The Bureau of Public Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
DAILY NEWS SUMMARY FOR WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, news summary of most of the local dailies in Monrovia, Liberia.
Min. Samukai Extols Citizens for Stability
According to the FOCUS newspaper, Liberia’s Defense Minister Brownell J. Samukai, Jnr., has lauded the Joint Security and citizens of Nimba County particularly those residing along the eastern fringes of Liberia for maintaining peace and stability for the common good of all citizens along the fringes of Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.
RELATED CAPTION:Min. Samukai Lauds Citizens for Stability(In Profile Daily); Min. Samukai Lauds Citizens for Stability (Heritage)
Ellen Breaks Ground for 136Km Road Linking River Gee, Sinoe
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has broken grounds for the construction of 136 kilometers road intended to connect River Gee and Sinoe Counties. The project is estimated at US$1.3m and is funded from tax credit by Euro Logging Company Liberia and is expected to last for 18 months. Under the arrangement initiated by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), with Euro Logging Company that allows for redirecting taxes in order to fund the road project, writes the Heritage newspaper.
RELATED CAPTION:Ellen Breaks Ground for 136Km Road Project (In Profile Daily)
‘ECOWAS Parliament Will Not Forget President Sirleaf’…Says Speaker Lo
A back-page story in the INSIGHT newspaper states that the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo, has said the sub-regional body will never forget President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her counsel and interaction with the group. “The ECOWAS Parliament will never forget you and please know that you have strongly left our footprints in the said of time. We remember your visit to the parliament, the pieces of advice you gave and all of the many supports we received from you, Madam President,” Speaker Lo indicated.
RELATED CAPTION:‘ECOWAS Parliament Will Not Forget President Sirleaf’…Says Speaker Lo(Heritage)
Liberia YMCA Gets New National SG
The Board of Directors of the Liberia Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) has appointed a new national secretary general and chief executive officer. A press release from the UMCA in Monrovia said that E. Timotheus Kamaboakai will take over as of May 1. The appointment of Kemaboakai comes after the voluntary disengagement of Edward E. Gboe, who is expected to end his tenure as national secretary general on April 30, according to the Daily Observer newspaper.
RELATED CAPTION: Liberia YMCA Appoints New National General Secretary/CEO(Heritage)
LNP Assures Female Contestants of Full Protection
According to the INSIGHT newspaper, Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman has assured women vying in the October elections of full police protection during their campaign processes. Police spokesman Sam Collins quoted Inspector General Coleman as saying that the Liberian National Police was under obligation to provide an enabling environment that will encourage women to participate in the pending elections, describing them as an important contributor to the current peace the country is experiencing.
Police Officers Blamed for Citizens’ Distrust, Others
The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Colonel Gregory Coleman, says police officers are responsible for citizens’ lack of trust and respect for them in the country. Colonel Coleman said the high level of citizens’ distrust and lack of confidence in the LNP force is due to some negative things some of these officers (whom he didn’t name) did in the past. He made these assertions during the week end at a dialogue meeting with a cross section of citizens in Gbarnga, Bong County; writes the Heritage newspaper.
CBL Blamed for Depreciation of Liberian Dollars
The In Profile Daily newspaper reports that amidst the sharp depreciation of the Liberian dollars against the United States dollars, a situation which has stirred inflation in the country’s economy, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has come under harsh criticism from the National Foreign Exchange Bureau Association of Liberia for what the group has termed as a slow pace of the CBL in raiding illegal foreign exchange business operators in the country.
Motor Accident Shakes Gbarnga-Phebe Highway…Three Dead, Several Wounded
According to the INSIGHT newspaper, a tragic motor accident along the Phebe-Gbarnga highway in Bong County has claimed the lives of three persons and left several wounded. The Chief of Traffic of the Bong County Police Detachment, Augustine Kanneh, disclosed that the accident occurred on Saturday when a grey Pathfinder Jeep coming from Monrovia collided with a commercial motorcycle heading toward Phebe.
WHO’s Financing Liberty Party? Public Concern Mounts Over Fleet of Vehicles
The Heritage newspaper is reporting that the opposition Liberty Party (LP) has come under public scrutiny, following the display of a fleet of brand new Totoya Double Cabin Pickups at the headquarters of the party in Congo Town, outside Monrovia. The party continues to line up fleet of vehicles and motorcycles printed with its emblem before the compound to showcase its financial and logistical strength, ahead of the much publicized Presidential and Representative Elections in Liberia.
Bishop Senyenkulo Challenges Christians to Exercise Patience
Lutheran Bishop Daniel Jensen Senyenkulo is challenging Christians to be patient and avoid rushing for earthly prosperity that will rob them of the opportunity of eternity. Bishop Senyenkulo advised the congregation of the Trinity Lutheran Church in Monrovia suburb of New Matadi that as Christian celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ this Easter, it will be good for them to wait for God’s appointed time, rather than scramble for earthly gains, reports the INSIGHT newspaper.
Grand Gedeh Women Gown Ellen
The Women of Grand Gedeh County have gowned the Liberian leader, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for her “extraordinary leadership” and the many development initiatives undertaken in Grand Gedeh County and the nation during her tenure. According to the Heritage local daily, they said since her ascendancy as President, Liberia has been peaceful, noting that these achievements were among reasons that motivated their decision to honor and gown her. Responding to a dinner the women held in her honor, President Sirleaf thanked them and praised the role of women in sustaining the peace. She called on them to continue maintaining the peace in everything they do. The Liberian leader promised to work with the county legislative caucus to look into some of their concerns proffered and congratulated them for the standing by the government, including their legislators, over the past 11 years.
Police Chief Urges Rule of Law During 2017 Elections
The INSIGHT newspaper reports that the Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman has cautioned citizens of Bong, Lofa and Nimba counties to uphold the rule of law during the October elections nothing that the exercise is important to the future of the country. He said the “Yes to Peace, No to Violence” initiative undertaken by the police is intended to build the confidence of the public in the Liberian National Police.
MPC Vows to Seek Taylor’s Release
The leader of the opposition party, Movement for Progressive Change or MPC says an MPC-led government would seek house arrest for jailed ex-Liberian president Charles Ghankay Taylor. Mr. Taylor currently serves 50 years sentence in Britain after his conviction by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone for aiding and abetting RUF rebels. MPC leader businessman Simeon Freeman says if elected President of Liberia comes October, he would exert his influence in the international community to have Taylor released from prison and placed under house arrest rather than being in foreign jail. He gave the promise in a news conference on Monday, April 18, 2017 at his political headquarters in the Monrovia suburb of Airfield. He said the tradition in Liberia that if a president came to power, his immediate priority is to go after his predecessor should be abolished, adding the people that are in power will not want to leave, because their fear is their successor will go after them or they will try in whatever way to create a successor that will favor them.” Mr. Simeon cited the Federal republic of Nigeria as an example where he observes, almost all of her past presidents are still alive, and laments, “but for Liberia, we have one and he is at the point of death, because he was given 50 years imprisonment,” reports the New Dawn newspaper.
LEC Connects Gd. Gedeh
Liberia Electricity Corporation or LEC Managing Director Mr. Foday Sackor says the corporation is planting larger electricity poles to put Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County online by Monday, 17 April, trashing a contractor’s work as not being proper. Through the West African Power Pool, Mr. Sackor says “we” have a company called Energy Venture that did most of the work in Grand Gedeh, indicating that “to be honest” a lot of the work that was done “was not done properly.” “A lot of the infrastructures are damaged and these poles are actually …, you either use 13 meter poles or you use steel poles. But when you’re doing this kind of stretch, it’s advisable that you use steel poles, especially we are in a curve”, says Mr. Sackor. He says LEC is planting 13 - meter poles to replace the nine - meter poles that were planted by the contractor on grounds that the planting of the earlier poles did not meet the specifications. He told the interview Monday, 17 April in the forest between Doegee and Zwedru that majority of the street lights were already up in Zwedru, but the most important thing that remains is getting electricity there, writes New Dawn newspaper.
Grand Gedeh Sees Security Calm
Grand Gedeh County Superintendent Peter Solo says there is considerable calm along the Liberian - Ivorian border, thanking President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf for the deployment and patrol of vigilant joint - security operatives including the Armed Forces of Liberia or AFL and armed police. During a dinner at Zwedru City Hall following President Sirleaf’s arrival on the fourth leg of her farewell tour in the southeast, Sup. Solo recalled that the greatest security challenge in the post conflict country has been to keep Ivoirians and illegal migrants “from our farmlands” in Grand Gedeh County. But a day after the dinner on Saturday, 15 April, President Sirleaf urged authorities of Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties including Legislative Caucuses, superintendents, chiefs and elders to continue dialoguing on matters concerning internal security, having reflected on the boundary issue that had just been settled. After cutting ribbon on the same day to a signboard erected on the boundary between River Gee and Grand Gedeh Counties, Mrs. Sirleaf expressed satisfaction over citizens’ agreement to see the conflict settled and reunite, reports New Dawn newspaper.
EPA, UNDP End Validation Training
According to the New Dawn newspaper, the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program or UNDP has ended a one-day interactive Cross Cutting Capacity Development (CCCD) project validation training in Kakata, Margibi County. The training was held at the Kakata Administration Building on April 18, 2017 with representatives from various government ministries and agencies and presidential aspirant, Dr. Tokpah Nah. Tipoteh, attending. It was held under the theme: “Enhancing the Capacity of RIO Conventions” aimed at building the capacity of participants to develop sectoral strategies on managing wetlands and how to avoid construction in waterways. Speaking to reporters on Monday, April 17, the National Coordinator of NCCS /EPA and CCCD project Focal Person Mr. Jeremiah G. Sokan, Sr. said, the training is also geared at validating a process to mobilize US$1.5 million to building capacity and enhancing skills of players involved with the protection of the environment in Liberia. According to him, a couple of weeks ago, similar training was held in Grand Bassa County where participants discussed how the EPA could work in generating US$50 million to help improve the environment.
Over 5,000 People Lack Health Facility in Nimba
Over 5,000 citizens in electoral district#7, Nimba County lack access to basic health facility. The underprivileged citizens lamented their plight recently to presidential hopeful and ex-central bank governor Dr. Joseph Mills Jones during a tour of the votes-rich county. Nimba County reportedly has a population of 1.2 million people, the second to Montserrado County. The head of women groups from the district told Dr. Jones that two towns outside of Bahn City with a population of over 5,000 namely; Miaplay Yeezlay and Miaplay Bonnah lack access to clinic. According to Madam Martha Gonkanue, due to the situation they are constrained to tote sick people in hammock from one town to another where there is an available clinic. The citizens described Dr. Jones’ visit particularly to Miaplay Bonnah as a great relief after they have put before him their plight. The New Dawn Nimba Correspondent says during the visit of the ex-governor to 17 administrative districts of the county, he was warmly received. Dr. Jones, who ended his tour of Nimba recently, was accompanied on the trip by the Chairman of his Movement for Economic Empowerment or MOVEE party, Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr, reports the New Dawn newspaper.
Pres. Sirleaf Wants Collaboration between GoL, WFP
According to the New Dawn newspaper, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called for collaboration between the government and WFP that will road map a homegrown school feeding program that focuses on the preparation of nutritious meal to enhance the growth and development children currently in school. Mrs. Sirleaf made the call when she received in audience the Regional Director of the World Food Program (WFP) for West and Central African, Mr. Abdou Dieng at her Foreign Ministry Office in Monrovia. An Executive Mansion release said, the President also used the occasion to prevail on the WFP delegation to put together the technical details that ensure the development of a program and an implementation plan that will be followed by rallying support for the roll out of the program. She assured the delegation that her commitment to assist in the mobilization funding will be informed by how soon a working document or program is finalized. He however stressed the need for collaboration towards the realization tangible outcomes. Speaking earlier, the WFP Regional Director thanked President Sirleaf for the opportunity and appealed for her support and advocacy to resuscitate the school feeding program. The School Feeding Program in Liberia targets some 300,000 Liberian school children across the country.
2017 First Quarter: 67 Killed in Road Accidents
Gregory Coleman, Inspector General (IG) of the Liberian National Police (LNP) says since the beginning of this year, police have documented 67 deaths as a result of road traffic accidents. IG Coleman said the first quarter of 2016, (January to March) recorded 34 deaths as compared to the first quarter of 2017 that has seen twice the number of deaths. Police Public Safety Section attributes the considerable rise in the number of road traffic accidents in the country to the lack of driver education, inexperience on the part of some vehicle operators, drunk driving, and bad road conditions. Police accident reports also put the total number of individuals sustaining injuries of different degrees at 507, while 592 vehicles were damaged in the accidents, according Daily Observer.
72nd Barracks Eviction Notice: Samukai Asked to Relent
Simeon Freeman, the political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), wants the Government of Liberia, especially Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, “to leave squatters at the 72nd Barracks alone.” Mr. Freeman said the decision to remove the squatters by force would disenfranchise them and get in the way of their peaceful participation in the October elections. He claimed that the decision to order the squatters to vacate the 72nd Barracks is being influenced by “big hands” to cause serious disappointment among peaceful citizens who have registered to exercise their right to vote during the elections in that community. Freeman said Minister Samukai’s ultimatum requiring the squatters to leave the barracks by May 1 “is a recipe for chaos because in 2011 the same decision to remove the residents from that community was not taken by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf because she wanted re-election. With only a few months left to elections, the government has come up with this decision, which I believe is not right and will create serious disappointments by keeping the citizens away from the process,” reports Daily Observer.
Jury Returns With US$311K Verdict against Lonestar Cell MTN
According to the Daily Observer, Lonestar Communications Corporation (LCC), one of two GSM companies operating in the country, was yesterday hit with a US$311,400 in compensatory and punitive damages after a Civil Law Court jury found the company guilty of deliberately setting ablaze a rented Nissan jeep belonging to Alpha Corporation International (ACI), a car rental service provider. The jurors awarded US$250,000 as punitive damages, US$60,000 as the actual price of the jeep and US$1,400 as compensation to the plaintiff (Alpha), totaling US$311,400. They returned the verdict after hours of closed-door deliberations reviewing all oral and documentary evidences presented during the trial by both the LCC and Alpha’s lawyers.
Man, 19, Gets 20 Years for Rape
The Eighth Judicial Circuit Court in Nimba County has sentenced a 19-year-old man to 20 years imprisonment for raping a six year old girl. Defendant Jerry Yeananme was arrested in April last year in the city of Saclepea, Nimba County where he committed the act. Court records reveal that the man admitted committing the act in a letter of apology he sent to the victim’s grandmother, identified as Joyce Bracewell. The voluntary statement was made on May 6, 2016, and defendant Yeananme’s letter of apology to the aunt was sent on March 21, 2017, reports the Daily Observer.
LNP to Create Enabling Environment for Female Contestants
Ahead of the pending Presidential and Legislative Elections scheduled for October this year, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Gregory O.W Coleman, has assured women aspiring for legislative seats of police protection during the campaign process. Coleman said the LNP was under full obligation to provide an enabling environment that will encourage the participation of women in the pending elections, describing them as an important contributor to the current peace the country is enjoying. Inspector Coleman said the police will not favor any group of people over another, but will provide equal opportunity for all, including women participating in the electoral process, writes the Daily Observer.
Liberian Cancer Society to Host 2nd Annual Affair
The Liberian Cancer Society will host their 2nd annual International Bazaar event April 29, 2017, commencing with a day of activity and fun for the entire family and also the ongoing advocacy and alertness on cancer and why it still kills a high number of Liberians every year. Cancer has been a very serious probably in Liberia’s society due to lack of resource centers, financial support and understanding of the disease that claims so many lives daily. But with the support of the Liberian Cancer Society, there has been a lot more awareness to a disease that can be treated if spotted soon enough. With this year Annual International Bazaar, the Liberian cancer Society will also use this platform to continue its fight against cancer, reports Daily Observer.
US$42m Audit Looms Over LEC – Rep. Joseph; Tells Partisans Not Shy Away From Competition
An Executive Committee member of opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Representative Saah Joseph, has proposed to the Plenary of the House of Representatives audit of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) for the US$42 million provided by international bodies for the provision of electricity. According to Rep. Joseph, the House Plenary has concurred with him and the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is expected to begin conducting such audit shortly. He indicated that it is time that the people themselves take the lead by working and making sure that they have access to electricity. Meanwhile, Rep. Saah Joseph is calling on young representative aspirants in the party to patiently await the party’s primary instead of crying foul, reports the FOCUS newspaper.
Southeastern Counties Between The Scissors – Roads May Cut-off During Pending Rainy Season
According to FOCUS newspaper, report emanating from the Southeast indicates that the road connecting the River Gee, Grand Geded and Maryland Counties might not be accessible during the raining season. The report also asserts that before the commencement of the rainy season in the counties might not be accessible during the raining season. The report also asserts that before the commencement of the rainy season in the country, the road leading from River Gee to Maryland County which plays a major transit route supporting the economic viability of the region would be completely dilapidated.
LACE Reaffirms Commitment to Implementing Government’s Development Agenda
The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing government’s development agenda to benefit rural dwellers in the country. Mr. Julius Sele, LACE Executive Director disclosed that the institution is implementing over 200 community projects across the country as part of government’s development agenda. Moreover, Sele noted that the projects would be completed within the 150-day-action plan period as stipulated by the government of Liberia, reports the FOCUS newspaper.
Firestone Factory Workers End Strike Actio – Returned To Negotiation Table
According to the FOCUS newspaper, calm has reportedly returned to Firestone following a two-day strike action instituted by factory workers who laid down their tools in demand for 11 months bonuses due them by the company for producing 31.1 tons of rubber as required by management. When contacted, Haris Kerkula, president of the workers’ union, told Focus that the union has intervened and thereby persuaded the factory workers to return to work.