Politics

UP wants runoff halted again

Liberia's ruling Unity Party (UP) is requesting the Supreme Court to issue another stay order against the conduct of a presidential runoff scheduled by the National Elections Commission (NEC) for 26 December, informing the Court that NEC has failed to clean-up the Final Registration Roll (FRR) as mandated.


The UP and opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) are due to meet at a runoff scheduled by the Commission for 26 December, following an alleged elections fraud and irregularities case filed by opposition Liberty Party (LP) against the NEC that initially stalled the runoff originally due on 7 November.

In a number of requests made in the Bill of Information filed Thursday morning, 14 December, the UP asks the Supreme Court to stay the runoff, rule that NEC lacks authority to set December 26 as new date for runoff election; and order that for the purpose of the runoff election the FRR given by the NEC to political parties in September 2017 shall be considered as a "Provisional Voters Roll" which shall be cleaned, sanitized and published in the manner dictated by the Court.

The UP backed LP's case that halted the 7 November runoff elections, but the NEC and the Supreme Court refused to grant LP's request for a rerun of the entire polls, though the Court acknowledged irregularities occurred to some extent in the October polls challenged by the two parties.

In the Bill of Information, the UP says NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya "created the impression that the FRR is cleaned, something the UP says defies the Supreme Court's opinion and judgment." It asks the Court to order that Chairman Korkoya and NEC's Executive Director be disqualified from participating in anything regarding the runoff.

The Bill of Information claims that during meeting with the NEC on 9 December, the UP and CDC had underscored the need for the cleaning of the FRR prior to the conduct of the runoff election as a matter of compelling necessity.

But the UP claims that as the meeting became intense on the matter of cleaning - up the FRR, Cllr. Korkoya allegedly ended the meeting in a rather abrupt manner with a promise that he would have cited the parties to another meeting."Up to the filing of this Information, Respondent NEC has failed, neglected and refused to cite the parties to a meeting," the UP alleges.

In an effort move the process forward, the UP says its representatives and CDC representatives met on Sunday, 10 December and agreed on what full cleaning - up of the FRR shall entail and reduced the agreement into writing and submitted it to the NEC as their recommendation regarding the FRR cleanup process.

But the party says NEC has failed to react to the recommendation allegedly submitted by the two parties due to meet in the runoff and did not call them into a meeting to discuss it. It says the NEC instead announced on Tuesday, 12 December that the pending presidential runoff would be conducted on Tuesday, 26 December.

Upon the NEC's pronouncement, the UP says it immediately registered its objection, claiming that NEC's announcement of the date for the runoff constitutes an irregular and improper execution of the Supreme Court's mandate.

The UP contends that the opinion of the Supreme Court calls for collaboration and consultation in NEC's cleaning up of the FRR with the UP and CDC, accusing the Commission of failing to exercise such collaboration and consultation in spite of repeated demands made on the NEC by the two political parties.

The UP wants the Court to order that ballots for the runoff polls carry serial numbers on each ballot stub corresponding to the serial number on the ballot itself in order to preserve the integrity of the ballots in the runoff.

It requests the Court to order that 15 days be allowed NEC's publication of the cleaned and sanitized FRR; and order consistent with Elections Law that provides that the FRR shall not be altered within 30 days immediately before an election, after the 15 days public inspection period of the cleaned and sanitized FRR has expired, an additional 30 days shall lapse before the runoff election shall be conducted by the NEC.

By Winston W. Parley

Women group protests at NEC

A group of women under the banner Movement for the Removal of the National Election Commission Chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya staged a peaceful protest Thursday, 14 December at the headquarter of the National Elections Commission (NEC) on 9th Street, Sinkor.


Speaking at the NEC Headquarters, the group's coordinator Madam Miatta Fahnbulleh said the women of Liberia are represented by diverse groups across party, religion and political affiliation, being concerned about the peace and security of the country, especially a conducive environment in which Liberians can elect their president and vice president without any fear or favor.

She echoes the group's call for President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf to ensure the removal of Chairman Korkoya from the Commission and the full implementation of the Supreme Court ruling and mandate before the runoff election is conducted.

Madam Fahnbulleh says the group believes that the failure to adhere to their call will not only taint the hard earned peace they fought for, the legacy of being the first female President of Liberia and Africa, but will also create an insecure atmosphere and expose their children and families to unnecessary fear and instability.

By Bridgett Milton--Edited by Winston W. Parley

MOE orders schools to remain opened

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has directed all principals, District Education Officers, and County Education Officers to ensure that all schools remain in session until the beginning of the Christmas vacation on 22 December.


An MOE press release issued on 14 December in Monrovia also says after years of civil war, Liberia’s education system has been in a state of crisis. The release furthers that the educational system was later made worse by the Ebola epidemic which caused the overage enrollment at schools to remain a significant challenge at all levels of the system.

The MOE press release notes that approximately 40 percent of primary school students are more than three years older than the appropriate age for their grade.
It says that Liberian children do not need any additional disruption that can negatively impact their ability to be productive citizens in the future.

The release says it is the Ministry’s responsibility to ensure that all of the children of the country have access to quality education. The release then concludes that the Ministry has been working to improve the education system and ensuring that children are in the classrooms and learning is absolutely important to them.--Press release

MOE orders schools to remain opened

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has directed all principals, District Education Officers, and County Education Officers to ensure that all schools remain in session until the beginning of the Christmas vacation on 22 December.


An MOE press release issued on 14 December in Monrovia also says after years of civil war, Liberia’s education system has been in a state of crisis. The release furthers that the educational system was later made worse by the Ebola epidemic which caused the overage enrollment at schools to remain a significant challenge at all levels of the system.

The MOE press release notes that approximately 40 percent of primary school students are more than three years older than the appropriate age for their grade.
It says that Liberian children do not need any additional disruption that can negatively impact their ability to be productive citizens in the future.

The release says it is the Ministry’s responsibility to ensure that all of the children of the country have access to quality education. The release then concludes that the Ministry has been working to improve the education system and ensuring that children are in the classrooms and learning is absolutely important to them.--Press release

HIGAB harvest cassava project in Gbarpolu, but…

A local Non-Governmental Organization known as Hope in God Association of the Blind (HIGAB) has begun harvesting its cassava project in Totoquellie, Gbarpolu County.


Mr. Johnson K. Dorbor, National President of HIGAB made the revelation Thursday, 14 December when he spoke to the NewDawn in the Township of Gardnerville in Montserrado County. He says the four- acres agricultural project started with the production of rice through a grant of US$3, 000.00 from an international group based in Finland.

According to him, the rice project was interrupted by the outbreak of the Ebola crisis, compelling the organization to redirect portion of the grant toward the implementation of its cassava project.

The HIGAB boss who himself is a blind person, also says apart from the cassava project in Northwestern Liberia, the organization is currently renovating a ten - classroom elementary school building in order to meet the educational needs of blind children of the organization.

He explains that children of HIGAB have been finding it difficult to acquire basic education due to the lack of fund to secure a building for the use of the kinds about hundred in number.

He observes that although the harvest of the cassava is ongoing in Gbarpolu County, the organization is in dire need of cassava processing machines which can only be possible through the help of donor organizations and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

He adds that even though HIGAB is renovating the building, the organization would need chairs, black boards, doors, and other items to facilitate the smooth learning process of the affected blind kids, most of whom he says have lost their parents during the period of the Ebola crisis in the country.

He calls on philanthropists organizations operating in the country to come to the aid of HIGAB, complaining that the organization is unable to provide all the services needed for the growth and development of the kids sheltering at HIGAB national headquarters.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

LPRC retires eight employees

The Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) has retired eight of its employees, following several years of work with the Company and making contribution to its growth and upliftment.


The company says the retirement ceremony is in line with the government's recognition plan that says once an employee serves any governmental institution over 3o years, such employee must be retired honorably to provide the opportunity for others to serve.

At a well-attended and colorful honoring program held at the Paynesville City Hall in Paynesville, Montserrado County on Wednesday night, 13 December, the LPRC management expressed delight over the services rendered by the eight employees, saying they contributed immensely to the company's success.

LPRC's Charles K. Kolee attributed the many successes of the Company to the retirees, encouraging them to move on with their lives, giving them encouragement that they will always be a family to the LPRC and their contributions will forever be remembered.

The program was held in two forms, one of which included the recognition of employees, and the honoring of retirees. The Company adds that the essence of certificating current employees is to encourage them to continue to work at the institution.

The eight retirees include Mrs. Alice M. Ketter, (1992-2017), Mr. Al-Josephus Taybior (1992-2017), Mr. John Y. Miller (1992-2017), Mr. Mark Toe, (1994-2017), Mr. Nyeah A. Tarpeh, (1996-2017), Mr. Joseph B. Quoinah, (2000-2017), Mr. Patrick Flomo, (2006-2017), and Mr. J. Momolu Dukuly (2008-2017).

The LPRC Management also honored Bernadette K. Grandoe as employee of the year, Wilrusha O.F. Kemokai as Assistant Manager of the year, and Jeremiah Wheagba as contractor of the year, respectively.

“Today we are not to retire people, but to honor for their service rendered over the years to the LPRC and our country at large. Their contribution has help the LPRC to what it is today and for that we want to appreciate you the retirees," says Managing Director Jackson F. Doe, Jr.”

He notes that today LPRC wants to recognize the efforts made by its wonderful employees who were being retired Wednesday tonight because of age tenure, saying many of them have done tremendous job for the company and the country as a whole.

The LPRC MD gives special praises to one of the retirees, Mr. John Dukuly who was the Manager for Application and software in recognition of his help in transforming the MIS system at the company.

He says many of LPRC's retirees have been a great help, recalling that two years ago, the he was able to meet those employees that were to be retired, asked them if they were prepared to be retired, and that they were all are prepared to be retired”.

Mr. Gbandoe encourages employees that will be retired in coming years to follow the example of their retired colleagues. Representing the Board Chair, Mr. George Kpawulu reminds the retirees that they should always continue the working spirit they started at the LPRC, saying he wants them to stand firm and continue the good work in their private lives.

"When we were retiring from this company we did not get the kind package that you are getting from here, so I want to wish you well in your next life, he concludes.

By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Pres. Sirleaf praises level of transformation at UL

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised the level of transformation at the State-run University of Liberia. She said she remains proud of the institution even after her administration particularly the general stability, remarkable improvement and the overall quality services provided at the University of Liberia.


“Today is a wonderful day; It is a, day we can all be proud of as I reflect on 2006, the first convocation in which I participated as visitor, the University had gone through some very difficult times: not sufficient budgetary appropriation, students sometimes staying at the University 4 years, 5 years and 6 years because the University was always closed; violence protest, difficulties in admission because of impropriety in the process :All of those; quality of work, quality of instruction, all requiring some efforts on the part of everybody to make this University what it supposed to be, Today am proud of all of you who have graduated, am proud of this University family-going back to Dr. Dennis, now Dr. Weeks with the progressive transformation that we now see,” President Sirleaf noted.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at the University of Liberia 98th Commencement Convocation at UL Fendell Campus in Louisiana –Montserrado County. The Liberian leader who is also the Visitor to the University recalled in 2006 when the University of Liberia was in an appalling condition with persistent students’ demonstration something she said caused major setbacks to the University calendar of events among others.

She lauded the collective efforts of past and present leaderships, members of the University of Liberia including students for their noteworthy efforts over the years in transforming the University at different levels. She congratulated the graduates and recognized their many sponsors, parents, and guidance and family members for the support given them and the high studies among others. Some 3,448 students graduated in various disciplines.

Delivering his commencement address, Ghanaian President, Nana Ado-Dankwa Akufo Addo thanked the University of Liberia for the invitation to serve as the 98th Commencement Speaker of the University of Liberia and for honor bestowed on him. He noted the December 7 recent ruling made by the Supreme Court of Liberia on the presidential election, must ensure that Liberia will have its first peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected leader to another in 73 years.
“The work undertaken by that truly historic figure, the first elected female leader of an African nation, President Sirleaf, in stabilizing the country, after a bitter and protracted civil war has been very solid and commendable,” he said. He continued: “I am anticipating that, at the end of the day, Liberia’s institutions, particularly the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission, will be up to the task, and shepherd the country through a successful transition.” He used the occasion to congratulate the graduates for their academic achievements. Meanwhile, President Akufo Addo departed Liberia on Thursday for Ghana.

Earlier, Dr. Ophelia Weeks, President of the University of Liberia commended President Sirleaf for the support given to the University over the years and the maintenance of peace, progress and stability in Liberia and described her as a great leader. Dr. Weeks, in appreciation of President Sirleaf's contribution to the University of Liberia and excellent leadership skills exhibited presented a Certificate of Appreciation to President Sirleaf.

She used the occasion to praise the UL Administration and students for their involvement in dialogue in moving the university forward.Dr. Weeks stared at acts of violence at the university campuses that almost created unhealthy situation for the 98th Commencement convocation. She named peaceful dialogue as a possible means of addressing critical situation confronting students who feel disenchantment and not violence. “Today we celebrate all our graduates and say well done,” Dr. Weeks intoned.

The ceremony was graced by several senior government officials, international partners, members of diplomatic missions accredited to Liberia, family members, among others.

 

Unnecessary bluffs

Opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) says ruling Unity Party (UP's) recent call for the resignation of National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya is an 'unnecessary bluff' and a clear indication of fear factor ahead of the 26 December presidential run-off between the two parties.


The CDC told reporters at its headquarters in Monrovia during a press conference Wednesday, 13 December that the UP statement shows the weakness of the party as the country gears up for a crucial election.

CDC National Youth Wing Chairman Jefferson Koijii says the CDC is adequately prepared to battle the UP at the ballot box and nothing will stop a massive defeat that awaits the ruling party.

According to him, politics is about competition, but observes that UP's recent action going to court despite being qualified for the runoff, and the ruling party's call for Mr. Korkoya's resignation, are just scare tactics.

The CDC claims that the UP is totally out of idea. Mr. Koijii notes that in the past 12 years, the CDC has remained in the opposition community and it is now time for the Liberian people who made the UP the ruling party to make the CDC a ruling establishment.

He claims that the desire of the Liberian people will not be delayed nor denied as allegedly anticipated by UP partisans. “Our friends on the other [side] of the political divide are out of ideas and [the] only thing they are calling for is the resignation of Chairman Korkoya. Their delay will not change the minds of the Liberian people," Mr. Koijii says.

He adds that CDCians have decided and concluded about bringing change to the country through the ballot box, vowing that nothing can change it. He welcomes the decision of the NEC on scheduling the runoff election to 26 December.

He urges CDCians and supporters of Sen. George Manneh Weah to remain calm and turnout on the day of voting to make the change that Liberians have long waited for.

Mr. Weah and UP's candidate Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai are due to meet at the runoff polls a day of Christmas, on 26 December for voters to decide who becomes Liberia's next president after incumbent President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf.

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

CDC, UP officials restless for Bong

Supporters of opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) including some of their executives appear to remain restless in a political battle for Bong County, with both sides persuading voters against the other.


The CDC and the UP are due to meet at a presidential runoff election scheduled for 26 December, after 20 presidential candidates contested the 10 October presidential and representatives' elections with none of them acquiring 50 percent plus one vote to assume the presidency.

Speaking on a community radio station recently in the County, CDC Bong County chairman and Representative - Elect Mr. Josiah Marvin Cole claimed that CDC Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Jewel Howard - Taylor represents Bong County at the Upper House, and therefore there is no way that the people of the County can abandon her vice presidential bid and support UP's James Emmanuel Nuquay.

Mr. Cole claims that if the people of Bong County support House Speaker Nuquay, they will not be counted during the times of developments, adding that the Speaker will only prioritize Margibi because there he comes from.

He alleges that Speaker Nuquay has played gamble with his job as House Speaker due to his decision to seek the Vice Presidency, the country's second highest post. He wants residents of the County to support Senator Taylor for a better Liberia.

Also speaking to the NewDawn, electoral District #2 Representative Mr. Prince Kermue Moye attributes the support of Senator Taylor by Bong residents to the alleged abject poverty introduced in the County.

Rep. Moye claims that Sen. Taylor has served as Senator for Bong County for the past 13 years, but she has not been able to make residents of the County feel her impact. He maintains that when she is given the opportunity to serve the post of Vice President, she will do nothing to benefit the County.

According to him, there is a need for the Kpelle people to vote the "Boakai - Nuquay" Ticket on grounds that Speaker Nuquay is from the Kpelle tribe.

Observation by this paper establishes that CDC continues to gain ground in Bong County, evidenced by remarks from various callers on the community radio stations in the county.

There are many people especially CDCians, who believe that if Senator Taylor wins the post, Bong County will improve developmentally. But supporters of the governing UP continue to dismiss the claim, arguing that Sen. Taylor will influence Sen. George M. Weah if he wins the presidency and makes a CDC leadership like that of former President Charles G. Taylor.
The debate regarding the CDC and UP vote in Bong has been a major concern in the central regional county.

The major campaign message of the CDC in Bong County is “Bong County's Interest”, a message the CDC supporters believe will help to make Bong residents to understand why Sen. Taylor should be supported.

By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan--Edited by Winston W. Parley

‘Juju’ discovered at church mother’s residence

Four witch doctors contracted by Mother Winnerfred S. Nahgbah of the Redemption Christian Fellowship (RCF) in Town Hall community, Gardnersville outside Monrovia have dug out several items perceived as charms buried in her private premises by unknown persons.


Eyewitnesses narrate that various pieces of charms or Juju were discovered and dogged out on 12 December following hours of spiritual performance by the witch doctors.

According to bystanders, strange materials tied with black tread and traditional seeds, money and male under wears were dug out days after Mother Nahgbah’s 11-year-old daughter allegedly confessed of being member of a witchcraft organization.

The child, whose name was not disclosed, had reportedly confessed during the witch doctors’ performance that she spent five days standing at one of their female neighbors’ window in the community monitoring her life, but was forced to leave the area because the spirit of the neighbor severely fought her spiritually.

Eyewitnesses explain that serious spiritual battle evolved between the traditional healers and witches as they ran around and some were knocked down by the power of traditional medicine, lay on the ground for at least 30 minutes before they made confessions.

The scene of the horrible event attracted hundreds of onlookers, who gathered to take a glance of the strange charms. Witnesses Konah Flomo, Gorpu James, and Mannah Matthews, detail that these harmful materials such as the ones discovered are used by evil-minded individuals to tie people’s progress or even kill perceived enemies.

According to them, the charms were then placed into a large bottle containing oil by the witch doctors and taken away. When contacted, Mother Nahgbah confirms the story but denied that she took the witch doctors to her house without the consent of her husband, who was said to have been out of Monrovia at the time of the incident.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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