The National Chairman of the Liberia National Union or LINU says Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who is seeking the Liberian presidency, is too old for the nation’s highest office.

Mr. Nathaniel Blamah made the observation over the weekend in Kakata, Margibi County, noting that the 74-year-old Vice President is not in touch with the youthful generation of today, so electing him President in such contemporary time, would be adding burden to the already overburdened country.

He continues that VP Boakai, who is Standard Bearer for the ruling Unity Party, has been in government for about 34 years without making any significant change, which is a clear indication that the Presidency under his leadership will bring only old ideas and outdated methods to the country, which has suffered 14 years of civil unrest.

Blamah, a kinsman of Boakai, says Liberia needs a youthful leader, who understands today’s realities, noting that France, being one of the well developed countries in the world, just elected 39 years Emmanuel Marcon as President, further arguing that old age these days bring nothing but old ideas and weakness to the Presidency.

Under the watch of the Vice President, who closely works with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the economy is in shamble, health and educational sectors of the country are still in ruin. Vice President Boakai has failed to provide any useful suggestions to the current administration, despite being the second in command of the country.

The LINU, which conducted its 4th national primary, produced 38 aspirants to contest on the party’s ticket for representative seats in the 2017 Representatives and Presidential elections. Blamah, who is not contesting the polls himself, explains that the party does not need crowd to take elective seats, adding that crowds are being rented, and actual people, who are qualified to vote in an electoral district, are far from the scene.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Though Representative Julius Berrian lost the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) controversial primaries, it appears that he still enjoys the confidence thye party’s leadership in electoral district#10.

Following the end of CDC peace jamboree speech delivered over the weekend by Standard Bearer George Weah, District#10 zonal heads, youth leaders, women wing signed a resolution, pledging support to Representative Berrian’s re-election in impending elections. Berrian, who lost the recent primary to Mulbah Morlu, has resigned from the Coalition for Democratic Change, and is apparently heading to the ruling Unity Party, according to report.

The resolution signed by 34 zonal heads, copy of which is in the possession of this paper, rejected nominee Mulbah Morlu and reaffirmed commitment to supporting the party’s incumbent lawmaker.

“We the officers and members of the District #10 Montserrado County, the Leadership of the Congress for Democratic Change do hereby pledge, commit and support Hon. Julius F. Berrian, Representative of District#10 second term representative bid,” the resolution reads.

Giving reasons for rejecting loud-spoken Morlu, Vice Chairman for Mobilization, the district leadership thru the resolution, among others, accused the election commission of denying them from voting as original delegates who were vetted by the primary committee during the vetting process. According to the zonal heads, the process was characterized by frauds and inconsistency, and eventually degenerated into conflict.

The group says Representative Berrian has done well during his leadership, saying “Hon. Berrian’s advocacy has led to the legitimate and Statutory Borough status of the Peace Island in the township of Congo Town, amongst other representations.”

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf says she will work with anybody who becomes elected president after the October elections this year and promises to stay here in Liberia after transition of power to watch what that other president will do.

“So I will be watching what that other president will do; but I will also work with anybody so that we can all work together because what we all have done, all the progress we have made we all have to continue to work together so we can do even more”, Mrs. Sirleaf said on Thursday, 22 June while climaxing a farewell tour in Bong County.
Mrs. Sirleaf’s vice president Amb. Joseph Nyumah Boakai is standing in the October presidential election on the ruling Unity Party ticket against more than 20 registered opposition political parties.

While commiting herself to work with anybody elected president, Mrs. Sirleaf however warns Liberians to be careful how they vote on grounds that Liberia is approaching a crossroad that will be a defining moment in determining whether the country goes forward or goes backward.“That’s why it’s a defining day and every vote you cast will determine whether your country is going to progress or retrogress. So you are to do it carefully. But I have confidence that the Liberian people will do the right thing”, she says.

Mrs. Sirleaf has expressed deep confidence that Liberians “will go pass the defining moment”, emphasizing that “we” will succeed and Liberia is going to have a better future.
During the tour, projects undertaken in the county were detailed in the Superintendent’s report, some of which are implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE).

The projects found in different areas across Bong County include commissioners’ residences, administrative buildings, high schools, community clinics, town halls, women multipurpose centers, the controversial Bong County Technical College, bridges, roads and resource centers.During a town hall meeting in Haindii, Fuamah District of Bong County, Mrs. Sirleaf thanked Bong citizens for being good citizens, preserving the peace, promoting development, being able to work together in unity and trying to work together for the good of the country.

In addressing conflict between citizens and China Union, Mrs. Sirleaf told locals in the county that strikes, protests and violence will never solve the problem. Instead, Mrs. Sirleaf suggests that dialogue, negotiations, collaborations and coordination will lead to solution.While committing government to do everything to protect citizens’ rights, Mrs. Sirleaf encouraged locals to work with their legislative caucus, county administration and the relevant government ministry to be able to solve the problem.

She announced that China Union had a proposal to start operation again, this time to produce steel products here that she believes could settle some of the things that citizens have been concerned about.Regarding women’s role in government, Mrs. Sirleaf says whether they are superintendents, commissioners, legislators or teachers, they have been able to progress to the point where the achieving of their progress cannot be reversed but can only go further.

She gave credit to the citizens here for the progress made in the country, saying the progress is not hers.  Before departing Gbarnga, Mrs. Sirleaf was honored by the Women of Bong County in recognition of the courage she has given women here to pursue education up to college and masters levels, not to be afraid of their male counterparts while remaining respectful and for the opportunity given them to serve in government, among others.

The county administration and citizens expressed appreciation to President Sirleaf for the level of development in the county, and urged her not to forget them after her administration.

The Chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has attributed the misplacement of names against individuals’ photographs on the voter roll as “human error” that could undermine the process of holding free, fair and transparent elections in October.

He had earlier reacted sharply to public concern that the situation could create serious problem on polling day, if not immediately addressed, describing apprehension expressed by the public as “total nonsense!”
But appearing before the full plenary of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol Building where he was summoned on Thursday, 22 June Chairman Korkoya however notes that there is no need for people to panic or worry on grounds that the electoral commission is in full control of the situation.

He discloses that the misplacement of voters’ names against photographs or absence of such information on the voter roll as a result of what he calls “human error” could affect about 13,000 Liberians across the country, representing 0.6 percent of the total registered voters.
However, he assures the senate that the commission is already battling the process of ratifying the situation by revisiting the data processing unit, and encourages legally registered voters to follow up at the NEC headquarters to get their information provided to registrants correct.
When quizzed by Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay how many forms were brought in the country, Korkoya says the commission printed about 4 million forms, but could not state how many forms were used, and how many left, on grounds that NEC is still processing forms with promise that said information would be available when the process is completed.
Cllr. Korkoya has been in hot water with the public, including some politicians over his recent comment that anyone with a voter card will be allowed to vote on polling day even if his or her name were not found on the voter roll exhibited to the public about a week ago across Liberia.
At a news conference on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the NEC boss called on people in such situations to visit the various polling centers to have their names and photos retaken to be placed in the data base.
Korkoya: "People with the issue of unavailability of photos during these exhibition periods should go to the various magistrates for photo taking and every Liberian who has voter card will vote. The errors wouldn't affect you. There is nothing to be worried about. People should stop creating unnecessary alarm. Please help us to explain to the people the only reason we are holding exhibition is to correct the errors. We are working hard to ensure a credible election that will be acceptable. We have a fine process, we are working under extreme circumstances, we don't say don't criticize.”
The National Elections Commission on June 12th commenced the Exhibition of Provisional Voter Roll at all 2,080 Exhibition Centers (formerly Voter Registration Centers) across the country, which ended on 17 June. Editing by Jonathan Browne

Less than a month after the National Drugs Service (NDS) and Laboratory at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center were gutted by fire, the central office of the Ministry of Health (MOH) situated in Oldest Congo Town was on Thursday, 22 June engulfed in flames.

A female MOH security, who asked for anonymity, narrates that they only saw smoke coming out of the Ministry and immediately alerted the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), which moves in and brought the disaster under control.

She continues that the fire affected the Monitoring and Evaluation Department of the Ministry along with other parts, leaving properties destroyed. LNFS officials at the incident scene declined to speak on the issue, as they were conducting an investigation to establish the actual cause of the fire.

The incident has caused serious setback to the MOH, especially the M & E floor of the building where important data of the country’s health sector are kept. The Monitoring and Evaluation Department is responsible to monitor and report on constraints and activities of Government of Liberia (GOL) health facilities across the country.

This is the second fire incident specifically within the Ministry of Health, causing damages to the institution. About two or three years ago, fire similarly attacked the ministry.
Eyewitnesses are pondering over the strange fire phenomenon that has engulfed the health sector in recent times, leaving properties worth thousands of dollars destroyed.

They want authorities of the ministry to ensure that result of the ongoing investigation is made public to provide a clearer picture of what led to the fire outbreak at the institution for the second time.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

The Chairman on Land and Authority here, Dr. Othello Brandy, is calling on members of the 53rd Liberian Legislature to pass the Land Right Bill into law, stressing that the bill recognizes right of indigenous people to own their land.

Speaking at the opening of two days National Multi-stakeholder meeting in Monrovia on Thursday, 22June Dr. Brandy says the bill is intended to maintain peace in the country, vowing “We will not rest until the people have the rights to own their own land.”

The Direct Representative for the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL, Yacoub Hillo, who was present at the ceremony, cautions that Land concession is one of the issues that led to the civil conflict in Liberia, so the bill should be enacted to avoid future conflict.

According to Mr. Hillo, when the bill is in place, it will help to set all records straight and put an end to conflict, especially in rural communities where the natives have lands, but do not have access to claim their own land.

Madam Elizabeth Mulbah of the Governance Commission notes that in order to improve citizens’ engagement in Concessions Management, they should get involved, adding the community people need to come onboard to discuss the problems they are affected with.

“We will work with the people of the community, and we have capitalized on doing it with the people and not for the people; the people need to get involved because they are the ones that are affected and they know all that is unfolding”, she further emphasizes.

Speaking on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Madam Ciatta Bishop, says the Government of Liberia recognizes effort made by the people, and that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf confirms the Government’s continuous support, while looking forward to a fruitful implementation.

For his part, Sime Darby communication officer, Samwar Fallah, thanked community resident for working along with his company in discussing issues affecting their respective communities.

By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has ordered a full audit report of the Private Sector Development Initiative or PDSI at the Ministry of Finance on her desk in two weeks after reports of a loan bonanza among officials at the ministry.

The president’s request which was contained in a brief statement on Thursday 8 June follows ongoing preliminary audit of the Unit. The audit has revealed how officials at the ministry both past and present awarded to themselves loans in huge sums.

“We can say with a high degree of confidence that such a scheme set up at the PDSI is clearly a conflict of interest and will be dealt with by the full weight of the law.” Mrs. Sirleaf said Thursday.

The audit is said to cover the period 2014 to present and is being executed by the Internal Audit Agency.“Therefore, I have ordered the principal administrator of the program during the audit period, Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Hon. James Kollie to return to Liberia from his official trip to assist in the audit and answer all of the issues associated with it, President Sirleaf directed.

A press statement issued by the Executive Mansion following the live reading of the President’s statement, said the preliminary audit has revealed some shocking outcome and results show that officials at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning were making loans to themselves in violation of the law. “We remain seized of this matter and will leave no stone unturned in the interest of the nation.”Mrs. Sirleaf concluded.The preliminary audit was commissioned by Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara.

-Othello B. Garblah


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