Politics

Pro-Tempore Jallah damns ritualistic killings

The President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate and Chairman of the Gbarpolu Legislative Caucus Armah Zolu Jallah categorically condemns wave of ritualistic killings by unknown individuals in Henry Town, Korninga Chiefdom and the country in general.


Senator Jallah says the sadden news of citizens being killed in gruesome manner or chased by unknown heartless individuals, who continue to live with the myth that fellow human body parts can be used to enrich themselves is barbaric and unacceptable.

“This illusive and myopia ideas that has been elevated by these individuals have lived in our society for decades even though there is no evidence that this diabolical practice has improved anyone’s life or has improved the country at large”, he notes.

A release from the Office of the Senate Pro-Tempore quotes him as stressing that the continual practices of ritualistic killing beat his imagination and have created serious fear among citizens.

“What worries me the most is that the Liberia National Police is yet to arrest perpetrators. It will also interest you to note that people who are committing this unwholesome act live with us in some of our communities and some of our citizens know them and harbors them as well,” says Senator Jallah.

He laments that the act of shielding someone or individuals, who have committed a crime is also equivalently guilty as the perpetrators, stressing that it is incumbent that all well-meaning citizens assist the security forces in the quest to bring these perpetrators to justice.

“It is our hope that those citizens who are being mutilated could have help in the building of our community. It is very unfortunate that even in 2017, we have to still talk about ritual killings when other people in Africa are busy developing their countries and making future plans for future generation,” Senator Jallah indicates.

He continued: “This is very unfortunate and unacceptable because there is no way that a human body part can assist anybody to become rich or to be successful in business”.

Senator Jallah rationalizes that the entrenched belief that human body parts are potent medicine and can also bring fortune is suspected to be driving the continuous killing of innocent people.

“I call on all traditional healers and citizens who are involved in ritual killings to refrain from such acts. If you can’t find a proper way of healing our people you better quit as soon as possible because we are no longer going to live in a society where every month we bury our loved ones found mutilated,” he sternly warns.

He emphasizes that the act of ritualistic killing is a serious issue which doesn’t deserve to be swept under the carpet, warning that if the government and people continued to relax and fold their arms, the syndicate will intensify.

 

Fire guts jeep in Monrovia

Fire guts a jeep with license plate LB A54661 on Thursday, 7 December at the intersection of Johnson and Benson Streets in Monrovia, leaving its entire engine burnt. There was not casualty.


The vehicle heading to town from Bushrod Island suddenly emit flames as it climbs the hill at the intersection of Johnson and Benson Streets, causing commuters and by-standers to run for their lives.

A car loader succeeded in rescuing the driver from the burning vehicle, while another jeep with license plate number LB A59743 arrives on the scene with a fire extinguisher to off the fire, but the car’s engine had already burnt.

The driver, Elijah Koonm narrates that he came from Ganta, Nimba County to buy goods at Red-light market in Paynesville, adding that after buying his goods and was on his way to town, his car went into ditch.

Elijah continues that while struggling to pull his car out of the gully he mistakenly applied 4-wheel instead of neutral gear, adding that accelerating he experienced another problem, this time around, the vehicle was not pulling, so he parked off the road near a garage and called a mechanic, who told him that everything was ok.

He says with the advice from the mechanic, he headed for central Monrovia, adding that while on his way, he noticed that the car was having the same problem, so he called his personal mechanic, who showed him an idea to have the car started, and when he applied the strategy it worked and he drove to town, but laments that his mechanic mislead him by giving wrong advice, which caused the car to be gutted by fire.Elijah discloses that he bought his jeep in July and never anticipated encountering such misfortunate that led to it being gutted by fire.

By Samuel P. Kamara

LRA partners with religious institutions

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) seeks collaboration and partnership with faith-based and religious organizations to enhance its Real Property Tax Awareness Program.


According to a release, Assistant Commissioner for Real Estate Tax Division Isaac Beyan Stevens says the campaign is meant to provide clear messages that promote tax awareness, civic responsibility and positive attitude towards taxes, eventually influencing greater voluntary compliance among citizens and residents to ensure a successful and impactful outcome.

The partnership with the religious community is under the theme: “A Good Taxpayer Is A God’s Kingdom Builder; A Good Taxpayer Is A Nation Builder.” Speaking at a recent engagement with representatives of various religious institutions at the LRA headquarters in Paynesville, Mr. Stevens disclosed that the “LRA Faith-Based Partnership”, among others, seeks to explain why taxes should be paid; show citizens how to pay taxes; promote civic responsibility; build a culture of voluntary tax compliance among citizens of different denominations and faith based organizations; and empower citizens to engage in discussions on the use of tax revenues.

The release says under the partnership, the awareness will be undertaken in various Churches, Mosques and other places of worship in Montserrado County and subsequently taken to the Counties.

The Commissioner of Domestic Tax, Darlington Y. Talery, for his part, says once the program starts, designated LRA officers will be named as Champions at various churches and mosques with the aim of creating awareness and guidance on real property tax matters.

The focus of attention will be mainly on Real Property Taxes, which are currently a minor source of government revenue but has the potential to contribute much more with heightened public awareness campaigns, fair valuation and revenue sharing with communities.

The LRA intends to engage a cross section of people, using traditional, biblical, social and modern technology to interface with religious leaders and inter-faith organizations to enhance the campaign. Press Release

Press statement by Cllr. Charles Brumskine

This is a great time for our country, and all of us, as Liberians. But firstly, we would like to acknowledge, with thanks, the patience of the Liberian people, especially the supporters of the two political parties that should have participated in the November 7 Runoff, and those who have since endorsed them. We thank the international community, and especially our African brothers and sisters of the AU and the ECOWAS, for allowing the legal process, which was commenced on October 23, to come to its legal and logical conclusion.


Most importantly, we would like to thank the National Executive Committee of the Liberty Party, the National Campaign Team, the various auxiliaries of the Liberty Party, and last, but not least our devoted partisans of Liberty Party throughout the country.

We also thank all Liberians and non-Liberian residents alike, for allowing, or at least tolerating, us to intrude in their personal space during our campaign activities.

Our country has come of age—finally we can disagree and not kill each other and destroy our country. But also, the Supreme Court can rule against an aggrieved political party, and its judgment is accepted, notwithstanding our disagreement, as to both the Court’s determination of the facts and their conclusion of the law. Our people are truly witnessing the transition from negative to positive peace. This is a very proud time for all Liberians!

This is the first time in the history of our country that we have had such elections, not policed by foreign peacekeepers, with allegations of widespread violation of constitutional rights, massive fraud, and pervasive gross irregularities without the death of a single person, not even an injury. Our country has indeed come of age, and we invite the world to celebrate with us.

As I have always said, our legal action and pursuit of justice was not just about me, or just about the Liberty Party. Our effort has been on behalf of every Liberian—those Liberians that stood on line for hours, only to be told that they were on the wrong queue; those Liberians who were told that their names were not in the final voter registration roll; those who had to pay to have their names listed in note books, the addenda, before they were allowed to vote; those Liberians whose ballots were taken out of ballot boxes by the NEC officials, and replaced by others; and, the hundreds of thousands of voters whose votes were diluted because of Amos Siebo-like voting registration cards—fraudulent voter registration cards. Our effort was about changing the trajectory of our country, and laying a firm foundation for our democracy.

We are disappointed by the ruling of the Supreme Court, which among other things, has violated our equal protection right, as provided in Article 11(c) of the Constitution. The Court ordered the correction of some of the things that we complained of, that made the electoral process unconstitutional and unlawful that contributed to massive fraud, and pervasive irregularities, as conditions for holding the Runoff, but failed to similarly ensure equal protection for the other eighteen political parties that participated in the first round of the elections.

But let us enjoy the blessings of God, as we celebrate our effort over the last six weeks, attempting to introduce integrity in Liberia’s electoral system, and making every valid vote count. So not even the opinion of the Justices of the Supreme Court should be allowed to serve as a distraction. We must continue to try; we must continue to fight for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and for our country. Liberia will get it right!

We, therefore, call upon all of our partisans to remain calm and law abiding, as our country prepares for the runoff election.

Today is D-Day

The Supreme Court will this afternoon hand down its much awaited decision into the prolonged 10 October 2017 elections disputes over the results which have left much uncertainty here.


Today’s decision will determine whether the nation will go for a re-un of the 10 October polls, or march ahead with the delayed run-off between the Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC and the ruling Unity Party or UP.

The runoff which had earlier been scheduled for November 7 was delayed following a preemptive prohibition obtained by the opposition Liberty Party or LP citing fraud and irregularities. A claim supported by the ruling UP, calling for the cleaning of the voters’ register and the recusal of the Chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC.

NEC in its ruling, upheld by the Board of Commissioners dismissed the claims of massive fraud and irregularities during an appeal hearing sometime last month. But the LP took an exception to the ruling and filed an appeal before the superior court.

Arguments into the appeal were held last week Friday December 1, after which the court reserved its opinion till today. It is unlikely to predict what the Court may rule upon today, but eager Liberian voters have taken so much interest in the case from its outset up to its conclusion, though there have been mixed reactions in the public surrounding its impact on the much talked - about smooth transition of power between democratically elected civilian authorities for the first time in 74 years.

The protesting parties have been challenging the outcome of the 10 October polls through the NEC which conducted the polls and the Court, with one request by the LP which came third place, seeking a rerun of the entire polls, while its backer, the ruling UP which is designated for a runoff against the CDC, is requesting the cleansing of the final registration roll ahead of the runoff, among others.

The NEC denies claims of fraud and gross irregularities, but it says there were challenges on Election Day that cannot overturn the outcome of the polls. According to the assignment issued by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, 6 December, the final ruling at the High Court will be made at 3pm today.

The Court may be flooded today by members of the public, party representatives, local and international observers and media representatives as it has been since the case began here.

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

Passengers, driver escape death

Several passengers and a driver on board a private vehicle narrowly escaped death when a 40ft container truck collided with the vehicle conveying them to their destinations via Jamaica Road on Bushrod Island, 6 December.


Witnesses told the New Dawn that the container operator drove from inside the fence of GBK Motor, a local car dear and allegedly hit the private vehicle conveying passengers, making serious impact on the side of the driver.

The incident is said to have occurred while the private vehicle was parked in traffic. Witnesses say the driver of the smashed vehicle hurriedly jumped out of his car through above the windshield; while passengers on the van also jumped out for fear for their lives.

No one was reported injured during the incident, but the private vehicle suffers serious damage.One of the witnesses, Solomon Jackson alleges that the container [would have] killed all occupants onboard the private vehicle, saying he did not understand why the container driver move when he did not have the right-away to get on the main road.

He says a minute following the accident, an officer of the Traffic Division of the Liberia National Police (LNP) assigned at the Jamaica Road intersection quickly ran to the scene and began taking pictures as part of police's on - the - spot investigation.

Dozens of onlookers at the scene praised God for the lives of those onboard the private vehicles, noting that everyone on the vehicle would have died in the process had it not been for God's grace.

Meanwhile, both vehicles were reportedly taken at the Free Port Depot of the Liberia National Police for further investigation into the matter.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

MOH holds 9th Annual Review Health Conference

The Ministry of Health kicks off its 9th annual review of the health sector here under the theme, “The Health Sector in Retrospect: Setting the Stage for Universal Health Coverage in Liberia.”


The three-day conference, which brings together stakeholders in the health sector, including representatives of national and international non-governmental organizations, the United States Agency for International Development or USAIS, Superintendent Council, World Bank and World Health Organization, among others is expected to end on December 8, 2017.

Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, lauds partners, health professionals and all attendees for their efforts, noting that Liberia has been through multiple stages of emergency, recovery and time for sustainability.

“We have come a long way since 2006 when we were just emerging from a protracted civil war and were early in the rebuilding stages”, says Minister Dahn.
She recalls that Liberia was in desperate need of everything such as health care, professionals, equipment and facilities, adding that the health system was 80 percent managed and funded by international partners.

She continues the country had fewer than 50 doctors and 200 facilities and the national health care policy was a five-page document without an operational plan.

According to the Health Minister, in 2007 the Ministry introduced the 2007-2011 National Health and Social Welfare Plan and Policy, which brought forth the basic package of health services.

Dr. Dahn explains the basic package was designed to impact the rebuilding of an holistic health system and its central pillar was to decentralize managerial functions to county level.

She says the 2007 plan also charged the Government of Liberia to meet standards that called for 15 percent of government spending to be dedicated to health care, detailing that in 2011, the National Health and Social Welfare Plan was updated for 2011-2021 and the basic package was expanded to the established package with focus shifted from emergency to recovery.

“In 2012 we were able to celebrate many successes and our facilities had increased to more than 600 and we now have more than 200 deliverables and we achieved Millennium Development Goal Four, our health care workforce was growing, delivering needed services for everyone.”

Dr. Dahn however laments, that unfortunately in 2014, Ebola crisis caused the death of almost 5,000 Liberians and eroded many of the ministry’s hardly fought gains, causing the sector a major setback.She stresses the to strengthen the system for emergency preparedness and response.

By Robert Dixon-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Rep. Dunah calls for ArcelorMittal probe

Nimba County District #7 Representative Worlea Saywah Dunah is calling on the House of Representatives to probe ArcelorMittal over an alleged heavy metal pollution of waters including drinking water within the ArcelorMittal concession area in Yekepa, Nimba County.


The Nimba lawmaker complains that the alleged pollution is dangerous to the health newborn and all inhabitants. Rep. Dunah says on 7 August, a local daily here attributed to health practitioner and researcher Eddie Miaway Farngalo that a research conducted on water samples from the ArcelorMittal Steel concession areas showed that water in the communities of Yekepa, Gbapa, Zolowee, Liabala were heavily polluted by high concentration of mercury lead, and arsenic.

According to Rep. Dunah, Mr. Farngalo indicated in his scholarly paper that he collected samples of water from these communities which were scientifically tested at the nuclear chemistry and environmental research centre of the Ghana Atomic energy commission in Accra Ghana in 2014.

He alleges that results established that the level of mercury lead and arsenic in the waters that the inhabitants are drinking is way above the World Health Organization permissible levels. As such, he says it is very dangerous to the health of the people.

Rep. Dunah claims that since its publication, the concessionaire ArcelorMittal is yet to contradict the alleged report. He claims that high concentration of lead in water lead to kidney problem, miscarriage and circulatory problem, adding that mercury in water also causes speech impairment, hearing loss and memory loss, among others.

He additionally alleges that arsenic in water is a major cause of cancer of body, skin, and lungs, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.Then Nimba lawmaker notes that with all these findings, ArcelorMittal by rule now allegedly compels all its employees to drink only mineral bottled water and cook with only mineral water from Monrovia.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has forwarded the communication to the Committee on Health to report to the House.

By Bridgett Milton--Edited by Winston W. Parley

B.W. Harris Alumni-USA gives back

 

The Bravid Washington Harris Episcopal School Alumni Association based in the United States of America (BWHESAA-USA) gives back to its alma mater with the donation of several technological and educational materials to the school.


Also known as “The DC Metro Chapter,” the organization says the initiative is geared towards improving learning at the Episcopal-run high school. Speaking at ceremony marking the turnover of materials to the school, the Liaison of the B.W. Harris Alumni-USA and Alumni Association-Liberia, Mr. Adolf VKP Sackey, notes that the gesture is one of the primary objectives for which the alumni was established.

According to him, the provision of advanced technology and scholarship opportunities to students of B.W. Harris remain cardinal goals of the organization.“Today, we have come to put smiles on the faces of the students at our alma mater and let the world know that education in a more advanced technological way is our priority for the children of Liberia, yea B.W. Harris School,” says Mr. Sackey.

He discloses that the donation came on the heel of a proposal by the Principal of the B.W. Harris School, Mr. Hilary Collins, to BWHESAA-USA’s National Chair Joanna Hawah Freeman Richards about the need to advance learning at the institution.

He points out that the project, dubbed “Projector in every classroom,” was approved by members of the DC Metro Chapter during the tenure of its former President, Mr. Mona B. Diggs.

“The officers and members of the DC Metro Chapter are committed to raising the education standard of our alma mater through technology, and we will continue to sponsor technology at the school. We are very happy that all the equipment has arrived at the school and the children will benefit,” Mr. Sackey quotes a statement by the organization’s current President, Mr. Tayonnoh Roberts Gray.

Receiving the donation, the Principal of the school, Mr. Hilary W. Collins, lauds the B.W. Harris Alumni-USA Chapter for the kind gesture.

“On behalf of the B.W. Harris Episcopal School, I want to thank you ever so much for this lauded initiative. I want to, especially thank you for remembering your school, while you are away from home. By this, it tells me how much you love this school,” Mr. Collins asserts.

He urges students of the institution to emulate the good example of the alumni to give back to the school when they shall have graduated.

Meanwhile, materials donated include: 14 project screens, 15 projectors, 10 pieces of laptop and 400 armless chairs to be used in the school’s auditorium. The alumni also provided 49 scholarships for deserving students.

By Emmanuel Weedee-Conway -Editing by Jonathan Browne

Commissioner arrested for rape

The commissioner of Pleebo Sodokan District in Maryland County Jerome Neuville has been reportedly arrested and subsequently charged with statutory rape. According to state radio ELBC, Commissioner Neuville allegedly raped a 15-year-old minor since last year and had been on the run.

The alleged victim is reportedly living with her parents in Maryland County.Police arrested him in Putu Mountain region, Grand Gedeh County and brought him back to Maryland County where he has been charged, awaiting court trial.

Rape here is a non-bailable crime punishable by 10 years imprisonment or left sentence, depending on the gravity of the offense.The Government of Liberia establishes a special court, Criminal Court E at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill to fast track rape cases, but the senate here recently amended the country’s rape law, making the crime bailable. President Ellen Johnson is yet to sign the amendment into law.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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