Politics

ALL holds nat’l youth confab

A two-day National Youth Peace Building Conference gets underway in Monrovia on Tuesday, April 24th. The youth conference is organized by Accountability Lab Liberia in partnership with the Swedish Embassy and the United Nations Mission in Liberia.


About 200 young Liberians from the 15 counties of the country will come together to deliberate on the critical challenges relating to peace and security and to generate concrete plans for youth engagement ahead of the October 2017 general and presidential elections.

Participants at the conference will include both young men and women from a variety of groups including the physically challenged and the less fortunate.The Liberian National Youth Peace building Conference- which is the first of its kind in the country- will provide the opportunity for young people to engage in five “Work Labs” and deliberate on issues of Economic Prosperity and Entrepreneurship; Diversity, Tolerance and Reconciliation; Arts, Sports and Culture; Elections and Electoral Processes; and Integrity and Anti-Corruption. Among these other critical issues, the conference will also highlight women rights, gender equality and gender equity.

Conversations in the five Work Labs will be facilitated by motivational speakers and expert facilitators from both Liberia and Sweden including former Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Lena Nordstrom, Paynesville City Mayor, Cyvette Gibson, Ms. HawaGolakai and Ms. Gwendolyn Myers among others. The Conference will also host Mr. Van Vicker, a famous Liberian movie star; and Mapei, a well-known Swedish-Liberian musician.

It is envisioned that the conference will become an annual State of Youth in Liberia conference as a platform for young people to reflect and collaborate in support of the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 which promotes youth representation in decision making at all levels in society.
About Accountability Lab:

The Conference is organized by Accountability Lab Liberia (www.accountabilitylab.org), an organization that is building a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders in Liberia and around the world. The Lab develops creative campaigns, runs a highly competitive two-year accountability incubator for young civil society change-makers and recently established Liberia’s first co-working andinnovation space, called iCampus

Maryland youth groups vow support for VP Boakai

Two youth groups in Maryland County have vowed to support the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, pledging to source resources on their own to help the ruling Unity Party or UP to see Mr. Boakai win the October elections.


Mr. Meshach Elliott and Mr. Macarthur Doetein of the Youth United for Boakai and Rapid Response Team for Boakai 2017 say as young people of Maryland from diverse political background, they have decided to buttress the effort of the ruling Unity Party or UP to ensure Vice President Boakai becomes Liberia’s next president.
“We don’t know VP Boakai and we have not seen him, but will do all we can to ensure that he ascends to the post of the presidency”, the youth leaders Mr. Elliott and Mr. Doetein say.

Representing their various organizations, the youth leaders told this paper in an interview in Harper that they have done their assessment of the presidential candidates and have concluded that VP Boakai is the only candidate that has broad knowledge of the current developmental path the country is moving on.

The youth groups leaders further argue that Mr. Boakai has worked in the second top position of the Liberian government for over 11 years, and has gained understanding of government.They are suggesting that VP Boakai has the pedigree to stabilize the country and bring about positive transformation for the betterment of the Liberian people.
The two groups that claim to have membership of over 200 young men and women from the different political parties have promised to extend their arms to River Gee, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh, and Sinoe Counties to bring on board their colleagues for the support of VP Boakai’s Presidential bid.

The group leaders have vowed to galvanize resources on their own to buttress the efforts of the ruling UP to see VP Boakai becomes the next president.For his part, UP’s public relations officer for Maryland County Mr. Andrew Kallon has lauded the youth groups for coming on board to ensure his candidate becomes victorious.

He however pledges UP’s commitment in working with the groups, while also challenging them to reach out to every young person that is of voting age to support their ideology.

By George K. Momo/ Maryland-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Heart-man activities hit Nimba

Residents of Zahn Yekyee Town, electoral district#8 in Nimba County are in panic after unknown men suspected of being ritualistic killers, allegedly chased a woman and a group students.


The students were reportedly on their way for weekend while the woman in question had gone on her farm along when the incident occurred.No one has been arrested in connection with the act, but the town is said to have a history of ritualistic killings with a child discovered dead sometime last year in the bush with body parts missing.

The deceased and her mother had gone to participate in a farm cooperative locally known as koo, when the child was left in the village along with other kids.It was established how the minor left the village, but was subsequently found dead few miles away from the village with parts missing.

The New Dawn Nimba Correspondent said those who were on the farm, were arrested and sent to Saclepea for interrogation, but later released. Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson recently frowned against ritualistic killing during a visit to Maryland County, calling for government’s intervention.

Sen. Johnson, leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction, said if elected the next Liberian president, a MDR-led government would try and sentence to death suspects convicted for ritualistic killings.

The practice involves killing people and extracting their body parts to use them as charms to win elections or gain political influence. Maryland County has a strong history of such killings even up to now, but the famous one involved Allen Yancy, ex-superintendent James Anderson and others. The accused were subsequently tried, found guilty and sentenced by hanging during the Tolbert regime in early 70s.

Nimba County currently has about 105 representative aspirants from all nine electoral districts, who have expressed interest to contest in the October elections.Some of the citizens, who spoke to this paper lamented that the alleged act was creating panic in the county, particularly as the country heads for elections.

Some of the aspirants, who spoke with our correspondent, distanced themselves from the practice, saying they are entering the race to help improve the living condition of their people, rather than killing them.

By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Maryland holds educational meeting

A one-day education meeting to strategize and put in place mechanism to curtail mass failure among students in Maryland County has ended in Harper City with stakeholders vowing to do everything necessary to halt the menace.


The meeting brought together school principals across the county, District Education Officers (DEOs), Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) chairpersons, and county officials.
It was organized by Superintendent Betsy Kuoh Toe as part of her intervention to strengthen the county’s educational system.

According to her, she has observed that much has not been heard from school authorities across the county. Superintendent Toe emphasizes that it is important that her office and educational stakeholders brain storm to finding a way forward to end students’ mass failure in exams.

Statistics from the 2015/2016 exams administered by the West African Examination Council or WAEC shows that 836 senior students wrote the test, but only 273 successfully passed, while 564 failed.

Meanwhile, the Principal of Cape Palmers High School, the county’s premier high school, Mr. Babay on Boatue, attributes the situation to having one teacher teaching more than one school, students’ weakness in studying their lessons, teachers not putting in enough time, lack of textbooks and libraries, among other lapses.

Harper District Education Officer James G. Gaye, said mass failure of students in the county is also as a result of teachers not consulting their lessons plan, lack evaluation skills, poor qualification, and early request for students’ grades by WEAC.

At the close of the meeting, the stakeholders resolved that the county educational system will liaise with the Dr. Elizabeth Davis Russell College of Education at the William V.S. Tubman University to provide training for teachers across the county to enable them improve their skills in the classroom.

The Maryland school system is expected to establish a committee to conduct research on student’s failure as well as a community school enhancement program in the county.
Superintendent Toe promised to work closely with the County Education Officers (CEO) and District Education Officers as well as principals and PTA chairpersons to improve the county’s educational system.

By George K. Momo in Maryland-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Police in Harper City launch anti-mob violence

The Liberia National Police Maryland detachment has launched an anti-mob violence campaign code-named “Operation stop mob violence” in Harper City.


According to the LNP Maryland detachment community policing head MunahSieh, the police have over the years noticed an increase in mob violence in the county and deem it wise to carry on awareness through sports, among students.

Officer Sieh says often when the police go into the community to meet with residents, only elderly people show up with the youth being left out, and the reason usually provided is they are in school, so this time around, the police are taking the awareness to young people thru sports.

She explains that since mob violence is usually executed by young people in Maryland, it is against this background that the LNP community policing department decided to host such program in schools to get the youth fully involved.

Officer Sieh notes that the two days campaign featured five schools in Harper, including Our Lady of Fatima High, Cape Palmas High, Harper Demonstration, John Hilary Tubman, and A. Dash Wilson High.

She said the program is expected to extend shortly to Pleebo Sodoken District and will target all schools as well as the business community.During the ‘stop mob violence’ campaign just launched in Harper City, the students were told not to take the law in their own hands by lynching suspects, but to rather report them to the police, warning that beating on someone may sometimes lead to death, and the best place to seek justice if they felt offended is to use the rule of law in seeking redress.

Mob violence in Maryland County has been on the increase, particularly in Pleebo Sodoken Statutory District, often resulting to death.Recently, a man identified as John Dennis was mobbed to death in Pleebo Zone 4B community after he was accused of attempting to take away a one-year-seven months’ old baby for suspected ritualistic purpose.

The mother of the baby only identified as Patience, alarmed and angry crowd beat the suspect to death.The two days campaign was graced by local government officials, school authorities, community leaders, local media, and judicial actors in the county.

Speaking in separate interview with this paper in Harper, participants lauded the police for the initiative and called for its continuity.The head of community policing of Pleebo District that is highly rated for mob violence, Princess Baysah, said the program launched in the schools will set a new pace for the stop mob violence campaign in the county.

Officer Baysah disclosed that LNP will make maximum use of community radio stations and closely work with local journalists to halt mob violence.

By George K. Momo in Maryland-Editing by Jonathan Browne

NBC retires 6 employees

In recognition of their meaningful services to the government and people of Liberia, the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) has retired six technicians including a driver.


According to NBC Director General, Madam Ciata A. Bishop, the decision is with heavy heart but also necessary as retirement is based on age and tenure in public service. She praised the competence and commitment of the retirees with whom she promises to maintain closed ties, especially in times of need for their expertise.

Madam Bishop also hails the cooperation of the retirees in ensuring the transfer of knowledge over the last two years to those who will now succeed them after being retired.
Those retired included former Gbarpolu County Representative and NBC’s Deputy Director General for Administration, Dickson T. Yarsiah, Sr, Drayton K. Hinneh, Concession Advisor, Edwin W. Walker, Forestry Concession Advisor, Peter D. Kanbor, Senior Tax Analyst, Johnnie K. Tucker, Project Analyst and Boakai Kromah, Driver, respectively.

“Today we retire six people, who have worked in excess of 30 to 40 years; giving service to their country and people and so today, we have come to say thank you for your service, dedication and commitment that they have all made to their country,” she noted.

Bishop describes retirement as honorable and one that speaks a million as to the quality of service rendered to both state and people, adding that it provides a time not just for rest but also for the person to move on by taking on other challenges of life.

Making remarks on behalf of his fellow retirees, former Gbarpolu County Representative Dickson Yarsiah reaffirms his commitment to continuously serve his country despite serving the public sector for 42-years “We are overwhelmed today to see ourselves alive and the NBC saying you can go honorably,” he noted.

As in their case, he wants citizens to endeavor to serve their country with dedication, commitment and sincerity as such will meaningfully contribute to national growth and development.

Yarsiah promises to now move to private life by endeavoring to unite farmers in Gbarpolu County. He challenges Liberians residing in concession areas to stop vandalizing the properties of the concessioners as doing so will drive investors away from the country.

The former lawmaker also wants concessioners to ensure harmonious relationship with inhabitants by providing them agreed services. Held at a local beach in Tinkers Village, the occasion witnessed the awarding of certificates, gifts, and cash as farewell package and was graced by family members, representatives of the Civil Service Agency as well as the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation.

Nimba Commissioner alarms death trap

 

The Commissioner of the Leeweh pea administrative district of Nimba County, Mr. G. NyaDakiayee has decried the condition of the building that is meant to host his office as a death trap.

Commissioner Dakiayee has told the NewDawn’s Nimba County correspondent that it is very disheartening that the building that he is currently using for his office space has turned into a death trap.

He recalls that the structure was constructed since 1975, and has not undergone any renovation. Due to the deplorable condition of the building, Commissioner Dakiayee, has vowed to use a private residence as office space.

While lamenting the condition of his office, Commissioner Dakiayee is calling on the county administration including relevant authorities tofind solution to the situation in order to dignify the prestige of the commissioner campus.

Our Nimba County correspondent who visited the Commissioner Campus in Flumpa says whenever there is a high downpour of rain, there can be no work at the office of the commissioner. Our correspondent says heavy rains can destroy documents at the commissioner’s office.
By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Mass power cut stirs up Nimba

Nimba County is said to be unease over a mass power disconnection campaign by the Liberia Electricity Corporation and Jungle Energy Power, affecting thousands of residents.


Some aggrieved residents told this writer that the decision by the managements of both institutions to disconnect homes and businesses came as a surprise. The protestors narrated to the New Dawn Nimba Correspondent that while they were sitting at their business areas, they only saw LEC and Jungle Energy Power workers engaging them to pay bills accrued over the past two to three years.

According to them, the bills have accumulated to more than a thousand United States dollars for each resident and business center, respectively. The residents say they are willing to pay their electricity bill arears, but the both managements should give them time, adding that managements have not agreed to their plea, but insist on disconnecting over six hundred homes and businesses in the provincial capital, Sanniquellie.

According to them, alleged failure by the two institutions to send agents in the field to collect money owed over the past three years is responsible for the huge accumulation.
Electricity used by residents of Nimba is being provided by the regional group, West Africa Power Pool from Ghana thru Cote d’Ivoire.

When contacted, Mr. Tomah Seh Floyd, who took over the cross-border electricity program in Nimba, said the action by the LEC is based on liabilities the Government of Liberia owes the Government of the Ivory Coast in the of millions of dollars.

He said the Ivorian authorities have threatened to shut down or cut Liberia off from the pool because of indebtedness. Mr. Floyd names areas to be affected as George W. Harley Hospital in Sanniquellie, offices of the Liberia National Police in Sanniquellie along with the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization sub-offices there, including 60 business centers.

By Franklin Doloquee, Nimba-Editing by Jonathan Browne

PYJ, Urey coalition faces hitches

There appears to be hitches emerging in a developing coalition arrangement among three opposition parties here including Sen. Prince Johnson’s Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR, businessman turned - politician Benoni Urey’s All Liberian Party or ALP and Mr. Nathaniel Blamah’s Liberia National Union.


Nimba lawmaker Sen. Johnson who is alleged to have earlier made a verbal commitment to go as vice running mate to Mr. Urey is now said to have declined to take the slot on grounds that he had tasted elections and would be standard bearer of the coalition.

But reports gathered by this paper say following a meeting held Thursday, 20 April in CongoTown, Senator Johnson made a shocking U-turn on the proposed deal on grounds that he cannot bow to Mr. Urey and the rest of the aspirants in the coalition.

He claims that it would be childish on his part to go as running mate to someone with no experience in electioneering process. While Sen. Johnson is being earmarked to be Mr. Urey’s running mate, the emerging coalition is said to have also earmarked Mr. Blamah as the national chairman for the coalition.
Sen. Johnson who became kingmaker here in the 2011 presidential runoff that was snatched away by incumbent President Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf after siding with her, has argued that he will not bow to businessman turned - politician Mr. Urey and the rest of the aspirants in the coalition.
There are claims that Mr. Urey was offered the standard bearer post on the basis of financial might while Sen. Johnson was awarded the vice standard bearer post for his vote - rich Nimba County.

But in making a U-turn, Sen. Johnson is alleged to have argued that at no time had he ever agree to occupy the vice standard bearer position. Mr. Johnson says the only option for him to remain with the coalition is for the three political parties to give him the standard bearer post and Mr. Urey takes the vice standard bearer post.

According to him, Mr. Urey and the rest of the politicians want to ride on he (Johnson’s) and his follower’s popularity, reflecting on his countless effort in the forward march of democracy and collaboration here.

On the emerging coalition, Mr. Theodore Momo of the ALP serves as the vice chairman for administration and Wilfred Bangura takes the national secretary general post.
Efforts to get comments from Coalition officials including Mr. Nathaniel Blamah of Liberia National Union and Mr. Wilfred Bangura proved futile as both officials could not take their respective calls.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Boakai’s best option


Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and standard bearer of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s governing Unity Party has got every reason to keep his choice for vice standard bearer secrete, amid widespread public speculations here on who could be a suitable running mate for the UP standard bearer.


The rumor mills have never been short of names for possible choice with the recent being former Senate President Pro-tempore Milton Gbehzongar Findley, former Ambassador JeremaihSuluteh, and others.

But the Vice President has remained conspicuously silent on the issue, preferring to keep the card close to his chest, creating anxiety and speculations. So it has been for the man who was elected on white ballot midway into last year at the national convention of the ruling party held in Gbarnga, Bong County.

However, the New Dawn has stumbled on the name of a high profile personality with impeccable public service credential both locally and internationally, who many say, may be just the right choice for running mate to the UP standard bearer.

She is former Finance Minister and Director of the African Department of the International Monitoring Fund or IMF, Dr. Antoinette MonsioSayeh, who served in the first term of this government and left an impressive record at the nation’s financial house with civil servants receiving salary every two weeks.

Many say to maintain the pace and flow of international aid to Liberia after Madam Sirleaf, whoever emerges as President in October, would need someone of the stature of Dr. Sayeh for an easy takeoff.

An economist, who is well abreast about the inner workings of international development partners and donors’ support to developing countries, Dr. Sayeh could just be that enviable character that the Vice President have long been searching for to pick as running mate nearly a year since his endorsement as standard bearer of the UP.

Dr. Sayeh earns a bachelor’s degree in economics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in International Economic Relations from Fletcher School, Tuffs University, both in America.
She was posted at the World Bank where she worked for 17 consecutive years, occupying position such as County Director for Niger, Benin and Togo prior to coming to Liberia to serve in the government.

She led efforts in the international community which led to the waiver of Liberia’s US$4.5 billion debts following protracted bloody civil war and subsequent restoration of democratic governance.

Dr. Sayeh is also credited for reforming the INF concessional leading facilities and its debts limits policy, and played a very instrumental role in luring emergency financial aid and debt relief to the three Ebola devastated countries in West Africa – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
On her retirement from the IMF in 2016, ex-Managing Director and French economist, Christine Lagarde, hailed Dr. Sayeh for her enormous influence in cementing the Fund’s relations with African countries.

“Sayeh has been a great leader of the African Department, a respected colleague, a friend and a mentor to many. Her dedication is unparalleled and her contribution to the Fund has been truly outstanding”, Director Lagarde has been quoted as saying.

If eventually picked by Ambassador Boakai as running mate, Dr. Sayeh could be Liberia’s strategic eye to global financial trends, and bilateral and multilateral support that this country badly needs to remain afloat following the euphoria of electoral victory at the ballot box. Story

-by Jonathan Browne

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