, no New Year.” If you happen to be traveling to/in Guangzhou during the Chinese New Year times, go and experience it.

SHOPPING PARADISE

Being the center of the Pearl River Delta, also dubbed as “the world’s factory”, Guangzhou is a place where you can find everything at a very competitive price, for foreigners and local Chinese alike. There are quite a number of wholesale markets in the city, ranging from electronic products to clothes, shoes, accessories, bags and suitcases and many others. If you are not up for wholesale, it’s also a retail center! Shopping centers and streets provide loads of options at very attractive prices. Make sure you have a good budget control and are aware of your luggage limits for all your shopping in Guangzhou!

Located on the Pearl River about 120 km (75 mi) north-northwest of Hong Kong and 145 km (90 mi) north of Macau, Guangzhou was a major terminus of the maritime Silk Road and continues to serve as a major port and transportation hub.

Guangzhou is currently, the third most-populous city in mainland China, behind Beijing (2nd) and Shanghai (1st); holds sub-provincial administrative status; and is one of China’s five National Central Cities. In 2015 the city’s administrative area was estimated to have a population of 13,501,100 and forms part of one of the most populous metropolitan agglomerations on Earth. Some estimates place the population of the built-up area of the Pearl River Delta Mega City as high as 44 million without the Hong Kong SAR and 54 million including it. Guangzhou is identified as a Beta+ Global city. In recent years, there has been a rapidly increasing number of foreign residents and illegal immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, as well as from Africa This has led to it being dubbed the “Capital of the Third World”. The migrant population from other provinces of China in Guangzhou was 40 percent of the city’s total population in 2008. Most of them are poor rural migrants, and they speak only non-Cantonese varieties of Chinese, such as Mandarin.

Guangzhou was long the only Chinese port permitted for most foreign traders. The city proper fell to the British and was opened by the First Opium War. It lost trade to other ports such as Hong Kong and Shanghai, but continued to serve as a major entrepôt. In modern commerce, Guangzhou is best known for its annual Canton Fair, the oldest and largest trade fair in China. For the three consecutive years 2013–2015, Forbes ranked Guangzhou as the best commercial city on the Chinese mainland.

 

FEATURE

China’s Increased Foreign Engagement; A Brighter Future for China-Liberia Relations in Poverty Reduction

By Fredrick P. W. Gaye, China-Africa Press Center (CAPC) Fellow 2016

 

In recent years, China has increased its friendship with other developing countries, with most of them in Africa. China’s cooperation with Africa focuses on reducing poverty through economic growth and development, to ensure peace and security on the continent.

As a result, the country has created and introduced various platforms in fostering this cooperation on a win-win situation.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is an ambitious platform between the two sides to promote and improve economic growth and development through mutual understanding and benefits.

Under this platform, President Xi Jinping announced 60 billion United States dollars to support 10 plans in Africa. Several countries in Africa have seized the concepts and are working with the plans, according to the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit Followup meeting held in China in 2016.

The Belt and Road Initiative is another platform which has become the most popular public goods and the platform for international cooperation with the brightest prospects in the world, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Wang disclosed plans for more than 20 heads of state and government, over 50 leaders of international organizations, over 100 ministerial-level officials, as well as over 1,200 delegates from various countries and regions to participate in the Belt and Road forum for international cooperation in May in Beijing. This is a demonstration of China’s aim to keep all developing countries on par with development.

“The idea of the Belt and Road Initiative came from China but it belongs to the world with its benefits flowing to all countries,” Wang said.

While the trends of protectionism and unilateralism are rising, the Belt and Road Initiative has become the common cause of the world which will help re-balance the economic globalization by making it more universally-beneficial and inclusive, he said.

The forum in May will build consensus and connect development strategies of various countries. It will also examine cooperation in key areas and finalize major projects in infrastructure connectivity, trade and investment, financial support and people-to-people exchanges, he said. Under the people-to-people exchanges, journalists and other professionals have been going for exchange visits to China. China has increased scholarships to Liberia. Ambassador’s and enterprise scholarships programs are also benefiting many Liberians.

Medium and long term cooperation initiatives will be announced and long-term cooperation mechanisms explored to build a closer and more result-oriented network of partnerships, he said.

 

Future of China-Liberia Relations in Poverty Reduction

 

Before the resumption of diplomatic ties, China and Liberia had made significant progress in investment cooperation and China contributed tremendously in investments and aid to Liberia’s recovery programs. China-Liberia relations has been growing since the resumption of bilateral ties between the two sides, coupled with the signing of the One-China Policy by Liberia.

China has increased its investments in Liberia, witnessing several projects, major among which are the construction of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Nimba County, northeastern Liberia; construction of the Fendell University of Liberia new building outside Monrovia; renovation of the Samuel K. Doe Sports Stadium on the outskirt of Monrovia; a modern annex of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC); ongoing construction of the Ministerial Complex in Monrovia; expansion of the Capitol Building; construction of a terminal at the Roberts International Airport (RIA); the rehabilitation and construction of roads.

It is more interesting that China promises to continue, even increase its support to Africa, and Liberia being a part, stands to benefit in lifting its citizens out of poverty. China’s diplomatic relations with other countries are mutually beneficial to both sides and so it stresses people-centered investments. Liberia is endowed with many natural resources and they can become blessing to the nation if they are properly managed in improving the citizens.

Furthermore, the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia has been increasing its partnership with the Liberian media in recent years. The partnership intended for Liberian journalists to know about China and educate their fellow citizens on China-Liberia relations and its benefits to their country.

China not to weaken support for Africa: FM

Speaking recently on the sidelines of China’s annual two sessions in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said there will be no weakening in China’s support for Africa no matter how the international situation or world economy may evolve. “China and Africa have a shared future and their cooperation is like mutual help between brothers,” Wang told a press conference.

According China had announced 60 billion U.S. dollars funding support for Africa at the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in December 2015 held in South Africa’s Johannesburg, adding that China also rolled out 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa at the summit. The plans cover the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.

Wang said the outcomes of the Johannesburg summit are being implemented in a swift and all-round way, including railway projects in Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, as well as a special economic zone in the Republic of Congo, an integrated port development project in Tanzania and a number of industrial parks across Africa.

Just as China was Africa’s most sincere friend in its quest for national independence and liberation, so China will be Africa’s most reliable partner in speeding up industrialization and agricultural modernization, and boosting its capacity for home-grown development, Wang added.

The latest promise reinvigorates China-Liberia friendship to foster sustainable development on a win-win situation. This will also attract more private Chinese investors to Liberia, in additional to the already growing bilateral projects.

Learning from China to Achieve Poverty Reduction in Liberia

There is a saying that, “You should know about the person that you are friendly with.” This goes to say that, while China-Liberia relations is gaining momentum like with other developing countries, it is important to always learn from China’s successes. What China has achieve in 30 years is something to serve as a lesson to any developing countries.  The World Bank and China had launched a knowledge hub to spread knowledge of China’s successes in reducing poverty both at home and in other countries.

By 2016, China had lifted more than 800 million of its citizens out of poverty following the economic reforms in 1978. The nation is aiming to eliminate poverty by by 2020, according to China’s five-year plan, which targets about 70 million remaining poor.

China is working hard to achieve this goal. President Xi Jinping had set specific goals to reach the target: lifting 10 million people out of poverty per year between 2016 and 2020 and providing a social safety net for the 20 million poor who are unable work. In order to accomplish this, China has taken up the challenge by attacking poverty on several fronts: by promoting tourism in poor but scenic areas, by helping poor households gain access to micro-credit loans, and by pairing work units and other institutions with poor villages to assist residents. The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, a non-profit organization, has and continues to play a critical role in these areas and the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) is lending three trillion RMB (Renminbi) up to 2020 to develop rural areas, funding education, infrastructure and crop production.

China’s success with its home-grown methods of reducing poverty and increasing food production can help other developing countries including Liberia. Liberia relies heavily on agricultural products.

During my 10-month media fellowship in the People’s Republic of China in 2016, we (African journalists) visit Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in central China on June 12-14, 2016. It was observed that the Chinese Government is fighting poverty where poverty is, under its national plan. With the backing of the central government, regional officials are working tirelessly to raise thousands of citizens out of poverty. Inter-county ecological migration is the principal mode of settlement in the “12th Five-year Plan” period. The stability and sustained development of inter-county migration zones hold the key to success or failure of the overall migration project. As the capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Yinchuan is an important settlement under that plan. Three districts of Yinchuan-Xingqing District, Jinfeng District, and Xixia District alone settle 5444 households of migrants with a population of 22,800. Among them, there are 1387 households of ecological migrants consisting of a population of 5800, which makes up 15.4 % of the total migrants. There are 4057 households of labor migrants consisting of a total population of 17,000 which makes up 74.6 % of the total migrants. All of the migrants to these three districts come from Pengyang County in the mountainous region in the south of Ningxia. Families affected by poor-living land features including deserts and mountains are being relocated and provided modern housing units. One of the relocation sites visited is the Heshun New Village, in Liangtian Town, Jinfeng District. Located in the southern suburb of Yinchuan City, Ningxia Region, the village is one of the relocation sites listed in the 12th five-year plan of the region. Regional officials said, under the 12th five-year plan, more than 750 households or 3,000 villagers from Pengyang County are expected to be relocated to the village. According to them, from October 2011 to November 2013, 718 households or 3,086 villagers were relocated in Jinfeng District. Each household is provided a modern house of 54 square meter, a green house of mainly tomatoes and Chinese cucumbers, skills training and job opportunities. Beneficiaries are being trained in mechanized farming and other skills, thus replacing the traditional methods.

However, achieving such a goal depends on the key players and other stakeholders. President Xi Jinping continues to stress this important part of project implementation.

In his book: “UP AND OUT OF POVERTY,” President Xi says recognizing talent and using that talent wisely is a challenge that all leaders face. Under the topic” “The Importance of Selecting the Right People,” the Chinese leader narrated that, while working in Zhengding County in Hubei Province, the county CPC party committee suggested a strategy for the county; just as Fujian Province takes advantage of its “mountains and seas,” and Qinghai develops its “grasslands and forests,” Zhengding County should focus on “talent”.

Therefore, Liberian authorities should learn from this experience as President Xi’s emphasis is on capable people instead of selecting based on favoritism, if they must achieve the China’s dream.

Muslims Holiday Proposal Bill Termed: “Politically” Motivated For 2017 …Senator PYJ “War-Years” Hunt Patronage

 

By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

 

Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson’s alleged “political expedition” to lure Muslims into his path will be resisted despite proposal for the enactment of a bill intended to recognize Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan and Abraham Day as national holidays; scores of Muslim and Christian youth have hinted.

In an organized forum of Christians and Muslims on the pending 2017 general and presidential elections and the pronouncement of holidays for Muslims, discussants at an intellectual debate proffered diversified views on the pronouncement, which attracted hundreds of attendants and curious onlookers.

Senator Johnson, who recently established the Movement for Development and Reconstruction (MDR), has heightened hatred and championed opponents against the reelection of the Unity Party (UP) in 2017 and also implored verbal attacks on President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

Accordingly, the ex-leader of the breakaway Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) has in recent times launched scathing attack on the UP-led government describing President Sirleaf and Vice President Boakai as “Vampire 1 and Vampire 2” and his ambitious bill for the enactment of Muslim holidays is being heavily weighed.

However, during the heated debate, discussant Patrick Johnson, a Christian, said the pronouncement by Senator Johnson is intended to bait Muslims into his newly wedded political party, after parting relationship with the National Union of Democratic Progress (UNDP) where he snatched the third place spot in 2011.

He rationalized that the once feared rebel leader’s pronouncement for Muslim holidays is diametrically opposite to his expressed assertion, noting that the Nimba County lawmaker is a “political joker” in disguise whose beliefs are farfetched in genuine acceptability.

“While Christians do not oppose the legislation of Muslim holidays in the country, however, it would be foolhardy to denote that Senator Johnson is naturally in support of his expressed bill. The statement is intended to buy sentiments from the Muslim community,” said discussant Johnson.

In an affirmation and out- right debunk to Senator Johnson’s statement, another discussant, Alieu Sheriff, a Muslim scholar, accused Senator Johnson of “buying undue sympathy and recognition” at the expense of individuals (Muslims) who wished national holidays for the Islamic population in the country.

He accused Senator Johnson of  fermenting religious intolerance in Nimba County by marginalizing Muslims in crucial decision making in the county through his divide and rule administrative tactics.

“Although we the Muslims want holidays for our religious festivities such as Ramadan and Abraham Day, however, the attainment of our desire will be missed with Senator Johnson as proponent,” said Sheriff.

The scholarly Islamic youth stressed that Senator Johnson should commence his crusade for holiday for Muslims by uniting Christians and Muslims in Nimba County and the bitterness over the long running land dispute before craving for legislation.

However, although discussants reproached the sincerity of Senator Prince Johnson, however, they also opined that politics and religion should not feature prominently in the 2017 general and presidential elections because of the intricacies attached.

Recently, preposition 24, of the Constitutional Review Committee, which proposed that Liberia should become Christian State as opposed to secular State, was vehemently criticized by scores of Muslim leaders as well as segment of Christians.

BREXIT

It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Read more