Daily Media Summary 2017-11-09

The Bureau of Public Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Monrovia, Liberia




Today’s edition of our summary highlights the National Elections Commission’s assertion that it will dispose of electoral disputes in time and the election of a Liberian as the first black mayor in the history of the U.S. State of Montana.




‘NEC Will Dispose Of Electoral Disputes In Time’ – Korkoya

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has said that all electoral disputes before it will be adjudicated and disposed of in time, contrary to public perception of a delay. Addressing a press conference at the Commission’s headquarters Wednesday, the Chairman of NEC, Jerome Korkoya, said resolution of electoral disputes in the country remains “a high priority” of the commission. Chairman Korkoya explained that though there are some situations that resemble delay in the resolution of the current electoral disputes, « these delay are not from the commission but are consistent with due process rights being given to the parties that appear before the commission. »He added that delays that come from the hearing of electoral cases are usually the result of technicality employed by the political parties or their lawyers who brought those complaints. Korkoya said the NEC is committed to following the constitution and legislative framework in handling electoral disputes. He then reiterated that all electioneering process remains on hold as per the Supreme Court’s ruling to that effect early, says the Heritage newspaper.


Related Captions: Hearings Into Electoral Complaints Intensify At NEC (Heritage), Korkoya: ‘Frauds, Irregularities Claims Politically Motivated’ (Daily Observer), “Allegations Of Electoral Fraud Are Politically Motivated”-Election Commission Boss (FrontPage Africa), NEC Accuses Political Parties Of Delay Tactics-As UP Requests Separate Hearing (The INQUIRER)


NEC Hearing Officer Grants UP-LP Subpoena Request

The FrontPage Africa newspaper says the National Elections Commission’s (NEC) Hearing Officer, Cllr. Muana Ville, has granted with amendment, request to subpoena NEC to provide several electoral documents. The legal request was made by lawyers representing the interest of Liberty Party (LP) of Cllr. Charles Brumskine and Unity Party (UP) of Vice President Joseph Boakai. Cllr. Ville in his ruling said, with exception to these documents—report on police investigation of a polling staff in Nimba County allegedly caught in electoral fraud and report on the investigation involving a staff from the office of the President who was alleged to have being in possession of voting cards and printing materials and all polling records—as requested by the UP and LP legal team, other records requested have been granted.


Liberian-American Elected Montana’s ‘First Black Mayor’

Wilmot J. Collins, a Liberian-American, has now made history because he was elected as the first black mayor in the history of the U.S. State of Montana on Tuesday Nov. 7. Helena, the city of which he is now the Mayor-elect, is the capital city of the state. “Though Helena had a black mayor before it was even incorporated, local historians say former Liberian refugee Wilmot Collins will be the first,” a Montana news outlet said. Results will remain unofficial until provisional ballots are added and the election is canvassed at a Nov. 16 meeting. Collins has worked in numerous places including the United States Dept. of Homeland Security: Immigration Service Officer; Lewis & Clark United Way Board of Directors and United Nations Refugee Congress Advisory Council an as logistics specialist in the United States Navy, reports the Daily Observer.


Related Captions: Liberian Becomes Mayor In US Elected As First Black Mayor Of Helena Montana (FrontPage Africa), Liberian-American Becomes 1st Black Mayor In Montana (The INQUIRER)




Traditional Leaders In Liberia Vow To Intervene In Election Deadlock

The National Traditional Council has said that it must intervene to settle the election dispute between the Liberty Party (LP) and the National Elections Commission (NEC). Chief Zanzan Karwor, speaking through a translator, from his local Bassa vernacular into English, said the Traditional Council, as an advisory arm to the Liberian government, should be prepared at all times to maintain and make peace when the need arises. Chief Karwor urged all politicians and ordinary Liberians to be patient and kind to each other. The National Traditional Council leader thanked the Supreme Court for understanding the issue and handling the peace maturely. He warned the media to be responsible in their reportage. “Sometimes the headlines can be bad. This Liberia is looking up to all of us." The FrontPage Africa newspaper made the statement at a meeting attended by Liberia’s Peace Ambassador, Dr. William Tolbert, III, Cultural Ambassador Julie Endee, and other members of the traditional governing council.


Related Caption: Our Country Is Shaking Into Trouble…Tradition Chiefs Alarm (Heritage).


Ebola Fund Scandal: Liberian Gov't Vows to Bring Culprits to Justice

The Liberian Government has vowed to bring culprits to justice involved in reports of 2.7 million Swiss Franc scandals at the Liberia National Red Cross during the Ebola crisis that plagued the country in 2014. The Government said report emanating from the Red Cross that 2.7 Million Swiss Francs was lost to fraud during the epidemic in Liberia is of grave concern and reflects the country’s image. A communication issued by the Ministry of Information Culture and Tourism Wednesday noted that the report found evidence of fraud related to inflated prices of relief items, payroll, and payment of volunteers’ incentives, reports the FrontPage Africa newspaper.


UNMIL Supports Environmental Campaign In Bentol City

On 07 November 2017, United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) through the Quick Impact Projects (QIP) funded a Hygiene sensitization movement for prone communities. The project executed by the Universal Empowerment Missions will entail capacity building to four communities of Bensonville in sanitation and hygiene aspects. The Director of Mission Support (DMS), Mr. David John Penklis highlighted the importance of education one another to improve the community and the environment for every, reports the INSIGHT newspaper.


UNAIDS ‘Fast Tracks’ Plans Targeting People With HIV

According to the FrontPage Africa newspaper, with the increase in the rate of infection of the HIV virus in Western and Central Africa, UNAIDS has disclosed its designed catch up plans with theme, “Putting HIV Treatment on the Fast Track by 2018.” This is intended for people living with the virus to have access to treatment, tested voluntarily and to stop those living with virus from transmitting it.  The daily says at the Conference held in Dakar, Senegal in October 2017, in which Liberia was a part, both English and French speaking journalists and UNAIDS Executive Directors from 26 African countries got together to brainstorm on a way forward in reducing the HIV rate in particularly Western and Central Africa. However, through its ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS says that by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.


Police IG Coleman Warns ‘Unauthorized Gun Carriers’

Police Inspector General (IG), Gregory O.W. Coleman, has warned non-state actors particularly the licensed ‘gun carriers’ to desist from making themselves security personnel in the public domain when in fact they are not. Coleman, who chairs the National Elections Security Task Force, described action warned about as ‘counterproductive to the peace and stability of the country.’ He gave the warning at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) where a group of civil society actors honored him as a ‘Father of Modern Policing.’ The IG has meanwhile re-echoed that he is strongly resolved as chairman of the National Elections Security Task Force not to slip off his feet to ensure that the country enjoys a solid and lasting peace, not a fragile one, but the one that would have the citizens sleep sound, reports the Daily Observer.


“Temple Of Justice Not A Political Grounds”…Chief Justice Korkpor Warns

According to the Heritage newspaper, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Francis S, Korkpor, has warned members of public against taking the grounds of the Temple of Justice as a political theatre. The Temple of Justice, which is located on Capitol Hill in Monrovia, houses the Supreme Court of Liberia Chief Justice in the country. Chief Justice Korkpor urged members of the public stop demeaning themselves when in the nation’s highest court most especially when it is hearing or opinion in cases of national concern. The Liberia Chief Justice flagged this warning Monday, November 6, 2017, when he spoke for the court in its (court) opinion in the writ of prohibition filed by the Liberty Party by and through its legal team against the National Elections Commission (NEC).


Liberia: Gender Ministry Official Urges Journalists To Be ‘Agents Of Change’

The Nimba County coordinator of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Yah Belleh Suah, has called on Liberian journalists to see themselves as « agents of change » in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the country. She described violence against women and children as « an evil act » for which journalists have the power to change based on how practical they would be in their reportage of the issue. Suah made the statement at the close of a week-long workshop organized in Ganta, Nimba County under the auspices of the Swedish Embassy near Monrovia, the Liberian Government and the UN women against gender-based violence. « The act is evil and must be discouraged by everyone, including the media, » she pointed out.She then thanked the organizers of the workshop, hoping that media practitioners will exercise more fully what they have learned using the power they have to change the way « evil men think about women and children in our country, reports Heritage newspaper.


Related Caption: Journalists Cautioned In Reporting Rape Cases (Daily Observer)


Bong College Reduces Tuition, Other Fees

According to the FrontPage Africa newspaper, the administration the Bong County Technical College (BCTC) in Gbarnga, has announced immediate reduction in its tuition and other fees. BCTC Vice President for Administration, Richard Sondah, told the Liberia News Agency Wednesday, the cost of course credit has been reduced from US$6 to US$5, while registration fees have also been reduced from US$110 to US$75. Mr. Sondah noted that the decision was taken in keeping with President Sirleaf’s pledge to the students during her visit to Bong County in June this year when she assured them of her administration’s commitment to improving the learning environment at the College and making education affordable for all. Mr. Sondah said in line with the President’s pledged to the students, the administration has also taken other administrative decisions to enhance the school operations such as the expansion of the library to host over 50 students at a time. 

Related Caption: Bong College Reduces Tuition, Other Fees (Heritage)

UNMIL Supports Environmental Campaign In Bentol City

On 07 November 2017, United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) through the Quick Impact Projects (QIP) funded a Hygiene sensitization movement for prone communities. The project executed by the Universal Empowerment Missions will entail capacity building to four communities of Bensonville in sanitation and hygiene aspects. The Director of Mission Support (DMS), Mr. David John Penklis highlighted the importance of education one another to improve the community and the environment for every, reports the INSIGHT newspaper.


‘Uphold Values of Nationhood and Patriotism’ -Peace Ambassador Tolbert, III

According to the Daily Observer, National Peace Ambassador William R. Tolbert III, recently called on Liberians, especially politicians to maintain the country’s peace in the wake of the pending run-off election. Amb. Tolbert told politicians to uphold the values of nationhood and patriotism, which are some of the most important factors to the country’s stability. He challenged politicians and stakeholders to be proactive and robust in the implementation of the national peace building road map. The gathering held in Gbarnga, Bong County, was jointly organized by the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND), the Peace Building office at the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) with support from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Quick Impart Project, pens the Daily Observer.