“Friends of Sulunteh” debunk critics

The National Chairman of the ‘Friends of Jeremiah Sulunteh’ has termed as laughable comments that Amb. Sulunteh is over ambitious.

Recently a member of the governing Unity Party in Bong County claimed Ambassador Sulunteh left the UP because he is over ambitious, but did nothing to improve the party.

But Mr. Othello Frank has frowned at the comment, describing it as laughable.

He said those making the comment need to think and counter-think before stating such in public.

Mr. Frank argued that Ambassador Jeremiah Sulunteh did a lot in the Unity Party, while serving as Senior National Vice Chairman of the party.

He named provision of scholarships to youth of the party and contribution to the election of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in two polls as great contribution to the UP.

Mr. Frank cautioned Ambassador, who quit the UP last month and has reportedly joined the opposition Alternative National Congress, not to listen to critics, who think he did nothing for the governing party.

He reminded critics that if Amb. Sulunteh were over ambitious, he would not have abandoned the senatorial races in 2011 and 2014 to save the image of the UP after he was asked by President Ellen Johnson Sirlaf to do so.

He added that in 2014 there were people who left the party and contested as independent candidates after losing the UP primary, noting they were over ambitious that is why the party lost the election to the National Patriotic Party.

By Papa Morris-Editing by Jonathan Browne

MOVEE beats war drum

Opposition Movement for Economic Empowerment or MOVEE National Chairman Mr. Dee Maxwell Kemayah has sounded a war drum here that the October 10th elections will not be held if there are attempts to stop his party’s standard bearer, ex-governor Dr. Joseph Mills Jones from participating in the polls.

Mr. Kemayah’s threat came Monday, 6 March after Liberia’s Supreme Court ruled Friday, 3 March upholding a National Code of Conduct passed by the Legislature as being “legal and binding” for “all intents and purposes.”

The National Code of Conduct which surfaced from the Executive Branchin which Dr. Jones served for two terms as Central Bank Executive Governor before he retired, has strict instructions that “all officials appointed bythe president” shall not engage in political activities or quit theirappointed jobs two or three years prior to publicelections.

But Dr. Jones, whose position then as Executive Governor of the Central Bank,would have required him to resign three years before the date of elections, did not resign the post until his tenure ended.

However, following the Supreme Court’s decision, his party chair Mr.Kemayah called a press conference in Monrovia on Monday, 6 March at the party headquarters to warn that any attempt to stop his politicalleader from contesting the presidency in October, the Liberianpeople will not accept the decision.

Mr. Kemayah insisted that Dr. Jones will be on the ballot paper as apresidential candidate to contest in the October elections on groundsthat he has not violated, and will not violate any part of theConstitution of Liberia.

He called on officials and partisans of MOVEE to continue with theiractivities in their communities, districts and counties acrossLiberia.

“As a matter of fact, we want to let all of you our members,supporters and well- wishers know that this misinformation will notshake Dr. Jones and MOVEE. Dr. Jones is right now in the Southeasternpart of Liberia doing MOVEE’s work, where he is being well received,”he said.

After making threats against the elections, Mr. Kemayah later saidMOVEE believes in the conduct of peaceful, free, fair andtransparent elections.

He accused the media here of only spending time and effort to wronglydrawing Dr. Jones into the rulings of the Supreme Court when Dr. Joneshas not been involved with any case at the Supreme Court.

He also accused some unnamed politicians and their surrogates of allegedlytrying very hard to tie Dr. Jones into the Code of Conduct sinceits passage by the Legislature in 2014.

He concluded that the detractors were insinuating that the Political Leader and Standard Bearer of MOVEE will be stopped from contesting the Presidency in October.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Young musician meets tragic end

One of Liberia’s budding musical artists Quincy L. Burrower, c.k.a. ‘Quincy B’ died early Friday, 3 March in a car crash near UNMIL Headquarters or Pan African Plaza in Monrovia while on his way home a local club.

Quincy had performed at Anglers Club up to early dawn and was reportedly driving home when his vehicle veered off the road and banged against a bullet-proof wall erected at the front view of the UN headquarters, killing him instantly.

Three other artists riding with him sustained injuries including Morris Gayford, c.k.a. “CIC” who broke his legs; Kovacee, and Feouls, who sustained minor injuries. Huge crowd Friday morning trooped at the John F. Kennedy Hospital upon hearing the death news of the promising artist. In the crowd were musicians, journalists, fans, friends, sympathizers and family members.

When this paper asked the mother of “CIC” about her son’s misfortune, she said she was removing him from the JFK to her resident in Brewerville outside Monrovia for herbalists to attend to his legs.

The late ‘Quincy B’ was an artist, producer, and entrepreneur. His body has been deposited at the St. Moses funeral parlors in Gardnersville, Somalia Drive, pending funeral and interment.  The diseased, who was believed to be in his early 20s, will be remembered for his soft and inspirational singing.

By Samuel Kamara -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Go and register

The Director for Civil Voter’s Education at the National Elections Commission or NEC, Senesee G. Freeman, has urged Liberians, who have not registered, to participate in the process, so they can be able to exercise their constitutional right at the polls in October.

Speaking to this paper in an exclusive interview on Monday, 27 February Mr. Freeman noted that some citizens were feeling very reluctant to go and register, while others were begging for extension, saying if there were need for extension, it will be done in the last days, because extension requires lot of money.

“Extending the voter registration time sounds so easy but it is very expensive, it requires a lot of money because new materials need to be bought and also money needs to be allotted for the voter registration agents”, Mr. Freeman explained.
He added that reports from rural areas indicate that the turn up is encouraging, as people in rural Liberia are not just sitting, they are turning up to exercise their constitutional rights.

He stressed that seven days are really enough for those who, have not registered, to go and register, adding that for those who are working, they can also find time even on Saturday to register.
He said CVE exhibition process starts on May 18 and ends in June 17, 2017 to provide the public an opportunity to scrutinize registered voters in order to weed non-Liberians or citizens below age 18.

“If someone accuses another person of not being a Liberian or is not yet 18 years, that person should have sufficient evidence, that is why we request for everyone number during registration process, because if you were accused, we will call you to come and defend yourself in court, but if you refused to answer calls, your name will be omitted from the registration list”, the CVE boss said. Editing by Jonathan Browne

Construire des routes et des ponts exige transparence et équité

WASHINGTON, DC – Lors de la campagne présidentielle de novembre, Hillary Clinton et Donald Trump étaient d'accord sur un point : la dégradation des infrastructures nuit à l'économie américaine. C'est pourquoi ils appelaient tous deux à une augmentation des investissements destinés à leur rénovation. Maintenant que le gouvernement Trump prépare les grandes lignes de son premier budget, l'attention va se concentrer sur ce qu'il va faire dans ce domaine.

Les USA ne sont pas seuls à avoir des problèmes d'infrastructure. Leur insuffisance et leur dégradation sont encore plus criantes dans le reste du monde. D'autres pays avancés doivent eux aussi recommencer à investir dans les infrastructures, tandis que les pays émergents doivent se préparer à l'augmentation de leur population et de leur consommation et à la nécessité d'investir davantage dans les transports.

L'investissement dans les infrastructures commence à bénéficier de la politique adoptée après la crise financière mondiale de 2008. Dans l’Union européenne, le plan Juncker – qui cherche à réunir des fonds pour financer des projets plus risqués et plus innovants – vise à générer plus de 300 milliards de dollars d'investissement entre 2016 et 2018.

Les mesures en faveur de l'investissement dans les infrastructures des pays émergents sont d'encore plus grande ampleur – notamment en Chine qui développe des projets tant sur le plan intérieur qu'à l'étranger. Ces dernières années elle a créé des organismes de financement tels que le Fonds pour la route de la soie et suscité la création de nouvelles institutions financières comme la Banque asiatique d'investissement pour les infrastructures.

Bien conçu, l'investissement dans les infrastructures est rentable, car il permet de relancer des économies en difficulté en stimulant l'activité du secteur privé et en encourageant la croissance. Par contre, mal gérées, les dépenses destinées aux infrastructures publiques peuvent engendrer corruption et gaspillage - les contribuables financent alors "des ponts qui ne mènent nulle part". Pour qu'un investissement porte ses fruits, il faut qu'hormis son financement, toutes les autres étapes d'un projet, de sa sélection à sa conception et à sa mise en œuvre soient bien gérées.

Le succès d'un projet ne passe pas seulement par la compétence professionnelle et l'expertise technocratique. La transparence et la liberté de la presse sont aussi nécessaires. Pour qu'ils puissent suivre l'évolution d'un projet et exiger des responsables politiques qu'ils agissent en faveur de l'intérêt général, les citoyens doivent être bien informés.

Dans un nouveau livre, Tomas Hellebrandt et moi prévoyons que d'ici à 2035 les habitants de l'Afrique sub-saharienne, de l'Inde, de la Chine et des autres pays émergents du continent asiatique devaient quadrupler leurs dépenses consacrées aux déplacements.

Les personnes qui gagnent 200 dollars par an ne consacrent que 1% de leur revenu à leurs déplacements, contre 18% pour celles qui gagnent 20000 dollars par an. Au cours des 20 prochaines années, le nombre de personnes dont le revenu est compris entre 6000 – 20000 dollars va augmenter de plus d'un milliard et beaucoup d'entre elles achèteront pour la première fois une voiture. Et le nombre de personnes qui ont un revenu annuel supérieur à 20000 dollars va augmenter de prés de 800 millions - et nombre d'entre elles prendront l'avion pour partir en vacances.

Les réseaux de transport des pays émergents devront s'étendre considérablement pour répondre à une demande croissante. Quant aux pays avancés, même si leur infrastructure de transport est considérable et la taille de leur population stable, elle a un besoin urgent de rénovation, sans parler des réparations nécessaires.

Les pays émergents ne pourront financer leurs infrastructures que s'ils accroissent le rôle du secteur privé. Les fonds d'assurance et les sociétés d'assurance notamment pourraient fournir une grande partie des sommes nécessaires. Mais pour profiter de cette opportunité, il faudrait relâcher les exigences prudentielles à leur égard, de manière à ce que leur portefeuille de projets d'investissement soit diversifié. Il faudrait aussi créer des plateforme de co-investissement avec des banques de développement multilatéral ou régional pour renforcer la crédibilité de ces investissements.

Pour attirer les investisseurs privés, les Etats doivent maintenir la stabilité de leur environnement réglementaire et s'abstenir de toute interférence de caractère arbitraire. Ils devraient aussi indiquer clairement et faire respecter les obligations fiscales liées aux projets qui comportent une participation privée - ce que le Chili fait maintenant couramment. Cela évitera que les garanties de l'Etat en faveur des partenariats public-privé n'aient un coût budgétaire pouvant atteindre un point de pourcentage de PIB ou même davantage, comme cela s'est produit en Colombie, en Indonésie et au Portugal.

Les Etats doivent favoriser une culture de transparence de manière à ce que les fonds mis à disposition ne soient pas détournés en toute illégalité ou orientés vers des projets à faible valeur ajoutée dans un objectif politicien. Les appels d'offre et les principaux contrats doivent être publiés et toutes les étapes du processus de passation des marchés et d'établissement du contrat d'objectifs doivent faire l'objet d'un contrôle de qualité et être soigneusement consignées.

Pour décourager la fraude, il faut récompenser les lanceurs d'alerte et les protéger de représailles éventuelles. Les pays émergents qui sont en manque d'investissement doivent réformer de toute urgence le cadre institutionnel de sélection et de mise en œuvre des projets d'infrastructure. Néanmoins tous les pays sont plus ou moins touchés par la corruption, aussi les pays avancés doivent-ils protéger leurs projets d'infrastructure de l'influence d'intérêts particuliers et de toute interférence arbitraire de l'Etat.

Il est dans l'intérêt de tous d'encourager l'investissement dans les infrastructures des pays émergents. Ces pays étant maintenant à l'avant-front du combat contre le réchauffement climatique, tout le monde sera gagnant si cet investissement est orienté vers des projets respectueux de l'environnement. Construire des lignes de métro ou de chemin de fer plutôt que des routes permettrait de réduire les émissions de dioxyde de carbone au cours des prochaines décennies.

Les pays avancés peuvent encourager cette évolution en favorisant la recherche et le développement de la technologie verte, ainsi qu'en incitant financièrement l'investissement dans des infrastructures vertes par l'intermédiaire d'agences de crédit à l'exportation et de banques de développement multilatéral et régional. Un système de passation des marchés ouvert et transparent au niveau international favoriserait les meilleures technologies.

L'investissement dans les infrastructures est très prometteur, mais pour en récolter les fruits, les dirigeants des pays émergents doivent renforcer au plus tôt le cadre institutionnel de passation des marchés publics. Et les dirigeants des pays avancés doivent veiller à ce que la sélection des projets se fasse de manière équitable et en toute transparence, et s'assurer du contrôle effectif de leur mise en œuvre du début à la fin.

Le point de vue exprimé dans cet article est celui de l'auteur. Il ne représente pas nécessairement celui du FMI, de son conseil d'administration ou de sa direction.

Traduit de l’anglais par Patrice Horovitz

Paolo Mauro est sous-directeur du département Afrique du FMI. Il a écrit en collaboration avec Tomas Hellebrandt un livre intitulé World on the Move: Consumption Patterns in a More Equal Global Economy alors qu'il était chercheur à l'Institut Peterson pour l'économie internationale.

par Paolo Mauro

Lawmakers abandon session

For reasons best known to them, members of the House of Representatives conspicuously abandoned their statutory duty to convene session on Thursday, 23 Februaryas many of them reportedly troopto their respective districts.

The chambers of the House of Representatives were seen empty, with House Speaker Emmanuel James Nuquay and Deputy Speaker Hans Barchueremaining in their respective offices, passing the day off.

Both men appeared apparently embarrassed over the abandonment of the House’s Chambers as lawmakers troop to their districts to use the ongoing voter registration exercise as opportunity to interact with potential electorates.

The 1986 Constitution of Liberia mandates members of the Legislature to meet every Tuesday and Thursday to conduct official business.

But that was not the case on Thursday, as majority of the representatives from the 15 political subdivisions of the country were nowhere to be found.

Information gathered within the corridors of the House seems to suggest that majority of the lawmakers are seeking reelection, and that they have reportedly gone to their respective districts to educate eligible Liberians to register for the October 10 elections.
This year’s election will include candidates for presidency and the House of Representatives, and not the Senate.

Speaking to reporters assigned at the Capitol Building, the Director of Press and Public Affairs Mr. Isaac Redd said there was a drop in the number of communication in the office of Speaker Nuquay that should be discussed and acted upon in plenary.
He said members of the House of Representatives met on Tuesday and decided cancellation of Thursday’s session on grounds that there were more national issues that would warrant the attention of each lawmaker.
“The speaker thought to hold series of meetings with international partners and other members of the Executive on how some vital issues can be quickly resolved,” Mr. Redd said.

He said session will be held next Tuesday, on grounds that the management of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation has informed the leadership of the House that there won’t be electricity at the Capitol today, Friday.

“LEC has informed the House that there will be no electricity in the building and so you don’t expect the lawmakers to come here when there is no light in the building.  So session will now be held next Tuesday”, Redd told reporters.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Body found behind Defense Ministry

The remains of a 30-year-old man who reportedly drowned in the PHP Community behind the Barclay Training Center or B.T.C. barracks in Monrovia have been discovered.

The late EmmetKoyor was discovered by community residents on Wednesday, February 22nd. He had gone on the beach with some friends to swim when he reportedly drowned.
Since the incident, the situation surrounding his death has drawn suspicions and speculations among residents with some attributing it to witchcraft.

Speaking to this paper, a resident of the PHP community Achieboy Parker, who has identified himself as a friend of the deceased, narrated that the late EmmetKoryora.k.a “EK Money” was not a resident of the community, adding that he came from Johnson Street where he resided to spend time with friends, but meet his untimely death.
“It was Wednesday morning; I was sitting at my shop when I saw him and his friend arguing over five Liberian dollars. Immediately I went and settled the dispute by giving him 25 Liberian dollars to forget the argument. Later, I heard my little sister running towards the yard saying, ‘EK Money is leaving in the sea.’

But when I got there, most of the swimmers said none of them could rescue him, because according to them, their feet were heavy and his drowning has something to do with witch”, Achieboy explained.
“He was my friend, he left his house on Johnson Street to spend time with me here at PHP, but the speculation that is surrounding his death is shocking me, though I was not on the scene but on Wednesday, I only heard my little sister bringing crying to me saying, ‘Emmanuel leaving in the sea’, but before I got there the wave has carried him in deep sea; there was no way anyone could rescue him”, he further narrated.

According to him, people who went on the scene of the incident told him that there were swimmers who could have rescued the late EmmetKoryor, but they all complained that their feet were heavy to move.
“This is where I too want to believe that his death has something to do with witchcraft activities, because why would swimmers, who normally rescue people here at PHP, claim that their feet were heavy to rescue our own friend?” Achieboy asked in disbelief.

Abraham Doe, another eyewitness, who was on the scene, said he was with the deceased and they both swim together before he allegedly drowned.
, “I met ‘EK Money’ standing on the beach at 9: 30 in the morning, we all got in the water together and started to swim, but the next thing I saw was this huge wave covering us; when I came to myself, we lost each other - that was how he got drowned”, Abraham explains.
He said there were people who could have swim to save the deceased, but they rejected on grounds that their feet were heavy, and this is something that was creating fear among residents.

BY Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne


Peace sustainability rests with young people

The President and Executive Director of the Young Ambassador of Peace or YAP Momo Taylor,has said sustainability of peace in Liberia rests with young people, who are future leaders.

The YAP leader said statistics shows that about 60 percent of Liberia’s population is young people, who are direct custodians of the peace that citizens across the country are enjoying today.

Addressing reporters recently in Monrovia, Mr. Taylor pointed out that if Liberia must sustain the peace, inclusion of young people in decision making, and nation building must be taken into serious consideration.
“Our fight in this campaign is to create activities and program that will attract young people to stay away from issue surrounding violence and focus on youth empowerment, among other essential things”, he expressed.

According to him, one of the primary objectives of YAP is to get involved in issues that promote non-violence, noting that in the past the youth of Liberia had been blamed for violence, but this is no longer the case, as young people have walked away from acts that instigate violence.

“Our coming here is to inform the public about the upcoming national peace and reconciliation tournament that is expected to take place soon, we engage 35 percent of the 73 members of the House of Representatives to engage their various districts and to encourage youths in their various districts to form part of this youth tournament”, he added.
Mr. Taylor said the only way peace can be sustained in Liberia, young people, who are in majority,should come together and have peace activities to ensure that peace messagesare taken across all15 sub-divisions of Liberia.
“There is need that young people across this country get involved in activities that will promote peace instead of violence, against this; we thought it wise to invite young intellectuals from Pakistan and Kenya to share their experiences with our fellow youth on the importance of sustainability of peace.”
The YAP President said the pending election in October will be critical, because it is the first since 1944 where Liberians will witness free transfer of power from one administration to the other.
“This is an historic event that needs to be celebrated, because no one will be taken weapon or jump in the street to cause instability, but instead our weapon will be transcended into messages on issues relative to how best young people can be the fullbearers of the sustainability of the peace across Liberia”, he concluded.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Labour Minister frowns on child labor

The Ministry of Labor has frowned on the wave of child labor in the country, stressing the need to end the practice. LabourMinister NetoZarzarLighe, Sr. said the law against child labor should be vigorously enforced to get children off the streets.

“We see our children during school hours selling in the streets, while their mates are in school, children these days have been used as bread winners of the various homes, these things must come to an end”, he emphasized.
Speaking to UNMIL Radio on Tuesday,21 February he said the issue of child labor has drawn the attention of the Ministry and everything was being done to minimize the act.

“I think what is needed to put an end to this child labor thing is for every stakeholder to join hands in the fight against this act, because this is mostly happening in the informal sector, people that are in those sectors don’t really understand the implications of child labor, and so we all need to come together as one head and work together to avoid the continuation of this act”, said Minister Lighe.

He said the ministry is working to ensure that the issue of child labor is addressed, because often there are complaints from the public. “And just to say, our recent conclusion was also centered around this same child labor thing, as you may be aware, we just concluded the validation of a national action plan.”
According to the Labour boss, the recent validation was at the result of numerous consultations held with local and international partners on how to address child labor here saying, “The document is expected to be submitted to cabinet, where they will endorse it before it reaches the President.”

“If all of us put our hands together, to make sure that the issue of child labor is avoided, high level of awareness, everyone working in the child labor sector to serve as ambassador to stop the child labor, Liberia will be a better place”, he further emphasized.

He said the Ministry of Labour cannot address the problem alone, because there are so many things that needed to be added. “We cannot address this child labor issue 100 percent, simply because there are number of things that are required in addressing them, but what I think can be done is to work with other relevant government ministries, and agencies, including the Ministry of Gender, among others to bring this situation to a calm.”

The Ministry of Labor, created by an Act of the National Legislature in 1981, is charged with the Statutory Mandate to regulate the labor sector of the Republic of Liberia through development and implementation of policies for adherence to the Labor Practices Law of Liberia and International Labor Conventions.

By Lewis S. Teh& Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

NEC admits to slow VR process

The National Elections Commission or NEC has admitted to slow start of the ongoing voter’s registration across the country, but said it is because of the impression Liberians made about staffs at the commission.

NEC Communication Director Joseph Nyesuah told UNMIL Radio on Tuesday, February 21, that citizens, who went to the various centers to get registered, noted that whenever they arrived, no staff was around to register them, saying “I think this is why the process has been slow.”

“The process is dropping because of the impression others have made that whenever they go to register, nobody is around to cater to them, and those people will never want to go and see for themselves or make any follow up about the information that was given to them”, he however argued.
Mr. Nyesuah said these concerns have already been addressed, but the paramount issue now is materials needed to expedite the process, adding that awareness, which was lacking, is currently undergoing in all parts of the country and mechanisms are being put in place to speed up the exercise.

According to him, citizens that left their various houses to go register are the ones finding problem with NEC staffs, saying “there is a need for our people to encourage their relatives, friends to take interest in the voter registration, and stop telling them to back off from the exercise, because it is a matter of the state.”
When asked about the performance of staffs deployed at various centers, the Communication Director quickly responded that all those, who are working for the Commission in the registration process are Liberians that were hired and trained; no foreigners among them.

“I can’t understand why people would complain about NEC staffs that are assigned at various centers, these are all Liberians, I mean nobody at the NEC that has handpicked any of their relatives or family members to work, all those staffs are people that underwent the necessary training, so they are doing their work.”
He said the NEC has a contract with staffers, and they are aware of what they will receive at the end of the exercise, so there was no need to raise any concern about their contract.

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