Liberia/EU hold5th political dialogue

The Liberian government has briefed the European Union on national efforts aimed at consolidating peace and economic development. The Dialogue focused on key thematic areas to include Political and security matters, Economic and Trade issues, sustainability of donor supported reforms among others.

Speaking at the 5th European Union – Liberia Political Dialogue Thursday, Governance Commission Chairman Dr. Amos Sawyer, provided updates on Laws and policy frameworks on landmark reforms in the pipeline; Maintaining an environment for dialogue and confidence building among candidates leading up to elections and during the post-elections period; and Transition management.

Some of these landmarks achievements still in the pipeline are Constitution Reform including, propositions passed by House of Representatives and now before the Senate. These include tenures of president, vice president, senators and representatives, dual citizenship and women participation in national affairs.

The Local Government Act otherwise known as the Decentralization Act and the Land Rights Act are yet to be passed by the Senate.Dr. Sawyer also briefed the Dialogue about collaborative efforts among relevant stakeholders – political parties, NEC, CSOs and others toward assuring the conduct of peaceful, inclusive, participatory elections in Liberia in October.

Other issues Dr. Sawyer touched on include the signed Farmington River Declaration and the formation of national Mediation Committee, the recently held National Political Summit, and cataloguing, protecting and managing government’s assets, hand and over notes during the Transition, as well as the formation of transitional teams for both outgoing and incoming governments.

The FifthEU –Liberia Political Dialogue was held at the Cecil Dennis Auditorium and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Sawyer spoke on “Briefing on Democratic Transition”.
Meanwhile an EU – Liberia Communiqué will be out tomorrow relating to the Dialogue.

3 counties hold security meeting in Ganta

A three-day reflection and planning meeting on regional security has opened in Ganta, Nimba County.The meeting brings together security sector, rural women heads, chiefs and elders from Maryland, River Gee, Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties, respectively, funded by the United Nations Development Program [UNDP].

Addressing the opening session, Assistant Internal Affairs Minister for Technical Services, Elvin Frank, says the forum is intended to review draft work plans from the final communique’ signed between the Governments of Ivory Coast and Liberia to combat violence between the two countries.

Assistant Minister Frank notes that the Ganta meeting would review minutes of past meeting held in Guiglo, Ivory Coast and a follow-up that is expected in Sanniquellie, Nimba County shortly.

Elvin continues that the three days meeting will also focus on challenges faced by chiefs and elders residing near the borders on both sides, and achievements made since they returned from Guiglo, including challenges faced by state securities, among others.

Security apparatus attending the meeting complain of bad roads in southeast Liberia and lack of vehicles, including manpower. Delegates from River Gee County complain that only 12 officers of the Drugs Enforcement Agency are assigned to the county and they lack access to transportation with similar situation in Maryland County, where only five DEA officers are assigned.

State security officers at the workshop note that drugs users are undermining peace in the county.Attorney Samuel F. Dakana, who is coordinator for national security sector reform explains to the New Dawn that the meeting is intended to educate participants, mainly chiefs and elders, women groups, and State securities assigned in all four counties how to help in combating violence by promoting peace and unity.

Meanwhile, the County Commander for the Liberia National Police in Nimba County, says regular meetings among security apparatus in the County are held with the citizens to help reduce mob violence.

By Franklin Doloquee in Nimba-Editing By Jonathan Browne

UNFPA Liberia opens Book of Condolence for fallen Executive Director

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Liberia County Office has opened a Book of Condolence at its office in Monrovia in memory of its late Executive Director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.

Dr. Osotimehin died on Monday, 05 June at his home in New York.The late UNFPA Executive Director touched the lives of millions of people, from his staff, friends and family, to the many women, girls and young people, who were impacted by his words and work.

“Dr. Osotimehin was bold and never afraid of a challenge and his strong leadership helped keep the health and rights of the world’s women and girls high on the global agenda. He understood that the world’s 1.8 billion young people are truly its greatest hope for the future.”

Dr. Osotimehin, a physician and public health expert, became UNFPA’s fourth Executive Director on 1 January 2011, with the rank of United Nations Under-Secretary-General.

Before this appointment, Dr. Osotimehin was Nigeria’s Minister of Health. Prior to that, he was Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, which coordinated HIV and AIDS work in Nigeria. Press Release

Liberian couple breaks grounds for US$1.6M project

A Liberian humanitarian family under the auspices of the PAN Health Services has broken grounds for the construction of a major referral hospital in Brewerville city, Montserrado County.

Mr. & Mrs. Cristo N. Kiepea, a Liberian couple residing in the State of Maryland, United States of America, secured six acres of land for the project immediately after the civil crises.

According to them, they are now set to construct a modern health care center here, which will cater to patients with all categories of illness, including teenage mothers. The couple notes that the facility will offer services to teenage mothers and pregnant women free of charge.

In brief remark at the launch on Tuesday, 6 June 6 in Parker Corner, (G-4 Road), Brewerville City, Mr. Kiepea explains noted that besides treating sick people, the hospital will also establish a data base for patients that visit hospitals across the country.

“This facility will not be in competition with other hospitals, but will complement the works of hospitals in providing patients’ records to enable medical doctors to access the medical history of their patients online for easy treatment,” he says.

He notes that the project is a humanitarian gesture for the Liberian people, which he and his wife conceived to build in Liberia as they prepare to return home.The program was attended by cross section of residents of Brewerville City, including City Mayor George Curtis.

When asked how he intends to get trained doctors, nurses and staff, Mr. Keipea continues that most of the workers will be recruited in Liberia and trained in specialized areas.
The Chief Executive and Founder of the PAN Family Health Services, explains that he earned his Bachelor degree from the University of Liberia in Accounting, and a Master’s in Information Technology in the U.S.A. He is also a holder of Baccalaureate Certificate in Information Security and Assurance and Biomedical information or medical informatics. Mrs. Kiepea is also a professional Nurse with extensive experience from the United States.

Mr. Kiepea says he and his wife started saving for the project in 2003, adding that he is confident that the project will be completed by February 2018 for dedication. Brewerville City Mayor Curtis, the only government official, who attended the ceremony, expressed thanks to the couple for selecting the township for the project, which will also serve Bomi and Cape Mount Counties. “I will do everything possible to ensure that this hospital is built,” Mayor Curtis vows. Meanwhile, the Liberian humanitarian is appealing to the government to cut down on customs duties levied on items imported to the country that are meant to carry on developmental projects. NyaPeagan writes.

Clergy challenges representative aspirants

Political aspirants contesting in Montserrado County Electoral District #16 have been challenged to contribute toward the ongoing New Kru Town sea erosion project, if they truly desire the votes of their people.

The Founder and General Overseer of the Word of Power Church International or WPCI School in Fundaye Community, New Kru Town, Pastor Daniel Kannah, challenged the legislative aspirants on Wednesday, 7 June during the institution’s 3rd anniversary celebration.

Pastor Daniel Kannah says several learning institutions in the area are at the risk of being swept away by the continuous sea erosion if concrete steps were not taken to fast track the government - sponsored erosion project, which he claims has been dormant for the past two months.

Pastor Kannah has cited the Jewel Howard Taylor Elementary, Faith in Christ, Point Four Elementary and many other schools as learning institutions that are not too far from the sea.

He says further that several aspirants, including Unity Party or UP aspirant Robert Teah and Bishop Kontoe were confronted about the sea erosion problem, but they assured them they would contribute to the project.

Meanwhile, Pastor Kannah is calling on government to resume the sea erosion project, expressing fears that any further delay with the project would lead to the destruction of infrastructures in the area by the sea.
By Emmanuel Mondaye --Edited by Winston W. Parley

EPA observes World Environmental Day  


Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and partners have celebrated the 2017 World Environmental Day in the commercial hub of Ganta, Nimba County with a caution for Liberians to protect their environment.

The 2017 World Environmental Day, characterized by cultural performances and parade through the principal streets of Ganta, was held on Monday, 5 June under the theme: “Connecting people to nature.”

The slogan for this year’s celebration is “Appreciate nature, save the environment.”The celebration attracted hundreds of students from Ganta and Sanniquellie cities, local county authorities, environmental NGOs, community based organizations and representative from ArcelorMittal.

In a special statement, EPA Executive Director, AnyaaVohiri, notes that World Environmental Day is a day for everyone to connect or reconnect with nature in ways that encourage environmental protection. According to her, this year’s World Environmental Day theme remains everyone about the importance of appreciating the beauty of nature.

She also remains the youth here about the role “we all have to play in protecting the earth that we share as our home.”“This year’s theme invites you to think about how we are part of the nature and how intimately we depend on nature. It challenges us to find fun and exciting ways to experience and cherish this vital relationship,” Madam Vohiri notes.

She discloses that the EPA is discharging its mandate to give nature a helping hand through the provision of environmental awareness in schools and communities across the country, as well as through the environmental and social impact assessment process that includes stakeholders’ consultations.

PA boss indicates that the institution is also helping to protect the environment through compliance, enforcement, monitoring and inspection, among other environmental related policies.

According to Director Vohiri, the agency has helped connect Liberia with international efforts being made to mitigate and adapt to environment changes taking place in the world.

In brief remarks, EPA Deputy Executive Director, UriasGoll says Liberia has a challenge in protecting the environment.Mr. Goll calls on Liberians to change their attitudes and take action to overcome challenges that protecting the environment poses.

Moses A. Massah, UNDP Manager for Energy and Environment, assured EPA of UNDP’s continuous support, as it strives to ensure a sustainable environment for al.He discloses that as part of its contributions to the protection of the environment, UNDP is currently collaborating with the EPA to support Youth Exploring Solution (YES), a local youth group to undertake community clean-up campaign in Monrovia. He calls on everyone to take care of the environment since it is important for the sustenance of human lives.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Liberty Party appoints National Liaison Officer

Liberty Party has appointed former Bong County Inspector William Kollie, as its National Liaison for Chiefs and Elders Affairs.In a letter to former Inspector Kollie, LP National Chairman Benjamin Sanvee says the appointment is based on the directive of Liberty Party Standard Bearer Charles Walker Brumskine.

The letter explains that the basic functions of Mr. Kollie will include mobilization of Chiefs and Elders across the country in pursuit of the party’s goal of winning the October 10, 2017 elections.

Party Chairman Sanvee also expresses optimism that Kollie will discharge his responsibility with utmost dedication and loyalty to the party.Former Inspector William Kollie, who served as Co-chair of the ruling Unity Party in Electoral District Five, recently resigned from the UP to in his words, “enable him to think independently.”

Since his dismissal as County Inspector of Bong last year, Mr. Kollie has taken a critical stance against the ruling Unity Party, lashing at the party on various issues.He blames Internal Affairs Minister, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, and Superintendent Mappy for his dismissal.

At a Unity Party meeting in Gbarnga, he openly described the two officials as dangerous people in the party, but Dr. Tokpa and Superintendent Mappy, who were present in the meeting, vehemently denied being in the know of the dismissal.

By Papa Morris-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Suspected imposter arrested at Phebe Hospital

Private guards at the Phebe Hospital in Bong County have arrested a man believed to be in his late 30s for impersonating as a nurse. Identity of the suspect, who also had two voter registration cards in his possession, has not been revealed as the cards in his possession are also carrying two separate names.

According to authorities at the hospital, the suspect has been moving within the hospital facilities for sometimes, and been able to learn the names of senior staff at the hospital.

The unidentified suspect told hospital authorities that he loves the medical profession and wants to be part of it. He is quoted as saying that he is a dropout of a medical school in Monrovia and has since not been able to enroll at any other institution to further his education.

Some hospital staff explain that the suspect had on several occasions, ridden the hospital workers’ bus and pretended to be one of them until it was later discovered that he was an imposter.

He was turned over to state security officers, who later forwarded him to the Gbartala Magisterial Court where he has been charged with loitering, impersonating as a nurse and violating elections law.

Court authorities told this writer that they have not been able to get his real identity but are using Ernest Mulbah, one of the names he is using on one of his voter registration cards to prepare court documents.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Civil society groups dialogue on Referendum Bill

Five Civil Society Organizations or CSOs including NAYMOTE, PMU, LDMI, IREDD and SAIL have concluded a one - day multi-stakeholders dialogue aimed at bringing relevant stakeholders together to brainstorm on the quick passage of the Referendum Bill that is before the National Legislature.

In a statement issued here on Thursday 8 June, the stakeholder’s dialogue which took place in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County brought together 15 Senators, two Supreme Court Justices including Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks and Cllr. Kabineh M. Ja’neh and the leadership of the Law Reform Commission.

The Grand Bassa County Superintendent, and the Leadership of Civil Society Organizations on the Constitutional Reform, and local authorities of Grand Bassa County were also in attendance.

The Civil Society Coalition says their intent is working to promote nationwide consultations on the constitutional review process with the in an effort to encourage an accelerated action on a joint resolution leading to a referendum bill by the National Legislature,

According to the release, the multi-stakeholders dialogue was climaxed by critical review and procedural discussions on the propositions pending before the Senate and propounding possible steps for a constitutional referendum bill within 2017 by the National Legislature.

It says during the dialogue, Justice Philip A. Z. Banks made great presentation on the topic: “Towards a Constitutional Amendment”, in which he inspired and motivated the Senators who promised to take timely action toward reviewing, discussing and working to get a Referendum Bill considering that they have better clarity to work toward amending the Liberian Constitution.

For his part, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, presented on the Proposals for Amendment, during which he laid out the entire 24 recommendations from the Constitution Review Committee’s report with statistics on what were voted for against during the national conference.

It was aimed at helping the Senators deepen their understanding of what were the issues discussed around the country. Some Senators who gave reasons for the delay in discussing the constitutional propositions, indicated that the delays were due to procedural error earlier observed from the Executive Branch.

They however assured that based on the precision from the presentations made by constitutional lawyers including Justice Banks and Cllr. Kanneh, they were provided the technical basis to now proceed on discussions to amend the Liberian Constitution.

In furtherance of the above observation, the CSOs suggested that the Law Reform Commission timely expedite to give all legal support to the Senate and the necessary documentation that will assist in reviewing, discussing and making decision for a National Referendum Bill leading to referendum.

They also suggested that the Committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation as well as the Committee on Judiciary at the Liberian Senate, take leadership actions in reviewing, discussing, reporting to the plenary for onward introduction on the floor for deliberations based on the presentations and lesson learnt from constitutional lawyers.--Press release

CDC writes NEC

The Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC has officially written the Chairman of the National Elections Commission or NEC requesting the names of aspirants that applied as independent candidates for the 10 October representatives and presidential elections.

The CDC’s youth wing leader Jefferson Koijii claimed at the party headquarters on Wednesday 7 June in Monrovia that on two separate occasions, his committee through the party’s leadership has written NEC, seeking the listing of independent candidates.

The coalition of ex- soccer legend George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change, convicted ex-president Charles Ghankay Taylor’s National Patriotic Party and indicted former House Speaker J. Alex Tyler’s Liberian People Democratic Party claims that the NEC has refused to provide any information as it relates to the CDC’s request contained in two separate communications about two weeks ago.

The CDC claims to sense an attempt by the NEC to allegedly deny it public information, and has expressed fears that it signals a clear indication that the coming October representatives and presidential elections could be tempered with in the interest of the electoral house.

When contacted via mobile phone, NEC Public Affairs Director Mr. Henry Flomo’s phone rang endlessly on several occasions. The request is in line with the party’s primaries scheduled for 15 June during which the coalition is expected to elect its candidates for national elections.

The coalition claims to receive credible information that some of the applicants for the party’s primaries have already applied to NEC as independent candidates.According to the Freedom of Information Act enacted by the Liberian Legislature and the Table Mountain Declaration, it is obligatory for agencies of government to give documents or information to anyone when legally requested.

The party is contending that it is binding on the elections commission to provide clarity as a way of creating an independent, credible and transparent process.CDC says it believes that in a case where the NEC is refusing to give the names of the independent candidates, the 10 October elections are gradually heading for ‘doom’.

According to CDC’s Jefferson Koijii, his committee has already [read] some local newspapers that published the listing of petitioners for independent candidates, one of the requirements by the NEC.

Koijii, who chairs the coalition’s national youth league, says NEC Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya and his team are refusing to give information about simple listing.
Mr. Koijii has pleaded with the public and the international community to be watchful of the national electoral process.

He has threatened that the CDC will be left with no alternative but to stage a peaceful sit in at the headquarters of NEC, on 9th Street, in Monrovia if the commission fails to adhere to its request by providing the listing of applicants in their possession.

Meanwhile, 765 persons have been selected as delegates for the June 15 primaries for Montserrado County. The delegates are expected to decide the fate of incumbent lawmakers and would - be candidates for the House of Representatives.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Edited by Winston W. Parley

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