Liberians tired of political rhetoric

The Standard Bearer of the All Liberian Party or ALP, Benoni W. Urey says Liberians are tired of political rhetoric, and need a person like him to make the country work.He made the assertion here on Friday, 4 August while serving as Commencement Speaker at the 30th graduation and convocation of the New Era International School System on Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia.

Speaking on the topic: “Let’s Get Liberia Working”, the Secretary-General of the ALP, Rev. David Kiamu, who represented Mr. Urey, says Mr. Urey is not in the presidential race for money and power, but because he is sick of how Liberia looks. He says when Liberia works, Liberians would have unhindered access to better education, health care delivery, public transportation and other basic social services that the country needs.

According to him, the All Liberian Party has come so that males and females in the country will have respect and dignity, improved wages, including provision of reliable water, electricity, sustainable agricultural networking and reconciliation.

Rev. Kiamu continues that an ALP-led government would ensure that its fifteen pillars for the nation, which include jobs creation, justice for all, respect for rule of law, low housing for all Liberians, and improved international relations, among others, would be fully implemented for the betterment of everyone.

He congratulates the 72 graduates of the New Era International School System for 100% passing the West African Examination Council or WAEC exams, which the nation will always be pride of.
For his part, the proprietor and Principal of the New Era International School System, Mr. Osei Tabi, recalls that this is the third time his noble institution has successfully passed the WEAC exams and congratulated the faculty staffs for a job well done. Mr. Tabi also unveils plan for the construction of a modern school building with grant provided by an unnamed source.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

LRA fires security for collusion

The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has dismissed its security supervisor assigned at the Freeport of Monrovia for act of collusion, thereby undermining the collection of lawful revenue for the state.

According to a press release, Mr. Melvin Tolbert was fired after investigation proved that he collaborated with a container importer and a customs broker, Amandou Diallo, to allow a broken-seal container leave the Freeport Monrovia without inspection and customs assessment.

The container, which Mr. Tolbert allowed to leave the port without inspection belongs to Jeneba Bussiness Center and was marked MSKU-188935-1, with a BIVAC seal broken and rejoined.

On June 9, 2017, the LRA received information from a whistleblower that LRA Security staff and other Customs Officers assigned at the Freeport Customs Business Office (CBO) were receiving bribe to allow broken-seal containers to exit the port without inspection.

‘Tolbert and Amandou Diallo, Customs Broker of the Jeneba Bussiness Center, knowingly conspired to allow the broken and re-joined seal container to exit the Freeport without inspection,’ an LRA Professional Ethics Division investigation notes.

The release says while Tolbert claimed he did not know the cell number of Amadu, his (Tolbert’s) telephone call log showed that he was in constant telephone conversation with Amadu.

While in search of the said container on a rainy Saturday morning, the LRA dismissed security supervisor (who was part of the search team) did not provide adequate information to his professional colleagues about the location of the broken seal container.

Also on the very day of the search and while the search was ongoing, Tolbert was in contact with Amadu 13 times between 7am-6:06pm. It was a result of the whistle blower providing assistance that the container was found on Saturday. The Container was returned to the Port. Upon inspection of the Container, the several undeclared goods were discovered onboard.

Meanwhile, LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, upon reviewing the PED report, instructed the immediate termination of Tolbert’s employment, as his act grossly violate the professional ethics code of the LRA, while at the same time undermining legitimate revenue collection efforts. At the same time Broker Amadu will be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice for appropriate prosecution. Press Release

U.S. don`t support any candidate

The United States Department of State says the U.S. Government does not support any political party or candidate for the October elections in Liberia. “We do not support any particular candidate or party, rather we support a fair and transparent process and stand ready to work with whoever is fairly elected,” says an official of the U.S. State Department.

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Regional Affairs and West Africa, Mr. Robert K. Scott says the United States supports free, fair and peaceful elections so that all Liberian voters can freely elect their new leaders, according to a dispatch from the Embassy of Liberia in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Scott spoke at the diplomatic reception commemorating Liberia’s 170th independence anniversary held at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C. recently.

Liberians go to the polls on October 10 to elect a new President and members of the House of Representatives that would witness the first peaceful transition here after a prolonged civil crisis that lasted nearly 15 years.

The U. S. State Department official stresses that the October 2017 presidential and representative elections will mark a historic moment in Liberia, adding that Liberians will have the great opportunity to see the peaceful transition of power from one living, sitting president to another, both elected by the people.

Mr. Scott continues that Liberia has made great progress in the face of challenging situations, some 14 years after the civil war and a few years out from the Ebola crisis, noting that the U.S. fully invested in Liberia’s success and wants Liberia’s democracy to thrive.

Recounting areas of U.S. support to the country, he explains that the United States and Liberia signed a US$257 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in 2015, and the Liberian Government, he observes, has made extensive progress in implementing the compact, which has focused on rehabilitating the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric project and support road maintenance infrastructure.

He says America’s commitment to Liberia’s success, and Africa’s broader success, is shown by the U.S. support for initiatives such as the Young African Leaders Initiative, adding that Africa’s youth are its single greatest resource and they hold huge potential.

Mr. Scott further emphasizes that as a steadfast and longtime friend of Liberia, the United States and the American people remain committed to partnering with the Liberian people to create a healthy, peaceful, and democratic future for Liberia.

Earlier, the Charge’ d’Affaires at the Embassy of Liberia in the U.S., Mr. Jeff Gongoer Dowana, recounted that since the end of the civil crisis, Liberia has enjoyed nearly 14 years of uninterrupted peace and has been on a trajectory of progress and development.

Mr. Dowana underscores U.S.-Liberia relationship, dating back to Liberia’s founding in the early 1800s. As a manifestation of the significance of the relationship between both countries, he notes that Liberia and the United States reaffirmed their friendship in a joint statement of the U.S.-Liberia Partnership Dialogue, held at the U.S. State Department in Washington on January 10, 2017.

“Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the United States Government has provided strong support for the massive rehabilitation of Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant, which is a milestone in the Liberian Government’s effort to make Liberia electricity efficient,” he says.

Charge’ d’Affaires Dowana also indicates that in alignment to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Two, Liberia has strived to achieve food and nutrition security by investing in agriculture, specifically in more sustainable farming systems, encouraging women in farming to ensure gender parity in the sector, and developing farm to market roads.

He lauds the signing of the Farmington Declaration of June 4, 2017 by 20 political parties in Liberia, committing themselves to violence-free elections in October and a peaceful transition to a new government.

Clebrations marking the 170th independence anniversary in Washington, D.C., held under the theme, “Sustaining the Peace,” included a day-long Cultural Extravaganza/Family Day, Intercessory Worship Service, and Diplomatic Reception.

The well-attended Intercessory Service, hosted July 23 by the Association of Liberian Christians Ministers of Washington, D.C., Metro Area, was held at the New Hope Worship Center in Laurel, MD. Apostle Edward Mouphouet, Founder and Pastor, Global Revival Missions Churches, serving as keynote preacher, says change will come about in Liberia when Liberians embrace change. “”If the nation is to change, we have to change,” said Rev. Mouphouet. “We have to change our perspective and how we do thing.”

The July 26, 2017 Diplomatic Reception, held at the residence of the Ambassador, was attended by U.S. and Liberian government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, Liberian community, business and religious leaders, friends of Liberia and well-wishers, the dispatch concludes.

S/Court Justices risk impeachment

Some members of the Liberian Legislature have commenced impeachment process against Supreme Court Justices Kabineh Ja’Neh, Jamesetta Howard Wolokolie and Philip A.Z. Banks for alleged ethical breach.

Lawmakers behind the campaign include Senators H. Dan Morais of Maryland County, Peter S. Coleman of Grand Kru County, and Jim Tornola of Margibi County, respectively. Others are Representatives Numene Bartekwa of Grand Kru County and George S. Mulbah of Bong County from the lower House.

According to them, the three Justices are in gross violation of their oaths of office by engaging in alleged misconduct, gross breach of duty and exhibiting clear inability to perform the functions of their respective offices as Associate Justices.

They explain that their petition arises out of the most recent decisions of the Supreme Court in which the three Justices by their opinions and judgments in cases involving the Code of Conduct enacted by the Liberian Legislature in May 2014, sought and did effectively usurp the powers and authority of the Legislature to make law and thereby made ineffective and virtually null and void the CoC.

In a communication signed by the lawmakers and read in plenary on Thursday, 3rd August in Monrovia the lawmakers petitioned the House of Representatives to cite Justices Ja’Neh, Wolokolie, and Banks to show cause if any, why they should not be impeached and removed from their offices as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

The petitioners argue that in the case of Assistant Minister Abu Kamara, who filed his application for certification with the National Elections Commission to contest in the October elections, the Supreme Court ruled that the Code of Conduct was applicable to him and that his disqualification by the NEC was valid and legally binding.

They explain that in the case Aspirant Abu Kamara, who was a sitting Assistant Minister at the time he filed his application with the National Elections Commission to contest in the October 2017 elections, the Supreme Court ruled that the Code of Conduct was applicable to him and that his disqualification by the NEC was valid and legally binding.

“The Supreme Court held that [Mr.] Kamara’s violation of the Code of Conduct was ‘egregious’ since he continued to hold the public office at the time he applied for certification to contest the Presidential and General Elections of October 10, 2017”, the petition reads..

They further note that in the case of Liberty Party Vice Standard Bearer, Harrison Karnwea, formerly Managing Director of the Liberia Forestry Authority, who did not resign his office two years before the impending elections as was required, the Supreme Court held that the Code of Court held that the Code of Conduct was not applicable to him, and therefore, overruled in substance the declaration of ineligibility made by the National Elections Commission against Karnwea for violation of the Code of Conduct.

Mr. Karnwea actually resigned his government post in March 2017.

The protesting lawmakers explain that the Supreme Court then tried to distinguished the Abu Kamara case from the Harrison S. Karnwea case by saying that the violation of the Code of Conduct by Harrison S, Karnwea was not of an egregious magnitude as to warrant rejection of his application to the National Elections Commission for certification to run as vice presidential running mate on the ticket of the Liberty Party.

The petitioners argue that the Respondents, as the three (3) members of the Supreme Court, who signed the opinion and judgement of July 20, 2017 in the Harrison S. Karnwea case, have caused the Supreme Court to usurp the power and functions of the Legislature to make laws. “That is, by ignoring the two (2) or three (3) period for a person holding a public office to resign his office before the date of the election for which he or she intends to canvass and by reducing such period to a mere ‘resignation before filing an application for certification with the National Elections Commission’ the Supreme Court has made a new law and undermined the effectiveness of the Code of Conduct”, they further argue.

“Simply stated”, they maintain, “The Supreme Court has usurped the functions and powers of the Legislature to make law. This conduct of the Respondents, as majority members of the Supreme Court constitutes misconduct, gross breach of duty and inability to perform the functions of the office of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, for which the Liberian Constitution provides that impeachment, will lie.” Meanwhile, the document has been forwarded to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Judiciary to report to plenary next Thursday, 10 August.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Margibi district#1 Candidate frowns at Rep. Cooper

A candidate for Margibi County electoral district#1 Ms. Ida Pratt Deddeh blames incumbent Representative Roland Opee Cooper’s alleged bad leadership over the years for lack of development and basic services in the district.

Speaking in an interview with reporters on Thursday, 3 August in her district office in Duazon, lower Margibi County, Ms Deddeh, who is contesting on the ticket of the Alternative National Congress or ANC, says if elected, she will redeem the district from bad leadership and bring total transformation.

She names the lack of quality education, poor sanitation and health care, among other challenges that are confronting the people of the district, and stresses that her decision to enter the race is to transform the lives of the people.

“Basically, if you ask me what is lacking here, I think this district is being under-represented, including roads and this is what we want to change” According to her, she is not in politics to exploit her people, but to serve, saying I am not entering this race because of the huge salaries lawmakers are making; I am already living more than a representative, I just want to bring transformation.”

When quizzed on her expectations about the current lawmaker in the district, Ms Deddeh says she wants to see good schools, decongestion of public schools and more public high schools, including a community college for students who cannot afford to come to live in Monrovia to for further education, adding “This is what we wanted to see from this lawmaker of ours but he has failed in every aspect.This paper was unable to reach Representative Cooper for response.

Ms Deddeh continues that her priority for the first hundred days in office if elected is to re-visit the country’s labour laws to know why foreigners are doing jobs that qualified Liberians can do.

She says the next issue on her agenda will be a review of concession agreement signed in the district. “I am doing this for my people because if I tell you about youth empowerment, education, among others, it will not take me hundred days to complete, this is what I’m going to focus on.”

“ I don’t want to talk about tangible because what I did here will definitely speak for me; I have worked with all forms of groups, including the planting of a solar energy to enable pregnant women have safe delivery in the health center at night as there is nothing there to use at night, that is one of my tangibles that people especially women know off.”

By Lewis S. Teh

13 inmates get certificates in Maryland

Thirteen inmates at the Harper central prison in Harper City, Maryland County, southeast Liberia have been certificated after completion of several months of adult literacy training.

The inmates were taught how to read and write, spell their names as well as good manner or moral conduct. Speaking in an interview with the New Dawn at the prison facility, Prison Superintendent Crispin Doe, says the program organized by the correction palace in the county is in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the office of the Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) monitor, Mr. S. Boniface Nyema.

Mr. Doe lauds the human rights monitor for the level of work done in the county, particularly with inmates at the prison facility, adding that Mr. Nyema is an astute young man, who is always fighting to ensure that people’s rights are given to them as well as making sure that cases that have overstayed in court be heard for the dispense of justice.

Situated in Middlecess community on the left wing of the Harper City Hall, the Harper Central Prison serves neighboring River Gee and Grand Kru Counties besides Maryland. Meanwhile, presenting certificates to the inmates, Independent Human Rights Commission monitor Nyema reminds them that being behind bars is not the end of their lives, as there is better living condition after their respective sentences.

He urges them to wisely utilize the certificate in society upon their release from jail. On behalf of fellow inmates, Nathaniel Jurry, serving his terms at the Harper Central Prison, lauds prison officers, particularly Superintendent Crispin Doe and IHRC monitor Nyema for the program that he notes, has afforded them the opportunity to learn how to write their names and read.

Nathaniel informs the New Dawn in an interview that the regular visitation of the human rights monitor of Maryland signifies that there is still hope for them, adding that there are people that are thinking about them despite being behind bars. The 23 years old inmate explains that since he was born, it is at the Harper central prison that he has learned to spell, write his own name and do basic reading, couple with moral conduct.

He calls on the Government of Liberia, international non-governmental organizations, local non-governmental organizations, as well as prominent Marylanders to help the Harper central prison in the provision of skills training.

Nathaniel says if inmates are taught Auto-mechanic, Carpentry, Plumbing, and Tailoring, after serving their sentences and subsequently return to their respective communities, they will become productive citizens both in their communities and the country at large.

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

Emmanuel Urey condemns attack on police

Emmanuel Urey, believed to be a foster brother of the Standard Bearer of the All Liberian Party, Benoni Urey, says that the recent flogging of a police officer by a bodyguard of Presidential Candidate Urey, including threat to spoil it if the government so desires, are scaring signals that the Liberian people should take note of.

Emmanuel, who is concluding his PhD studies in Environment and Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in America, told this paper recently in Monrovia that the reported act shows that the country should be very careful who to elect as President in the October elections.

He says whether the information is true or not, the best step the Presidential Candidate should have taken is to condemn the attack, but up to present, Mr. Benoni Urey and his All Liberian People party have failed to speak on the matter.

When asked whether he supports his brother (Benoni Urey’s) candidacy, Emmanuel stresses that support should be based on who’s proffering the best alternatives and suitable ideas that can change the livelihood of the Liberian people.

On Monday this week, it was reported in the local media that a private security guard assigned with the ALP Standard Bearer flogged an officer of the Liberia National Police.

The Liberia National Police say they had "shorting comings" in reference to procedural issues in an unfortunate situation in which opposition All Liberian Party (ALP) presidential candidate Benoni Urey's private guards flogged Officer Roosevelt Jimmy, in the first recorded elections violence on Monday, 31 July.

Following the unfortunate situation, Police authorities say they have decided to do a tactical adjustment, considering the prevailing circumstances here, announcing that they will relax regulation against commercial motorcycles during these elections process to accommodate political parties and candidates that may not afford vehicles for campaign purposes.

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

Elders appeal to gov’t for chief’s election

Elders in Nimba, Bong, Lofa, and Margibi Counties are calling on government to see reason to conduct elections for chiefs in the 15 counties of Liberia. The elders’ representative Mr. Samuel Gbaideh told this paper in Monrovia on Thursday, 3 August that the decision to appeal to government is due to the alleged overstaying of some chiefs in positions in Nimba, Bong, Lofa and Margibi Counties.

Mr. Gbaideh notes that the essence of choosing a leader through elections process is to have a democratic leadership heading the chiefs here that is free from violence and other things. He claims that the fact that government is conducting these national elections without including elections for chiefs, there is an alleged violation of the Constitution.
Citing Article 56 (b) of the Liberian Constitution, Elder Gbaideh contends that there shall be elections of paramount, clan and town chiefs by the registered voters in their respective localities, to serve for a term of six years.

The law says the elected local officials may be reelected and may be removed only by the president for proved misconduct, adding that the Legislature shall enact laws to provide for their qualifications as may be required.

But Elder Gbaideh who hails from Nimba, says these things are not happening, and government only goes about holding elections for president, representatives and senators.
He recalls that in the past there were elections held for local officials, noting that it has since stopped.

He says the chiefs cannot do anything, but to only appeal to government to take into consideration the issue of conducting elections for local officials because so as to stop those in offices from overstaying in such positions.

Elder Gbaideh accuses chiefs that overstay in positions of allegedly misusing their positions and infringing on the rights of ordinary citizens in various counties by going to the extent of threatening to take away their jobs, or commanding them whenever they wish.“We cannot have people to be in position for life time, it is a complete violation of the Constitution. Some of those chiefs were in power before the election of Madam Sirleaf, and this is why we [are] calling on national government to conduct election. They must leave power so others can continue,” Chief Gbaideh insists.

He concludes that if a leader overstays in power with something substantial, no citizen will want such leader to be changed. Instead, he notes that where a leader stays in position for about forty years and there can be no sign of development, it is disheartening and must not be condoned by national government.
By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Ellen applauds Liberian athlete

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has applauded one of Liberia’s most influential athletes based in the United States, Bill Rogers. An Executive Mansion release issued Thursday, 3 August says Mrs. Sirleaf lauds the athlete for his outstanding performance in making Liberia proud and described his effort as an example of determination.

The Executive Mansion release says the Liberian leader received Mr. Rogers in audience on Wednesday, 2 August during a courtesy call at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was escorted to the President’s office by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Saah Charles N’Tow, Frederick B. Krah and a host of members of the Bill Rogers Foundation.

She praises Mr. Rogers for remembering his country in such a wonderful way, and emphasizes that sports is a unifier and can also be used as the common denominator to attract Liberian youth to be more productive and enjoy the future full of hope and opportunity.

President Sirleaf thank thanks the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the encouragement given to Bill Rogers that have allowed him to reach this far. Introducing young Bill Rogers, Youth and Sports Minister, Saah Charles N’Tow commended President Sirleaf for the warm reception and audience accorded the professional athlete Mr. Rogers and his team in spite of her busy schedule.

Mr. N’Tow says Bill is using sports to help empower young people, among other Things. Speaking earlier, Mr. Rogers narrated his painful life story, and commended President Sirleaf for the opportunity given him to meet and interact with her.

While expressing gratitude to President Sirleaf, Mr. Rogers tells the Liberian leader he has secured 20 acres of land to build the Bill Rogers Youth Facility that will help to empower young people.

He notes that some of the features will include boarding facilities for young athletes to further develop their natural talents, computer lab, library, indoor basketball, volleyball and soccer pitch, among others. --Press release

Clergy wants parties unveil their plans

Liberian Clergyman Rev. Foday Karpeh is calling on political parties here not to only put up campaign pictures, but to rather begin giving explanations regarding what they can do for the nation if they are given the chance to serve.

Rev. Karpeh said during a live radio talk show on Thursday, 3 August in Monrovia that in order for Liberian voters to evaluate fairly whether those seeking elected offices have what it takes to lead the country, voters will in the next two months need their platforms so as to fairly understand what candidates intend to do for the country.

The prelate emphasizes that integrity, vision, and competency are the three cardinal pillars of good leadership that voters want to see in candidates at this time.According to Rev. Karpeh, voters’ concern about their political leaders is to ask them about their intentions towards the Country, and how they will transform the nation’s economy.

He argues that it is the voters’ responsibility to put demands on their political leaders and ask them for the vision that drives them to contest in these elections. He also calls on the media here not to give credence to political leaders who will not display their plans or vision for the country, adding that such candidates must not appear on any Radio station, TV station or Newspaper.

He is demanding those wanting to be president to come up and face the country and say what they can do. Having acknowledged that Liberia’s future depends on those that will lead, Rev. Karpeh warns that if citizens do not have them scrutinized before electing them, they (citizens) would have themselves blamed for whatever happens.

“Over the years we have beliefs that if you want to get rich, get into government. And because of that anyone can just wake up and want to take state power,” he notes.The Clergyman has called on Liberians to put aside tribalism, friendship, ethnicity and line in these elections, rather urging them to be honest with themselves not to vote incompetent people.
By: Samuel P. Kamara --Edited by Winston W. Parley

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