Politics

Boakai, Sherman’s bait or puppet?

The former Chairman of the ruling Unity Party or UP now Senator Varney Sherman, who last Tuesday fired several salvos at President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the party’s sitting President says, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, does not need her support to win the 2017 election.


The disgraced former UP chairman who currently faces bribery charges, thanks to a Global Witness report, which accuses him of taking over USD900, 000 to allegedly bribe several government officials both past and present also told local journalist at the Capitol Building that he could not confirm nor deny that President Sirleaf is supporting her vice President for the 2017 presidential race.

Vice President Boakia is yet to issue any statement distancing himself from claims by Sen. Sherman that he (Boakai) does not need his boss’s support to win this year’s election.

Sources told this paper that Boakai has claimed that he did not listen to the statement and have not read it in the papers. Sources further alleged that the vice President said one of the reasons for him not hearing this is because he only listens to the British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC news.

The silence by the Vice President whose surrogates have over time accused the president of supporting opposition presidential candidates is also yet to make a public statement distancing himself from these divisive comments, something which has left many wondering as to whether the vice President is being use by Sherman as a bait to get revenge from the president or he is simply Sherman’s puppet in disguised.

Sherman among other things on last Tuesday branded Mrs. Sirleaf as being ungrateful –someone who has paid him bad for good. Both Sherman and Sirleaf were bitter rivals during the 2005 elections, which the latter won ushering in her first term. The both statesman and stateswoman later combined forces in 2011 as Mrs. Sirleaf defeated former UN official Winston Tubman in a race that was climaxed by violent demonstration in 2011.

The Congress for Democratic Change or CDC even though announced its withdrawal from the run-off of that election; its candidates were still on the ballot. Deterioration in relations between the two came to public notice when Sherman delivered the 2012 Independence Day oration in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, accusing his own leadership of departing from the cord version.

Addressing legislative reporters at his Capitol Building Office in Monrovia on Tuesday, 19 August Senator Sherman, narrated in frustration that following the 2005 General and Presidential elections, which they both contested as presidential candidates, President Sirleaf approached him and the Liberia Action Party (LAP) that he led as standard bearer, for a merger, which he wholeheartedly accepted, despite refusal by some powerful stalwarts of his party.

The Liberian corporate lawyer continues that he consented with the understanding that the deal was in the best of the country.Senator Sherman notes that in its final report and recommendations, the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommended that Madam Sirleaf should be barred from active politics, but he challenged the recommendation before the Supreme Court free of charge, adding that when Liberians rejected four proportions for national referendum, including tenure for presidency, he also took the matter before the Supreme Court and won the case to declare winner for legislative seat on the basis of simple majority.

According to him, President Sirleaf did not give him a dime for those legal services, but he did so purely on the basis of building cordial relationship with the President indirectly for the betterment of the Unity Party. During his entire tenure as chairman for the ruling party, relations with the then standard bearer, was rough.

Sherman further explains that when the merger deal was concluded with the Liberia Action Party, Liberia Unification Party and the Unity Party, which led to the second term victory of President Sirleaf, he raised millions of United States dollars to fund the President’s campaign activities. However, he notes that the only award the President gave him was to indict him falsely on the Global Witness report, thereby derailing his hard earned characters built over the years.

According to him, he deserves better from the presidency than using a “British boy” to disdain his image in the name of politics or fighting corruption. Sherman, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, further laments that during the 2014 special senatorial election, President Sirleaf refused to support his bid for the senate despite his lobbying powers that he brought on the table of the Unity Party. He claims that he won 60 percent of the total votes cast without any support from her.

He argues that the reported changed of concession law, for which he is on trial, was done with the involvement of the European Union, the United States Agency for International Development or USAID, and other international groups.

By Othello B. Garblah

Tubman ‘disingenuous’

Opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) vice presidential candidate Senator Jewel Howard - Taylor says Cllr. Winston Tubman is very disingenuous, on accounts of the alleged numerical casualties the party received under his command in 2011 and his subsequent alignment with another opposition party in 2017 to battle against CDC.


Sen. Taylor told Legislative reporters on Friday, 31 August at her Capitol Building office that during the 2011 presidential election, the CDC featured Cllr. Tubman as its standard bearer ahead of Sen. George Manneh Weah.

The former CDC presidential candidate Cllr. Tubman is reported to have recently crossed over to a long - time breakaway faction, the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of corporate executive turned - politician Mr. Alexander Cummings.

Sen. Taylor argues that while Cllr. Tubman headed the CDC ticket in such a crucial election against incumbent President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf of ruling Unity Party (UP), the CDC’s popularity reduced drastically in 2011.

Unlike the 2011 election, Sen. Taylor recounts that during the 2005 general and presidential elections, the Congress for Democratic Change which now forms coalition with two opposition parties, won 13 of the 15 counties when Sen. Weah contested the presidency.

But she says when the CDC featured Tubman as presidential candidate in the 2011 elections, the party only won three of the 15 counties here, suggesting that Liberians especially CDCians did not trust Cllr. Tubman as one who could be a good leader.

Having considered these political casualties allegedly caused by Cllr. Tubman to the party, Sen. Taylor observes that the 76 - year - old - man is rewarding the CDC with joining alliance with another opposition party to battle the CDC at the 2017 polls.

According to her, it is disappointing to see Cllr. Tubman joining forces with another opposition party in 2017, after the CDC gave him such top position.

She notes that Cllr. Tubman’s move is clear that he is ‘disingenuous’, adding that such action shows how unappreciative the 76 - year - old lawyer is to the CDC after being treated by the party like a father.

But she insists that despite Tubman’s moving on to the ANC ahead of the October presidential and representatives elections, the coalition remains a forceful political institution that is close to the presidency.

She boasts that the CDC’s strength was shown during its launch on Saturday, 19 August, parading with supporters along the streets of Monrovia and its environs.
She argues that the launch which saw a huge turnout by supporters, partisans and wellwishers, is a clear indication that the CDC is in absolute control of votes here, especially in Monrovia.

Sen. Taylor has meanwhile called on the National Elections Commission (NEC) to publish the voters’ roll update, adding that any delay or failure of by Commission not to publish voters’ roll update could lead to chaos.

Senator Taylor, who is enjoying her second term at the Liberian Senate says when the voters’ roll update is published, it will help voters to verify their information, ratify errors, if there would be any.

She expresses fear that if that is not done, the CDC will encourage all partisans to use voter’s registration cards to vote, even when their names are not on the voters’ roll.

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

LP Unveils 2017 Manifesto

The opposition Liberty Party or Lp has unveiled a ten point master plan Manifesto, which promises improved ECOWAS trade ties with Liberia under a Brumskine- Karnwea government in the aftermath of victory in the October 2017 polls.


The party also promises to construct a super high way linking cities and neighboring countries within six years. Locally produced agricultural products and marine resources are targeted for the sub regional trade opportunity in ensuring that country addresses the acute hardship on citizen, the manifesto has reassured.

It can be seen as a coherent political agenda with a clear cut idea of where it is taking off from and landing in time and space. “We are saying that economic transformation is possible so that poverty can be halved when privatization gets the requisite boost in infrastructure and sound leadership that stress fiscal discipline,” revealed a party insider.

The manifesto has purposively promised to address conditions that put Liberians at below a dollar a day. To this end budget allocations are going to be prudently switched from ineffectual sectors to more promising area of decentralized local service delivery working with city Mayors.

The ten point plan seeks to put the economy in the hands of Liberians using institutionalized stimulus packages that go against the existing onerous loan schemes suffocating small and medium business. Many say this is in tandem with Brumskine’s ideological bent for the Liberalization reform to take root since he served as Pro Tempore.

Health workers and Teachers are especially assured of a new lease of life when funds from unproductive allotment areas are shifted to assuaging the shocks of Ebola, according to the Liberty Party manifesto.

Ellen seeks lawyers' intervention

President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf is pleading with lawyers here to look at Liberia’s justice system to address inadequacies and delay of justice, taking note of year on year human rights report on the nation that are not favorable.


“Today we have over one thousand or some more people in the Central Prison for a facility that should have not more than two or three hundred,” Mrs. Sirleaf said Saturday, 2 September when she dedicated a government - funded Sanniquellie Judicial Complex in Nimba County.

She said most times the Chief Justice would personally go around prisons to order the release of some pretrial detainees who have been detained over time without trial. “Again, what do we do about that, we have to look to you to be able to help us to change that situation. Part of it has to do with the principles that we know … innocent until proven guilty in a court of law,” she adds.

She therefore calls on lawyers to help their country solve the problem by finding the means through new laws, new statutes, new regulations or new procedures.

President Sirleaf says it is a known fact that theSupreme Court is overburdened today, simply because everybody who gets slapped in the face and get sued by somebody can go to the nation’s highest court to call for writ of prohibition.

Mrs. Sirleaf said with such situations the Supreme Court has no choice but to look into every matter that goes before it. Thus she urged lawyers and stakeholders here to consider system reform that will bring relief to the situation and improve the quality of justice.

Concerning the judicial complex in Sanniquellie, Mrs. Sirleaf says she is pleased about the facility because it represents the results of strong policies and strong commitments to ensure that the country stands shoulder - to - shoulder in all areas of its national endeavors along with many neighboring countries.

Mrs. Sirleaf commends the transformation of the judiciary, recalling that when her government embarked on the journey of political governance, it recognized a lot of things that needed to be done to enhance the quality of justice and improve delivery of justice through the incentives required.

She says government has addressed issues of incentives, logistics, magisterial trainings as well as facilities within the judiciary embarked upon by late Chief Justice Johnnie N. Lewis and expanded upon by current Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Sr.

“This structure came out of strong determination. In November 2015 when we broke grounds, I was one of those not convinced that it could be finished within time,” Mrs. Sirleaf says.

The Sanniquellie Judicial Complex hosts sexual offense court, debt court, traffic court, tax court, revenue court, magistrate court, as well as offices for county attorney, resident judge, public defenders, city solicitor, petty and grand jurors, among others.

President Sirleaf thanked authorities at all ends for the spirit of cooperation that has existed among the three branches of government, having cited long periods of negotiations and consultations to get to where “we” are.

She, however, expressed regret that members of the Nimba legislative caucus who were cited on the program did not show up at the dedicatory ceremony. “It’s unfortunate that the members of the Nimba legislative caucus who are cited on the program are not here, and all of those aspiring for political leadership in Nimba are not here. They should be here because they are the ones who will benefit from the quality of justice that will come out of these quarters,” she says. Mrs. Sirleaf was led on a tour of the facility by Chief Justice Korkpor and associate justices.

--By Winston W. Parley

GOL launches National Codex Committee

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the ministries of Commerce and Agriculture, the National Standard Laboratory, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, the Liberia Business Association and other local and international partners, has launched the National Codex Committee in Monrovia.


Making remarks at the formal launch of the NCC over the weekend on behalf of the Minister of Health Dr. Bernice Dahn who was absence, the Director of County Health Services at the Ministry, Dr. Cuallau Jabbeh Howe expressed delight over the launch of the codex committee and promised the Ministry's willingness to work with implementing partners in making sure that the Draft Food Law and National Standards Act come to fruition.

“Every country needs a good policy on food safety legislation, and the Ministry of Health is working in that direction, because we are charged with the responsibility of protecting our citizens in our borders. There is an urgent need for us to collaborate and make sure that whatever is brought in this country is fit for human consumption, it is not a one man thing but rather a collective efforts and with the support from our partners the CNFA/ LADA FAO, WHO among others we can achieve our goals" Dr. Howe lamented.

She hinted that Liberian is noted for having good laws on the books, but the implementation aspect is what she says causing problems for the country. The county Health Services Director the Ministry of Health and the Government were grateful to launch the National Codex Committee and promised to working with everyone in making sure that the food law and the Act are passed into law.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief of Party for Programs at the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture/Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (CNFA/ LADA), Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce pledged her institution commitment to working with relevant stakeholders to have the National Standards Act and Food Law passed into law.

Mrs. Bruce said CNFA/LADA has budget to support the process but such funds can not be released unless the Government and other actors can play their part by passing into law the Standards Actand Food law. According to Deputy Chief of Party, CNFA/ LADA is working in four counties:Montserrado, Bong Lofa and Nimba along five value chains comprising cassava, rice, vegetable, cocoa and aquaculture. She said LADA's goal is to increase agricultural incomes of small holder farmers through private sector investment. Mrs. Bruce concluded the LADA is currently working with the National Standards Laboratory to bring the Lab to internationally acceptable standards.

The National Codex Committee was launched at the Emergency Operating Center, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia or NHPIL in Oldest Congo Town, Tubman Boulevard. It can be recalled that Liberia joined the International Codex Alimentarius in 1971 but there has been no substantial trace of Liberia's active participation in Codex activities.

The Codex Alimentarius or "Food Code" is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The Commission, also known as CAC, is the central part of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program and was established by FAO and WHO to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade. It held its first meeting in 1963. In Liberia, Codex activities has been dormant without more people in this generation knowing anything about it until recently in March 2017, the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international NGO implementing the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) with funding from the United States Government through USAID sponsored two US expert consultants in food law to the Government of Liberia whose duties were to assess the Liberian food industry, identify gaps, determine a path forward, and advance world-standard recommendation.

The CNFA/LADA experts concluded that “food safety programs in Liberia are either non-existent or completely ineffective. The country has no food laws and regulations; no food inspection service; inadequate laboratories to test for harmful chemicals and pathogenic microorganisms in food; very few, if any, personnel trained in food safety; and no food safety teaching and/or research at the universities.”

To follow up on the assessment and assist the government, in partnership with the Government of Liberia (GoL), CNFA/LADA established the National Codex Technical Working Group (TWG), a joint initiative of the Government of Liberia, CNFA/LADA, and the private sector. Through TWG, CNFA/LADA sponsored the the National Standards Act and Food Law which were validated on June 30, 2017 in Monrovia. The documents have since been forward by CNFA/LADA to the relevant Government Ministries including Health, Commerce and Agriculture for onward submission for Cabinet endorsement and passage into law.

The launch brought together officials of government from line ministries and agencies including Health, Commence, Agriculture, Finance and LRA, etc. Also, attending the event were private sectors actors like Mr. Charles Ananabas of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce and Mr. David Sembeh of the Liberia Business Association including the consumer council of Liberia the Liberia Baker Union, Water Producer Association, representative from the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The launch, which was sponsored by CNFA/LADA was under the theme “Promoting Food Safety for Health, Fair trade and consumer protection”.

GOL launches National Codex Committee

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the ministries of Commerce and Agriculture, the National Standard Laboratory, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, the Liberia Business Association and other local and international partners, has launched the National Codex Committee in Monrovia.


Making remarks at the formal launch of the NCC over the weekend on behalf of the Minister of Health Dr. Bernice Dahn who was absence, the Director of County Health Services at the Ministry, Dr. Cuallau Jabbeh Howe expressed delight over the launch of the codex committee and promised the Ministry's willingness to work with implementing partners in making sure that the Draft Food Law and National Standards Act come to fruition.

“Every country needs a good policy on food safety legislation, and the Ministry of Health is working in that direction, because we are charged with the responsibility of protecting our citizens in our borders. There is an urgent need for us to collaborate and make sure that whatever is brought in this country is fit for human consumption, it is not a one man thing but rather a collective efforts and with the support from our partners the CNFA/ LADA FAO, WHO among others we can achieve our goals" Dr. Howe lamented.

She hinted that Liberian is noted for having good laws on the books, but the implementation aspect is what she says causing problems for the country. The county Health Services Director the Ministry of Health and the Government were grateful to launch the National Codex Committee and promised to working with everyone in making sure that the food law and the Act are passed into law.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief of Party for Programs at the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture/Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (CNFA/ LADA), Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce pledged her institution commitment to working with relevant stakeholders to have the National Standards Act and Food Law passed into law.

Mrs. Bruce said CNFA/LADA has budget to support the process but such funds can not be released unless the Government and other actors can play their part by passing into law the Standards Actand Food law. According to Deputy Chief of Party, CNFA/ LADA is working in four counties:Montserrado, Bong Lofa and Nimba along five value chains comprising cassava, rice, vegetable, cocoa and aquaculture. She said LADA's goal is to increase agricultural incomes of small holder farmers through private sector investment. Mrs. Bruce concluded the LADA is currently working with the National Standards Laboratory to bring the Lab to internationally acceptable standards.

The National Codex Committee was launched at the Emergency Operating Center, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia or NHPIL in Oldest Congo Town, Tubman Boulevard. It can be recalled that Liberia joined the International Codex Alimentarius in 1971 but there has been no substantial trace of Liberia's active participation in Codex activities.

The Codex Alimentarius or "Food Code" is a collection of standards, guidelines and codes of practice adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission. The Commission, also known as CAC, is the central part of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program and was established by FAO and WHO to protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade. It held its first meeting in 1963. In Liberia, Codex activities has been dormant without more people in this generation knowing anything about it until recently in March 2017, the Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international NGO implementing the Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA) with funding from the United States Government through USAID sponsored two US expert consultants in food law to the Government of Liberia whose duties were to assess the Liberian food industry, identify gaps, determine a path forward, and advance world-standard recommendation.

The CNFA/LADA experts concluded that “food safety programs in Liberia are either non-existent or completely ineffective. The country has no food laws and regulations; no food inspection service; inadequate laboratories to test for harmful chemicals and pathogenic microorganisms in food; very few, if any, personnel trained in food safety; and no food safety teaching and/or research at the universities.”

To follow up on the assessment and assist the government, in partnership with the Government of Liberia (GoL), CNFA/LADA established the National Codex Technical Working Group (TWG), a joint initiative of the Government of Liberia, CNFA/LADA, and the private sector. Through TWG, CNFA/LADA sponsored the the National Standards Act and Food Law which were validated on June 30, 2017 in Monrovia. The documents have since been forward by CNFA/LADA to the relevant Government Ministries including Health, Commerce and Agriculture for onward submission for Cabinet endorsement and passage into law.

The launch brought together officials of government from line ministries and agencies including Health, Commence, Agriculture, Finance and LRA, etc. Also, attending the event were private sectors actors like Mr. Charles Ananabas of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce and Mr. David Sembeh of the Liberia Business Association including the consumer council of Liberia the Liberia Baker Union, Water Producer Association, representative from the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The launch, which was sponsored by CNFA/LADA was under the theme “Promoting Food Safety for Health, Fair trade and consumer protection”.

Dr. Samah garners support in District # 12

Montserrado County district #12 candidate, Dr. George Bayan Samah garners support boost from residents of the district on his way to the October 10th poll. When asked why the support, residents claim that Dr. Samah is the right man to represent them because he is sent by God to lead them, while others say he is developmental-oriented, knows the plight of his people, provides scholarship and is a lovely man.


Marketers of Kesseley Boulevard, Gardnersville Super Market, and Chicken Soup Factory, respectively say they are supporting Dr. Samah because he heard their cry when they needed a place to sell.

According to them, he constructed a modern market building each in their areas, noting that when they were in need of a place to sell, no one came to their rescue except Samah.
Several students of the Liberia Christian Community College or LCCC, Bishop Tue Institute and Special Project High School, among others, pledge support to Dr. Samah, for donating flat screen computer to each institution.

Vying as an Independent Candidate, he has also constructed a bridge and road connecting Chicken Soup Factory, Steven Tolbert Estate and other adjacent communities.

The former financial comptroller of the Ministry of Health is contesting against several strong contenders, including incumbent Representative Richmond Anderson of the Liberty Party, former Representative Dave Koomey, (2005-2011) of the Coalition for Democratic Change, and former Assistant Minister of Internal Affairs, Augustus Zazay from the governing Unity Party, among others.
Montserrado County District# 12 has over 43,000 registered voters.

Cummings finds new friend

Ex-presidential candidate in the 2011 elections, retired U.N. envoy Cllr. Winston Tubman, joins the Alternative National Congress (ANC) of entrepreneur turned politician, Alexander Benedict Cummings, barely 39 days to elections here.


Tubman, who lost the 2011 polls to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a runoff, declares his membership with the ANC on Thursday, 31 August in an elaborate ceremony characterized by pageantry and traditional dance from his ethnic Grebo tribe supported by battle cry unit of the party at its headquarters on 24th Street, Monrovia.

The reception, symbolic of a victory celebration, was greeted by jubilant crowd, including partisans, sympathizers and well-wishers. Cllr. Tubman first tasted Liberia’s electioneering process during the 2005 elections when he contested along with Jeremiah Sulunteh as standard bearer of the ex-ruling National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL) of slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe.

Coincidentally, Sulunteh, an ex-ambassador, is the current running mate of ANC leader, Cummings. Tubman tried making a comeback recently with the grand old True Whig Party, but lost the party’s primary and quickly ran to the National Elections Commission with a complaint of being cheated. He subsequently lost the ruling.

Speaking at the program, ANC flag bearer Cummings says the party is prepared in every capacity to win the October elections in the first round, a brag nearly all of the major contenders in the race are making here.

No party had attained a first round victory in the past two elections, and it remains to be seen how this miracle is to be achieved in a race of 21 candidates, including six Independent Candidates competing for the votes of 2,183,683 registered voters across the country.

According to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, for a party or Independent Candidate to be declared winner of the presidency, it must obtain 50 percent plus one of the total votes cast.

But Cummings, a newcomer, maintains that the ANC is working to unbalance rival political parties, including the Coalition for Democratic Change, particularly here in Montserrado; to unseat the Liberty Party in Grand Bassa, and to unsettle the governing Unity Party in Lofa County.

He calls on his supporters and partisans to create the mindset of winning these elections both for the House of Representatives and the presidency.According to him, Liberians have tried the old method, which is not taking the country anywhere, suggesting that Liberia needs new approach in governance that would change the livelihood of the people.

He vows to move Liberia to the 21st century under an ANC-led administration to be able to compete globally, and announces newly found friend, Cllr. Tubman as senior political advisor to his campaign team.

Tubman promises to work tirelessly to ensure that the ANC’s dream of winning the presidency becomes a reality, and brags of having thousands of supporters that are willing to join the ANC and canvass.

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

 

Ellen cautions presidential candidates

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is cautioning Liberia’s over 20 presidential candidates that the job they are seeking is a hard one, suggesting that any emerging victorious at the polls on October 10th would need discipline to guide the level of free speech that her administration has tolerated over the years.


“Y’all know something? This president job [is] hard. Plenty people want it, but they will feel it,” Mrs. Sirleaf notes during an interactive farewell tour of Montserrado County, specifically Kingsville, Todee District on Thursday, 31 August.

Though none of the presidential candidates attended the interactive forum between the President and citizens, as she did in other counties before campaign began here, she however cautions that the president can’t do everything.

While acknowledging that government could not finish all the work in the country in 12 years, Mrs. Sirleaf says she will leave the score card with the young people to decide, noting that the work will take some time.

According to her, sometime the president just runs everything by telephone, by meeting or by letter because whatever the president wants to be done, somebody got to be on that road to implement it.

“If you’re engineer, you got to be there to fix it; if you’re doctor, you got to be there to cure people. If you’re in the legislature, you got to make the law,” she says.

Commenting on the level of free speech endures under her administration, Mrs. Sirleaf notes: that [what is said] in the morning on the radio would sometimes want to tempt you to answer badly [to certain things], but then you seek God’s help.

“But you know we did that one because we wanted people to feel free,” and adds, “all the cursing thing that has been done here, they now get to the place where they curse this time nobody listen to them anymore then the cursing will stop.”
While stressing the importance of freedom of speech, President Sirleaf however warns that it also means freedom has responsibility. She says if freedom will be exercised here, it must be done in such a way that recognizes that where someone’s right ends, other’s right begins.

“That’s why you got to be responsible when you exercise freedom. But we thank God we brought the change, people were not used to that before, but now we need discipline.”

“But I thank God that with your help we have come a long way, now the other person can take it further,” she says. Mrs Sirleaf notes that with citizens’ support, Liberia is now at a place where it is going to 15 years of peace. During the tour, she held town hall meeting with the people in Nyehn, Todee District and dedicated several projects.

-Story by Winston W. Parley

Senate rejects Education Minister

Members of the Liberian Senate overwhelmingly declare vote of no confidence Thursday, 31 August in the Minister of Education, George Werner. Minister Werner had earlier posted on his Facebook page weeks back, “Da book we will eat?” Werner continued: "To the book people, education does not promote equality and share prosperity." The Minister then goes on to categorize the debate as "Tabata," (in the Kru dialect means nonsense).


The post did not go down well with Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, a strong supporter of the governing Unity Party Standard Bearer, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

Senator Dor-Sherif subsequently wrote plenary of the Liberian Senate, complaining that the post speaks to the fact that the education boss does not care about educating Liberian kids, and that his post has a propensity to divert the minds of school-going kids from furthering their studies.

She further argues that the minister’s comments are demeaning and offensive to the education sector of the country. Based her argument, plenary summoned Minister Werner to give reason why he should not be held in contempt.

It may be recalled that on August 17, Deepening Democracy Coalition, an independent pro-democracy group organized a debate among the six top presidential candidates in the upcoming elections, to showcase their platforms to the Liberian people.

Four out of the six candidates participated in the presidential debate and the absence of Coalition for Democratic Change Standard Bearer, Senator George and Standard Bearer of the Movement for Economic Empowerment created serious public outcry.

Werner, who appeared before the Liberian Senate on Thursday as mandated by the body to show reasons why he should not be held in contempt for undermining the educational sector, argues that his comments on social media were not offensive and did not, undermine the nation's educational sector.

Minister Werner reneges in giving an open apology to the senators, saying "I have listened to your advice and I will contemplate on it." In another response to the Senate, the Minister reluctantly said, "I take your advice into consideration and I thank you for it."

Following his comments, the body then voted to pass a "Vote of no confidence" in him on grounds that he has failed to proffer a direct apology for his acts. Meanwhile, Lofa County Senator, George Tengbeh, files a motion for reconsideration against the decision of the Senate, but has been advised by the body to do so within the statutory period.

Under the standing rules of the Liberian Legislature, there is nothing calls vote of no confidence, which is borrowed from the British parliament. Statutorily, it is constitutional power of the President to accept the vote of no confidence or continue working with Minister Werner.

During the Interim government headed by Dr. Amos Sawyer in the 1990s, members of the House of Representatives declared vote of confidence in then Finance Minister, Dr. Byron Tarr, but Dr. Sawyer retained him as finance boss until the elapse of the interim arrangement.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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