LNP gets website, applications

The Liberia National Police (LNP) officially launches its website to enable the public access information about the police. The launch was held at the National Police Headquarters on Tuesday, 28 November in Monrovia. According to the LNP, the website will enable both the public and police officers to access information about the institution via mobile phones.

Police spokesman Sam Collins says the application (APP.) may also be used to report police officers involved in misconduct as well as hail officers that uphold professional standards.  Project Lead, Mr. Thomas Doe Nah from Carter Center says the Center thought it expedient to set up a functioning website for the LNP that will not only connect the public, but also officers to officers.

He says location doesn’t matter, once there is access to internet connectivity, a person may bring the Police to light.  Mr. Nah explains that once you log in to “LNP.gov.lr” you will access the website of the LNP with so many options to follow, adding that with the Facebook page of the LNP and the Website, you can get to know the daily activities of the LNP.

He commends Carter Center for making the progress possible, and assures that they remain committed to ensuring that accountability and trust are the hallmarks of the LNP. Mr. Nah cautions the Press and Public Affairs office of the LNP to be proactive in handling the website with regular updates.

Police Inspector General Col. Gregory O.W. Coleman, who launched the website and other applications, says as the LNP continues its quest to enhancing delivery of services to the public, accountability remains very paramount. IG Coleman continues that the lack of trust and confidence in law enforcement agencies has led to lot of ills. “It has become a contributing factor to the issue of mob violence and other forms of disrespecting the rule of law”, he notes.

He calls on the public to use the APP very wisely and appropriate, urging the public to put the system to test and make best use of it. The police chief promises to update the website with relevant information that are not yet available or up to date, but calls on the public to report feedback to help improve the system.
Col. Coleman thanks the Carter Center and RoviaGate Technology for making the LNP website and other applications possible.

By Samuel P. Kamara-Editing by Jonathan Browne

AGAC empowers farmers

The Country Director of Aim Global Agribusiness Company or AGAC Mr. Matthew Ndote says his company is helping people especially, farmers in the country to select farmland.

“AGAC is one of Liberia’s leading international Agribusiness Company that is involved with the transfer of contemporary farming technologies and exercise like the use of paddle pumps and drip kits for irrigation of crops during the dry season, green house technology and hydroponics to enhance farmer’s capacity, among others”, says Mr. Ndote.

He explains that the company also advises farmers which kinds of crops to plant based on farm location.

Speaking in an interview with this paper recently in his office on 24th Street Sinkor, in Monrovia, following an assessment of farmlands owned by ‘Afro Green Liberia in Bensenville City, Montserrado County, the Aim Global Agribusiness Company boss says AGAC is also involved in animal husbandry and conduct assessment of landscape, including soil test.

Mr. Ndote continues that the company provides advisory and consultancy services as well as capacity building for farmers, adding, “AGAC offers technical advice to farmers and help them setup budget for the smooth running of their farms.”

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Ellen wants Museum used as reconciling force

President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf says the reopened National Museum on Broad Street and the historical memories that are placed in it should serve as a unifying and reconciling force, urging Liberians to begin to see themselves in a way that everyone is equal.

“And only when we begin - individual to individual, ethnic group to ethnic group, association to association, when we begin to see ourselves as part of this way [and] everyone equal to the other one, when we do that, this will become a mere symbol because we will be the ones that will carry forth what this structure signifies,” Mrs. Sirleaf said Wednesday, 29 November.

Mrs. Sirleaf reopened the National Museum on the national Holiday in observance of late President William V.S. Tubman’s birthday on 29 November, minutes after she laid final wreath over his grave at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Broad Street.

President Sirleaf says she can only hope that Liberians through the ways of their history will see that they are one people and one nation, adding that the structure and the memories placed in it will serve as a unifying force as well as a reconciling force,.

She asks that “we” protect it, defend it, maintain it and enable it to grow because there’s so much more that can be added to it “if we deserve it and if we work toward it.”

The President notes that friendship and reconciliation begin with each individual’s heart, expressing hope that as people go through the structure, they too will become a part of what the museum represents.

Prior to reopening the museum, President Sirleaf had lain final wreath over the grave of late President Williams V. S. Tubman, memorializing him for leading Liberia into the path of development, freedom, strong international relationship and the fight against colonialism by supporting those who were engaged in the struggle.

She credits the late President Tubman for peace, development and democracy, and says it is hoped that it has started to come back and she is pleased to be the one blessed by God to start the process of return [to development].

The late President Tubman’s family members including 2011 defeated presidential candidate Cllr. Winston Tubman of opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC’s), were at the grave site.

Later at the reopening of the museum, Information Minister Eugene Nagbe says it was President Sirleaf’s dream and also his ministry’s fiduciary responsibility to get the museum reopened.

But Mr. Nagbe however gives applause to the vision, drive and passion of Madam Carol Alexander who undertook the project, saying the museum is a sign to him that once the right pieces are in place with the right driver, nothing is impossible for Liberia to achieve.

“Just as Madam President supervise our peace and our development over the past 12 years, so has this portion of our national effort been led by this great woman who left her family, left her comfort and spent many weeks, many months here to get us to where we are today,” Mr. Nagbe says of Madam Alexander.

Madam Carol Alexander says the museum is about exposure, reteaching, reeducating, remembering, urging Liberians to rise again and become one. She asks that Liberians should have the same passion as she did, noting that kids here have to understand their culture and they will be educated by the adults.

By Winston W. Parley

Africa urged to stick to commitment to a malaria-free Africa

African governments have been urged to ensure that commitments made to fight malaria are not wane. The World Malaria Report 2017, a global assessment of progress in the fight against malaria, shows that while malaria incidence and mortality rates remain far lower than 2010 levels, progress is beginning to stall.

Malaria cases have increased across the African continent, with 194 million cases reported in 2016, up from 191 million in 2015. Malaria mortality rates decreased by 2,000 during the same period. Four countries in Africa recorded a 250,000 case increase in 2016, compared to 2015: Rwanda, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger.

Meanwhile, a total of eight countries in Africa recorded a greater than 20% increase in cases in 2016 compared to 2015. “This year’s World Malaria Report warns that we could lose the tremendous gains made in reducing malaria sickness and death in Africa unless we do more to save lives from this preventable and treatable disease.

We cannot forget the cost of this disease on our people and our economies. Last year on our continent, malaria killed 407,000 people and robbed us of US$12 billion in lost productivity, investment and associated health care costs. For every $1 we invest in malaria control and elimination we yield a $36 return for our economies.

Getting back on track to reach our goal of a malaria-free Africa by 2030 will require our leaders to prioritize funding, scale up access to life-saving malaria interventions and new tools and strengthen health systems. In addition, the international community must sustain their commitments to these efforts,” said Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

Meanwhile, there are some bright spots. Madagascar, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and The Gambia registered reductions in the number of malaria cases last year. Madagascar reported the most significant decline among these countries, with 856,000 fewer cases of malaria in 2016.

“As African leaders, we must use the release of the World Malaria Report 2017 to energize our collective effort in the fight against one of our continent’s most devastating diseases. This year’s report is a reminder of what will happen if our commitments wane.

The progress made by Madagascar, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and The Gambia is commendable and shows us that we can do more to save our families, communities and countries from this disease. We can learn from their achievements to replicate their success across the continent,” said King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

In addition, African countries are making strides in collecting data on malaria cases and deaths. In 2016, 37 of 46 countries in the World Health Organization African Region indicated that at least 80% of public health facilities had reported data on malaria through their national health information system.-Press release

President Sirleaf dedicates several projects

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has dedicated several development projects including Cassava Processing Hubs and six Spiral Mixers for Bakers. The Liberian leader also performed groundbreaking for the construction of new dormitories for the A. M Dogliotti College of Medicine on the Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia. She commended the World Bank its continued support to Liberia's development initiatives.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf performed the dedications during separate ceremonies on Monday, November 27, 2017 in Bensonville outside Monrovia; in Harrisburg rural Montserrado as well as on the Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia.

In White Plains Harrisburg, President Sirleaf commended the World Bank Group for the support given to Liberia and emphasized government's commitment to prioritizing health worker housing needs. She said the construction of the housing units begin the process of rejuvenating
efforts in the health sector.

She used the occasion to urged citizens of Harrisburg to return home and begin the process of development adding, "As I drove coming to Benton, I was a little bit sad to see all these places not developed" She noted.

Speaking at the Cassava processing hubs in Bensonville, President Sirleaf lauded the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its numerous contributions to Liberia's development agenda particularly in the Agriculture sector, among others.

She encouraged the bakers to produce more cassava, which she said will generate revenue and make Liberia self- sufficient in food production. The Liberian leader however assured them of her continued support to the sector to enable them get some assistance.

Speaking during ground breaking ceremony at University of Liberia Fendell Campus, the Liberian leader pointed out the importance of education at all levels stressing: "No matter what we do, without an educated population, we will not go far," President Sirleaf told the gathering.

She also thanked Dr. Ophelia Weeks, President of the University of Liberia, students and the Ministry of Health for their commitment and dedication.

For her part, World Bank Country Manager, Larisa Leshchenko said the World Bank is pleased to be part of the dedication of the staff housing units adding, "A healthy nation is a wealthy nation." She noted the construction of staff housing units in remote health facilities is one of the
activities supported by the World Bank within the pillars of Re-engineering health infrastructure of the National Heath Investment Plan. She added that the World Bank has successfully collaborated with the Government of Liberia with resources amounting of US$ 2.5M to construct 41 duplexes consisting of 82 staff housing units in eight counties mainly Gbapolu, Montserrado, River Cess, Grand Kru, Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee counties.

Also speaking, Liberia's Health Minister, Dr. Bernice Damn thanked President Sirleaf for her support to the health sector. She said the government was at White Plains Clinic for a symbolic dedication of 41 housing units, which according to her contain a total of 82 apartments for 29 health facilities across the country. She used the occasion to thank the World Bank for the support given the health sector among.

For her part Dr. Ophelia Weeks, President of the University of Liberia commended President Sirleaf and the World Bank for the level of support the University has received and continues to receive and said she was inspired and encouraged in light of the construction of two the dormitories.

In separate remarks, World Bank Country Manager, Larisa Leshchenko and Dr. Orison Amu – Country Manager of AfDB thanked President Sirleaf for demonstrating commitment in the sector and reaffirmed their institutions’ commitment to Liberia's development agenda.

The ceremonies were graced be senior government officials including Agriculture Minister Seklaus Wiles, Health Minister, Dr. Bernice Dahn, Information Minister, Eugene Nagbe, citizens among others.

Meanwhile, President Sirleaf has received in audience World Food Program Executive Board Members at her Foreign Ministry office. The visit is part of the Executive Board's tour of three West African countries mostly affected by Ebola from 2014-2016.

Speaking earlier, the head of delegation Ms. Angelica Jacome, Panama Representative to the United Nations thanked President Sirleaf for welcoming her delegation and for the warm reception received since their arrival in Liberia.

Speaking further, she commended President Sirleaf for the global leadership she has demonstrated over the years. She stressed the need for pushing forward Liberia's agenda for development and strengthening the partnership with Liberia.

She noted that lot has been done in Liberia by the government something she said she's impressed off adding, "Madam President, we are impressed with Liberia's progress so far," she emphasized. She then committed her institution’s continued support to Liberia.

Receiving the delegation, President Sirleaf welcomed Madam Jacome and her team to Liberia and recounted the World Food Program to Liberia especially during the civil crisis and during the deadly Ebola outbreak that took away many lives.

She lauded the Board Members for their visit and urged them to continue their support to Liberia - stressing some of the challenges Liberia is faced with especially in the areas of storing and processing. According to her as she goes around the country, she sees a lot of commitment and work done by farmers while emphasizing the 12 years of peace being kept by the citizens and all of those who contributed.-Press release

Liberians yearn for runoff election

With recent ruling by the Board of Commissioners at the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the fraud and irregularities complaint filed by the Liberty party (LP) and Unity party (UP), some Liberians are yearning for the runoff election.

The quest for the runoff follows an announcement of an appeal announced by the two parties. But despite the announcement, some Liberians here say they are looking forward to judges of the Supreme Court to lift the prohibition placed on the runoff election, hoping that the pending opinion of the Supreme Court on the Board’s ruling downplays a rerun.

On 6 November 2017, the Supreme Court of Liberia urged the NEC to expeditiously dispose of the complaints filed by the LP, seeking for NEC to undo the results of the October 10, 2017 presidential and representative elections and have a rerun.

NEC has ever since on November 20, 2017 terminated the case at the level of the chief hearing officer of the commission who ruled that the two complainants failed to prove the allegations of fraud, gross irregularities and violations of both the Constitution of Liberia and the new elections law, thereby rejecting and dismissing the request for a rerun of the October 10 elections.

However, late Wednesday November 23, the complainants filed a separate Bill of Exceptions to the Board of Commissioners against the ruling of the hearing officer of November 20, 2017 and a Joint Motion of Recusal for the chairman of the commission.

Immediately, and in keeping with the spirit of speedy and transparent justice, the Board assigned the hearing into the appeal for the morning of the following day November 24. Subsequently, both the motion for recusal and the bill of exceptions were executed on that the day. The motion was first heard and a few hours later the Board ruled in favor of its Chairman, Jerome Korkoya, to preside as chairman. There and then, the hearing into the appeal commenced.

Following intense and lengthy arguments by the three sides, the matter was suspended and resumed the following day November 25, at which time the Board confirmed and affirmed the ruling of the hearing officer who had denied and dismissed the complainants of both the parties for a rerun of the October 10 elections.

One may recall the marathon case commenced on October 27, 2017, and it took the LP, the primary complainant, just two days to rest oral and documentary evidence with 12 witnesses, including its chairman and national campaign manager Benjamin Sanvee and Musa Bility respectively.

The UP, tributary complaint, who filed a motion of intervenor on October 28, just at the foot of the conclusion of the LP’s argument, was allowed into the case on November 6, 2017 following the Board’s decision to overturn the hearing officer’s ruling of denial. Interestingly, it would take the secondary complainant 12 days to rest oral and documentary evidence, producing 11 witnesses, including the party’s national chairman Wilmot Paye and former NEC chairperson Francis Johnson Alison.

NEC took a few hours on November 18 to produce just two witnesses and rested on both oral and documentary. In the view of the defense counsels, NEC did not need much time or witnesses, giving that the complainants grossly failed to prove their allegations of fraud and irregularities.

The NEC is said to be urging voters and the entire citizenry to remain patience with the court process. However, a cross session of Liberians speaking to this paper say though the two parties, after the BOC‘s Friday ruling, announced an appeal to the Supreme Court of Liberia, they pray the high Court would go ahead to confirm and reaffirm the decision of the NEC to avoid further delays of the runoff election, which was earlier set for November 7, 2017.

They believe that the parties could not prove their allegations after almost a month-long legal battle. They said much as some voters encountered difficulties on voting, the situation did affect all sides and that it did not amount to cheating as claimed by the LP and UP.

Meanwhile, NEC says it awaits the outcome of the Supreme Court’s opinion on its ruling following which a determination will be made on the lifting of the prohibition on the election. The prohibition was ordered on November 6, 2017.

Gov’t announces the re-opening of national Museum

The Ministry of Information has announced the reopening of the National Museum saying it has been restored reversing the effect of many years of destruction and neglect.

The Museum is housed in one of Monrovia’s oldest buildings, erected in 1843, four years before Liberia’s Declaration of Independence. This example of typical mid-19th century Liberian settler architecture was originally designed to house the colony’s first Court House.

The three floors of exhibitions collectively entitled WAVES OF TIME explore the ebb and flow of Liberia’s history, cultures, peoples and artistic expressions. The exhibitions inform and enlighten visitors through the use of rare and contemporary artifacts, documents, photographs, archival videos, art works, sculptures and installations of a traditional hut and a country kitchen. Stories about and images of Liberia’s 16 ethnic groups as well as the establishment of Americo-Liberian communities are followed by the history of the Republic of Liberia and its quest for unity, peace and prosperity.

Finally, art works by talented, contemporary Liberian artists interpret artistically the country and its peoples' past, present and future.  “I am proud that as President of Liberia I have been able to restore the symbols of the waves of our evolvement and I call on all Liberians to share in this rich heritage by visiting the Museum,” President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The Museum was severely damaged during the civil war and many items and objects in its collections were damaged, destroyed or stolen.  President Sirleaf made the reopening of the Museum a priority to support the nations healing efforts. Over the last year and a half, the physical structure was restored and the services of museum specialist Carol J. Alexander secured to oversee the design and duration of its re-opening exhibitions.

Carol J. Alexander is the CEO of MaBu, a Cultural Resource Company. She was the founding director of the Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville, Florida (USA), the city’s 35,000 square foot museum and theater of African American history and culture. Her service was arranged through the former Director Smithsonian African Art Museum. Museum opens to the public, Wednesday November 29th at 21:00 am. Regular hours will be Monday - Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.

Parents want WASSCE aborted

The National Parents and Teachers Association Network of Liberia, (NAPTANOL) says government should abort the 2017 West African Senior Schools Certificates Examination (WASSCE) due to the lack of basic facilities in schools, weeks after the West African Examination Council (WAEC) announced that government would not pay exam fees for students here.

NAPTANOL president Mr. J. Mason Saweler told the NewDawn newspaper on Monday, 27 November at the organization's office on Center Street in Monrovia that due to financial problems that parents are facing here, they are unable to pay their children's WASSCE fees this year.

He says students are begging at some political parties' offices, individual homes and offices to help them pay their WASSCE fees, complaining that this is happening because government has allegedly abandoned its responsibility.

According to Mr. Saweler, parents had the hope that government would have paid their children's WASSCE fees this year based on its alleged promise, adding that government's decision that it will pay fees for all 12th graders shock parents.

The PTA leader vows that by next academic year, the PTA network here will become more involved with the Ministry of Education in order to make the education system here better.

He says WASSCE was given here twice as a test case to see whether students would be prepared for further tests. But he expresses observation that the students that sat the exams didn’t do well due to the lack of basic facilities in schools.

NAPTANOL has expressed disappoint in government's firm position in administering the 2017 WASSCE in the face of alleged lack of basic facilities in schools.

According to Mr. Saweler, most of the schools here do not have equipped science laboratories and libraries to compete with other West African students who are also sitting the 2017 WASSCE.

He claims that currently there are few schools like J.J. Roberts, Tubman High and the Firestone Schools that have better school facilities to sit this year’s WASSCE.

He blames government for the lack of libraries and laboratories in schools, saying government accredited schools that do not have those basic school facilities. Mr. Saweler also blames parents for not asking schools administrations to make the basic school facilities available.

By Samuel P. Kamara--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Parties clash for land in Margibi

Two opposing parties to a disputed six lots of land clashed over the weekend in Kpan Town, lower Margibi County. Fist fight broke out between followers of Mr. Jenkins Marwolo and Mr. Joseph Blama Swary when one of the parties attempted to conduct an investigative survey of the property in question.

In separate interviews with the parties, Mr. Marwolo told the NewDawn that the land in question belongs to him and not for the Swary family. He claims to have bought the parcel of land in 1988 from the late Ma Tiegay Jusu Kamara, but notes that he was unable to construct on the land due to the civil crisis here.

Mr. Marwolo says after the war had subsided here, he returned to see the land but shockingly saw two zinc houses owned by Mr. Swary on the disputed land. For his part, Mr. Joseph Blama Swary, who is about 76 years old, denies Mr. Marwolo's claims, saying the land does not belong to the latter.

According to Mr. Swary, the person identified as the original owner of the disputed land by Mr. Marwolo was far from the actual picture when it comes to who owned the parcel of land.

Mr. Swary claims that contrary to Mr. Marwolo's claims of buying the land in 1988, he (Swary) acquired the land in 1968 from Konah Tarnu Jangabah who, according to him died several years ago.

Mr. Swary says he has been living there. Meanwhile, the fight between the two parties led to minor injuries on both sides, with some of the fighters sustaining wounds on their legs, hands and faces and treated at the Firestone Medical Center. They were later discharged.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Locals crave for handpums, school in Kpan Town

Thousands of inhabitants of Kpan Town in lower Margibi County are craving for a community school and hand-pumps in the area. Speaking to this paper over the weekend, Community Youth Chairman Mr. Harris Williams claimed that thousands of children living in Kpan Town lack basic educational facilities like primary schools.

He adds that the community is troubled by the lack of safe drinking water, saying there are two hand-pumps that cannot meet the needs of the people. According to Mr. Williams, some of the residents who have vehicles usually go to other areas along the highway to fetch safe drinking water, while those without vehicles live by the mercy of God.

He emphasizes that the community people have asked for help from the government and other organizations to provide more hand-pumps and a school, but no one has listened to their plea.

Mr. Williams laments that the situation is getting unbearable for the inhabitants, indicating that the two hand-pumps constructed four years ago can no longer provide pure and safe water for the people.

Meanwhile, Mr. Williams has disclosed plans by the community to organize a fundraising program in order to generate the needed financial resources to erect a primary school and construct some hand-pumps on their own.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

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