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US Style: Discussions! Political “Interference?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

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Female Law Enforcers End Retreat in Gbarnga

By Abel R. Okai, Bong County

 

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

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SCNL Condemns Ranger’s Death At SAPO National Park

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

Read more

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

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

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Some market women on government’s back

By Mafanta Kromah

Some market women in the Red Light area have frowned on the government of Liberia for what they call failing to empower women and children as promised them by President. Read more

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Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara Applauds U.S. for Support to Liberia

Liberia’s foreign minister, Madam Marjon V. Kamara, says the Government and people of Liberia are grateful to the Government and people of the United States for the wide range of assistance the U.S. is providing Liberia. Read more

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Senate Protempore Hints 2017 Challenges….Highlights Importance of Coordination In Govt.

Senate Protempore Armah Zolu Jallah has hinted at major challenges facing the nation as activities leading to the much coveted October 10, 2017, general and presidential elections gradually draws nearer. Read more

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Liberian Peacekeepers Threaten To Block RIA?

By Abraham Morris-231886294820-abrahammorrisabrahammorris@gmail.com

 

“My brother, the UN told us we were going to be making US1, 332 dollars monthly, but to our utmost surprise, one Mayor Holman informed us that the UN was providing US1, 100 dollars instead of the US1, 332 dollars earlier promised. We believe this is corruption and wickedness in the highest order. But if our money is not returned, or proper explanation provided, we will block the RIA until we can hear from our authorities.”

Some aggrieved members of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) who recently served on United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Mali have threatened to hold the Robert International Airport (RIA) hostage if the Ministry of Defense and the leadership of the AFL don’t give account of an alleged administrative slice from their incentives provided for serving on the mission.

According to an AFL source who begged for anonymity, they were 46 men and women in the third batch that went on the peacekeeping operations in Mali for  14 months and 6 days.

The source said they were informed that they were going to be paid US1, 332 dollars per month each under the UN mandate.

Unfortunately, the source indicated that the leadership of the AFL and Defense Minister Brownie Samukai allegedly decided to take 20 percent administrative tax from the US1, 100 dollars from each of them instead of US1, 180 dollars that should have been the original amount after the cut from US1, 332 dollars without their knowledge, and that there wasn’t any prior discussion on the matter.

Accordingly, the source further alleged that to their utmost surprise, they (Liberian Peacekeepers) reportedly received US1,100 dollars as their incentive from the MOD and AFL on grounds that it was what was provided by the UN, something the soldiers termed as false and a plan only orchestrated to corrupt their monies

“My brother, the UN told us we were going to be making US1, 332 dollars monthly, but to our utmost surprise, one Mayor Holman informed us that the UN was providing US1, 100 dollars instead of the US1, 332 dollars earlier promised. We believe this is corruption and wickedness in the highest order. But if our money is not returned, or proper explanation provided, we will block the RIA until we can hear from our authorities,” the source explained.

The aggrieved soldiers have threatened to block the RIA until their reported money is returned to them or proper explanation given in the next seventy two hours.

When the In Profile Daily contacted Defense Minister Samukai via text, he did not respond or reply the text. The In Profile Daily contacted also Assistant Minister for Public Affairs, David Dahn for reaction but his two numbers were out of coverage.

In an effort to get clarity on the matter, the In Profile Daily contacted one Colonel Dana, but he informed this paper that no member of the AFL can speak on the matter until they are asked to do so by Assistant Minister Dahn.

In an effort to get verified information, an inside source within the AFL who asked not to be named, termed the information as false and misleading and further clarified that UNDP actually promised to give the soldiers US1330  dollars.

According to the source, part of the money was given to the soldiers while on mission and the second payment was sent to their accounts upon their return while the final payment is expected.

Hence, the source claimed that the soldiers were not given the right information that’s why they took to the media, but as it stands, they have been fully briefed.

 

Pastors Get Empowerment

 

A two-day workshop organized by the New Day Ministerial Association (NDMA) in order to mentor pastors of Bong County through preaching the Gospels has ended in Gbarnga.

The NDMA is an American- based organization that has branches across the world, aimed at training pastors to be Biblically strong through the winning of souls for Christ.

The National Coordinator said NDMA has conducted the training in Africa, Europe, and America, disclosing that since the establishment of the Liberian Chapter; it has ended similar training in four counties, including Bong County. The Coordinator said the Chapter is expected to shortly conduct the training in Grand Bassa before the Dry Season. Speaking to this paper in  Gbarnga at the end of the workshop,    NDMA National Coordinator for Liberian Chapter, Dr. Apostle Leroy LW Saysaw., said those trained will now be able to send the message in the right way in order to gain more souls for Christ and will also serve as trainers for those that were not part of the process.

Dr. Saysaw said pastors around the world have been preaching the good news, but there is a need that at least a workshop be conducted for them as they continue their jobs.  “Participants from all those places we have gone with the training are applying what we told them in the workshop, so that is a clear manifestation that pastors around the world are willing to do more in preaching the gospels,” Dr. Saysaw  stressed.

According to him, as long as the organization exists, they will continue to conduct training for pastors across the world just for the sake of taking the ‘word of God’ to every living being.

He then called on pastors to continue to do the work of the “Lord” through winning more souls.

Some participants who spoke to this paper in the county expressed delight and praised NDMA for empowering them mentor.

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Citizens Advocate For Mental Illness Services

By Mafanta Kromah

Concerned citizens have called for mental illness services in Liberia, noting that Liberians have suffered moderate mental disorders and yet the country lacks such services, and that majority of the health workers have limited understanding of mental illness.

They stressed that lack of appropriate services for mental illness is something that should draw the attention health authorities in the country, aimed at helping to reduce the rate of mad people on the streets.

Speaking to In Profile reporter Wednesday in Monrovia, Mary Susu, a businesswoman said mental illness is common and can begin at any age, from childhood to adult years.

She noted that the effects can be temporary or long lasting because there is no proper care for mentally ill people; especially those on the streets, due to the use of alcohol and recreational drugs, as well as those being abused and neglected as children with little healthy relationships.

Mrs. Susu indicated that one of the main ways to reduce mental illness in Liberia is to build a modern mental recovery Center that promotes recovery through peer support, education, socialization and training which will help them build better lives themselves and gain empowerment, maintain independence and earn acceptance within their homes and communities.

At the same time, Musu Robert, another citizen, cautioned that mental illnesses are always stigmas in their various communities and to reduce them, government has to be acknowledged of addressing mental illness with policy.

She also said social policy and histories of trauma affect people through generation, meaning invisible things can affect stress levels of people leading to mental illness.

Musu called on the government to bring in the teaching of empathy and emotional regulation skills as part of primary and secondary education curriculum, adding, ‘This will help the young ones understand themselves, express themselves in a healthy way and reduce shame to be sad as being a male or female and also reduce shame to hide pain which can lead to self-harm. This will help our next generation.’’