Daily Media Summary 2017-01-05

                 The Bureau of Public Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Monrovia, Liberia


Selected stories for today media summary include the certification of elected officials ahead of January 22, 2018 inauguration, Independent National Commission on Human Rights caution to President-elect Amb. George Manneh Weah against human rights violation and the launching of World Food Program campaign on sexual gender-based violence among other stories 

Liberia’s Elections Commission Certificates Officials Ahead of Historic Inauguration

The National Elections Commission (NEC) Thursday certificated the President-elect, Vice President-elect and 66 of the 73 elected lawmakers ahead of the January 22 inaugural ceremony. At the ceremony held in Sinkor, Monrovia, at the headquarters of the NEC on Thursday, 4 January, several international partners also renewed their commitment to support the new Liberian government. The certification ceremony is the confirmation of the legitimacy of the mantle of authority vested in the elected officials by the voters and it paves the way for a historic inauguration ceremony on January 22. The NEC could not certificate seven lawmakers because their respective victories in the October 10 elections are being challenge by opposing candidates. Speaking at the program, President-elect George Weah promised to live up to his campaign promises of improving the lives of Liberians as he paid homage to outgoing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Jewel Howard-Taylor for being the first female President and Vice President-elect of Liberia, asserts the FrontPage Africa newspaper.

Time to work

President-elect George M. Weah stresses here that it is time for the three branches of the Liberian government to work actively for the betterment of the Liberian people. He says gone are the days of campaign, verbal and physical attacks on one another, political parties and candidates, noting that it is time for all Liberians to rally support in moving the country by offering their best skills. Speaking Thursday, 4 January when he was certificated along with his Vice President-elect Jewel Howard Taylor and Representatives-elect of the Lower House, Weah reminds that the progress of the country depends on all Liberians’ efforts and there is no room for failure. “There were comments during the campaign that I think were not necessary but, elections have come and gone; it is time for serious work and deliverables. Failure is not an option, we as a country need to work for development, and development can only be achieved by hard work carried out by all Liberians,” he emphasizes. Speaking earlier at the NEC headquarters, its Chairman Cllr. Jerome George Korkoya says certificates presented to lawmakers do not only represent conferral of legitimacy, adding, “To pronounce you to the world as the duly elected officials but also embodiment of the power, trust and aspiration reposed in you by various constituents and the people of Liberia.” Chairman Korkoya further notes that when the majority of voters, who turned out to vote in the October 10th elections and the run-off election of December 26, selected them (representatives) on the ballot, they did so considering them as the best candidates to lead the country for the next six years to meet their aspirations and fulfill their hopes, reports the New Dawn newspaper.

Related Caption: Weah: We Will Not Fail (FrontPage Africa)

INCHR Caution President-elect Weah Against Human Rights Violation

The FrontPage Africa newspaper quotes an INCHR release: The Independent National Commission on Human Rights has cautioned President- elect George Weah against Human Rights violation during his tenure as Liberia's President. The INCHR, in a statement issued Thursday, said Mr. Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) should not use the popular voices of Liberians to mete gross Human Rights violation against citizens.  According to INCHR, Weah as President-elect should see the need to ensure that the rights and basic freedom of every Liberians are protected.  "The Commission wants Amb.  Weah and the CDC to use the popular will and mandate of the people to the full enjoyment and protection of their human rights and basic freedom," the statement said.  The commission also lauded Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai and the Unity Party for acknowledging and accepted defeat, describing their move as “a mature and civilized optical practice”. 

U.S. Embassy Applauds BFF For Promoting Youth Participation in Elections

Better Future Foundation (BFF), proponent of the Liberia Democracy Sustainability Platform (DSP) in collaboration with Youth Beyond Barriers (YBB), has completed a month-long series of lecture on the importance of youth participation in elections and other key aspects of promoting human rights, and sustaining democracy. Held on the Theme: “Power of Your Vote,” ceremony marking the final phase of the lecture series coincided with the final certification of 65 youth community peer mediators at the United States Embassy near Monrovia. Sponsored by the United States Government, through its Embassy, the training which was held in five communities in Monrovia and its environs from July to August 2017 was aimed at educating first-time voters between the ages (18-23), from over 20 communities in Montserrado County on how to use their civic rights and duties to ensure peaceful and credible Presidential and legislative elections in Liberia, pens the FrontPage Africa newspaper.

Related Caption: Local Youths Complete Training In Promoting Human Rights (Daily Observer)

WFP Launches Campaign to Stop GBV

The World Food Program Gender Focal Person in Liberia launches a call for more support to end gender-based violence against women and girls in Liberia and the world at large. Speaking at a forum on awareness against all forms of violence directed against women in Gbawanken, Karluway District #3, Maryland County, southeast Liberia, Mrs. Kabeh Enders, says it is time for every entity to commit to addressing GBV to protect women and girls.
She says violence against women and girls is one of the widely spread human rights violations that denigrate dignity of women and girls around the world. The WFP Gender Focal Person names psychological effects that are associated with some of the consequences women and girls face as victims of gender based violence in the society. She laments that violence against women and girls places fear in them and also disconnects them from the environment and the society, writes the New Dawn newspaper.

Local Group Launches SGBV, Access to Justice Campaign in Monrovia

The Organization for Women and Children (OWORCH), a local-based nongovernmental organization on Wednesday, January 4, launched a massive awareness campaign and community training to create awareness on access to justice and Sexual Gender Based Violence in Monrovia. The community training was held in five communities in Monrovia and its environs. It aimed at improving community reports of SGBVs case by providing adequate knowledge of the referral pathway, highlighting the relationship between alcohol and violence against Women.  During the campaign, ORWOCH supported communities to establish SGBV taskforce to increase citizens’ reports about SGBV cases in their communities. The SGBV taskforce includes men and women, writes the FrontPage Africa newspaper.

Local Clinic Suffers Drug Shortage in Bong

According to the New Dawn newspaper, a severe drug shortage has hit the Janyea Clinic, a local clinic in Bong County Electoral District #2. Our correspondent says the Registered Nurse at the clinic Madam Sarah Voyea complains during interview with the NewDawn that they have been short of essential drugs for more than four months. She says for the past four months, they have engaged health officials in the county on several occasions, but they are yet to make any intervention to ensure drugs are available for residents. Madam Voyea says the current situation at the health facility continues to create serious embarrassment for staff assigned there. She says as a result of the shortage of drugs, they are now constrained to write prescriptions for patients that go to the clinic for medication. She says patients have to take their prescriptions to various drug stores either in Gbenequelleh or Gbarnga, the county capital. But she observes that patients receiving prescription papers do not have the economic power to purchase their drugs. As such, she explains further that they are constrained to keep returning to the clinic with the same sickness. The Janyea Clinic Registered Nurse also told our correspondent that the shortage of drugs is causing residents in the area to be accusing local health attendants at the clinic of allegedly selling the drugs. Madam Voyea names paracetamol, worm medicines and others as few of the many drugs that they lack at the Janyea Clinic.

Gwetamue Public School Wants Instructors on GoL Payroll

The New Dawn newspaper reports that the Principal of the Gwetamue Public School in Suakoko District, Bong County is calling on the government of Liberia to come to the aid of the school, complaining that majority of his instructors are not on government payroll. In an interview with the New Dawn's Bong County Correspondent in Gwetamue over the weekend, Mr. Michael Togbah outlined challenges facing the institution. He says majority of his instructors have not been on government payroll since 2008. Mr. Togbah notes that the school currently has an enrolment of a little over 200 students for academic 2017/2018, saying it is far beyond previous enrolments. Of the 10 teachers assigned at the School, Mr. Togbah alarms that only three are currently on government payroll. He describes the situation as an embarrassment to the smooth operation of the school. The Gwetamue Public School principal is meanwhile calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education, Gbarnga Office to put the remaining teachers on Payroll. The Gwetamue Public School was constructed by DU-JAR Liberia and turned over to the government of Liberia in 2008 for full operations. At the dedicatory ceremony on February 8, 2008, President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf is said to have pledged US$10,000 to the administration of the school as a means of jumpstarting academic activities. But Mr. Togbah claims that the school is yet to receive said amount pledged by the president since 2008. He appeals to President Sirleaf to make the money available as she gears up to hand over the presidency this month.