Politics

Tests rule out Ebola

Health authorities here have ruled Ebola in the recent death of 9 persons as a result of a mysterious disease. Health officials say the result from the testing of blood samples and other specimens of the dead and sick persons from shows no evidence of Ebola resurgence.


At least 9 persons have died from a mysterious disease after they attended a funeral in Sinoe County, southeast Liberia. A press statement issued by the Ministry of Health in Monrovia on Wednesday, 26 April says the Sinoe County Health Team informed the Ministry about a series of unexplained deaths in five communities in Greenville District.

The four communities affected are Teah’s Town (8 cases), Congo Town (3 cases), Red Hill (2) and Downtown (1 case) all located in Greenville city. Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Francis Kateh, who read the release in a press briefing held at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill, disclosed that initial tests conducted by the Liberia Institute for Bio-Medical Research in Charlesville, Margibi County ruled out Ebola Virus Disease or EVD as cause of the deaths.

“Of the 17 persons who have fallen ill so far, 9 have died and 8 patients are currently admitted and undergoing treatment at the Grant Hospital in Greenville, Sinoe County”, says Dr. Kateh. He assures that investigation is continuing to establish the actual cause of the deaths.

Reports from the county says the dead include an eleven-year-old girl from Teah Town community, Greenville who attended funeral of a religious leader over the weekend after which seven persons died, who allegedly attended the same funeral.

Name of the religious leader has not been identified, but prior to his demise, he was reportedly hospitalized at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia where he was allegedly diagnosed of high blood pressure.

On Monday, April 24, another patient, from Down town community, who also attended the funeral of the religious leader, suffered headache, body pain and skin itching, and was admitted at the F. J. Grant Hospital, but died on Tuesday morning, April 25.

The third victim was a female from Red Hill community, Greenville, who came down with diarrhea and vomiting and subsequently pronounced dead upon arrival at J.F. Grant Hospital.

Meanwhile, the release says the County Health Team and local authorities are currently coordinating response activities and a team from the “central level” has been dispatched to provide additional support. The Ministry of Health says it has in place necessary systems, measures and capacity to contain outbreak of infectious diseases anywhere in the country. Reports say some symptoms of the disease include: abdominal pains, vomiting and headaches. Additional reporting

-by Ethel A. Tweh

Opposition convention dispute reaches Court

An opposition party Union of Liberian Democrats or ULD has taken an unsettled internal dispute before the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, in the wake of divide among party executives surrounding decision whether or not to conduct convention this month to elect party leadership.


ULD standard bearer Mr. Jonathan Mason and those backing a decision to postpone party convention for 19 to 21 May are battling against another group of partisans at the Civil Law Court led by party chairman Mr. Solomon Kahn who are demanding the conduct of convention that was due on 22 April.

In the legal document dated 21 April, Mr. Mason and his supporters complain to the Civil Law Court that Chairman Kahan and his supporters have failed and refused to respect the decision of the party National Executive Committee and are planning to conduct the ULD’s third convention against the will and decision of the executive committee as appeared in a meeting of 19 April to reschedule convention.

The Civil Law Court has ordered the adverse party to appear on 1 May to answer to the complaint filed against it by the party standard bearer and his supporters.

Mr. Mason accuses the adverse party of engaging into activities contrary to the executive committee’s decision to postpone the convention and is rather insisting on conducting convention at all cost.

“Petitioners say that the unconstitutional, illegal, unlawful and unauthorized acts of Respondents are an attempt being made to undermine the authority of the Party (ULD) and create conflict within said party. Hence, this must be prevented”, the ULD standard bearer has told the Court.

The petitioners have pleaded with the court to issue a writ of injunction against the actions of the adverse party, arguing that the unauthorized and wrongful decision of the respondents to conduct elections contrary to the decision of the party executive committee brings into question the legal status, credibility and integrity of the ULD.

By Winston W. Parley

CDC suffers mass exodus

Several officials of Senator George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change now Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) have resigned from the party, and are reportedly headed for the Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine.


At a news conference on Wednesday, 26 April in Barnesville outside Monrovia, the CDC officials, including B. Edward Wawoe, vice chairman for political affairs; P. Magnus Nian, campaign officer; Zouan Worzon, vice coordinator for administration, Montserrado County Electoral District#11 and Eric Seepo, vice chairman for legal affairs, youth wing announced their resignation.

Though they did not publicly announced that they were heading for the Liberty Party, but dressed in T-shirts, jackets and caps bearing LP’s emblem, the deserters were closely being eyed by Liberty Party Vice Chairman for Political Affairs, Abraham Darius Dillon.

There are reports that they are expected to formally join the Liberty Party tomorrow, Friday, 28 April. Reading the statement of resignation on behalf of his colleagues, Mr. Nian said they have arrived at the decision after careful review of activities of the CDC, leading to the October elections.

“We have come to the realization that there is no clear cut and tangible strategy that shows the preparedness of the party to take state power,” Nian said in apparent frustration.

He stressed that the core value of their decision to join the CDC was based on the popular desire of grassroots Liberians to bring change, placing their hope in the CDC and its leadership headed by George Weah.

Nian notes that their hope could only become a reality when said political popular movement has defined and mature programs to take state power. According to him, their decision is just a replication of several high ranking CDCians, who had resigned from the party over the years, after they realized that the dream of the common people, could not be easily realized due to lack of effective leadership direction under Weah.

He explains that as Liberia emerges from the period of emergency to development, with the draw down of UNMIL, the daunting task to lead the country still requires someone that has the ability to attract international support to continue the nation rebuilding process, which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has started.

Meanwhile, when the CDC was contacted via mobile phone Wednesday evening, Vice Chairman for Operations, Mulbah Morlu, says the party will adequately respond to all resignations today, April 27, at its headquarters in Congo Town.

By E.J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

LTA boss chairs WATA

The Chairperson of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) Madam Angelique Weeks, in her second and final four-year term takes over the chairmanship of the West Africa Telecommunications Assembly (WATA) today, Thursday, April 27 in Monrovia.


Addressing the media here at the start of the assembly in Sinker, Monrovia on Monday, Madam Weeks expressed gratification that Liberia is ascending to the top post of WATA, and disclosed that it would afford the country opportunities to train Liberians in the areas of internet and telecommunications operations around the world.

According to the LTA, Liberia is taking over Cape Varde as regulatory head of WATA. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who is Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, is expected to make special remarks at today’s ceremony.

Madam Angelique Weeks is expected to officially welcome participants and guests to be followed by the Chairman of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly, who will deliver the opening speech.

A representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) will deliver a special statement on behalf of the Representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to be followed by  Liberia’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr. Frederick Nokeh and the subsequent start of the working session of the 14th West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly. Participants are expected to adopt the draft agenda followed by report of the Chairman of WATA, among others.

By Emmanuel Mondaye

Rep. Moye mourns 2 deaths in Bong

Bong County District #2 Representative Prince Keamue Moye has described the death of District #2 aspirant Hezekiah Siakor as a big blow to the district. The late Mr. Siakor served as manager of the Gbarnga Regional Justice and Security Hub and was a representative hopeful, who was seen as main challenger to incumbent Moye.


He reportedly suffered protracted illness long before declaring his intention to vie for the district seat.Prior to his death, he initiated the J. Hezekiah Siakor Driving School and Computer Literacy Program in Jorquelleh District #3.

He also aided residents of the district in the construction of several wooden bridges and greatly contributed to the construction of feeder roads. Rep. Moye has also expressed sadness over the death of George Johnson Flomo.

The late Flomo was the Civil Society Organization of Liberia Regional Coordinator for Bong, Nimba and Lofa Counties. He was also one of the staunch implementers of the Freedom of Information Act and President of the Federation of Road Transport Union Bong Chapter.

In an interview with this paper, Representative Moye extended sympathy to the respective families of the two falling heroes and the citizens of Bong County as a whole. He said the people of Bong County will forever remember the late Siakor and Flomo for their immense contributions to national growth and development and critical stance on issues in the country.

By Papa Morris from Bong-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Bong County inducts youth caucus

Officials of the Bong County Youth Caucus have formally been inducted into office. Those inducted are: Jutomue Dargai Mulbah, President, Mulbah Walawulu Vice President, and Bangali Bility, Secretary General, amongst others.


Performing official induction, Bong County Senator Henry Yallah, cautioned the new leadership to serve as promoters of unity among their colleagues in the county. Senator Yallah challenged the officials to do away with the age-old practice of being used as surrogates for the selfish gains of politicians, especially as Liberia goes to elections.

He also admonished them to be careful with utterances against their leaders if they should succeed in their endeavors. In response, President-elect Jutomue Dargai Mulbah expressed delight over his preferment as head of that body.

He promises to run an inclusive leadership that will listen to the views of all, and calls for peaceful co-existence among youth of Bong County for the common good of the county.

-Editing by Jonathan Browne

MoH wants US$300,000 for Jackson F. Doe Hospital

Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Francis N. Kateh has pleaded with the House of Representatives to increase the Jackson F. Doe Referral Hospital’s budget by US$300,000.


Dr. Kateh told the House on Tuesday, 25 April that the current cadre of health workers in the country are limited and not well – equipped with relevant expertise to handle complicated cases that need specialist attention.

Though he says there are capable hands on ground, Dr. Kateh, however, adds that there is a need for specialist to be hired while Liberians are being trained in specialised areas.

The Jackson F. Doe Referral Hospital is one of Liberia’s main referral facilities. It is structured and equipped to handle complicated medical cases. According to a communication addressed to the House of Representatives, Dr. Kateh says the amount requested is intended to hire and incentivize a cardiologist, two neurosurgeons and procure medical and surgical supplies for the hospital.

The Chief Medical Officer has also extended appreciation to the House of Representatives for its continuous support in strengthening Liberia’s health sector. Meanwhile the House has forwarded the communication to the committees on Health and Ways, Means to proceed to Jackson Doe Hospital to investigate and report to the body.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Ellen submits US$2m loan agreement to House

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted to the House of Representatives for ratification a US$2 million loan agreement signed between the Republic of Liberia and the International Development Association.


According to the communication sent to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 25 April President Sirleaf says the purpose of the loan is to generate financing for the Liberia Renewable Energy Access Project or LIRENAP.

The document says the LIRENAP will increase access to electricity and foster the use of renewable energy sources. Mrs. Sirleaf says the loan is critical to the implementation of the economic stipulation recovery plan here.

She notes in the communication to the House that the maximum commitment charge rate payable by the government of Liberia on the withdrawn credit balance shall be half of one percent per annum.

She adds that the service charge payable on the withdrawn credit balance shall be equal to three- fourths of one percent per annum. She concludes that the principal amount of the credit shall be repaid in dollars in accordance with the repayment schedule set forth in “Schedule Three” of the agreement.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Ellen submits US$2m loan agreement to House

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted to the House of Representatives for ratification a US$2 million loan agreement signed between the Republic of Liberia and the International Development Association.


According to the communication sent to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, 25 April President Sirleaf says the purpose of the loan is to generate financing for the Liberia Renewable Energy Access Project or LIRENAP.

The document says the LIRENAP will increase access to electricity and foster the use of renewable energy sources. Mrs. Sirleaf says the loan is critical to the implementation of the economic stipulation recovery plan here.

She notes in the communication to the House that the maximum commitment charge rate payable by the government of Liberia on the withdrawn credit balance shall be half of one percent per annum.

She adds that the service charge payable on the withdrawn credit balance shall be equal to three- fourths of one percent per annum. She concludes that the principal amount of the credit shall be repaid in dollars in accordance with the repayment schedule set forth in “Schedule Three” of the agreement.
By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Ellen receives Global Fund CEO

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received in audience the Chief Executive Officer or CEO of Global Fund Dr. Mark Dybul at her Foreign Ministry office in Monrovia.


According to an Executive Mansion release issued on Wednesday, 26 April, the Liberian leader thanked Dr. Dybul for his organization’s support to Liberia during a critical moment in the country’s history.

She says Global Fund has actively supported the health sector here through Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV & AIDS. Mrs. Sirleaf has lauded the partnership that has brought about immense impact on the population.

She however calls for increased support that would target rural health programs intended to enhance access to healthcare.

Earlier, Dr. Mark Dybul thanked President Sirleaf for the opportunity, her extraordinary support and strong voice for the work of Global Fund. Dr. Dybul described President Sirleaf as an advocate and champion of the aspirations of Global Fund.

He has noted that the level collaboration in the health sector remains on course and praised Liberia for its robust post-Ebola resilient healthcare program. The Global Fund CEO has at the same acknowledged the need for support to the roads to health agenda of the government during discussions with the Ministry of Public Works officials aimed at addressing huge  challenges that occasion the rainy season especially in rural parts of the country.

He expresses the need to make health services available to all sectors of the population in spite of the season. Dr. Dybul has assured that Global Fund is willing to partner with other actors including the World Bank to critically respond to demanding infrastructure issues that will enable essential health, education and economic opportunities become accessible here.

On Global Fund overall programme implementation towards its Liberia Program, Dr. Dybul says that tremendous progress has and continues to be made in those critical facet of interventions.-- Press release

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