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

 

Editorial: Mr. President, Speak To Your People

Monrovia, Liberia- April 15, 2019: The worsening economic reality in Liberia needs no amplification.

President George M. Weah of Liberia

In the local parlance, “People are sucking air”.

In a recent video shared widely on Liberian social media sites, desperate marketers openly voiced frustration with the Weah Administration and its inability to curb the economic downward spiral; especially the declining Liberian dollar. The marketers are simple and good indicators of the local strength of supply and demand which drive the economy.

No one is “buying” because of the lackluster economic environment and the diminishing purchasing ability of the ordinary Liberian.

The sentiment of economic disappointment expressed by the marketers is a reliable representation of the view held across all sectors of the Liberian society that the hard time is too much.

It is reasonable to establish that Liberians are making the effort to speak to President Weah and his Government about their concerns; whether it is through angry marketers, the position of Coalition of Opposition Parties, peaceful marches and protests, mob violence or silence.

The fundamental question is whether Government is listening and, if so, what is its response.

What is baffling to Liberian citizens, and perhaps to the international community of economic observers is the “loud silence” from President Weah to the “status quo” of frustration, hard time and hopelessness ordinary citizens are enduring under his Administration.

In challenging times, citizens expect leaders to step up and inspire, motivate and lead. The President is not speaking nor is he motivating or leading.

This business of the Administration’s silence is clashing with confidence in Government. That confidence was the “Hope For Change” and blank check that some desperate Liberians, who, against their better judgment, as it is becoming evident, gave to the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and President Weah when they elected him in December, 2017.

The blank check of “political capital” that the CDC led Government obtained from the people of Liberia, was, in the real sense, a “credit” which needed to translate to tangibles that will put food on the table, a job and escape from poverty.

The crises of confidence in Government are not just localized to the home theater. International business analysts and observers see a direct correlation between poor governance and Government’s inability to attract investments and infrastructures which are critical drivers of any economy; Liberia being no exception.

Liberia is identified by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as one of several sub Saharan countries with slower growing countries and where “there is a need to pursue reforms to facilitate economic diversification, and address remaining economic imbalances, many of these cases, private investments remain weak, and a strong focus is needed to address the constraints that are holding such investments back…”

A successful Liberian international business executive Mr. Sage Thomson, in an analysis of the Liberian situation, says, “…with our current inflation rate north of 30%, my goodness… why would any investor or bank want to do business with us? We don’t have a great story to tell the world. The President is jetting off without a serious business pitch. And that pitch starts with stability in your country. But guess what…food inflation is at 31% as of December 2018 and it is fair to say that it is very much higher currently in Q2 19.

Basically, government officials consume our GDP without understanding that you cannot run a nation or have any serious currency without productivity! Growth is driven by capital, labor and productivity… and productivity is 60% of what determines if a country is going to succeed or not.“

Thomson also cites the contributory challenge of uncontrollable “urbanization”. According to him, “another area of massive concern is urbanization.. Monrovia is tremendously overcrowded without any plans, for a secondary city for people to migrate to, for example, Ganta, Nimba County, Gbarnga, Bong County, Zorzor, Lofa County, etc…”

He attributes this uncontrollable factor to the frantic free -fall situation that Liberia is experiencing.

The series of anti-government protests in the last two years are indications that non- Administration supporters are effectively controlling the narrative to the disadvantage of Government. Control of the narrative that the Administration is corrupt and ineffective is winning over independents and some supporters of the Government who see confirmation everyday of some of the questionable actions or inaction by Government.

The once popular CDC is being openly challenged in debates in the public square and electoral contests for public office. Some Liberians are even accusing the Weah Administration of choosing to violate the Constitution rather than face the public embarrassment of losing by-elections due to its declining popularity; case in point being the delay in formally informing the National Elections Commission (NEC) about the vacancy in the Senatorial seat in Montserrado County in order to trigger preparation for and holding of a by election.

While it may be true that the Weah Administration may have simply forgotten to inform the NEC of the vacancy, equally, so, they’ve created room for opposition and independents to point to ineffective governance. This lapse contributes to sustained erosion of confidence and the desire to find an alternative leadership to the present Government.

It is no secret that political and social tensions and divisions are rising due to the economic malaise. And the creeping realization is that Liberians are slowly but surely reaching the point of no return when they would rightfully and peacefully call for a change in Government by invoking Articles 1 and 7 of the Constitution.

Article 1 says,  

“All power is inherent in the people. All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require. In order to ensure democratic government which responds to the wishes of the governed, the people shall have the right at such period, and in such manner as provided for under this Constitution, to cause their public servants to leave office and to fill vacancies by regular elections and appointments…”

Article 7 maintains that, “…freedom and social justice enshrined in this Constitution, manage the national economy and the natural resources of Liberia in such manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under conditions of equality as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia…”

The Weah Administration must “speak” credibly to citizens and begin to lead in all areas. It will require making some difficult choices which would include discarding some entrenched economic and political positions, realization that government critics are not “enemies of the state” but patriots; and even adopting some solutions offered by the opposition bloc.

If Liberia wins in the end, regardless of who is in the Executive Mansion, it will validate that Liberia is greater than any one person or political party.

Mr. President, citizens are trying to get your attention. They are suffering! Speak to them!

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

 

 

 

Sierra Leone: 16 Candidates To Contest Presidential Elections on March 7th

In the lead up to its fourth democratic elections, the West African country of Sierra Leone’s electoral body, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has released the provisional list of nominated candidates for the March 7th Presidential Election.

Sierra Leone National Election Commissioner Mohamed Nfah Alie Conteh
Sierra Leone National Election Commissioner Mohamed Nfah Alie Conteh

In a release signed by Chairman Mohamed Nfah Alie Conteh and issued on Monday in the capital Freetown, the NEC announced a a final list of 16 political parties cleared to contest and include:

Samura Kamara (APC),

Mohamed Kamaraimba Mansaray (ADP)

Samuel Sam-Sumana (C4C)

Alhaji Musa Tarawallie (CDP)

Mohamed C. Bah (NDA)

Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella (NGC)

Patrick John O’Dwyer (NPD),

Jonathan Patrick Sandy (NURP)

Kandeh Baba Conteh (PLP)

Charles Francis Margai (PMDC)

Beresford Victor Williams (RNIP)

Gbandi Jemba Ngobeh (RUFP)

Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio (SLPP)

Mohamed Turay Sowa (UDM)

Henry saa Kubata (UNPP) and

Josephine O. Claudius-Cole (UP)

APC Candidate Dr Samura Kamara
APC Candidate Dr Samura Kamara

The two major political parties are the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) which was founded in 1951 and now led by incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma and the current opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) which was also founded during the colonial era in 1948. President Koroma is constitutionally ineligible to stand for re-election after serving 2 five-year terms since 2007.

SLPP Candidate Julius Maada Bio
SLPP Candidate Julius Maada Bio

The ruling APC’s candidate is Dr. Samura Kamara, a former foreign minister while the SLPP’s Presidential candidate is a retired military officer Mr. Julius Maada Bio. The much lesser known and smaller political parties are seeking to make strong parliamentary gains in order to establish leverage when the political horse-trading and negotiation kick in for support from the two major parties. Supporters of the ruling APC party candidate says Mr. Kamara is better suited to lead the country given his international diplomatic experience while supporters of the opposition SLPP candidate – the retired military officer say he is disciplined and best positioned to lead.

Last December, the Koroma Administration intervened to subsidize the nomination fees for elective offices of President, Members of Parliament, Mayor and Local Council. The NEC at the time announced that, ” … as a result of the intervention of the Chairman of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) through a letter dated 5th December, 2017, to the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency, the President has approved rthat the Government will absorb the difference in costs between the proposed revised fees outlined in the signed political parties resolution and the current fee contained in the Statutory Instrument No. 13 of 2012…”

Meantime, the US. Embassy in Sierra Leone has warned against growing election violence following a recent rampage by supporters of the ruling APC. One person was reportedly killed. According to a statement issued by the American diplomatic mission in Freetown, it said, “The U.S. Embassy is concerned about recent reports of violence and loss of life.  We extend deepest condolences to the victims and their families.  We appeal to all Sierra Leoneans to remain peaceful and respect the democratic process. While this is a time to engage in political activity, exchanges should be civil, and take place in an atmosphere of tolerance and respect…”

The statement further said,”…The U.S. Embassy urges all parties and candidates to reiterate to their constituents their commitment to a non-violent, law abiding and peaceful democratic process.”

Amnesty
Amnesty International

In adding its voice to the call for a peaceful election, Amnesty International (AI) on Friday, said, “Next month’s elections in Sierra Leone are another landmark moment, as the country recovers from the devastating Ebola outbreak, and there is no doubt that there will be vibrant rallies and passionate debate.”

Amnesty further noted that, “there is an essential role for the authorities to play in ensuring that every Sierra Leonean can participate in these elections, speaking out freely and assembling peacefully, in full safety.”

According to the NEC calendar, political campaigning starts on February 4 – March 5. There is a one day cooling off period on March 6th with no campaigning and polling date is March 7th. If no candidate wins outright, a run off poll will be conducted between March 24th – 28th between the two candidates with the highest votes.

Map of the Republic of Sierra Leone
Map of the Republic of Sierra Leone

In a separate development, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it is suspending financing to the Sierra Leone government for its failure to meet key budget outlook and growth targets. Following a development economic performance review last September in Freetown, the IMF concluded that it is “…currently working with the government to identify appropriate corrective measures that can be taken and when.”

Sierra Leone’s electoral body says there are about 3.1 million registered voters out of a population of a little over 7 million.

By Emmanuel Abalo 

West African Journal Magazine

 

Senator George Weah Leads In Provisional Results of Run-Off Election

Presidential Run-off Preliminary Results 2017   

Provisional results of Liberia’s run-off elections held Tuesday and announced by the country’s electoral body indicate that WEAH, George Manneh (CDC) HOWARD-TAYLOR, Jewel C. (CDC) Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-CDC, NPP & LPDP with 720,023 or 61.5% while incumbent Vice President BOAKAI, Joseph Nyuma (UP) NUQUAY, Emmanuel James (UP) Unity Party (UP) gained 451,088 or 38.5%.

Liberia
Liberia

This preliminary result represents 5,286 of 5,390 (98.1%) Polling Places Reporting.

It now appears Senator Weah is on track to be the next President of Liberia and succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirlead who has led the small African country for the last 12 years.

In the first round of voting held on October 10th, the ruling Unity Party (UP) led by incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai gained 28.8% of the vote while the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of Senator George Weah collected 38.4%. As the two highest voter getters, they were eligible to contest the run-off elections.

Liberian Voters At Rally Town Market jpg
Liberian Voters At Rally Town Market

The second round of voting was delayed due to legal challenges filed against the conduct of the process by the third place winner in the first round – the Liberty Party(LP) which cited “fraud and irregularities”. Following an investigation by the National Elections Commission (NEC) the LP’s claims were dismissed. A second challenge by the ruling UP to delay the run-off was over ruled by the country’s high court. An estimated two million Liberians were eligible to vote. However, voter turn-out was low across the country.

International observers say the polls were better organized than the first round in October with no major issues. According to the electoral body, a woman who attempted to vote twice was caught and turned over to police. The head of the regional economic grouping ECOWAS observation mission and former President of Ghana John Mahama described the conduct of the run-off elections as “free and fair.” The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the peaceful vote in the country.

The new President will be inaugurated in January, in line with the country’s Constitution and serve a six-year term.

West African Journal Magazine

 

Liberia: National Elections Commission (NEC) Statement Following Voting

NEC chairman Jerome Korkoya’s post-voting statement, delivered minutes following the close of the 2017 runoff polls on December 26, 2017.

PRESS STATEMENT

Cllr. Jerome G. Korkoya

Chairman, National Elections Commission

26 December 2017

  1. Welcome to this press conference and update on the presidential runoff elections.
  1. I want to highlight and respond to arising issues including:
    1. Update on the election day;
    2. Incidents to report:
    3. Counting process:
    4. Official and provisional results.
  1. Voting has closed but the National Elections Commission would like to remind all stakeholders the process of counting and tabulation of results is continuing. The National Elections Commission is the only institution that has the authority to release election results and it calls on both political parties competing in the elections to refrain from declaring a result until the official results are released.
  1. So far the election process and voting in the presidential runoff election has been smooth and there are marked improvements on the 10 October 2017 election day. The systems the National Elections Commission has put in place are working.
  1. There have been no major incidents to report of a technical nature and voting was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere. The Liberian National Police were deployed across the country and the National Elections Commission would like to thank the service men and women for their support in ensuring a secure and peaceful election day.
  1. Except in very small number of Polling places, all polling places opened at 08:00 hours this morning. For example in Lofa voting precinct # 21051 the polling places opened at 09:20 hours because of late delivery. In Montserrado #. 30486 polling opened 15 minutes late because polling staff were waiting for party agents. Where there has been any delay in opening of polling places the National Elections Commission has instructed staff to account for the delay by closing polling later.
  1. Whilst nationwide polling has been smooth there are an extremely small number of incidents to report. Where incidents occurred they have been dealt with on the spot immediately following the reporting of the incident: In Zubah Town, Mother Sarah School system VP# 30126 voter was witnessed to have two ballot papers police are investigating. A polling official undermined his impartiality at a polling station in JHP Hope VP# 30025 when he posted on social media his political choice and he was immediately removed from the post and replaced. And there was an incident in a polling place 1 in Broluco school VP# 30319 that was dealt with. The National Elections Commission wishes to stress these types of incidents were extremely rare and were dealt with according to the law.
  1. The National Elections Commission also wishes to extend its deepest gratitude to polling staff including the five poll workers from Nimba and Grand Bassa that were in road traffic accidents preparing for this election day. The injured are receiving treatment and our prayers are with them.
  1. Counting of the ballot papers has now commenced and is currently being carried out nationwide. This counting will be undertaken under the full view of political party agents and international and national election observers.
  1. By tomorrow morning, 27 December 2017 at 11:00 hours the tallying of results will commence and the National Elections Commission will continue to release provisional results as they arrive. Once again the National Elections Commission would like to remind all stakeholders including the media that it alone is responsible for the announcement of election results. And only results released by the National Elections Commission should be reported as official ones.

End

Liberians Still Weary Over Unsettled Elections; Want Run-off Held

The weariness of Liberians over the fate of their electoral process now dogged by legal hurdles after four parties sued against results of the first round on 7 October 2017 charging “massive fraud and irregularities” could soon be settled at the apex court in the country.

Liberia Elections
Liberians Display Voting Cards

The opposition Liberty Party sued demanding a rerun of the presidential and legislative elections meant to produce a president expected to succeed Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who was democratically elected, a historic moment since 3 January 1944 when Edwin J. Barclay turned over to William VS Tubman.

Following weeks of legal arguments, the hearing officer at the National Elections Commission adjudged that evidence adduced by lawyers of the Liberty party, the ruling Unity Party as well as opposition Alternative National Congress and All Liberian People’s Party was not sufficient to necessitate a rerun of the poll.

But the aggrieved parties appealed to NEC’s board of commissioners which swiftly upheld the decision. But the Supreme Court, which has seven days to dispose of the matter, has confirmed receiving an appeal from the aggrieved parties against the decision.

Political Parties Leadera in Liberia
Political Leaders in Liberia

Perhaps conscious of the race to beat the 16 January deadline for induration of a new president to avoid a constructional crisis, Liberians are hopeful the court will act expeditiously to pave way for the runoff poll between incumbent Vice President Joseph Boakai and opposition leader George Weah who came 28.8 percent and 38 percent respectively in the first round of elections.

Meanwhile, public opinion is divided with youngsters who comprise majority of the population up in arms saying this is the time for Weah who resembles their kind to win while elder citizens on the other hand differ insisting Weah lacks sufficient experience and education to govern Liberia at this time demanding sophistication.

Notwithstanding the protracted court proceedings marked by bitter war of words involving supporters of candidates Weah and Boakai on radio talk shows there has been no reported violence.

By Our Correspondent TK Sannah in Monrovia