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Senators succumb to simple reasoning -finally endorse elections

Members of the Liberian Senate have finally succumbed to simple reasoning by concurring with the recommendations from the National Elections Commission for the conduct the Special Senatorial Elections on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

The Senators rejected the holding of the elections this year last Thursday after the House of Representatives endorsed the readjusted timetable of the 2014 Special Senatorial Elections prepared by NEC.

The readjusted timetable was enorsed, with the agreement that the campaign would commence on Sunday, November 16, 2014 and the elections conducted on December 16, 2014, but the Senate, which is the direct beneficiary of the elections, turned down the possibilities of the December 16 elections on grounds that the “safety of the Liberian people was of more concern than elections”- an apparent reference to the Ebola.

The Senate’s Committee Chairman on Foreign Relations, Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais, told reporters that the action by the senators would have stalled the conduct of the elections that would further create some political tensions here.

But the senators- thirteen of whom are seeking re-election, described the timetable endorsed by the House of Representatives and prepared by the National Elections Commission as unrealistic, and that they- members of the august body, will not accept such proposal.

The National Elections Commission or NEC then announced in Monrovia that political activities for the Special Senatorial Elections were expected to commence this week, with political campaigning beginning on Thursday, November 20, 2014.

“In keeping with the revised timetable for the 2014 Special Senatorial Elections, the commission is pleased to announce that political campaign will commence on Thursday, November 20, 2014 and end 24 hours before polling day,” said Cllr. Jerome Kokoyah, Chairman of the Commission.

The Legislators reached the decision during the 21th day sitting of the Extraordinary Session on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, following a report from a Conference Committee consisting of Members of both Houses. Members of the National Legislature also endorsed an alternative plan to conduct by-elections in the event there is a reoccurrence of the deadly Ebola virus disease in a particular county during the time of the elections.

A Joint Resolution adopted by the National Legislature on October 10, 2014 and Approved by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, authorized the NEC to conduct the Special Senatorial Elections not later than December 20, 2014. The Resolution by the Senate and House further mandated the Elections Commission to hold consultations with relevant stakeholders, including political parties, independent candidates, civil society groups, as well as national and international health authorities to set a new date for the conduct of the elections.

Ebola escapee tested positive

Jackson Juah, the man who was reported of escaping from the Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Suakoko has been tested negative of the virus.  Mr. Juah was taken to the Ebola Treatment Unit in Suakoko, after showing signs and symptoms of the virus and was later reported missing by workers at the ETU during the afternoon hours of the same day.

He was said to have escaped when staff at the Bong ETU started extracting basic information from him regarding his interaction with people and other personal information. He later reported himself on Monday, November 10, and was discharged over the over the weekend.

He told our Bong county correspondent over the weekend after being discharged that he was afraid of the dress code of health workers who were dressed in the PPEs while processing him. Mr. Juah said he has thought that those dressed in the PPEs were heart men who were pursuing him. He said he was glad after being tested negative of the deadly virus.

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