The Chairman of the National Elections Commission Cllr. Jerome Korkoya has attributed the misplacement of names against individuals’ photographs on the voter roll as “human error” that could undermine the process of holding free, fair and transparent elections in October.
He had earlier reacted sharply to public concern that the situation could create serious problem on polling day, if not immediately addressed, describing apprehension expressed by the public as “total nonsense!”
But appearing before the full plenary of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol Building where he was summoned on Thursday, 22 June Chairman Korkoya however notes that there is no need for people to panic or worry on grounds that the electoral commission is in full control of the situation.
He discloses that the misplacement of voters’ names against photographs or absence of such information on the voter roll as a result of what he calls “human error” could affect about 13,000 Liberians across the country, representing 0.6 percent of the total registered voters.
However, he assures the senate that the commission is already battling the process of ratifying the situation by revisiting the data processing unit, and encourages legally registered voters to follow up at the NEC headquarters to get their information provided to registrants correct.
When quizzed by Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay how many forms were brought in the country, Korkoya says the commission printed about 4 million forms, but could not state how many forms were used, and how many left, on grounds that NEC is still processing forms with promise that said information would be available when the process is completed.
Cllr. Korkoya has been in hot water with the public, including some politicians over his recent comment that anyone with a voter card will be allowed to vote on polling day even if his or her name were not found on the voter roll exhibited to the public about a week ago across Liberia.
At a news conference on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the NEC boss called on people in such situations to visit the various polling centers to have their names and photos retaken to be placed in the data base.
Korkoya: "People with the issue of unavailability of photos during these exhibition periods should go to the various magistrates for photo taking and every Liberian who has voter card will vote. The errors wouldn't affect you. There is nothing to be worried about. People should stop creating unnecessary alarm. Please help us to explain to the people the only reason we are holding exhibition is to correct the errors. We are working hard to ensure a credible election that will be acceptable. We have a fine process, we are working under extreme circumstances, we don't say don't criticize.”
The National Elections Commission on June 12th commenced the Exhibition of Provisional Voter Roll at all 2,080 Exhibition Centers (formerly Voter Registration Centers) across the country, which ended on 17 June. Editing by Jonathan Browne
Less than a month after the National Drugs Service (NDS) and Laboratory at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center were gutted by fire, the central office of the Ministry of Health (MOH) situated in Oldest Congo Town was on Thursday, 22 June engulfed in flames.
A female MOH security, who asked for anonymity, narrates that they only saw smoke coming out of the Ministry and immediately alerted the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS), which moves in and brought the disaster under control.
She continues that the fire affected the Monitoring and Evaluation Department of the Ministry along with other parts, leaving properties destroyed. LNFS officials at the incident scene declined to speak on the issue, as they were conducting an investigation to establish the actual cause of the fire.
The incident has caused serious setback to the MOH, especially the M & E floor of the building where important data of the country’s health sector are kept. The Monitoring and Evaluation Department is responsible to monitor and report on constraints and activities of Government of Liberia (GOL) health facilities across the country.
This is the second fire incident specifically within the Ministry of Health, causing damages to the institution. About two or three years ago, fire similarly attacked the ministry.
Eyewitnesses are pondering over the strange fire phenomenon that has engulfed the health sector in recent times, leaving properties worth thousands of dollars destroyed.
They want authorities of the ministry to ensure that result of the ongoing investigation is made public to provide a clearer picture of what led to the fire outbreak at the institution for the second time.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne
The Chairman on Land and Authority here, Dr. Othello Brandy, is calling on members of the 53rd Liberian Legislature to pass the Land Right Bill into law, stressing that the bill recognizes right of indigenous people to own their land.
Speaking at the opening of two days National Multi-stakeholder meeting in Monrovia on Thursday, 22June Dr. Brandy says the bill is intended to maintain peace in the country, vowing “We will not rest until the people have the rights to own their own land.”
The Direct Representative for the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia or UNMIL, Yacoub Hillo, who was present at the ceremony, cautions that Land concession is one of the issues that led to the civil conflict in Liberia, so the bill should be enacted to avoid future conflict.
According to Mr. Hillo, when the bill is in place, it will help to set all records straight and put an end to conflict, especially in rural communities where the natives have lands, but do not have access to claim their own land.
Madam Elizabeth Mulbah of the Governance Commission notes that in order to improve citizens’ engagement in Concessions Management, they should get involved, adding the community people need to come onboard to discuss the problems they are affected with.
“We will work with the people of the community, and we have capitalized on doing it with the people and not for the people; the people need to get involved because they are the ones that are affected and they know all that is unfolding”, she further emphasizes.
Speaking on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Madam Ciatta Bishop, says the Government of Liberia recognizes effort made by the people, and that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf confirms the Government’s continuous support, while looking forward to a fruitful implementation.
For his part, Sime Darby communication officer, Samwar Fallah, thanked community resident for working along with his company in discussing issues affecting their respective communities.
By Ethel A. Tweh-Editing by Jonathan Browne
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has ordered a full audit report of the Private Sector Development Initiative or PDSI at the Ministry of Finance on her desk in two weeks after reports of a loan bonanza among officials at the ministry.
The president’s request which was contained in a brief statement on Thursday 8 June follows ongoing preliminary audit of the Unit. The audit has revealed how officials at the ministry both past and present awarded to themselves loans in huge sums.
“We can say with a high degree of confidence that such a scheme set up at the PDSI is clearly a conflict of interest and will be dealt with by the full weight of the law.” Mrs. Sirleaf said Thursday.
The audit is said to cover the period 2014 to present and is being executed by the Internal Audit Agency.“Therefore, I have ordered the principal administrator of the program during the audit period, Commissioner of Maritime Affairs, Hon. James Kollie to return to Liberia from his official trip to assist in the audit and answer all of the issues associated with it, President Sirleaf directed.
A press statement issued by the Executive Mansion following the live reading of the President’s statement, said the preliminary audit has revealed some shocking outcome and results show that officials at the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning were making loans to themselves in violation of the law. “We remain seized of this matter and will leave no stone unturned in the interest of the nation.”Mrs. Sirleaf concluded.The preliminary audit was commissioned by Finance and Development Planning Minister Boimah Kamara.
-Othello B. Garblah
The House of Representatives has put a stop to all contracts between the Liberia Electricity Cooperation or LEC and Manitoba Hydro International or MHI until LEC and officials of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy can appear before the House.
The House on Tuesday, 6 June summoned the energy sector here to provide reasons for negotiating another management agreement contract with MHI when investigation into alleged inconsistencies unearthed in its previous management of LEC is yet to be completed.
On Thursday, the Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy and the Board Chairman of LEC did not appear before the House, but rather sent their deputy to address issues raised by the House.
After introducing themselves to the House of Representatives on Thursday, Rep. Edwin M. Snowe said the issue of the LEC is very serious and that the House needs those responsible to appear and not the deputies.
As such, Rep. Snowe has suggested that the officials go back to their offices and return next Tuesday, 13 June. Also speaking Rep. Henry B. Fahnbullah claimed that Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo had vowed to give excuse and send his deputy whenever he was invited by the House.
Rep. Fahnbulleh considers the alleged act of Minister Sendolo as being very disrespectful, warning that if the Minister cannot appear, the House should take a serious action against him.
Rep. Saah Joseph had earlier written the House of Representatives insisting that LEC Board and the Ministry of Lands and Mines be restrained from consigning the management of the corporation to another management contract.
By Bridgett Milton-Edited by Winston W. Parley
20 of Liberia’s 22 registered political parties have signed a Farmington River Declaration, committing themselves to preventing electoral violence, impunity and injustice, pledging before ECOWAS Heads of States that where [such conflicts] occur, they would address them through mediation or through legal means.
“Our political campaign activities will be conducted in such a manner that will not only preserve but also enhance and maintain the peace and unity of Liberia”, the parties’ resolution read on Sunday, 4 June during ECOWAS’ 51st Summit chaired by Liberia’s President Mrs. Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf in Margibi County.
Sister Mary Laurene read the Farmington River Declaration of commitment to peaceful elections and judicial resolution of elections dispute in Liberia, after which representatives of 20 political parties signed the instrument.
By signing the resolution, leaders of political parties say they commit themselves “to an orderly and peaceful elections process in October 2017”. President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf attested to the resolution signed by the parties and witnessed by leaders of Liberia’s Inter – Religious Council, as well as the head of the traditional chiefs. ECOWAS Heads of State at the event were also given documents to sign.
The ruling Unity Party’s standard bearer Vice President Joseph NyumahBoakai signed the resolution, while main opposition Coalition for Democratic Change political leader Sen. George Weah also signed the resolution.
Other opposition political parties signed the resolution before ECOWAS Heads of State, including All Liberian Party’s Benonie Urey and Liberty Party’s Cllr. Charles Brumskine who, unlike the rest of the parties representatives, walked across the round table to shake hands with West African presidents before signing for his party.
In the resolution, the parties have resolved to work closely with all law enforcement agencies here to ensure that they perform their roles and duties effectively throughout the elections and post elections periods.
The parties called on government to set up a hotline and make it available to each stakeholder organization to monitor and report on situations that have the propensity to undermine the security, peace and harmony of the 2017 electoral process.
The signing of the Farmington Declaration by 20 party representatives came after a two - day consultative dialogue was convened here in Monrovia for 22 registered political parties last month.
At that forum, Mrs. Sirleaf committed government to conducting peaceful, free, fair and transparent democratic elections in 2017, leading to an orderly transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another one in January 2018.
In the Farmington River Declaration, the 20 parties agree and resolve that the Ganta Declaration of the political parties in Nimba County clearly sets the framework for free, fair and transparent non- violent elections.
As such, they say they are resolved that the 2017 presidential and representatives elections be held consistent with the Constitution and laws of Liberia and in line with all international standards. They seek a provision of a constitutional threshold by the Legislature for the conduct of the elections.
By Winston W. Parley
At least two persons reportedly died on Monday, 5 June when a commercial sand truck ran into a motorbike, killing a woman and the bike rider on the Barnesville-Johnsonville road, while several passengers sustained serious injuries down Johnson Street before the Gabriel Tucker Bridge after a container truck crashed into a taxi while descending.
On Johnson Street, eyewitnesses narrated that the container truck was heading toward the bridge, but developed break failure, colliding with another truck traveling in the same direction.
They continue that four passengers on board a Taxi with Plate#3373 sustained serious wounds after they were hit from the back by the container truck. The injured persons were immediately taken to the Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town, a Monrovia suburb for medication.
The driver of the taxi, Fayah Kemoh, explains to The NewDawn that he and a female passenger riding in the front of the vehicle escaped unharmed. Kemoh laments that the wounded persons are in critical conditions due to impact from the container truck, damaging the rear of his taxi.
The damaged taxi with service name: “Shame on them” was subsequently removed from the accident scene by the Liberia National Police (LNP) and parked at the Slipway Police Depot, pending further investigation.
Another motor accident occurred the same day within Johnsonville Township when a commercial truck transporting sand ran into a motorcycle, killing two persons instantly, one of them a female.
Eyewitnesses detail that two passengers, a male and his girlfriend were on the bike besides the bike rider, but the boyfriend jumped off after noticing that the sand truck was about to hit the motorcycle.
The lone survivor tried saving his girlfriend, but was unsuccessful as the truck ran into the motorcycle, killing the lady and the rider. According to eyewitnesses, in an attempt to save the life of his girlfriend, the guy held her by the head, but unfortunately, only her wig cap left in his hand as the truck dragged her and the motorcyclist into a nearby shop, killing them.
Since the completion of the newly constructed Kebbah Road, there have been series of motor accidents along that route, destroying lives and properties. Heavy duty trucks often ply the road with terrific speed in disregard of traffic rules. The Liberia National Police have begun preliminary investigation into the accident.
By Emmanuel Mondaye& Samuel Kamara-Editing by Jonathan Browne