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Coalition for Democratic Change Standard Bearer, Senator George Manneh Weah is waging a stinking attack against Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, current Standard Bearer of the governing Unity Party, describing him as a big ‘liar’, noting that VP Boakai’s bid for the Presidency is based on pure deception.


Sen. Weah, whose Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party has lost the presidency twice to the governing UP in the past two elections, used his weekend’s visit to Gbarpolu and Grand Bassa Counties to dig into the closet of the ruling party Standard Bearer, noting that VP Boakai has spent 42 years in public service, but Liberians could point to nothing tangible as his achievements in the country.

He says Vice President Boakai lacks moral grounds to seek the Liberian Presidency, alleging that Boakai served as ‘rebel general’ in the defunct Lofa Defense Force during the civil crisis here, as well as linking him to an alleged US$2 million corruption in slain President Samuel Doe regime which he says, led to his dismissal.

It is not certain whether this is the message that his audiences in the two counties had expected, but Weah reinforces his firing power by telling citizens that the ruling party flag bearer has no role to play in Liberia’s future, adding that the change the country so badly needs to make progress is a responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of citizens, urging them to take their destiny into their own hands.

At the Fairground or sports pitch in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, Sen. Weah cautions Liberians not to support “continuity”, indirectly referring to Boakai’s presidential bid as a continuity of the Sirleaf administration under whose tenure he (Boakai) has served as Vice President for two six-year terms.

He promises the people of Grand Bassa that immediately after a Coalition victory at the polls on October 10th, Liberia will experience the change it has long been yearning for.

According to him, the Vice President has engaged himself into businesses that ordinary Liberians should be doing, claiming that the one of the reasons for the increment in the price of a 25Kg bag of parboil rice is because Boakai is involved in the rice business besides operating a club.

Partisans and well-wishers lined up the streets of Buchanan City to receive the Coalition Standard Bearer, some carrying cassava leaves, palm branches and placards, waving to Weah’s convoy as it arrives in the coastal capital over the weekend, ahead of the official start of campaign here next week.

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

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The United Nations Security Council has called on all stakeholders including international partners to ensure that the October presidential and representatives elections in Liberia are free, fair, credible and transparent.


Liberia’s Foreign Ministry says in a statement dated Monday, 24 July that the the Security Council adopted a statement during its 8010th meeting, stressing the full participation of women, peaceful resolution of disputes through established mechanisms in accordance with the law and the deployment of electoral observers as key to ensuring credible elections.

Quoting Liberia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, the Liberian authorities say the Security Council also welcomed the signing of the Farmington River Declaration by 20 political parties.n the Farmington Declaration welcomed by the UN Security Council, Liberian political parties commit to a violence free elections and peaceful transition to a new government.
The UN encourages the Government of Liberia to ensure that the National Elections Commission (NEC) gets the necessary resources for the successful conduct of the polls."The Security Council encourages the Government to ensure adequate resources are committed and expeditiously distributed for the National Elections Commission and reiterates its call on international partners to support the Liberian authorities in ensuring the credibility of those elections including through the deployment of electoral observers," the statement says.

At the same time, the Security Council is encouraging the Government of Liberia to accelerate its accountability and transparency efforts to boost public confidence ahead of the October elections and transfer of power; as well as the passage of relevant legislations."

The Security Council stresses the need for the government to honor its commitment to support the passage of the Land Rights Bill and the Local Government Bill which will positively impact lives and livelihoods of Liberian citizens and contribute to overcoming the societal and structural inequities that were the root causes of the war.

The Council emphasizes the importance of the legislature's timely action to ensure these bills are passed.Meanwhile the Security Council again emphasizes the need for continued international attention to Liberia and urges the Government, UNMIL, and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) to continue to coordinate closely in the transfer of responsibilities considering UNMIL's closure at the expiration of its mandate on March 30, 2018 as set out in resolution 2333 (2016).

It further encourages the continued engagement of the international community and donors, including support of the commitments made in the Liberia Peacebuilding Plan, to address capacity gaps identified in the UNCT's mapping exercise needed to assure continuity of relevant peacebuilding programs and assist Liberia's continued efforts to achieve sustainable peace.--Press release

The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning or MFDP has strongly rejected a local daily’s report of a potential US$41 million dollars deficit for the just ended fiscal year 2016/2017.


In a press statement issued here Thursday, 20 July the ministry ays its attention has been drawn to the Tuesday, July 18, 2017 Edition of the FrontPage Africa Newspaper in which the paper erroneously reported a potential US$41 million dollars deficit for the just ended 2016/2017 fiscal year, not on the basis of factual reporting, but on account of “reliable or financial experts.”

The release says the paper based its story on an unsubstantiated year-end fiscal reconciliation report of the consolidated account, indicating a wrong year-end revenue collection of US$522million and US$42 million as potential deficit; even though, the year-end expenditure estimate needed for accurately determining deficit or surplus was not mentioned.

The release claims the paper further suggested that the deficit could increase to US$50 million if US$4million payment for the Executive Mansion renovation and US$6million payment to George Haddad’s Prestige Motors were made, which it maintains, are all concoction of a “financial expert’s” imagination.
It explains that the Budget year FY16/17 successfully ended with a surplus of US$1.8 million brought forward to the FY17/18 budget, which has been approved by the Lower House and awaiting concurrence by the Upper House of the National Legislature.

According to the Ministry, Gross Revenue collected at end June 30th, 2017 is estimated at US$550.8 million, saying “This amount net of the ECOWAS Trade Levy of US$3.2 million brings the net revenue available to GoL at US$547.57 million. This fact contradicts FrontPage reported net revenue amount of US$522 million.”

The release further refutes allegation that Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara has usurped the allotment functions of the Deputy Minister for Budget and Development Planning, and is not holding weekly Fiscal Management Team meetings with senior technicians regarding the formulation and execution of the national budget.

“In keeping with supervisory oversight of every department to ensure proper and accountable usage of tax payer money; it says, “Minister Kamara has instituted several reforms including the following:

The authorization of allotments to spending entities still remains a function of the Deputy Minister of Budget, but with the expressed approval of the Minister as provided under the PFM Act. The procedures for allotments, which are the first layer for authorizing, spending from the National Budget, have been revised to effectively minimize unauthorized allotments;

In tracking the execution of the national budget with respect to revenue performance and expenditure monitoring, the Minister still holds regular Fiscal Management Team (FMT) meetings with senior technicians of the MFDP and the Liberia Revenue Authority to discuss various fiscal reports and reconcile the financial position of the Government of Liberia. These meetings are in addition to regular Senior Management Team (SMT) meetings and general staff meetings aimed at cultivating a working culture that promotes team spirit and effectiveness.


The MFDP release says in the fight against corruption, the current management team is on record for improving systems and controls within the Ministry and taking punitive action against individuals caught in the act of misuse of entrusted public resources.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning encourages media entities to seek clarifications on news relating to government’s fiscal operations from relevant authorities within the MFDP before publications. The Ministry cautions against spreading false news, especially on fiscal operations of government because it has the propensity to undermine the economic viability of the State by scaring away potential investments and development assistance. Press Release

A ruling by the Supreme Court on Thursday July 20, mandating the National Elections Commission or NEC to revert an earlier decision rejecting the nomination application of Liberty Party or LP vice standard bearer Harrison Karnwea appears to have ignited the party’s hope of a 2017 victory.


Thousands of LP partisans took to the various streets across the country in jubilant mood following the superior court’s pronouncement that the party’s vice standard bearer should be allowed to contest.

Partisans in both Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties- the homes of both LP standard bearer Charles Brumskine and vice standard bearer Karnwea respectively took to the streets celebrating the court’s decision as a sign of victory for their party.

Reports from the South East and other parts of the country spoke of similar celebrations following the ruling. In Nimba where Brumskine and Karnwea visited shortly after the court’s ruling thousands of supporters trooped to the streets of Nimba welcoming their first and second partisans.

Many of the LP partisans and other political commentators believe that the ruling of the Supreme Court has put the party in a comfortable position in a sense that the ruling has foiled all attempts to deny the party victory.

Many of the party supporters believe that the Brumskine and Karnwea ticket is the best for 2017. Karnwea’s nomination was rejected on Friday July 7, by NEC on grounds that he felt short of the controversial Code of Conduct particularly Section 5 under political participation, which bars public officials from contesting for elected offices unless they had resigned two years prior to seeking office.

But officials of LP which filed an appeal before the court seeking a reversal of NEC’s decision said the Code of Conduct is not applicable to Karnwea.Karnwea announced his resignation from the ruling Unity Party in February at a news conference where he also disclosed his move to the LP.

The court in reversing NEC’s decision Thursday said Karnwea’s “violation of the Code was not egregious in nature”.

“...[As] of the date of the decision of this Court in the [Selena Mappy -] Polson case, the violation not be considered egregious and that the National Elections Commission shall apply only the applicable penalty laid in the Code, short of disbarment or disqualification”, Associate Justice Phillip A. Z. Banks said in the Supreme Court Opinion Thursday, 20 July.
“... [As] appeared on forms filled by him and filled with the National Elections Commission, that he had not resigned said position in accordance with the two years’ timeline prior to the ensuing October 2017 elections prescribed by the Code, he was in violation of the Code”, the Supreme Court admits.-Othello B. Garblah

Opposition Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) political leader Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, says those who do not want to see his face on the ballot paper would get the shock of their lives, because he will be on the ballot as a Presidential candidate in October. He made comment after being qualified by the National Elections Commission (NEC) to contest in the October 10th polls.


“If they don’t want to see my face on the ballot, if they don’t want to see the motto: poverty is not our destiny, let them burst. In fact, there’s another song; it says if they don’t want to see it, burst your eyes. Burst your eyes”, Dr. Jones rapped on Saturday, 22 July in Kessely Boulevard Community, Gardnersville as he receives responses from supporters.

The Presidential hopeful promises to address the Liberian people at another time on the issue concerning his clearance by the NEC, noting that this country is “ours, it is for all of us”.Dr. Jones gets qualified to contest the presidential election without headache of contesting any issue with the NEC at the Supreme Court of Liberia contrary to what many may have thought, having smartly witnessed the highest court reversing the disqualification of the opposition Liberty Party (LP) Vice Standard Bearer Harrison Karnwea.
Concerns grew here as to whether the former Central Bank Governor Dr. Jones would have successfully crossed the NEC’s examination after the Commission rejected Mr. Karnwea’s candidacy for violating some provisions of the controversial Code of Conduct that bars all presidential appointees from contesting public offices if they had not resigned two or three years prior to such elections.

“Well, let me say it another way, those who do not want to see us on the ballot in October, we are going to be on the ballot because … the Elections Commission has given us the go ahead to be on the ballot. So if they don’t like it, let them burst”, Dr. Jones tells a jubilant crowd in the community.
“Let me say another point, one of the speakers reminded me that when I went to the market here sometime ago I said that those that did not like what we were doing, if they were vexed, they shall what, burst”, he adds.

In what appears to be reawakening of his supporters’ hopes, Dr. Jones says a MOVEE government will look like the people of Liberia without any discrimination in “our” books, having based his premise on the meaning of democracy that it is a government of the people, for the people and by the people.
He was endorsed by the Friends of Billclintos Kamara, MOVEE’s representative aspirant for Montserrado County District #12 at an event in the Kesselly Boulevard Community of Gardnersville.

Dr. Jones urges MOVEE partisans and supporters to give Mr. Kamara their full support because the party needs people, who will work in Legislature, saying, “So stand with him; support him; he is our candidate”.Earlier, Mr. Kamara observes that in the face of poverty and underdevelopment in Liberia, some people want to create barrier for a son of the land (Dr. Jones) who says poverty is not “our’ portion.

Mr. Kamara however says their own rattan is beating them, having seen his political leader Dr. Jones qualified to run in the presidential election, promising that Dr. Jones will speak on their behalf.
“Now the youth, now the youth, I want to admonish you, that don’t compromise six years for three months. We have three months to elections, we have six years to go. You got to look at the long-term impact”, he says.
The representative aspirant stresses that if transformation were to be achieved in Liberia, there must be firmed democracy that will encourage free and fair participation of the people.

By Winston W. Parley

Liberia’s Supreme Court has reversed the National Elections Commission’s or NEC’s decision rejecting the vice presidential bid of opposition Liberty Party (LP) aspirant Mr. Harrison Karnwea on grounds that his “violation of the Code was not egregious in nature”.


“...[As] of the date of the decision of this Court in the [Selena Mappy -] Polson case, the violation not be considered egregious and that the National Elections Commission shall apply only the applicable penalty laid in the Code, short of disbarment or disqualification”, Associate Justice Phillip A. Z. Banks said in the Supreme Court Opinion Thursday, 20 July.

The NEC rejected Mr. Karnwea’s vice presidential bid on grounds that he was in violation of the Code of Conduct which instructs all presidential appointees to resign their posts two years ahead of elections if they have desires to contest in such elections.

“... [As] appeared on forms filled by him and filled with the National Elections Commission, that he had not resigned said position in accordance with the two years’ timeline prior to the ensuing October 2017 elections prescribed by the Code, he was in violation of the Code”, the Supreme Court admits.

In spite of determining that Mr. Karnwea still held onto his appointed job as Managing Director at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) this year before later resigning, the Supreme Court says it finds him to have substantially complied with the Code of Conduct in resigning the post “shortly following the decision of the Supreme Court in the case Selena Mappy - Polson v. Republic of Liberia”.
But Liberia’s former Solicitor General and veteran lawyer Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe has “respectfully disagreed” with the nation’s highest Court, arguing that it did not have to act on the Code of Conduct before the public could take note of the instrument once it was passed by the Legislature in 2014 and printed into Hand Bill, it had already been recognized as a law.

“Once a law is passed, everyone in this Country is put on notice. So from 2014, I remembered it was published into Hand Bill and became law, everyone in this country was put on notice”, Cllr. Gongloe says.

“So even without the Polson case, the Elections Commission was right to reject anyone who did not comply with the law … The Opinion of today has actually changed that, that it’s only when there is egregious violation … consistent with the Abu Kamara case”, Cllr. Gongloe adds.

He contends that it is the Supreme Court that brought the world “egregious” in the Polson case, noting that the statute just said that anyone who wants to contest must resign two years prior to the holding of elections.
He warns that this Opinion of the Court is going to have wide ranging implication in terms of adhering to strict rules passed by the Legislature due to “some extrapolation” that he claims to see here.

He suggests that it would have been a better position if the Supreme had said the line is drawn, if you didn’t resign two years back, then you are not qualified.On the issue of Mr. Karnwea allegedly having no “desire” to contest as proffered by his lawyers, the Court says one may have desire and work towards it without expressing such desires.

The Court says it cannot speculate however that Mr. Karnwea did not secretly impress the LP to be a running mate, while citing the instances where he resigned from the ruling Unity Party, and later joining the LP where he told a press conference this year that LP was the best option for Liberia.
But based on the Supreme Court Opinion, Cllr. Gongloe foresees everyone now going to apply, leaving a challenge to the NEC to proof “egregious violation”.
On the basis of the Code of Conduct, Cllr. Gongloe says he has advised ten aspirants who had not resign two years ago not to contest because they were not qualified.

But given the Supreme Court Opinion, he now announces that “anyone who wants to run just resign before you apply”, even one day before the application is sent to NEC.
On the basis of Mr. Karnwea’s resignation that came after the Supreme Court’s March 3, 2017 ruling in the Polson case, the high court says he did not commit acts of an egregious nature against the Code of Conduct as to warrant “the maximum penalty of disqualification prescribed for egregious conduct”.

The Court then comes to deal with the NEC for its failure to conduct a hearing in the Karwean case to accord him “due process” guaranteed under the law before barring him from the process.

It has sent the matter back to the NEC so that it can conduct a hearing and accord Mr. Karnwea due process, except that disbarment is out of the question. He might face lesser penalty if the NEC finds him to be in violation of the Code.

By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah

 

Some disgruntled partisans of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of jailed ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor are accusing the party Chairman, Maryland County Representative James P. Biney of allegedly receiving US$14,000 on behalf of the party.


Efforts to contact Rep. Biney for comment proved futile has his mobile number given to this writer by his staff could not go thru. However, the partisans, who asked for anonymity, claim Chairman Biney received the money from the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander B. Cummings and some foreign partners, but there has been no direct impact of the amount on the party.

They also alleged that the refusal of Chairman Biney to account for the fund resulted to mass exodus of senior party executives. The row in the NPP over the alleged money has reportedly caused the party Standard Bearer, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor and few other senior officials to form a Coalition with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of Senator George Mannah Weah, where she was picked as running to Weah.

The partisans note that the Coalition has rendered the NPP weak and ineffective thus, becoming a serious political liability to the CDC, as several senior NPP executives, who, according to the, were expected to boost the Coalition, have all exited the party thereby, leaving Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor in the cold.

They explain that among those who quitted the NPP due to the misunderstanding include its Vice Chairman, Bong County Representative George Mulbah, Secretary-General Andrew Peters and Assistant Secretary-General for Social Services, Amanda Garnett, among others.

The aggrieved NPP partisans also name the party Vice Chairman for Planning, Research and Policy, Kollie Kamara and several county officials, who also jump the boat. It may be recalled that former Vice Chairman Representative George Mulbah told a local radio talk show recently that he and other officials of the party were constrained to leave because its Standard Bearer, Sen. Jewel Howard-Taylor and Chairman James Biney were taking unilateral decisions.

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