Politics

Party of Hope risks exodus

Aggrieved partisans and supporters are threatening to quit opposition Party of Hope if it fails to explain to them why it allegedly remains perpetually dormant.Some distressed partisans who begged for anonymity, made the threat on 8 June in a conversation with the NewDawn in Monrovia. But Acting party chairman Samuel B. Goreen has denounced the claims of the anonymous partisans as “baseless”.


The party situated in Montserrado County Electoral District #16 faces accusation from some of its supporters that since its establishment, it has allegedly refused to inform members of its legal status with the National Elections commission or NEC.

The Party of Hope or PoH supporters claim that it has failed to hold national convention and to publish counties membership listings in line with NEC’s mandate. Angry PoH partisans are pondering over why the party did not allegedly participate in organized political parties discussions held at the NEC, and has not set up PoH national executive committee that would run the affairs of the party, the election of the party’s national secretary general, political officer, youth and women wing chairpersons, respectively.

The anonymous PoH partisans say the prolonged dormancy of the party has made most of the dire-heart partisans and supporters to leave with the hope of joining other political parties in the country.

They have further accused the party of doing nothing to provide vehicles, motorbikes, office equipment and furniture for the operations of the PoH. But PoH Acting Chairman Samuel B. Goreen has told the NewDawn over the weekend that the information was erroneous.

In denouncing the claims made by the PoH partisans, Mr. Goreen says the party has some vehicles, office furniture, equipment, and it is in the process of acquiring additional materials for use by the PoH.

Mr. Goreen says the anonymous partisans’ claims against the party are baseless, arguing that the PoH attends all political discussions involving political parties in the country as well as the recently held Inter Faith Religious Council meeting for political parties operating in Liberia.

He has extended a hand of reconciliation to all those who were in the party but left for undisclosed reasons, urging them to return to the party and take up their respective positions in moving the PoH forward.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Edited by Winston W. Parley

New MRU SG takes office

Newly appointed Mano River Union or MRU Secretary General Mrs. Medina Wesseh final took office over the weekend at a well-attended ceremony in the Sierra Leonean capital Freetown, a week after the Union’s council confirmed her nomination.She took over from outgoing Secretary General Dr. Hadja Saran DarabaKaba The MRU comprises four West African countries; Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast, who joined in recent years.


The ceremony, which was hosted by Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development Momodu L. Kargbo brought together the ministers of Finance from the four MRU countries, representatives of development partners, the United Nations and family members.

She described her ascension to the sub-regional group’s top position as a faith in women leadership at the MRU, something she said must encourage newly appointed officials to build upon the programs and progress which Dr. Saran DarabaKabba and others before her have done over the years of stewardship to the government and people of the sub region.

She thanked the Authority of Heads of State of the MRU for accepting her, while pausing to reflect on the personal friendship President Ellen JonshonSirleaf has with other leaders in the sub-region.

She said the relationship between President Sirleaf and other leaders within the MRU has kept the region at peace with itself.

“In regards to President Quattara, long years of working in international Financial institutions together, with PresidentConde long years of being opposition leaders together and living in and out of their respective countries, and President Ernest BaiKoroma long years they have been in office and built upon initial trust and friendships,” she said

Mrs. Wesseh said president Sirleaf has made it a cornerstone of her foreign policy that no inch of Liberian soil will ever be used again to cause instability in the sub region. “We will work and ensure that remains her legacy and history will be kind to prolong this peace,” she added.

She further thank the outgoing MRU officials, saying that the MRU remains grateful for their commitment while pledging that the new corps of officers will continue to build upon that which they have done.

“We will continue to work with existing and new partners for the greater good of the people of the MRU,” she said.

“Our cornerstone will be to see a continued safe and secured sub region, promoting and protecting the rights of all most especially women for sustained socio economic and political development of all four countries of the Union.

The people of the Mano River Union are the same people and they must continue to rise and shine,” she concluded.

Illegal fishing costs ECOWAS US1bn per annual

Experts say the fishing industry within the West African sub-region is under threat with illegal “pirate” fishing costing the region in excess of USD1 billion every year.


In a press release issued at the closing event of its European Union funded project“Developing marine protected areas and an ecosystem management approach to Fisheries in the Mano River region, with special focus on Sierra Leone and Liberia”, in Robert sport, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) on Wednesday June 7, as much as 37% of all fish caught in the region’s waters is done so illegally, putting the livelihoods and food security of millions of people at risk.

The fishing industry is vital for West Africa. In Liberia, 65% of animal protein comes from fish, making it thesecond most purchased food after rice. 33,000 people are directly dependant on the sector for theiremployment and income.

Over the past five-years, EJF and its partners have achieved historical milestones towards ending illegal activities, securing marine conservation and building sustainability in the region’s fisheries.

Working in Sierra Leone and Liberia to document and combat pirate fishing, particularly in the Inshore Exclusion Zone (IEZ) -an area reserved for artisanal fishers -we have seen an increase in action taken against vessels fishing illegally.

This has led to a reported decline in illegal fishing vessels and, in turn, an increase in catch for artisanal fishers,an improvement in their livelihoods and a reduction in conflict with industrial vessels.

Over the course of the project, the organisationsaid it has also worked with local fishing communities to establishdecentralised fisheries management. In Liberia, EJF helped set up the Collaborative Management Association (CMA), an organisation made up of primarily fisherfolk that now manage their own Territorial Use Right for Fishing (TURF) areain Grand Cape Mount. In Sierra Leone, EJF also worked with local co-management associations to establish a new Marine Protected Area around Sherbro Island.

In Lake Piso, Liberia, EJF worked with local communities toestablish a Fishery Management Planfor the Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve. This plan, together with information on Liberia’s vital marine species, is helping to improve the sustainability of Liberia’s fisheries management and inform future policy.

European Union EJF aims to continue to support the CMA and other local efforts, and hopes to use the examples set over the last five years to expand capacity across the country.

Steve Trent, EJF’s Executive Director said: “The fishing sector underpins Liberian livelihoods, the country’seconomy, and the very way of life for thousands of the country’s citizens. We have seen a huge improvement in the management of Liberia’s fisheries over the last five-years, with the communities we work with reaping thebenefits of the reduced levels of illegal fishing we’ve witnessed. But there is still a long way to go to eradicate pirate fishing and to build truly sustainable fisheries in Liberia. EJF remains committed to continuing its work in Liberia and to working with local fisherman to secure the future they want for themselves, their children and
their communities.”

Charles Simpson, Chairman of the Community Management Association from Robertsport, representing artisanal fisherman in the region said:“We are very grateful to EJF for partnering with us. Illegal fishing was a very serious problem in Robertsport, damaging our gear without any penalty for the trawlers. Now, through EJF’s important work, we no longer have trawlers destroy our nets and fish productivity is up. Thanks to their work inhelping us to set up the CMA, our community members now have the ability to make direct decisions about thefishery resources they rely on while providing a stronger voice for local fishermen.” Meanwhile, has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Liberia’s fishing communities in their efforts to build sustainable fisheries across the country.-New Dawn

Bassa hosts Maternal & Newborn Health Confab

Over 150 delegates from across Grand Bassa County’s eight health districts are expected to assemble in the Port City of Buchanan on June 13 and 14 to participate in a Maternal and Newborn Health Conference under the theme; No to Maternal and Newborn Deaths with slogan, Mama and Baby Must Live. The two-day gathering is jointly convened by the Ministry of Health, Grand Bassa County Health Team and health partners with support from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP)/ Restoration of Health Services project implemented by Jhpiego


This release quotes organizers that this maternal and newborn health conference will bring together a wide range of stakeholders including; government officials and traditional leaders (Superintendent, Commissioners, Paramount, Clan and General Town Chiefs), community representatives (elders, women and youth groups) the media, and health partners.

The purpose of the gathering is to “celebrate gains made in the fight against maternal and newborn deaths and morbidities; raise awareness, advocate for better maternal and neonatal health as well as determine solutions and strategies to reduce Maternal and Newborn deaths in Grand Bassa County”.

It is also anticipated that participating stakeholders will come up with statements and commitments aimed at improving maternal and newborn health services.
This release quotes the Liberia Demography Health Survey (LDHS) that the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Liberia has increased from 994 to 1072 per 100,000 livebirths from 2007 to 2013 while the neonatal mortality rate has reduced from 32 to 26 per 1000 live births during the same period.

Since then, the release notes, efforts have been made at various levels to address this alarming rate of maternal and newborn deaths by improving health coverage in Antenatal Care (ANC), Skilled Birth Attendants (SBA), Essential newborn care and Post Natal Care (PNC). However, sustaining and consolidating gains made and improving on the provision of better services remains a major challenge to the national health planners and actors.

The Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) is a global U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) cooperative agreement with a mandate to introduce and support high-impact health interventions in 26 priority countries with the ultimate goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths (EPCMD) within a generation.

In response to the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Outbreak, USAID/Liberia requested MCSP to support its commitment to restoring quality Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services through the MCSP/Restoration of Health Services (RHS) project. This project, funded with Ebola Emergency Funding, is particularly focused on Infection Prevention and Control, and Restoration of Maternal and Child Health services in 77 facilities in Grand Bassa, Nimba and Lofa. Due to Jhpiego’s history in Liberia, MCSP/RHS is uniquely positioned to contribute to USAID/Liberia’s strategy toward improved MCH service delivery and ending preventable child and maternal death.

It is envisioned that commitments made and strategies developed from this conference will be implemented fully to help reduce maternal and newborn deaths and morbidities in Grand Bassa County and best practices will be shared with other counties within Liberia; the press release concluded.

 

Loan bonanza at Finance


President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has ordered a full audit report of the Private Sector Development Initiative or PDSI at the Ministry of Finance on her desk in two weeks after reports of a loan bonanza among officials at the ministry.


The president’s request which was contained in a brief statement on Thursday 8 June follows ongoing preliminary audit of the Unit. The audit has revealed how officials at the ministry both past and present awarded to themselves loans in huge sums.

“We can say with a high degree of confidence that such a scheme set up at the PDSI is clearly a conflict of interest and will be dealt with by the full weight of the law.” Mrs. Sirleaf said Thursday.

The audit is said to cover the period 2014 to present and is being executed by the Internal Audit Agency.“Therefore, I have ordered the principal administrator of the program during the audit period, Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Hon. James Kollie to return to Liberia from his official trip to assist in the audit and answer all of the issues associated with it, President Sirleaf directed.

A press statement issued by the Executive Mansion following the live reading of the President’s statement, said the preliminary audit has revealed some shocking outcome and results show that officials at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning were making loans to themselves in violation of the law. “We remain seized of this matter and will leave no stone unturned in the interest of the nation.”Mrs. Sirleaf concluded.The preliminary audit was commissioned by Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara.

-Othello B. Garblah

House stops power contract

The House of Representatives has put a stop to all contracts between the Liberia Electricity Cooperation or LEC and Manitoba Hydro International or MHI until LEC and officials of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy can appear before the House.


The House on Tuesday, 6 June summoned the energy sector here to provide reasons for negotiating another management agreement contract with MHI when investigation into alleged inconsistencies unearthed in its previous management of LEC is yet to be completed.

On Thursday, the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy and the Board Chairman of LEC did not appear before the House, but rather sent their deputy to address issues raised by the House.

After introducing themselves to the House of Representatives on Thursday, Rep. Edwin M. Snowe said the issue of the LEC is very serious and that the House needs those responsible to appear and not the deputies.

As such, Rep. Snowe has suggested that the officials go back to their offices and return next Tuesday, 13 June. Also speaking Rep. Henry B. Fahnbullah claimed that Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo had vowed to give excuse and send his deputy whenever he was invited by the House.
Rep. Fahnbulleh considers the alleged act of Minister Sendolo as being very disrespectful, warning that if the Minister cannot appear, the House should take a serious action against him.

Rep. Saah Joseph had earlier written the House of Representatives insisting that LEC Board and the Ministry of Lands and Mines be restrained from consigning the management of the corporation to another management contract.
By Bridgett Milton-Edited by Winston W. Parley

Ellen reports Israel’s US$20m

Information Minister Eugene Nagbe says President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf has briefed the Legislature here that Israel has made available US$20m that needs ratification to finance a solar power plant project expected to be undertaken in Margibi County to supply electricity.



“The president also briefed the National Legislature about the Government of Israel that made available twenty million dollars that also needs ratification”, Mr. Nagbe said Wednesday, 7 June, in an interview at the climax of a Special Presidential Retreat with leaders of the Legislature at the Farmington River Hotel in Margibi County.

The pronouncement comes days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed the country on Sunday, 4 June after honoring an ECOWAS invitation to attend the regional bloc’s 51st Summit of Heads of State and made it clear that Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is coming back to Israel.

The Liberian Information Minister says President Sirleaf will be submitting a bill to the Legislature for ratification for solar plant in Liberia to supply electricity and also confirmed to lawmakers that the project will take place in Margibi County.

According to Mr. Nagbe, the Special Presidential Retreat with leaders of the Legislature discussed mostly some of the concession agreements that have been pending before the House, as well as the renewable energy bill.

“These bills have not been languishing at the National legislature. There have been public hearings, committee review of these bills so what we wanted was an update and then where there were stumbling blocks or hurdles or needs for clarifications, we as members of the Executive Branch would provide the clarification so that it can help to enhance the work of the National Legislature”, he says.

After all, Minister Nagbe adds that what they got was “mutual understanding” of the situation regarding these bills and of a commitment which he says has always been there, to continue to work in the interest of the Liberian people.

He emphasizes that President Sirleaf called the leaders of both the Executive and the Legislative branches for a discussion in a good atmosphere about current legislative agenda, adding that the retreat was a very successful and held in the interest of harmonization between the two branches for coordination.

He told journalists that about 14 bills were discussed at the retreat, but disclosed that “there was no substantive discussion about” the Code of Conduct. According to him, the Senate made some amendments to the instrument and had briefed the president about it, though it had not yet sent the instrument down to the House of Representatives yet for concurrence at the time.

“As we all know there are some bills pending before the National Legislature and there are some, there are some issues that have been raised by members of the National Legislature about these bills so this retreat provided the platform for us to discuss as members of the Executive with the members of the Legislative branch”, Minister Nagbe says.

House Committee reviews Ombudsman

The House of Representatives has sent to committee room for review, an Act to amend Part XII of the Code of Conduct for the creation of the operational framework of the office of the Ombudsman, a key component of the Code of Conduct that seeks to deal with the conduct of public officials and government employees.


The House on Thursday, 8 June mandated the Committee on Judiciary to review the instrument and report on Tuesday, 13 June. The Senate on Tuesday, 6 June unanimously passed the act and sent it to the House of Representative for concurrence.

The two Houses have to Concur in the passage of the Act before a longstanding controversy that appear to have slowed the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman can be successful, though President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf had earlier nominated officials to run the office for the implementation of the Code of Conduct.

A key provision in the Code of Conduct that sparked controversies here is Part V, which prohibits presidential appointees from partaking in any political activities while still in appointed offices.

According to the Act, members of the Ombudsman shall hold office for two 3-year terms following confirmation by the Senate and appointment by the President, and shall be removed from office by the President for nonfeasance, malfeasance, misfeasance, and criminal acts as prescribed under existing laws and regulations.

In matters concerning the law, the office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to conduct hearings in a quasi-judicial manner and make findings, give reasons and conclusions in matters filed before it, while appeal from a decision of the office of the Ombudsman relative to violations of the Code of Conduct shall be immediately appealable to the relevant courts of Liberia.

The act also states that no person who files a complaint or participate in any investigation or proceeding pursuant to Chapter 12.6 shall be subject to any penalties, sanctions or restrictions in connection with his or her employment or be denied any right, privilege or benefit because of such action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The act was prepared by an Ad Hoc Committee on the Ombudsman under the membership of Senators Jewel Howard Taylor, Joseph N. Nagbe, Stephen H. Zargo and Morris G. Saytumah.
--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Deforestation threatens environment

The Environmental Focal Person at the United Nations Development Program or UNDP Moses Massah has warned here that deforestation or the clearing of the Liberian forest, poses serious threat to the environment, and causes harm for species.


“This act of clearing our forest has a negative impact on the environment. It affects biodiversity including the … ability to threaten the environment …” Mr. Massah said on UNMIL Radio on Thursday, 8 June.

He has cited shifting cultivation, charcoal production, unsustainable logging, industrial oil and rubber plantations and unsustainable mining as the key drivers of deforestation in Liberia.

The UNDP Focal Person describes deforestation as one of the key environmental challenges Liberia is currently facing.He says the caution was earlier sounded in the city of Ganta, Nimba County at the World Environment Day celebration organized by Liberia’s Environment Protection Agency or EPA when he served as proxy for UNDP Country Director, Dr. Pa LamineBeyai at this year’s celebration.

The EPA is responsible for the protection of the environment and conservation of biodiversity through the implementation of policy that ensures long term economic prosperity for Liberia.

World Environmental Day is celebrated worldwide on every 5 June, and this year's theme was "Connecting People to Nature", with a slogan: "Appreciate Nature, Save the Environment".

Mr. Massah wants Liberians to take immediate steps to reduce deforestation if they must keep their environment healthy. He suggests that Liberians can connect to nature by turning their cities green, and their parks into green lung and hubs of biodiversity.

"You can green the urban environment by greening your streets," he notes and further stresses the need for the protection of the environment. The UNDP official says if Liberians cannot sustain the environment, they cannot sustain themselves.

He concludes that as part of its contributions to the protection of the environment, UNDP is collaborating with the EPA to support Youth Exploring Solution or YES, a local youth group, to undertake community clean-up campaign in Monrovia.
By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Journalist cautions local media

A former Liberian journalist is reminding the media that its rights and freedom come with responsibilities.Janet Johnson, Governance Commission Director for Communications says all Liberians – political parties, the government and civil society including the media should make concrete efforts to ensure that the electoral process is violence free.

Despite concrete efforts by some media institutions to remain professional, responsible, objective, and balance in their reportage, others are bent on deliberately attacking efforts by government and political parties to assure the holding of free, fair, participatory, inclusive, credible and transparent democratic elections come October 2017.

Twenty of Liberia’s twenty two political parties recently signed a solemn declaration at the ECOWAS Summit held in Margibi County committing to working with government to ensure the holding of peaceful elections in Liberia, an act unprecedented in this country. By attesting to the Farmington River Declaration the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government also committed itself to providing a conducive environment for the holding of peaceful elections in October this year.

Madam Johnson is therefore urging the Press Union of Liberia to encourage its members to be mindful of comments and actions that could incite the public and undermine the peace we all enjoy. t would be unfair for the Liberian media to lose public trust based on the actions of a few.

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