Daily Media Summary (12-02-2020)




NEWS SUMMARY, Wednesday,  December 2, 2020

Today’s edition of our regular media summary captures stories on President Weah assertion that the pending referendum is not about him; Foreign Minister  Kemayah seeking  maximum return from diplomats,  MOP in partnership with MCC giving facelift to central Monrovia;  the printing of referendum ballots by the NEC;  LEC dedicates new clinic for employees’ wellbeing, Liberia gets top IMO Seat, Finance Minister wants donor partners focus on national capacity strategy  among other stories.

NEC Prints Referendum Ballots

The Chairman of the National   Election Commission (NEC) Davidetta Browne-Lanssanh has disclosed that the commission has reprinted ballots for the national referendum based on the ruling of the Supreme Court, which prohibits NEC from printing ballots contrary to joint Resolution 002/2019 and Article 92 of the constitution. In a statement, Madam Browne-Lansanah said the referendum ballots have been printed with eight ballot measures. “Dual Citizenship for natural born Liberians, with restrictions on holding certain positions: the ballot symbols for this ballot measure are two passports for a yes vote; and a single passport for a no vote. The ballot color is orange, “she said. She said the second ballot measure is the change of election date from the rainy season in October to the dry season in November saying “the ballot symbols for this ballot measure are the sun for a yes vote; and an umbrella for a no vote. The ballot color is yellow.’’ According to her, the third ballot measure is to reduce the time the NEC has hear and decide election disputes from 30 days to fifth days.  According to The News newspaper, the symbols for the ballot measure are a big clock for a Yes vote and a small clock for a no vote.

Related Caption: NEC Refutes Report About Tampering With Ballots (The Inquirer)

LEC Dedicates New Clinic For Employees’ Welbeing                                                                                                   The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) in collaboration with Medicare Liberia has dedicated a new health facility and training center at its Bushrod Island office to cater to employees that may fall sick on and off job. Speaking at the dedication ceremony on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, the LEC Workers Union Chairman Aaron Juluto said they (employees) were happy that the management of LEC is dedicating a clinic for them after several negotiations. He said the facility will help reduce some pressure the union has been faced with in the past for treatment of employees and family. He thanked the management of LEC for listening to the workers Union by building a health facility and training center for employees. He thanks the management of LEC listening to the worker Union by building a health facility and training center for employees. For his part, LEC Human Resource, Dave Hochstadt thanked the management of Medicare for ensuring that LEC has its own health center for employees’ wellbeing. According to him, it was a great achievement for LEC, applauding the workers Union for their patience with the management in making sure that employees get their own health facility. In remarks, the Chairman of Medicare Liberia, Dr. Robert Kpoto said healthcare is their profession at Medicare and every institution that his institution has worked with is encouraged to take health serious, The News newspaper asserts.

Liberia Gets top IMO Seat

After a failed attempt to get a seat on the Council of the International Maritime Organization IMO, and with a new sheriff arriving in town, Moses Owen Browne, Liberia is gradually regaining its place in the Maritime world. This is evident by the recent re-election of Mr. Harry T. Conway, Alternate Permanent Representative of Liberia as Vice Chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, United Kingdom. According to a dispatch, Conway’s election which was as a result of a nomination by Singapore, Seconded by Finland and supported by several other member states of the IMO, came at the close of the Seventy Fifth Extraordinary Session of the Marine environment Protection Committee in London.  In its support, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation praise Mr. Conway for his effective and efficient performance during the last three years of the MEPC session- stating “Mr. Conway is overqualified and has the requisite technical expertise to deliver in the coming year.’’ Dr. Hideaki Saito of the Republic of Japan was also re-elected Chairman of MEPC. The MEPC 75th Session reached many key decisions. The approval and adoption of amendments to MARPOL Annex VI were central, The News newspaper pens.

Finance Minister Wants Donor Partners Focus On National Capacity Strategy                                                                                                                                         Finance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweh, has called on donor partners and national government focus on national capacity strategy in the country. Minister Tweh noted that not much attention has been given to the national capacity strategy over the years, adding that when given more attention, it will immensely contribute to the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). The MFDP Minister made these statements over the weekend at the Ministerial Complex during a one-day conference on programming aid development. It was organized by the MFDP.  He noted that the strategy, when effective, will address some national issues across the country in the provision of more scholarships and empower other sectors which are key to the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government. Minister Tweh also admonished the government of Liberia to take the lead to ensure that both transparency and accountability are effective in all sectors, something he said will encourage the country’s development partners to continue their support to the government. Presenting during the conference, the Deputy Minister for the Department of Economic Management at the Finance Ministry, Augustus Flomo, said it is important to look at aid because the conference reflects the major and critical concerns in tracking aids to Liberia, the Daily Observer discloses. 

Kemayah Seeks Maximum Return From Diplomats

 The New Dawn newspaper is reporting that Foreign Minister Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., is calling on Liberian diplomats accredited at foreign missions including Ambassadors, Consul Generals and other diplomatic staff to ensure through their respective services abroad that they can give Liberians maximum return for their money. At the start of a four-day virtual retreat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia Tuesday, 1 December for Ambassadors and Head of Missions, Amb. Kemayah reiterated his commitment to working towards the much needed support that his colleagues’ desire in the field to complement their efforts. He indicates that a lot is happening in the field, but a number of steps need to be taken in terms of complementing the efforts of the diplomats. The Foreign Minister notes that the objective of the retreat is to develop a common understanding to enhance the shared vision of President George Manneh Weah and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as enshrined in the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). Minister Kemayah stresses that output from the retreat is expected to recommend concrete action for improved image and to further Liberia’s economic development. 

President Weah: Referendum Not About Me


President George Manneh Weah is urging Liberians to vote yes to dual citizenship and all other proposals in the referendum, arguing that his quest for dual citizenship is not about him because as President he has the right to declare his children citizens of Liberia. Speaking in Kingjor, Grand Cape Mount County, 30 November at the campaign of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) senatorial candidate Mr. Victor Watson, Mr. Weah said when dual citizenship is passed in the referendum, Liberians will enjoy the fruit of it. “So in the referendum, it is not because of me, it’s because of all of us. You see I have a privilege, as the president, my children can come home anytime; I have the right to say you are citizens because I am the president now. But it is not because of me,” he says. President Weah notes that people always say the white race is racist, but Liberians are at the same time not accepting those that have different passports and are alienating their own people, The New Dawn newspaper. 

PEPFAR Oxygen Concentrators Donated To Health Ministry


On November 25, 2020, U.S. Chargee d’affaires, a.i. Alyson Grunder presented eight bedside oxygen concentrators to Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah at Liberia’s Ministry of Health. The bedside oxygen concentrators were purchased through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to bring these important medical devices to important medical devices, purified and distributes air for those who have a low level of  oxygen in their blood. They are instrumental in treating some patients infected with COVID-19 as well as patients with other health impairments. The concentrators will be distributed to health facilities around Liberia. Two units will go to the new COVID - 19 treatment facility in Monrovia, two will go to the John F. Kennedy medical center to support its intensive care unit. Two more concentrators will go to Redemption Hospital, and the final two will go to Partners in Health (PIH) facilities in Maryland County, The Inquirer newspaper reports


“Weak  Laws Undermine Drug Agency’s Functions”

The Director - General of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA), Marcus D. Zehyoue, has attributed the proliferation of drugs into the country to what he calls “weakness of existing laws.” Mr. Zehyoue said the LDEA has over the years been very robust in its operations in terms of tracking down drug users and confiscating substances, but the full implementation of the laws on the book has undermined the LDEA’s workings. He made these assertions on Friday, November 27, 2020 when the LDEA destroyed another huge quantity of narcotic substances, valued at L$783,471,720, confiscated from drug traffickers and dealers between the period of March to November 2020. The burning exercise which took place in Marshall, Margibi County, brought together representatives from the Ministry of Health (MOH), the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as representatives from the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia. He noted that the LDEA operates on 3 principles which include, law enforcement, prevention and rehabilitation, but acknowledged that not much emphasis is being placed on the rehabilitation process because of the weakness of the drug law, Daily Observer reports. 

FDA Board Chair pleads for forest safety


The Board Chair of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Mr. Harrison S. Karnwea, says in order to save the forest of Liberia from depletion and avoid the consequences of climate change, Liberia’s international partners who are providing some forms of supports to the nation’s forest sector should continue their support. “We call on all of our partners to continue to support us until we reach the milestone very soon; we want them to do even a little more. We want to save the forests”, Mr. Karnwea said. He reminded those partners that the forest make more money while standing, than when they are cut down; adding, “This country remains the lung of the sub-region.” Liberia alone possesses about 40 percent of the remaining Upper Guinea Forest south of the Sahara and the Sahel Savanna. Mr. Karnwea along with others spoke last Thursday, November 26, at the close of three-day Liberia-European Union Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement Government and Trade (FLEGT). It was the eighth sitting of the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC), with the aim to promote sustainable forest governance through partnership. According to the Daily Observer newspaper, the FDA Board Chair emphasized that Liberia’s mode of farming, which is slashing and burning of the forest and shifting cultivation every farming season, is reducing the forest drastically.


MOH, IMS Launch Union Sample Collection Center

The Ministry of Health (MOH) through the Incident Management System (IMS) and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia has launched the “Union Sample Collection Center.” The Union Sample Collection Center was established by the government through the Incident Management System (IMS). It is a system designed to facilitate the testing process of all travelers. Speaking at the launch of the event, IMS Lead Coordinator, Abraham Nyenswah informed the gathering that the new COVID-19 testing center protocols are for travelers intending to depart or arrive in the country, as it steps up efforts to prevent further local transmission of the Coronavirus disease in Liberia. He indicated that during the past two weeks, travelers have been going to the Union Sample Collection Center in Congo Town to go through their test and they have gone through the guidelines and procedures to be able to have their specimen collected as well as have their results in 72 hours. According to him, all travelers are to download and complete a Health Screening Arrival Form from the Liberia Travel Application App on either Google Play store or the App Store link to access the form, Daily Observer newspaper discloses.


MOP in Partnership With MCC Gives Facelift to Central Monrovia

Messengers for Peace (MOP) in partnership with the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) has concluded a one day cleaning up exercise aimed at bringing young people together for community service through volunteerism ahead of the December 8 senatorial election and the referendum. The exercise under the theme: ‘Sanitation for Peace’ is a part of the Youth Peace Talks 2020’ organized by MOP that is scheduled to take place from December 1-2 at the Monrovia City Hall. The cleanup exercise began at Ducor Hotel and extended to Broad Street with peace messages being preached. Young people were seen in white T-shirt with inscription ‘Shipping Peace Together. The campaigners were not only taking or collection garbage, but also engaging young people to avoid electoral violence as well as encouraging them to remain peaceful no matter the outcome of the pending elections. The activity brought together over 100 volunteers from different youth-led institutions with a shared interest in peace building, electoral nonviolence, and environmental hygiene. Participating institutions were, Liberia National Students’ Union (LINSU), the Mano River Union Youth Parliament-Liberia Chapter (MRUYP-LC), Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), I-EARN-Liberia, Innovative and Visionary Volunteers of Liberia (IVVL), Give a Girl a Hand International, Campus –Liberia, Youth United for Sustainable Development, Potential Leaders for Sustainable Future, Liberia Youth Action Network for Sustainable Development. Ms. Gwendol S. Myers, Founder and Executive of MOP, said through the peace message is scheduled for December 1 and 2, her organization thought it wise to have a one day cleaning up exercise, Daily Observer writes.