ANC-Liberia Legislative Candidate Adopts “Dillon Doctrine”; Will Take Pay-Cut If Elected

Monrovia, Liberia, August 27, 2019: The candidate of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) in the Cape Mount senatorial by-elections, Mr. Simeon Boima Taylor, will on Friday, August 30, 2019, declare his commitment to abide by and uphold the “Dillon Doctrine.”

A press statement issued by the Liberian political party early on Tuesday said citizens of the administrative district of Grand Cape Mount County have invited Mr. Taylor to an endorsement and honoring program in Manor River Kongo, Grand Cape Mounty County.

ANC-Liberia Logo
ANC-Liberia Logo

“At the program, Mr. Taylor will announce support to the Dillon’s Doctrine and declare to the great people of Grand Cape Mount County that he will take a pay cut, and will not take a salary more than US$5,000.00. He will take whatever is above US$5,000.00 and place it in an escrow account for county development projects. Furthermore, Mr. Taylor will declare his assets on the first day of him taking office, and subsequently publish them. He will work hand-in-hand with Senator Darius Dillon, Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence, Senator Steve Zargo, Sentaor Daniel Naatehn and other senators of the opposition bloc. Mr. Taylor will also launch a scholarship fund-drive in honor of his late godfather and mentor, Senator Edward Boakai Dagosseh, the father of Cape Mount politics. He will also pledge to complete all projects started by Sen. Dagosseh. In addition, he will also launch a small-business initiative to support struggling market women and petty traders in the county…,” ANC-Liberia said.

The party is fielding a candidate in the open legislative seat predicated on the passing of Senator Edward Dagosseh. The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who, in the last Senatorial by-elections for an open seat in Montserrado County, suffered a drubbing by the opposition coalition bloc, has announced that it would forego contesting for the seat in Grand Cape Mount County.

Liberia Grand Cape Mount County
Liberia Grand Cape Mount County

ANC-Liberia disclosed in its press statement copied to West African Journal Magazine that,”… its candidate has done more for the people of Grand Cape Mount County than any of the other visiting and passer-by candidates in the county. For example, he contributed to the construction of the Konja Bridge in Porkpa District with US$30,000,00; rehabilitated the road from Tienii to Mano River Kongo 2007/2008 with US$50,000; jointly constructed the Lorlia Bridge between Fornor Town and Kawelahun Town in 2016/2017 with US$200,000; constructed a five bedroom guest house and turned it over to the residents of Mano River Kongo in 2008, worth US$10,000; paid 75 students tuition for 3 academic years 2014-2017 with LD$750,000…”

The party enumerated a list of philanthropic contributions of its candidate to various communities in the County and says, “Mr. Taylor remains committed to a united collaborating political parties network, and calls on all partisans of the ANC and all supporters of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to join the winning team and deliver  Cape Mount from the wrong hands.”

Liberia NEC Chief Jerome Korkoyah.jpgMeantime, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has announced that it will hold a limited re-run of by-elections in electoral district 15 on Wednesday, August 28, 2019. The limited re-run was occasioned by disputes and complaints filed by legislative candidates against poll workers.

Following a review of the complaints, the NEC issued a decision to hold a limited re-run in 20 polling places. After a rather brief appeal against that NEC decision, the ruling CDC candidate Mr. Abu Kamara agreed to participate in the limited re-run in the heavily contested District 15. He is being challenged by opposition-supported Telia Urey of the All Liberian Party (ALP).

By Our Political Correspondent in Monrovia

West African Journal

 

Liberian Student Activist Martin K.N. Kollie Writes Opposition Bloc

Monrovia, Liberia-July 3, 2019:

Dear Political Leaders: 

With optimism for a new era of an egalitarian Republic and in pressing pursuit of a fresh beginning which offers genuine hope for millions of peasants who remain very vulnerable to peril and despair, I bring you patriotic greetings during such a difficult time as this when our nation is fast descending into an abyss of economic paralysis, creeping dictatorship and mass looting of public resources. 

Leaders of Liberia’s Opposition Bloc (l-r) Cllr Walter Brumskine (LP), Alexander B. Cummings Jr (ANC), Joseph Boakai (UP), Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (LP) and Benoni Urey (ALP)

The future seems scaring and cloudy under footballing President George M. Weah as a result of massive leadership bankruptcy and increasing hardship. Vision is lacking – no concrete agenda – no realistic strategy – and an unquenched greed to amass illicit wealth are new normal under this ruling CDC clique. The “Change for Hope” mantra is yet to offer any real hope firmly built upon those cherisheddemocratic values of justice, equality, civil liberty and prosperity for all. 

Such failed slogan especially under a domineering presidency is a reflection of a PROMISE BETRAYED. Liberians are left alone in a state of obscurity and beggary after 16 months of participating in a historic democratic transition. The CHOICE made in 2017 has proven futile so far. Such barren decision has made them even more vulnerable, miserable and hopeless. 

Amidst these harsh realities virulently crushing Liberia and Liberians, there are two (2) fundamental questions to ponder over: 

1. Do Liberians still have hope? If yes, where can they turn for relief/reprieve? 
2. Can 2019 Montserrado Senatorial and Representative By-elections offer any real hope or change for Liberians especially ahead of 2020 and 2023? 

Of course, all is not lost – there is still hope far beyond prevailing odds. The Republic can be rescued from this national tragedy or nightmare only if revered patriots begin to unite in words and deeds. This rescue mission MUST begin with these 2019 senatorial and representative elections in Montserrado County – The hotbed or powerhouse of politics in Liberia. 2019 is a defining moment. In fact, it is a litmus test for 2020 and 2023. 

Beyond this end, I thought to pen this open letter to you as key opposition leaders in Liberia who command huge following and influence/affluence in our body politics.  This is a form of caution and a call to action. The nation needs you most to rekindle a unifying spirit of solidarity during these challenging times especially in these impending 2019 senatorial and representative elections. 

It is not enough to channel such deep sense of resilience, patriotism and urge for CHANGE through audio and video recordings. Though endorsed as senatorial and representative candidates by UP, LP, ANC and ALP, but it appears like candidate Abraham Darius Dillion and candidate Telia Urey are left alone to woo voters and canvass for opposition victory in vote-rich Montserrado, which in my opinion seems unpredictable and unfair.  

Ruling CDC Logo

Like Weah as president of Liberia and political leader of CDC is frantically campaigning almost everywhere for candidate Paulita Wie and candidate Abu Kamara, how I hope Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey as prominent figures of The Opposition could go all out to campaign for Dillon and Telia. This could seal THE DEAL and send a resounding caveat to President Weah and CDC ahead of 2020 and 2023. Lest you forget that vote-rich Montserrado holds the key to the presidency, and any elected seat won in Montserrado is a plus or political boost. 

These elections are about Weah as President/CDC/NPP/LPDP and MDR on one hand versus UP, LP, ANC and ALP on another. These elections are not about Dillion and Telia. Mr. Weah is taking these elections very personal evident by his outburst against the opposition during his party’s campaign rally on June 22, 2019. It was good to have endorsed Dillion and Telia but it would be far better to roll up your sleeves and begin to canvass for them in trenches and hamlets. A lot of your supporters who are eligible voters would be far more inspired to vote for Dillon and Telia just by seeing you (Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey). 

Opposition Candidates In Bye Elections Abraham Darius Dillon and Telia Urey

This is why ‘physical presence’ counts more than audio and video recordings in a process such as this. 

If Weah along with collaborating parties wins (Worst-case Scenario): 

1. The opposition (UP, LP, ANC and ALP) would be rendered ‘impotent and weak’
2. Weah would have his way and even break more laws andamass more wealth (domineering presidency)
3. Weah’s claim of having exclusive ownership of Montserrado would be justified/proven
4. It would appear like Weah is doing well. This could validate his performance rating
5. It would place CDC in a better and stronger position for 2020 senatorial elections and 2023 presidential elections.

If Opposition Collaborating Parties (UP, LP, ANC and ALP) claim victory:

1. This will send a clarion message against misrule and bad governance (especially corruption, dictatorship, and increasing hardship) under ex-Soccer Star George Weah and CDC
2. It would render CDC as a ‘frail and unpopular’ ruling clique in vote-rich Montserrado after a period of just 16 months
3. Weah’s popularity in his ‘political stronghold’ would be deflated/diminished. This would further disprove Weah’s wild claim of having absolute control/ownership of Montserrado
4. It will strengthen opposition parties and solidarity forces to unite even more ahead of 2020 and 2023 elections in order to SAVE Liberia
5. The people’s hope and aspiration for a new future would be reawakened through an alternative and opposition victory. 

Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey, I admonish you as key opposition political leaders to consider “The Montserrado Factor” as an indispensable political capital you could leech and/or lane on for future elections. With just 5 more days to these upcoming by-elections, I encourage all ofyou to leave your comfort zones and move across Montserrado to canvass for your candidates (Dillon and Telia). Yet another opportunity has been made available for you to resist Weah’s overly ambitious plan of consolidatingexcessive power ahead of 2023. You must prevent this moribund semblance of fascism and authoritarianism. 

Ruling CDC candidates Abu Kamara and Paulita Wie

You have all it takes to WIN in 2023 as opposition collaborating parties (UP, LP, ANC and ALP). But such victory begins now in 2019 and beyond! Yes, you can win Weah and his Coalition of Desperate Crooks (CDC, NPP, LPDP and MDR). Let me dig out some NUMBERS quickly: 

2017 Elections: 

1. Weah and his Coalition:
a. CDC, NPP, and LPDP – 596,037 votes (38.4%)
b. MDR – 127,666 votes (8.2%)
c. Total – 723,703 votes (46.5%)

 

2. Opposition Collaborating Parties:
a. UP – 446,716 (28.8%)
b. LP – 149,495 (9.6%)
c. ANC – 112,067 (7.2%)
d. ALP – 24,246 (1.6%)
e. Total – 732,524 (47.2%) 

So this means that the four (4) opposition collaborating parties stand a better chance to win in 2023 if they remain on this plinth of unhindered unity, honesty and loyalty. But victory in 2023 is largely dependent on 2020 and 2019 elections. This is why all four political leaders MUST consider these senatorial and representative by-elections very crucial. Getting fully involved with this process could even avert or discourage any form of electoral fraud/malfeasance (November 2018 Sinoe County Senatorial By-election is a case to reference and a lesson learned). 

Out of two (2) senatorial seats in Montserrado, CDC is already occupying one. You must not allow CDC to win this other seat. Even the late Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff who later became a prominent political figure in the oppositionbloc and vigorously campaigned against CDC in 2017 won’t be happy if this happens. The Late Senator didn’t campaign or canvass through audio and video recordings. She wore her boots and moved into the trenches. Amidst a declining economy coupled with high unemployment, inflation,corruption, rape and mysterious deaths, this could be an easy victory for opposition political parties. Such victory is only possible if your physical presence (full involvement both in words and deeds) is with Dillon and Telia. The people are looking up to you for guidance and direction. 

Using White-collar approach (speaking to voters through audio and video recordings) in order to woo voters may yield less impact. Had these voters and stalwarts of your parties used similar approach in 2017, you wouldn’t had accumulated thousands of votes. If they do in 2023presidential election, your support-base would dwindle. The nation is in dire need of transformation and visionaryleadership. Paulita and Abu are far from possessing such quality or trait. But they could be imposed through whatever means if you keep a distance from this crucial process. 

The country is in a state of trance (subconscious state) and its image is being ruined. The democratic gains made so farare fast diminishing while corruption is being institutionalized under Mr. Weah and his cabal of kleptocrats. No foreign appointment or interest is greater than Liberia’s interest right now. Acting too busy to campaign and abandoning this 2019 senatorial and representative elections could cause you a lot. So far, I have only seen ALP Political Leader Benoni Urey in mass rallies campaigning and directly interacting with voters. All of you must muster this courage to do same if an opposition victory is to be secured in 2019, 2020 and 2023. You cannot be too busy or overly tight with personal matters during these very critical times. 

Remember, any form of defeat for Dillion and Telia is a defeat for you (Boakai, Brumskine, Cummings and Urey). And this could likely spill over or become a big blow in future elections. It now appears in some quarters that if it is not about you, it can’t be about anyone, which I still do not want to believe. Therefore, I caution you to disprove this public notion and move into action with urgency for an opposition victory in these elections. Stand up and act now for our nation needs you more than ever before. You cannot spectate or play a laissez-faire role during these very criticaltimes. Doing so would certainly make Weah overly powerful and ambitious to further ruin our Republic. 

Out of love for Country, this is a caution and a call to action from a young patriot. 

Yours in pursuit of a New Liberia, 

Martin K. N. Kollie 

Youth and Student Activist 

 

Cc: Mr. Wilmot Paye, Chairman, Unity Party (UP)

Sen. Steve Zargo, Chairman, Liberty Party (LP)

 Sen. Daniel Naatehn, Chairman, Alternational National Congress (ANC)

 Mr. J. S. Theodore Momo, Jr., Chairman, All Liberian Party (ALP)

Candidate Abraham Darius Dillon and Candidate Telia Urey 

West African Journal Magazine

 

Nigeria: Buhari Re-elected To 2nd Term

Abuja, Nigeria – February 26, 2019: Nigeria’s incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party has been declared the winner of the February 23  Presidential election.

Map of Nigeria
Map of Nigeria

The country’s Independent National Electoral Commission  announced the final results on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

The main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, is already rejecting the officials results and is calling the vote count to be stopped following unconfirmed allegations of electoral irregularities across Nigeria during polling over the weekend.

The vote margin was a little under four million with Buhari’s All Progressives Congress taking 19 of 36 States. The BBC reports that turn out was the lowest in 20 years with only a 35% turnout of registered voters.

West African Journal Magazine

Commentary – Liberia: How We Forget To Vote On The Issues

Monrovia, Liberia June 20, 2018- Day after day it is becoming abundantly clear that most Liberians lack the political culture and know-how of voting on the basis of national issues presented by candidates.

A woman casts her ballot during presidential elections at a polling station in Monrovia
A woman casts her ballot during presidential elections at a polling station in Monrovia

Perhaps long-held mindset controls how Liberian voters choose their leaders on election day and only to regret soon afterwards for having chosen the wrong personalities.
On election day, voters appear oblivious about the countless vexing national problems that have been heaped on top of one another during several decades without complete solution to any by past leaders.

More often than not they begin to cry saying they chose the wrong leaders, but again fail to correct themselves during subsequent elections.

The chickens are coming home to roost.

Barely six months after populist votes brought to power a government run by the coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) which promised to bring “change for hope” , critics accuse  President George M.  Weah led- government of violating  the constitution with impunity.
The government failed to appropriate funding in the recast budget for the timely holding of by-elections following the election of Mr. Weah and Jewel H. Taylor from the Senate as President and Vice President respectively.
President Weah and his officials, after six months in office, are yet to declare their assets in violation of the code of conduct aimed to ensure transparency and accountability in government.
Despite criticisms against two loan agreements amounting nearly $1 billion for road construction, legislators swiftly sealed the pacts without sufficient scrutiny.

Lawmakers Listening To Address
Some Liberian Lawmakers At Capitol Building

The government and blind party loyalists constantly rebuke  journalists and civil society members for seeking sufficient information on the projects including  total estimated costs, credibility of givers the loans and companies the creditors choose to do the work without involving the PPCC to ensure transparency and accountability. Environmental impact studies are nowhere mentioned.

Now, the National Legislature, in clear disregard for public concerns about national issues, recently gave president Weah a “blank check” when it comes to construction of roads; a major priority.

They further passed a joint resolution authorizing the President to seek more loans from wherever to construct dozens of “critical road corridors” linking all county capitals with trunk highways. Some loyalists even tell radio talkshow hosts that the President should negotiate loans “even from the belly of the devil.”

Political Subdivision Map of Liberia map
Political Subdivision Map of Liberia

Perhaps, buoyed by this overwhelming legislative support, President Weah was tempted while inspecting roads in central Liberia to label critics of his government as  “enemies of the state”.

Though Mr. Weah often promises free speech and press freedom leading him to resubmit a draft bill seeking to decriminalise  media offences, the enemy label on critics who use the media as messengers has  created mixed feelings whether this thin-skinned legislature will pass this guarantee for freedom of expression  that is cardinal in any democratic society.
West African Journal Magazine

Guinea President Alpha Conde Announces Govt Reshuffle

Map of GuineaFacing civil unrest and strikes in the crucial mining sector, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde reshuffled his government overnight, appointing new finance and security ministers among others.

State Television quoted by the website Africanews website on Sunday announced the changes. No official reason was given for the sweeping changes which followed the appointment of a new prime minister, Ibrahima Kassory Fofana.

The changes came amid heightened political tensions and speculation that Conde may be seeking to modify the constitution ahead of a 2020 election.

Guinea is Africa’s top producer of bauxite, the ore of aluminium, and Conde’s government has faced repeated strikes by mineworkers, as well as teachers and has seen civil unrest over local elections.

It has also suffered embarrassment over allegations by French authorities that billionaire tycoon Vincent Bollore’s conglomerate backed Conde’s election campaign in exchange for a port concession. Both Bollore and Conde deny any wrongdoing.

In his reshuffle Conde replaced 13 out of 33 ministers in his government. Finance Minister Maladho Kaba was sacked and replaced by Mamady Camara, Guinea’s former ambassador to South Africa. Her deputy, Budget Minister Mohamed Lamine Doumbouya, was replaced by former central bank official Ismael Dioubate.

Violent Protests in Guinea - VOA
Violent Protests in Guinea – VOA

Security Minister Abdoul Kabele Camara, in place since Conde’s election victory in 2010, was replaced by Alpha Ibrahima Keira, a loyalist from the regime of dictator Lansana Conte, who died in 2008.

As well as bauxite, Guinea has some of the world’s largest deposits of iron ore, but decades of mining have failed to lift most Guineans out of poverty.

About 10 people were killed in February and March when riots erupted in the capital Conakry and other cities following local elections, which the opposition said were marred by fraud.

Conde’s opponents also fear he seeks to modify the constitution to stand for a third term in 2020. Conde has not yet commented on his intentions, but speculation over them has had a destabilising effect.

Africanews

Sierra Leone: Run-Off Presidential Election Set for March 27th

Sierra Leoneans will have a second chance to decide who leads them. A run off election is in the cards.

APC Samura Kamara
APC Samura Kamara

Although the candidate of Sierra Leone’s major opposition Sierra Leon’s People’s Party (SLPP) won the first round of the country’s Presidential vote, he did not break the 55% required threshold to win out right. This sets the stage for a 2 person runoff in two weeks between former military officer Julius Maada Bio of the SLPP and candidate of the ruling All Peoples (Congress (APC), former foreign minister Samura Kamara.

SLPP candidate Maado Bio carried the first round with 43.3% of the vote against the ruling party candidate Kamara at 42.7%.

SLPP Julius Maada Bio
SLPP Julius Maada Bio

An analysis of the first round of support for the two candidates shows a country divided between maintaining the status quo and the desire to rebuild the country and move out of poverty. The elections have been deemed  generally credible by international observers.

A statement from the country’s election body says, “…following counting and tallying, the number of invalid votes cast at the Presidential election on 7th March, 2018 was 139,427. The number of valid votes was 2,537,122…”

In announcing the date of the runoff elections set for March 27th, the country’s elections chairperson, said the two highest vote getters from the ruling APC and SLPP will contest for the office of President in balloting to be held nationwide in the West African nation.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine

Sierra Leone: Vote Counting Underway; Opposition Cries Foul

NEC_Statement

The West African nation of Sierra Leone held Presidential and Parliamentary elections on Wednesday.

Flag of Sierra Leone
Flag of Sierra Leone

The elections were largely peaceful and observed by representatives from the regional economic grouping ECOWAS, the British Commonwealth, the continental body African Union(AU) and the European Union.

In a preliminary report, ECOWAS observers in Freetown say, although the elections were generally peaceful, there were some issues which they did not think would affect the outcome such as:

  • The restriction of vehicular movement on election day frustrated some voters who wished to exercise their right to choose political leaders.
  • The heavy presence of security forces at polling stations intimidated some voters.
  • The police raid on an election collation center of the main opposition party on the suspicion of election hacking.

But the opposition have challenged the credibility of the elections.

Three major candidates are hoping to succeed President Ernest Bai Koroma who has served two five-year and is ineligible to stand again.

The candidates included the hand picked nominee of the ruling party Samura Kamara, a former military officer Julius Maada Bio and Kandeh Yumkella of the opposition.

NEC-Boss-Nfah-Alie-Conteh
NEC-Boss-Nfah-Alie-Conteh

The country’s National Elections Commission (NEC) on Thursday issued a statement on the just concluded elections and says data entry is underway and advised all parties that it is the sole body authorized to release official results.

If no candidate in the Presidential elections garners the 55% needed to win outright, a run off elections will be held between the two highest vote getters.

Counting is underway and preliminary results are due to be released by the end of the week.

By Emmanuel Abalo

African Journal Magazine

 

 

 

Liberia Struggles For Funds To Conduct National Census

The government of the West African state of Liberia continues to struggle to obtain resources to meet its obligations including the holding of a national census.

Liberian_Capitol_Building
Capitol Building – Seat of the National Legislature in Monrovia

The West African Journal  Magazine correspondent in Monrovia reports that due to the inability of the Government of Liberia to provide 50 percent of the funds needed to carry out the national census, members of the country’s 54 th National Legislature have decided to postpone the census slated for March 26, 2018.

In its 12 th day sitting on Tuesday, a communication from the Representative of the political sub-division of Nimba County Larry Younquoi was submitted to body on the issue of the National Census of 2018. The communication was read and following deliberations, it was forwarded to the House’s leadership for appropriate action.

Following arguments and counter arguments by lawmakers, Members on the House voted for the leadership to meet members of the Liberian Senate to decide on a Joint Resolution that will enable the postponement of the conduct of the National Population and Housing Census in line with the provision of the 1986 Constitution.

Political pundits are wondering whether members of the National Legislature will postpone the census to March 2019 as this could lead to what many believe to be a Constitutional crisis if the Census is postponed.

According to Article 29 of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia, “The Legislature shall cause a
Census of the Republic to be undertaken every ten years.” But the most contentious issue now is that it has been revealed that the Government of Liberia has not been able to provide 50 percent of the money needed to the conduct the census.

The last National Census of Liberia was conducted in in 2008, setting the population at 3.5 million. This year (2018) makes it exactly ten years since the last Census was conducted.

According to information gathered from credible sources, Liberia’s development partners were expected to provide 50 percent of the money and the Liberian government would provide the remaining 50 percent  for the US$20 million needed to conduct the census.

Rep. Younquoi’s letter to Members of the National Legislature said the need for a lawful
National Population and Housing Census cannot be overemphasized. He however, added that due to the lack of funding, his colleagues should go through a Joint Resolution to postpone the Census to a date that falls within the appropriate timeframe that is internationally acceptable within the next seven years or before 2025.

City Map of Liberia
City Map of Liberia

Rep. Younquoi alerted that his colleagues about the looming constitutional crisis hovering over the nation in the wake of the seeming inability to undertake the National Population and Housing Census in line with the provision of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia.
The lawmaker disclosed that March 26 of this year will make it exactly ten years since the last National Housing and Population Census was conducted by the Liberian Government. with assistance from its partners.
He urged members of the House to liaise with the Liberian Senate to take appropriate
steps to ensure that the necessary legal actions to avert the looming constitutional crisis that may affect the conduct of census.

During  Tuesday’s legislative session, Rep. Younqoui expressed optimism that the reminder to his colleagues will give the urgency thereby engendering the availability of a reliable socio-economic data for the country.

Judging from what is obtaining at the moment, it appears that Liberia is losing out on meeting the constitutionally mandated deadline of March 26, 2018.

The population data from the 2018 Census, when held, will play a major role in the formulation of constituency boundaries for the 2023 Presidential and Legislative Elections.

The data is also expected to be used for socio-economic development planning, monitoring of government development programs, and international interventions.
Information filtering in the corridors of the Capitol Building revealed that members of the House are expected to put their signatures to the Joint Resolution with at least 37 signatures needed to have the document transferred to the Senate, where 20 signatures are also needed to postpone the 2018 national census.

Flag of Liberia1
Flag of Liberia

International non-governmental organizations including the World Bank, in 2016, estimated Liberia’s population to be 4.6 million. The unemployment rate  of the poor West African country increased to 4 percent in 2016 from a level of 3.90 percent in 2015. The average unemployment rate in the country was about 7.13 percent from 1980 up to 2016.

It reached an all time high of 15.90 percent in 1983. The record low of 3.60 percent was reported in 2014.

By Lincoln Barcon in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine 

 

Liberia: Electoral Body To Hear Expulsion Complaint By Former President

Liberia’s elections body, the National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected to hear a complaint filed by the Standard Bearer Emeritus of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf challenging her expulsion from the party for supporting another party’s candidate.

UPDuring the 2017 Presidential and General Elections it was heavily rumored that
the then President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Unity Party (UP) was supporting
Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of President George Manneh Weah.

Former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf support of  the CDC was a clear
indication that she was against Presidential bid of her  former Vice President Joseph N.
Boakai who lost the 2017 elections after several weeks of court proceedings.

The Standard Bearer Emeritus Johnson-Sirleaf’s support for the presidential bid of
President George M. Weah was concluded on December 26, 2017 following  which the CDC became victorious. Later, the former ruling party, Unity Party (UP) decided in an executive meeting to expel its Standard Bearer Emeritus Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

NEC Liberia
NEC Liberia

As the result of her expulsion, legal counsels representing the former President of
Liberia and former Standard Bearer Emeritus of the Unity Party (UP) Johnson-
Sirleaf  filed a complaint which is now before the Board of Commissioners
alleging that her former Vice President and Standard Bearer of the party Joseph N.
Boakai orchestrated her expulsion from the party.

According to her legal counsels, the former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf terms the
expulsion as a violation of the party’s Constitution and the 1986 Constitution of the
Republic of Liberia.

In the 1986 constitution, Article 20(a) and (b) state that, (A)“No person shall be deprived
of life, liberty, security of the person, property, privilege or any other right except as the
outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provisions laid down in this
Constitution and in accordance with due process of law.

Counsels further quoted the country’s Constitution as saying that “…justice shall be done
without sale, denial or delay; and in all cases not arising in Courts not of record, under
court-martial and upon impeachment, the parties shall have the right to trial by jury
and; (b) the right of an appeal from a judgment, decree, decision or ruling of any court
or administrative board or agency, except the Supreme Court, shall be held inviolable.

The legislature shall prescribe rules and procedures for the easy, expeditious and
inexpensive filing and hearing of an appeal”.

No date has been set by the NEC for the hearing and argument into the complaint filed.

The Standard Bearer Emeritus along with other members of party executive were
expelled; those expelled included Senator Commany B. Wesseh of River Gee County
and member of the party’s Executive Committee, Medina A, Wesseh, ex-executive
member and chairperson on Publicity Committee and Patrick Worzie, Acting Secretary
General.

The complaint is expected to be heard on Tuesday, February 20, at 2 p.m. in the
Dispute Hearing Room of the Liberia’s Elections Commission.

VP Joseph Boakai

Former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai

The Unity Party executives and the former President were expelled early January
18, 2018 on grounds that they were supporting the candidacy of George M. Weah which
allegedly violated the party’s constitution during the just ended Presidential and
Representative Elections.

The Legal counsels of former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf are members of the
International Law Group (LLG) alleged among other things that the standard bearer
emeritus expulsion along with other executive members of the party secretly held a
meeting at the residence of former Vice President Boakai with 31 executive members in
attendance, but only 17 voted to which they believe is prejudicial and illegal.

The party’s constitution however, provides that the National Executive Committee shall
require at least 42 votes in favor to acquire the two-thirds majority of the 65 members at
the time of the decision; inappropriately only a majority of 32 were at the former Vice
President’s house when their decision taken against the former executives and the
former President Sirleaf was made.

By Lincoln Barcon in Monrovia

West African Journal Correspondent

AU Commission To Deploy Election Observers To Sierra Leone

Addis Ababa, 5 February 2018: The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, will deploy an African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) in the Republic of Sierra Leone as the country prepares to hold General Elections on 7 March 2018.

The African Union Commision Logo
The African Union Commision Logo

A press statement issued on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, copied to West African Journal Magazine and quoted the AU Commission as saying the deployment of the AUEOM will take place in two phases. The first phase will comprise of the deployment of 10 long-term election experts and will take place from 10 February to 21 March 2018.

The AU Commission says this move is to ensure that its observer mission conducts a comprehensive observation and analysis of all relevant aspects of the electoral process, the statement disclosed.

 In the second phase of the Mission, the AU Commission says the long term experts will be joined by 40 Short Term observers from the 26 February to 11 March 2018.

 The objectives of the AU Observer Mission, the continental body says are: (a) to provide an accurate and impartial reporting or assessment of the quality of 7 March General Elections, including the degree to which the conduct of the elections meets regional, continental and international standards for democratic elections; (b) to offer recommendations for improvement of future elections based on the findings; and (c) to demonstrate AU’s interest to support Sierra Leone’s elections and democratisation process to ensure that the conduct of genuine elections contributes to the consolidation of democratic governance, peace and stability.

SLPP Candidate Julius Maada Bio
SLPP Candidate Julius Maada Bio

Political campaigning is in full swing in the West African nation. Reports from the capital Freetown say the opposition Sierra Leone’s People’s Party (SLPP) over the weekend launched its platform. Its candidate, a retired military officer Julius Maada Bio told partisans during the launch that, “…So for these 2018 Elections let there be no mistake. The SLPP will not accept results of elections that are not credible and transparent and are not a true reflection of the will of the electorate…”

Meantime, the government of  Sierra Leone has announced the banning of the common and horrendous practice of Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM) until the conclusion of the Presidential and General elections on March 7 in an effort to discourage candidates from “buying votes” by paying for the cutting ceremony for families who cannot afford the price of the practice.

WHO Logo
WHO Logo

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women. Procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems urinating, and later cysts, infections, as well as complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths. More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been cut in 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated. FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15. FGM is a violation of the human rights of girls and women…”

Complications from the procedure can include, severe pain, excessive bleeding, infections, urinary issues, genital tissue swelling and sometimes death in victims.

Map of Guinea-Liberia-Sierra Leone in West Africa
Map of Guinea-Liberia-Sierra Leone in West Africa

With international outcry and campaign against the practice worldwide, over 300 communities in West Africa have declared an end to the practice. In January, the outgoing President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed an Executive Order banning FGM in the country for a year.

Activists are calling on the new Weah Administration to make the ban permanent.

Emmanuel Abalo 

West African Journal Magazine