Special Feature

CRACKS IN LIBERIA’S “RUBBER-STAMP” POLITICAL CULTURE: THE CASE OF MADAM JEMIMA WOLOKOLLIE FORMER DEPUTY MINISTER, MINISTRY OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY

 

Introduction
“One of the several, critical challenges facing our small nation of less than 4 million people is the awesome, all-embracing and far-reaching Power of a sitting, Liberian President. That power is clearly defined by and enshrined in our Constitution in a Unitary-structured government, with supreme, executive (administrative) power duly vested and rigidly centralized in a President, during these 167 years of our existence, as a free and independent nation”, we wrote in an article entitled “The Power of the President” (Analyst Liberia, March 3, 2013).


According to the Constitution of Liberia, the head of state & government of Liberia is an elected President in whom powers of Democratic Executive and powers of an Emperor – political, administrative & economic – are vested. Thus, the Liberian Head-of-State is described as “Imperial President”.

The President appoints all employees of government, including political officials of the Sub-Divisions (Counties) of superintendents, commissioners, mayors of cities; town, clan and paramount chiefs, with all those appointed “serve at the will and pleasure of the President”. Judges, appointed by the President, are exempted in theory from service “at the will and pleasure of the President”, but are affected in practice.

Though actually elected by the people, but with manipulations by the powerful, Imperial President through the political process, the service and tenure of members of the Legislature are affected, manifestly, by the “will and pleasure of the President”.

Pattern of Behavior
Indeed, the appointed individuals – many highly-trained & experienced professionals - are the intellectual, academic, technological and socio-economic and political “cream of the crop” of Liberia’s elite who write, teach, research, study, analyze, prescribe and recommend, as well as manage/implement, the plans and programs that determine present and future directions of our nation. They constitute the upper and middle classes of Liberian society.

But, their lives – hopes, fears, careers, dreams, personal growth and development – depend upon and are determined, to a large extent, by the “will and pleasure” of one person who is answerable to no one, according to the doctrine of our Unitary Structure of government. Very few, if any, will or can muster the courage or “guts” to challenge “presidential power and prerogatives” or the “status quo” for fear of “losing it all”, including being labeled “trouble-maker” who wants to “rock the boat” and be ostracized socially, economically and politically.

Thus, the evolution and development of this pattern of performance behavior for social-cultural, economic and political survival, the culture of “see no evil, do no evil and tell no evil in society” at the expense of one’s honesty, integrity, courage, fairness, openness and “above all else”, allegiance, loyalty and patriotism to the Republic and people. Until Now, Madam Jemima Wolokollie!!

Until Jemima, there had been faceless “whistle blowers”, anonymous “redeemers”, etc. from highly-placed dishonesty, roaring corruption and related socio-economic and political iniquities.

Madam Jemima invited the attention of her superiors openly, politely, aggressively to basic public policy violations with facts, figures, names, dates, places and concrete examples, but ignored, disregarded and often threatened, she went public – to the press as the only reasonable approach for results.

We commend and congratulate Madam Wolokollie very strongly, with deep appreciation for her courage, “guts” and the “political will” at the expense of “losing it all” (her job, “indefinite suspension”) and labelled “trouble-maker who wants to rock the boat” (“insubordination and un-professionalism”).

Indeed, we are aware of CDC Loyalists’s unconditional welcome of the suspension of Madam Wolokollie as Deputy Minister of Commerce as President “Weah’s laudable democratic leadership, unseen before in the nation’s governance experience”.

For, the action is simply the continuation of political compliance, the Liberian Rubber-stamp Political Culture of inability to summon the “courage”, “guts” or the political will not, even, the National Legislature, to challenge socio-political indignities by the ruling political power or the Status Quo for “real change or reforms.

Africa: Making the Case for a Sea Change in Thinking

There is a problem in Africa and is a problem of the mind – a problem of how mental faculties are exercised. The issue is not that Africans do not think. They do. It is not that Africans do not have or exercise their intellectual capacities. The problem is not whether Africans are intelligent or not. The crux of the matter is in how Africans think, how they exercise their intelligence, and how their intellect relates to their social, economic and political relationships. The issue is not that there is a particular way that African people think or express their intellect. No, a variety of thinking formulations exist. Multiple ways of reasoning abound. The problem is in the kind of thinking that is pervasive; the form of reasoning that is privileged, incentivised, rewarded or celebrated.


It is pertinent to explore how Africans can change their thinking behaviours in order to foster African emancipation and emergence. African societies cannot continue to privilege particular thinking behaviours and expect a different course of development. Too often the emphasis is placed on challenging the way that westerners or easterners present Africa and Africans. No doubt, this is important. But enough attention has not been paid to examining and prescribing changes to the ways Africans present and represent themselves. A change in thinking behaviours of Africans has become a necessity.

Africa's fundamental malaise can be traced to its thinking culture, to the reasoning habits that dominate, drive and define everyday life and dealings. The manner in which certain thinking behaviours came to dominate discourses on Africa may be quite problematic, but the influence of thinking processes is evident in happenings and reactions to events across the region, in African politics and economy. Thus the way Africans mentally represent Africa and how they relate to others' thinking about Africa and Africans deserves scrutiny. This is because if Africa must experience a radical transformation in this century, African modes of representation must undergo a sea change.

There has to be a drastic shift, an overhauling of how Africans think about Africa, about anything African, indeed about anybody or anything at all. Or better, Africans must begin to challenge the dominant way(s) of thinking and reasoning formations in the region. Africans need to indulge in a rethinking and a reimagining of the world and the structures therein. They need to reexamine the idea of development, aids, international relations, foreign investment, trade, democracy, tourism, governance, education, Christianity, Islam, science, religion, and philosophy. These narratives and structures are culturally embedded. They come with some social and political undertones. Sometimes these formations contain ideas and impressions that are not always consistent with a balanced or an informed view of Africa and the African. Sometimes, they embody demeaning, degrading and exotic images of Africa or anything African. These notions constitute mechanisms that are used to legitimise and perpetuate stereotypic views of Africa and Africans.

So a change in thinking has become an imperative. And change requires a cultivation anew of thinking behaviours, intellectual habits that radically depart from what currently applies. These innovative and adventurous cognitive skills need to be stressed and emphasised in all areas of human endeavour so that they could yield the desired transformative effects. These thinking skills are critical, creative and productive. They have been categorised this way, not because thinking is such a compartmentalised operation but in order to underscore certain elements in thinking processes. Actually, these competencies are not exhaustive of the cognitive prerequisites for a sea change in the African thinking culture. Rather they are indicative of the direction that this important process could take.

Critical Reasoning and Finding Gaps
A change in African thinking culture requires critical competencies. An examination of claims and propositions is needed because it is in pursuant to such a critique that mistaken and erroneous representations – of Africa and Africans – can be exposed. Foreign missionaries, traders, military personnel and scholars wrote much of African history and defined the region and its people on their own terms. These definitions embody their knowledge but also their prejudice, ignorance, and bias. Critical inquiry is needed to highlight the cognitive limitations in these representations. Narratives of racial and cultural superiority underlie western and eastern representations of Africa, of African religion and politics. And too often Africans accept and embrace these narratives without question including the prejudices therein.

These structures need to be revisited and reviewed and their epistemological foundations and presuppositions have to be reexamined. Africans need to question beliefs, doctrines, policies, rules and regulations. They need to take a critical look at treaties and conventions that have been signed; policies and laws that have been enacted to guide international relations, secular and religious ideologies that are often framed as 'civilising missions'. These mechanisms are often used to conceal and foist foreign interests on African societies. They embody unwholesome impressions and images of Africa and Africans. A critical examination is necessary to expose these gaps and inadequacies and get these instruments to work for and not against Africa and Africa.

Furthermore, critical thinking is needed to highlight what is missing in existing inventions and innovations, in the available goods and services. Critical thinking skills are needed to draw attention to the limitations in all artefacts showing what is wrong with them, what is not working, or not working so well. what could be improved upon. For instance, critical reasoning skills can be deployed to identify what manufacturers and marketers missed, omitted or overlooked in the course of production or sales. While exerting one's intellect to find faults and locate gaps is important, these faults need to be rectified. A thinking behaviour is needed to fill the gaps.

Creative Thinking and Generation of New Ideas
Africans need intellectual skills that emphasise the generation of new ideas including new ways of thinking, imagining, explaining, presenting, representing and doing things. It is not enough to express discontent or dissatisfaction regarding the state of art or to register objections to the way things are. It does not suffice to point out faults and gaps in existing knowledge or artefacts, in the representations of issues. It is important to speculate and try to imagine new and other possibilities, to envisage things as they should be. Africans must tap into their creative ingenuity and deploy their brainstorming competencies in order to supply or at least attempt to supply what is missing. Africans must task themselves and strive to highlight what has been overlooked, bring to light perspectives and insights that have been ignored. For instance, the representation of Africa or of Africans in the media or in existing studies may be heavily biased, mistaken, or one-sided. Beyond stating this fact, it is vital to propose what the other side of the story is. Apart from finding faults and raising objections to mistaken ideas and impressions, Africans need to come up with ways of correcting them, of providing what is missing in terms of knowledge and understanding of Africa and its people. People of Africa need to task their imagination and intellect and come up with fresh insights into how things should be done. Meanwhile, ideas worth little if they are left solely at the abstract, as mere speculation and wishful thinking. For ideas to actually add value to life, to existing goods and services, another thinking skill is required.

Productive Thinking: Turning Ideas into Goods
This is thinking at the level of praxis. It is a practical form of reasoning. Or put in a business term, it is an entrepreneurial way of thinking. Cognitive skills are applied to step ideas down from the world of dreams and imagination to the world of reality, from the world of fiction and fantasy to the world of fact. This is a thinking trait that turns possibilities into packages. The intellect is exerted to concretise ideas and translate those vague and wild thoughts into actual products, into goods that serve particular needs, into insights that fill particular gaps in existing knowledge, into techniques that help solve specific problems and improve the management of affairs. One may have so many ideas of how to alleviate poverty, reduce unemployment, or eradicate diseases, improve energy efficiency. But not all ideas may work at the end of the day. Not all ideas are practical or realisable at a particular time and context. Not all imagined solutions end up as actual answers to existential problems. This thinking character is pragmatic and is exercised to achieve real results, demonstrate actual cures to diseases, and advance real solutions to life's troubles.

Conclusion
So, at a time that many countries in Africa are plagued with numerous socioeconomic and political problems such as wars and conflicts, poverty, drought and unemployment, the continent requires radical thinking and ideas. African needs transformative intellectual habits. Africans must re-think their thinking behaviours. They need to deploy their critical, creative and entrepreneurial competencies to recreate and renew the continent. Africans need to fault existing structures and representations that have been used to hold the continent hostage and undermine its emergence. African people need to generate innovative, reformative and revolutionary ideas and unconventional insights, and then translate these elements into effective answers and appropriate solutions to existing problems.

By Leo Igwe

President Weah & Vice President Howard-Taylor And Cabinet on Salary Cuts

The Ministry of Finance & Development Planning has submitted the “Pro-poor” Draft National Budget for FY2018-2019 in the amount of US $562.2 million to the House of Representatives in compliance with law. In presenting the draft budget, the Ministry says that “expenditure has increased, but it . . . is optimistic that the domestic economy is expected to rebound with improvements . . . in the mining & panning sector followed by the forestry sector.


Real GDP (Gross Domestic Product expressed as a percentage of all goods and services produced annually by the nation) growth is projected at 3.9% in 2018 as compared to a projection of 2-5% in 2017”.

Salaries Cuts
Earlier, on April 25, 2018, President Weah and Cabinet announced that they had “adopted several measures” consistent with his “pro-poor agenda” to enhance governments economic position in the effort to realize its objectives. “These measures include the reduction or standardization of salaries for ministers of government and heads autonomous agencies, especially, within the Executive Branch” of government.

 

According to the announcement, the Cabinet resolved that:

a) “No longer will any official of government, including heads of autonomous agencies make US $10,000 or US $15,000 respectively”;
b) “That heads of public corporations (State-owned enterprises) or autonomous agencies will make not more than US $7,800 as salary; cabinet also took a decision for a 10% salary reduction across the board for cabinet ministers, mainly those at the highest level of the Executive” Branch of Government”; and
c) That “the decision will take effect in the pending FY2018-2019 budget”.

Our comments
Indeed, we recognize, commend and are encouraged by the “guts”, courage and “political will” shown by President Weah and his team for the historic effort in attempting salary reductions. We are hopefully waiting for the results.

According to the New Democrat newspaper (New Democrat, April 30, 2018), examples of the prevailing salary levels disclosed were, only, within the Executive Branch of Government. The National Legislature and Judiciary were not mentioned. Those indicated were the following:

1. Managing Director, National Social Security & Welfare Corporation – US $300,000 Annual salary or US $25,000 monthly with allowances.
2. Auditor-General of Liberia – US $268,975.92 Annual salary or US $22, 414 monthly with housing, utilities, transport allowances.
3. Governor, Central Bank of Liberia – US $228,000 Annual salary or US $19,000 monthly with allowances. (The Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank is paid US $201,700 Annual salary with Deputy Governors at US $120,000 Annual salary.
4. President/CEO, National Oil Corporation of Liberia (NOCAL) – US $228,000 or US $19,000 monthly with allowances. (The CEO is a retired 20-year-employee of the Dupont Corporation of the State of Delaware, USA).
5. Managing Director, Liberia Maritime Authority – US $180,000 Annual salary or US $15,000 monthly with allowances.
6. Managing Director, National Port Authority – US $180,000 Annual salary or US $15,000 monthly with allowances.

The deeply-troubling economic issue is the impact of the salaries, benefits and allowances scales & levels for top officials of the Liberian government – President, Vice President, members of Legislature, the Judiciary, Ministers and deputies, heads of specialized agencies, state-owned enterprises, etc. – are bloated and exceedingly over-stated, particularly, during the 12-year rule Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. They (salaries, benefits and allowances scales & levels) must be reduced by more than 50% to reflect economic truth/reality and socio-political justification, given the prevailing condition of a small, poor developing country.

Moreover, research information shows, in general terms, that salary scales and levels paid to top corporate (private) and government (public) officials of top US and other developed nations are determined by (a), total, gross annual revenue generated by the corporation through the efforts of corporate officials (b), gross domestic product (GDP) of the nation and (c), level of scientific and economic achievement of the nation as justification of the nations’ ability to provide socio-economic and political benefits under these conditions.

But in Liberia, Political Rulers copy salary, benefits, and allowance scales/levels of top US corporate (private) and government (public) officials and apply them to the Liberian counterparts without any justification, whatsoever. The United States of America is a highly-developed nation, in socio-economic, educational, political and scientific terms. The nation has been able to put an individual on the planet moon, some estimated hundred-millions of miles from our planet earth; whereas, the Republic of Liberia cannot transport anyone safely, comfortably and timely to the City of Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County (where the scenic, tourist attraction of Lake Piso is located) only some estimated 35-40 miles from the City of Monrovia!!

The 35-40 distance includes, specifically, the ancient 20-25-mile “path” from the Junction of the paved Monrovia-Mano River Bridge to Robertsport. This path developed into the-now dilapidated, pot-holed, difficult-to navigate “Road” for safe, comfortable and timely travel, while the Shemans, Joneses, Shannons, Fahnbullehs, etc., historical political policy-making tycoons of Cape Mount County live in Mansions on Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor/Monrovia, Congo Town and Robertsfield Highway in Paynesville!!!.

About Liberia’s Political Rulers
Elsewhere, we observed that this Ruling Bunch (the Political Ruling Class) in Monrovia and other urban centers, believes that the nation and people owe it or that it is entitled to a life of splendor and opulence on taxes paid and other public resources provided by the people and others stolen from the people.

This Bunch includes, now, sanitized, emerged and emerging politicos who fled from the towns and villages of Rural Liberia. Pray tell me and others, how any man or woman of reason, in this poor, developing country of ours, Liberia, may one pay a Liberian citizen, living in Liberia, US $300,000 per year, US $25,000 per month or US $833.00 per day in our county in which the average Liberian struggles on US $1.00 per day? This, indeed, is political banditry, the cesspool of graft/greed and corruption, characteristic of TWP one-party state of the Republic of Liberia, since 1847.

No wonder that our country, Liberia, is ranked one of the most dishonest and corrupt countries of the world by World Political/Economic Watchers!!

Also, we observed elsewhere that the Ministry of Finance, now merged with the Ministry of Planning & Economic Affairs to become and became the so-called the super Ministry of Finance & Development Planning, the MF&DP is:

• Over-paid and over-staffed with Dual Citizens who live not in Liberia but travelled, often, to their foreign home countries at enormous cost. They are provided allowances for housing, electricity power generators and top-of-the-line motor vehicles, etc., although they plan and/or develop nothing.

• Historically, the Ministry of Finance has been, and is, the most dishonest and corrupt agency of government, known for its “get-rich-quick” schemes and theft of public funds; in that, all, almost, of the-now wealthy land and developed Mamba Point and Sinkor property owners are descendants of executives of the Ministry of Finance and its former section, Bureau of Revenue, now the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

• The Ministry gives out huge sums of public funds to ghost or none-existent “educational” institutions, including the so-called “Private Sector Development Program (PSDP) through the LBDI Bank.

• Retains for itself, significant percentage of Social & Economic Funds allocated to the counties and others as the “Paymaster who must get something from the people he pays” and that the Ministry is known for delays, delays and delays for theft of public resources.

• Thus, funds allocated for legitimate claim payment are diverted, do not each the lawful claimants because the Ministry does not apply or consciously ignores conventionally-accepted practice of financial management and reporting.

Criminal Cartel at MF&DP
According to the most recent investigative press reports (Front Page, May 4, 2018), the MF&DP is, in fact, a criminal syndicate deeply-engaged in corrupt practices. According to an inside whistleblower, “The entire database at the Ministry (of Finance) is flawed. The system is . . . corrupt, if we use the database the government would not be able to carry out its projects because a lot of money would be going in the pockets of some corrupt workers at the Ministry”.

“The fraud activities in that department (Ministry of Finance) is often carried out through payment methods that land thousands of both US and Liberian dollars in the pockets of the members of the Grand Cartel operating in the department”.

An earlier Audit report on the Ministry of Finance showed that 24 borrowers who received the so-called Private Sector Development Program (PSDP) Loans in the total of US $965,400 reneged to make repayment; and that the same report showed that 12 “business organizations” received a total of US $545,700, but could not be found anywhere in the country nor the telephone contacts of owners.

This, in fact, is continuation of historical “Pro-Rich agenda” at the detriment of President Weah’s “Pro-Poor” dispensation. It (“Rich Agenda”) must not succeed!!

Time Line of Events and Facts of the Dr. Malachi Yorks Case

Dr. Malachi Z. York as a global African nationalist and icon of African as a phenomenala phenomenal teacher, author and international diaspora community leader in America leadership in the United States, the CarribeanCaribbean, Canada, United Kingdom, US and world overabroadother territories, whose activities has also been observed by many West African countries. Dr. Malachi York waas a two-way muilti-purpose bridge that not only connected Liberians, Africans citizens, and displaced refugees in need but also provided progressive exchange progamsprograms in has exchanged the ideas of progressive programs, literature , moral as well asand legal assistance to Liberian and west African citizen’s and refugees displaced families who have fled to the U.S. from the conditions of war.


The primary objective of Dr. Malachi York establishing theed African exchange programs was to aid and provide support to to those Liberian and West African students, refugees, and citizens who were in desperate need of support and assistance in the receiving statetheir new country of residence [in the United States] while their country ravished with internal turmoil. The first Liberian war and at the outbreak of the second Liberian war introducedcaused years of instability,y and forced out created thousands of valuable human resources into exile while refugees and killed hundreds of thousands perished with no grave stone to remember them. As if that was not enough, hHeavy fighting in April of 1996 interrupted a ceasefire offrom 1995, the Abuja Accord through Gen. Sani Abacha championed- in the disarming of the fighting troops and contested the democratichonest elections for Liberia afterward.

In July of 1997, Nnational Eelections for the Presidency and Nnational Aassembly, took place and Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Party won an overwhelming victory. As the overwhelming concern grew for Liberian refugees who were at lost and seeking support and protection in the US, Dr. Malachi Z. York’s programs and organization were an ideal rest haven for settling Liberian, thousands of Liberians and African nationals have benefitted from Dr. Malachi York’s great mind of organizing African diaspora peoples, Dr. Malachi Z. York’s pursuit in more of a direct assistance moved him in all manners capable of involving himself directly with the government of Liberia in their urgent need of protection of their nationals in the United Statess abroad. Dr. Malachi York was the ideal representative, to afford all protection, to as a diplomatic agent and as a Consul general. This appointment was designed to strengthen the international relationship that developed in order in hopes to continue to provide the services to citizens,s in order the help maintain the integrity and hopes of the broken spirits of of Liberians affected by the conflict, and stabilize its legal order, with economic empowerment, this position has been held throughout his appointment . Between the years of 1997 -1999 Dr. Malachi York travelled to Liberia to become a naturalized citizen of the country and on December. of 1999 was chosen to represent the government of Liberia by then President Dr. Charles Taylor, as a diplomat and consul general of the Republic. The appointment of his position by the Liberian Government is a reflection of their trust of Consular York’s upholding his obligations and his dedication to the mutual benefit of the cooperation rendering the support and services for the people of Liberia, in the time of crisis, below is a timeline of facts surrounding the events of the Dr. Malachi York case.

1997

1. July 12th 1997, DECLARATION OF INTENTION ‘I, DR. MALACHI Z. YORK ON OATH OR AFFIRMATION DECLARE THAT IT IS MY INTENTION TO SETTLE PERMANENTLY IN THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AND TO BECOME A CITIZEN THEREOF, AND I DO HEREBY DECLARE BY ALLEGIANCE AND FIDELITY TO THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA….’ CLERK, CRIMINAL COURT ‘B’ given under hand and seal of this Court..

1. (Dr. Malachi Z York took his oath and swore allegiance to the republic of Liberia which resulted in him obtaining his certificate of citizenship meaning he is a rightful citizen by law under the judicial branch of Liberia Montserrado county.)

1999

2. July 12th 1999, PETITIONER PETITION, IN FIRST JUDICIAL, CIRCUIT COURT, CRIMINISLA ASSIZES ‘B’ MONTSERRADO COUNTY, SITTING IN ITS FEBRUARY TERM, A.D. 1999., IN RE: THE PETITION OF DR. MALACHI Z. YORK AND AMERICAN NATIONAL, PRAYING THIS HONORABLE COURT FOR ADMISSION INTO LIBERIAN CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALIZATION.

2. (Dr. Malachi Z. York Petitions the First Judicial, Circuit Court to Receive his Liberian Citizenship by Naturalization)

3. August 12th 1999 PETITONERS AFFIDAVIT IN THE OFFICE OF THE JUSTICE OF THE PEACE FOR MONTESERRADO COUNTY, R. L. ‘…in my office, Dr. Malachi Z. York, Petitioner in the attached Petitioner’s Petition, and OATH according to law, that all and singular the allegations of facts and circumstances as contained in Petitioners Petition for CITIZENSHIP BY NATURALIZATION are true to the best of his knowledge and belief…’ witnessed by three.

3. (Dr. Malachi Z. York makes an Affidavit affirming all information in his Petition is true and correct)

4. October 1999, Temple Oath of Allegiance, Criminal Court “B”, R.L. DR. MALACHI Z. YORK DO SOLEMLY SWEAR IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ALMIGHTS GOD THAT I WILL SUPPORT AND DEFEND THAT CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA AGIANST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC…’ signed by Samuel A. Paasewe.

4. (Dr. Malachi Z. York swears under Oath Allegiance to the Republic of Liberia)

5. November 26, 1999, Transcript of Criminal Court “B” First Judicial Circuit, Special Chamber Session, November Term, 1999, Before Her Honor, November Term, 1999 Before Her Honor F. Masa Kamara-Nyumah, -Sheet One, The Petition of Dr. Malachi Z. York, an American National Praying This Honorable Court For Admission Into Liberian Citizenship By Naturalization. Petitioner: Dr. Malachi Z. York of Congo Town, Witness: David Nymah of Gbarna, Bong County, Witness: Prince Thomas of Congo Town. Signed by Kamara-Nyumah.

5. (Transcript of Dr. Malachi Z. Yorks Petition to the Republic of Liberia for Naturalization being heard in the First Judicial Circuit Court)

6. December 15th, A.D. 1999, Certificate of Citizenship, Malachi Z. York who previous to his or her naturalization was as a citizen and subject of the United States at present residing at Monrovia in the Republic of Liberia. Ordering that Malachi Z. York be and he is hereby admitted as a citizen of the Republic of Liberia by Naturalization. Signed by Clerk of Court aforesaid Samuel A Passawe.

6. (Dr. Malachi Z. York is issued a Certificate of Citizenship by the Republic of Liberia)

7. December 15, 1999 Appointment Letter from the Republic of Liberia, Office of the President Dahkpannah Dr. Charles Ghankay Taylor, Dr. Malachi Z. York Athens, Ga. United States of America, ‘I am pleased to appoint you hereby Consul General of the Republic of Liberia to Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America’

(Dr. Malachi Z. York appointed as Consul General for the Republic of Liberia by President Charles Ghankay Taylor)

2002

8. May 8th 2002, Consul General and Diplomatic personnel of the Republic of Liberia H.E. Dr. Malachi Z. York was arrested and post was raided and destroyed, the inviolability of his off infringed upon and the government of the Republic of Liberia was not made aware of his arrest nor detention in flagrant violation of international diplomatic law norms that protect foreign officials inviolability attached to its premises and offices.

9. H.E. Dr. Malachi Z. York tortured for a year and forced into duress, being denied all consular communication to the Republic of Liberia and denied all rights under VCCR, VCDR and international covenants that protect diplomatic and consular relations.
2003

10. March 28th, 2003, Letter from Attorney Manubir S. Arora, to Lt. Guy Mustello, Jones County Jail, P.O. Box 874, Gray, Ga. 31302, in notification that Dr. Malachi York be considered for International Prisoner Transfer under the provisions of 81 §U.S.C. 4100 et seq.

2004

11. June 4, 2004, Letter from the Garlawolu Law Associates, Opposite The DDRR Office, Capital Hill, and Monrovia Liberia, to Acting Minister the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing the legal interest of Dr. Malachi York soliciting the intervention of the Republic of Liberia. Signed by Francis Y.S. Garlawolu.


12. July 12, 2004 the Republic of Liberia Montserrado County, in the 6th Judicial Circuit Court, in its June Term, A.D. 2004. Before His Honor: Yusuf Kabah…Assigned Judge. Dr. Malachi Z. York by & thru his Attorney In-Fact and Legal Counsel, Counsellor Francis Y.S. Garlawolu of the City of Monrovia. Petitioner respectfully petitioning of and against the Republic of Liberia

13. June 14, 2004 Diplomatic Note NTGL/MFA/2-2/0891/’04 The Ministries of Foreign Affairs Monrovia, Liberia to the State Department of the United States of America to intercede with concerned authorities for Dr. York’s voluntary repatriation.

14. July 21st 2004, June Term A.D. 2004 of the 6th Circuit Judicial Court of Monrovia Liberia’ss Final Judgment on the Petition For Declaratory Judgment, the courts in its final decision was ordered to, ‘To protect and defend (Diplomatic Protection) the person (Dr. Malachi Z. York) and the premises of Petitioner (404 Shady Dale Road, Eatonton, Ga. Tama-Re) a Diplomatic Personnel (Diplomatic Agent), to all intents and purposes (full Diplomatic Immunity) and in light of that, Respondent (the Government of Liberia) is further ordered to liaise (liason, to contact or connect maintained by communication) with the Government of the United State of America, to ensure the effective (Repatriation and deportation, and release Lands, Property) endorsement of this Judgment’

15. July 30, 2004, Letter from Acting Minister of Justice Attorney General Edward Goba, , requesting that the Minister of Foreign Affairs give effect to the orders of the Final Judgment of the Civil Law Court for their perusal and official action.

16. August 12, 2004 Diplomatic Note NTGL/MFA/3031/2-5/’04 DATED from: The Ministries of Foreign Affairs, P.O. Box 9002, The Embassy of the United States of America Mamba Point, Monrovia, Liberia. Honoring a First Judicial Circuit decision, court confirming that Dr. York is a Diplomatic Personal of the Liberian Government, with the status of Consul General.

17. August 17, 2004, Diplomatic Note NTGL/MFA/3031/2-5/’04 dated, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Monrovia, Liberia. The government of Liberia takes the necessary measures it deems proper to intervene and request the Government of the United States of America to have Dr. York declared ‘a persona non grata’ and repatriated or deported to Liberia.

(The Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the ROL communicates to the Embassy of the United States of America in Mamba Point Liberia and requests the Embassy to “confer with the Appropriate Authority of the United States Government to effect the release and subsequent repatriation of Dr. York a Naturalized Citizen and Diplomatic Personnel of Liberia accredited near Atlanta, Georgia;”)

17. August 17, 2004, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs communicates to the Liberian Embassy in Washington D.C. that the MOFA has designated Counsellors Jenkins K.Z.B Scott, Deputy Minister & Legal Counsel for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.L., Francis Y.S. Garlowalu of the Garlowalu Law Associates And Attorney Morris A. Kaba of the Ministry of Justice, to intercede the Release and Repatriation Dr. Malachi Z. York


18. September 29, 2004, Diplomatic Note LEW-3/7A/O772/9/04 To Whom it May Concern: Introducing Counselor Francis Y.S. Garlawolu of Liberia, Personal Attorney to Dr. Malachi York, on a special mission seeking his release and repatriation. Signed by Minister Counselor, Alexander H.N. Wallace, III
18.

2005

19. Feb. 16, 2005, Legal Power of Attorney for Dr. Malachi Z. K. York through the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia by Acting Minister Abel Momolu Massaly.

20. February 29th, 2005 to whom it may concern letter from Cllr. Edward K. Goba, Acting Minister of Justice & Attorney General/RL, certifying that the signature of Mary Mamie Howe, Notary Public for Montseraddo County, Republic of Liberia, appearing on the attached Notary Certificate, Amicus Brief and motion to leave of Court to file Amicus Brief.

21. March 9th 2005, Motion to Leave of Court to File Amicus Curiae Brief Filed, Appellate Case No. 04-12354 in the US Courts, Respectfully submitted: Minister of Foreign Affairs Cllr. K.Z.B. Scott, Republic of Liberia, West Africa, Cllr. Francis Y.S. Garlawolu, Minister of Justice Attorney Morris Kaba Republic of Liberia.

(This Amicus Brief was the Republic of Liberia’s filing made on Dr York’s behalf in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in the State of Georgia which informs the United States Courts of Dr York’s status and the Republic of Liberia’s finding that Dr. York is Innocent.)
20.

22. March 23rd 1st 2005 Requested by Dr. Malachi Z. York) Notary Certificate dated, signed by Marie Mamie Howe for authentication of ‘COURTS FINAL JUDGEMENT ON THE PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGEMENT, ISSUED BY THE CIVIL LAW COURT, SITTING IN ITS JUNE, A.D. 2004 TERM, AND SIGNED BY YUSIFF D. KABA’

21. (Clerk of Court Samuel A. Passawe for the First Judicial Circuit, Criminal Court Montserrado County certifies the Naturalization proceedings of Petitioner Dr. Malachi Z. York renouncing allegiance to the United States of America)

22.23. June 1st, 2005, Letter from Speaker of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly at the Capitol Building, Monrovia, Republic of Liberia, George G. Koukou, to Secretary of State, State Department H.E. Condoleeza Rice requesting assistance in the facilitation of the repatriation of Dr. Malachi Z. York.

2006

23.24. October 24th 2006, Diplomatic Note # RL/MFA/3066/2-5/’06 from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia to the State Department through the Embassy of the United States of America agreeing to ‘Intercede with concerned authorities to facilitate and ensure the repatriation or deportation of Dr. York to the Republic of Liberia.

24.25. December 19, 2006, Diplomatic Note GOL/MFA/3452/2-3/’06, Letter to the Ambassador Charles Minor for the Embassy of the Republic of Liberia in Washington D.C. from the Acting Minister Marcus S. G. Dahn (Phd), to intercede on the behalf of the Government of Liberia to negotiate the release of Dr. Malachi Z. York, in keeping with note No. RL/MFA/30066/2-5/’06, sent to the United States Embassy near Monrovia.


2012

26. October 25th, 2012, Legal Correspondence was written on behalf of Dr. Malachi Z. York by Cllr Jerome G. Korkoya Consular at law (Now head of the National Elections Commission) in the Republic of Liberia addressed to the Embassy of the United States of America in Monrovia that contained an Apostille of Dr. Malachi Z. Yorks Certificate of Citizenship, Oath of Office, Appointment Letter, and all of his relevant Naturalization Paperwork from the Liberian Courts.
2009

25. March 9th 2009, Motion to Leave of Court to File Amicus Curiae Brief Filed, Appellate Case No. 04-12354 in the US Courts, Respectfully submitted: Minister of Foreign Affairs Cllr. K.Z.B. Scott, Republic of Liberia, West Africa, Cllr. Francis Y.S. Garlawolu, Minister of Justice Attorney Morris Kaba Republic of Liberia.

2014

1. March 20th 2014, Letter from the Embassy of The Republic of Liberia Washington D.C. Dated, Requesting to Counselor Mr. L. Robinson for a Consular visit with inmate Malachi Z. York (mis-nomer Dwight York) from Deputy Chief of Mission

The Republic of Liberia finds its Consul General and Diplomat Dr. Malachi York Innocent of All U.S. Charges

On May 8th 2002 the Republic of Liberia’s Consul General and Diplomatic personnel Dr. Malachi York post and property’s inviolability was violated in the most unprecedented way. The injuries against the Republic were committed by gross violations of international law by the U.S. in what became known as the largest raid in U.S. history. Three hundred U.S. federal and local agents of the State of Georgia swarmed down with military clad attire, helicopters, machine guns and even armored vehicles to arrest H.E. Dr. Malachi York in apparent attack that has left the international community bewildered, reminding them of a similar attack by Iranian officials who infringed upon the diplomatic inviolability of the internationally protected U.S. Embassy and Consulate post near Tehran, Iran in 1979. Though the International Court of Justice in case U.S. vs. Tehran ICJ, ordered the immediate release of U.S. Consul Generals and Diplomats from Iranian courts authority and custody, the same international protection has not been as swift to be delivered to Dr. Malachi York who is also afforded the same protection under 61’ and 63’ Vienna Conventions of Diplomatic and Consular Affairs.


In a small town in the State of Georgia, Milledgeville where Dr. Malachi York travelled with his consulate staff on a bright sunny day, his envoy was surrounded and attacked, Dr. York’s car was ambushed where he was snatched out of his vehicle, diplomatic credentials destroyed and staff silenced by the force, threat and aggression of agents who were charging him with crimes of transporting minors across state lines with an intent, and structuring money. One of the most egregious violations was that the U.S. did not make the Republic of Liberia aware of these attacks on their Consulate post or the arrest of their Diplomat formally in his 16-year incarceration. Though these alleged crimes were later proven to be false by the Republic of Liberia’s legal analyst, lawyers and even proven false by recanted statements and testimonies by prosecuting witnesses, Dr. Malachi York was tried and sentenced to 135 years in the most secure prison in the world U.S. ADX Super-Max prison in Florence, Colorado. To this day Dr. Malachi York laments in an underground cell where he has sat for 16 years in hopes that the Republic of Liberia comes to his aid and rescue.

In the earlier years and process of the repatriation and protection of Dr. York which was initiated by the courts of the Republic of Liberia two years after his arrest, three months after his sentencing, in a July 21, 2004 hearing the Republic of Liberia was ordered by Judge Yusuf Kaba in a final judgment of the 6th Judicial Circuit Court to

‘To protect and defend (Diplomatic Protection) the person (Dr. Malachi Z. York) and the premises of Petitioner (404 Shady Dale Road, Eatonton, Ga. Consulate Post) a Diplomatic Personnel (Diplomatic Agent), to all intents and purposes (full Diplomatic Immunity) and in light of that, Respondent (Government of Liberia) is further ordered to liaise (liason, to contact or connect maintained by communication) with the Government of the United State of America, to ensure the effective (Repatriation and deportation, and release Lands, Property) endorsement of this Judgment’

The Republic of Liberia pursuant to its court order the Ministries of Justice Attorney General Cllr. Edward K. Goba, retained three high end Cllrs namely K.Z.B. Scott, of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Cllr. Francis Y.S. Garlowalou of the Garlawolu Law firm, and Ministry of Justice Cllr. Morris Kaba to represent Dr. Malachi York in the U.S. in order to effectuate the decision of its internal courts. In an Appellant hearing in Case No. 04-12354 the Republic of Liberia Motioned the U.S. Court to File Amicus Curiae Brief on his behalf, to lay upon the record the collusion discovered to conspire to defame, torture, and character assassinate Dr. Malachi York. These discoveries by the Republic of Liberia was carried out against a broken U.S. judicial system plagued with racial and ethnic judicial disparities, enormous disproportionalities of arrest of ethnic groups of minorities and Africans in America compared to whites in the U.S., but what is most shocking is the lack of international uproar and support the international community has rendered to the Republic of Liberia in its attempts to repatriate and protect Dr. Malachi York having attached to his person the oldest protection afforded in state comity. The Republic of Liberia has discovered a preponderance of evidence of the innocence of Dr. York such as prosecutorial misconduct, no d.n.a evidence or pictures, no physical or medical evidence, lack of accurate testimony and lack of credibility, witness tampering and recantations, violations of diplomatic immunity and violations of international peremptory norms. With the Republic of Liberia having all the necessary evidence that shows that Dr. Malachi York is innocent of all charges and should without a doubt be repatriated and protected by its government, the question remains why is the U.S. still torturing and abusing this 72 year old ailing Diplomat in the worst prison in the world, the people of Liberia and the international community needs answers, is he another Dr. Martin Luther King? Is he a iconic leader like Marcus Garvey ushering in a unification of Africans in America and their Liberian extended families? Are we witnessing the same pattern of abuse against our great Liberian and African American leaders? Will we sit back and allow this iconic leader to continuously be abused and tortured while innocent and turn a silent tongue and deaf ear as he suffers in silence. Contact Liberian government and U.S. officials to assist in the Repatriation of our very own, Free H.E. Dr. Malachi York….

Thousands of Africans in America are returning to Liberia with the Repatriation of Liberian Diplomat and Consul General

Now that the Republic of Liberia is currently in talks to repatriate Dr. Malachi York a Liberian Diplomat who is languishing in Florence ADX Supermax prison, in the U.S., thousands of his supporters of the United Nuwaupians Worldwide who are particularly Africans in America and Africans in the Caribbean are preparing to return home to the land that they view historically as a land of Liberty, the Republic of Liberia.


This new exodus of Africans in America to Liberia is a continuation of the settling migrations of descendants of African slaves and indigenous peoples of the Americas that have longed wished to return back to their grassroots to escape the racism, discrimination and abuses endured in the U.S. This prepared exodus is not something new, great African American leaders implemented plans to immigrate to Africa known as ‘Back to Africa’ movements during the late 1800 and 1900’s. Marcus Garvey particularly was pivotal in motivating thousands of Africans in America to journey across the Atlantic on the ‘Black Star’ ship line to settle in the great land of Liberty to join the extended families of West Africa in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

This new Exodus has gained momentum in the U.S. as thousands of Africans in America plan in joint ventures to assist in the rapid development of West Africa, Dr. Doosua York Chair of the International Diaspora African Forum and President of the Dr. Malachi York Foundation here in Liberia says that ‘It is imperative that Africans in America encourage the pursuit of the land of Liberty in West Africa, Liberia and like countries has always been our home to pursue real equal opportunities, a place where you will be excepted by your very own kind with open arms.’

Africans in America contribute to billions of dollars annual to the economy of the U.S. yet they still are continuously discriminated against and racism in the country has seemed to become more overt and socially accepted as normal. With the repatriation of Dr. Malachi York a Liberian West African leader of Africans in the Diaspora his 40 year influence of great leadership amongst the people have led to a inspiring conscious awakening of the realization that ‘African is for Africans’ and that in order for the successful rise of Liberia as an economic powerhouse on the continent Nuwaupians Worldwide, Africans in America have to contribute to the economic stimulation needed to secure the future the Republic of Liberia.

On March 31, 2018 President Donald Trump recently lifted the protection of Liberians in the U.S. and ending a program that has allowed immigrants to remain in the United States and work legally since 1999, nearly 800,000 thousand refugees fled Liberia during the war some sought protection in the U.S. This program ending is a reality check for many Liberians that the U.S. is no longer welcoming Africans in America, giving greater meaning this new exodus and repatriation of Africans in America back to Liberia. Along with repatriation of Dr. Malachi Z. York many Liberians feel as though it is time to come together and continue to build where we are welcomed.

This modern day Exodus will do great wonders for the peoples of the Republic as the Africans in America who are preparing to re-settle here are bringing profession skills, and craftsmanship, educators in academics and health, master builders, engineers, architects and other skill sets needed to balance the needs of the peoples of Liberia. Lets welcome our sisters and brothers with open arms as they work with the Republic of Liberia to continuously restore the dignity and pride of our nation.

Return to Active Duty for a Cause

The unfortunate situation I find myself in currently following President George Weah’s unexplained outbursts against me, and the subsequent high-level misrepresentations and misinterpretations of the issue and historical facts compels me to make this clarion call: If you are an older journalist or media practitioner sitting somewhere in self-imposed retirement, please return to active duty. Return because the absence of people like you in the mainstream media ---- leaving journalism solely with the young ones with little experience---- is not doing our country any good.


I appreciate and admire the brilliant work young journalists are doing under difficult conditions; but they need the help of the older, experienced ones for mentorship to excel. I think leaving them alone is unfair.

RECENT LESSON LEARNED FROM THE VETERAN KENNETH Y. BEST

In his BBC interview, played on the evening of Sunday, April 17, the veteran journalist Kenneth Y. Best mentioned that his ability to remember things when he was as young as four years old was one factor that made him a successful journalist. Remembering events, the 79-year-old said, makes media coverage easier. I could not agree with him more.

This is the challenge facing the current generation of media people in the country in trying to accurately present historical facts. As I said, I admire their courage and commitment to the noble profession; in the face of difficulties, they are scoring some successes; but being too young to remember some of the major happenings in our recent past poses a serious challenge to them.
The fact that the vast majority of them are too young to know events and occurrences of the 1990’s, for example, means they have to rely on second hand accounts of things to report; this is an impediment.

When investigating certain happenings, our knowledge of the events means more to us than the accounts of others. This is one shortcoming for young and promising Liberian journalist who are in the majority in the profession today; they have the urge to excel, they are doing a fantastic job; but their lack of knowledge of how, for example, the civil war of the 1990’s started and ended, who were the key players, and who did what at what times leaves them vulnerable to believe people’s selfish accounts of the national upheaval.

A media practitioner who is thirty years old now, for example, was born in 1987; this means he or she was less than three years old when the civil war broke out in 1989; and obviously that journalist has very little or no knowledge at all about the advances of the NPFL forces in the early 1990’s, the formation and roles of rival armed groups, and, moving forward, that journalist cannot speak to who did what, say, during the April 1996 Monrovia crisis because they were just too young to remember things.

What makes this even worse is we are not a country where accurate and unbiased accounts of past events are written; and even if they were written, by nature, we are not fond of reading.


This is one reason why people tell lies and go unquestioned.

If those who are engaged in active media work in Liberia today were largely people who are old enough to remember and write about the rice riot of April 1979, the military coup of April 1980, the rigged presidential and general elections of 1985, the Thomas Quiwonkpa-led failed coup of November 1985, the 1997 election of Charles Taylor and so on, they would be reporting on the civil war from an informed position.

But sadly, instead of older and experienced journalists remaining in the profession to mentor the young ones, they have left the practice squarely with the young ones to fend for themselves.


Because of this gap, there is a likelihood that the young media community would be fed with false official accounts of past happenings without question.

Of course, If we still had in active practice knowledgeable journalists who have gone into self-imposed retirement, the pronouncement by President George Weah that he was in human rights advocacy during the bloody civil war would have been seriously challenged, with no disrespect to the head of state. But because the vast majority of media people in active practice today are too young to know who did what during the civil war, many of them were tempted to believe the president.
People take advantage of others’ lack of awareness to get away with things that are not true. We need to work toward tackling these challenges.

If we had older journalists practising side-by-side with the young ones, they would not be told what roles the current information minister, for example, played in the recent past ---- in the NFPL, in the much-feared police then and then in the offices of former Vice President and President Moses Blah (a former General of the NPFL) before ending up with the CDC just in 2005.

But all that most of the young practitioners know is that Eugene Nagbe was originally with the CDC, crossed over to the Unity Party when the grass there was still greener, and then when the leaves were fast falling on the side of the Unity Party, he returned to the CDC.
And so Eugene can succeed in presenting himself as a perfectly clean gentleman and get away with it because even most of those hosting radio talk shows in Monrovia are too young to know his past affiliations. But I am just using these instances as examples of what happens when old hands are not involved in moulding society.


We often hear people make claims either to vindicate or bring unnecessary glory upon themselves and all they say as a proof is “the records are there.” We have never tried to check whether those records are actually there to see.

That is our national shortcoming. We don’t research, we don’t go beyond what people claim; and so we are very likely to end up placing serious national responsibilities in the hands of the wrong ones. Smooth talking has earned unqualified people top jobs in Liberia in recent times.

The point is, experience matters in everything we do. When my wife and I arrived in the United Kingdom in 2008 to receive the Speaker Award, I was on a tour of the parliament building when my guy showing me around, Colin Brown, an elderly, actively practising journalist, asked me: Jonathan, how old are you? When I responded I am 45 years old, he said back to me: so you are still a young chicken in the profession? Mr. Brown was in his mid-sixties but still feeling he had a long time still in the profession. We retire from journalism in Liberia in our thirties.

So I think in order to help the young community of journalists in Liberia grow, we the older practitioners should place ourselves in the position of a palm tree. For a palm tree to grow, the old fonds (leaves) eventually give way to the young fonds, but the old fonds don’t just fall suddenly; they remain hanging up there, watching the young fonds grow and become strong and capable to carry on before falling at last.

In short, we need back in the filed seasoned journalists who still have the potential to help a crumbling society but who have left the media work in the hands of the young ones --- young ones who are desperately yearning for direction and guidance.

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh
(A practicing Liberian journalist)

Russia strengthens ties with African nations

Russian President Vladimir Putin has assertively reminded 17 newly arrived foreign envoys to make efforts to facilitate the development of multifaceted relations with Russia in every possible way, strengthen political dialogue, boost trade and economic relations, deepen humanitarian and cultural ties.


"The role of diplomacy and diplomats are particularly important," he explained and gave the assurance that Moscow was committed to constructive dialogue with its foreign partners and would unreservedly promote a positive agenda.

"For our part, we are ready to welcome your constructive initiatives, you can count on the support of Russian authorities, state institutions, business circles and the public," Putin said, addressing the foreign ambassadors in a special ceremony held in the Alexander Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace.

The 17 newly appointed ambassadors are from Austria, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Italy, Jordan, Nigeria, Montenegro, Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, The Gambia, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

During the speech, Putin strongly reminded them about the growing challenges and threats confronting the global community and urged them to play a pivotal role in ensuring sustainable development, global peace and stability.

"As for Russia, it will continue to consistently be committed to strengthening global and regional security and stability and fully comply with its international obligations, build constructive cooperation with partners based on respect relying on international legal norms and the United Nations Charter," the Russian leader said.

According to Putin, "diplomats are called upon to facilitate the joint search for answers to large-scale challenges and threats, such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and climate change."

In addition to supporting greater security, stability and delivering promptly on its international obligations, Putin also emphasized the readiness of Russia to continue boosting overall ties both at bilateral level and on the world stage with African countries. According to the longstanding tradition, the Russian leader said a few words about the interaction with the individual countries in the welcome speech.

Of particular importance, Putin noted that Russia was interested in broadening ties with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"We very much appreciate our relations with Nigeria, an important partner for us on the African continent. We support the further expansion of mutually beneficial Russian-Nigerian ties, including cooperation on hydrocarbon extraction and aluminum production, as well as in the military-technical field," he told the new Nigerian ambassador, Professor Steve Davies Ugba, who had arrived with an accumulated experience in corporate affairs and several years of academic teaching in the United States.

He went on to inform the gathering that the foundation for the cooperation between Russia and Ghana was laid over 60 years ago. "We have accumulated a great deal of experience in working together in both the trade and economic sphere and in politics. Currently, we are developing promising projects in the nuclear and oil industries, and we are discussing the prospects of supplying Ghana with Russian airplanes, helicopters and automobiles," Putin said.

Oheneba Dr. Akyaa Opoku Ware, Ghana's ambassador to the Russian Federation, was one of those who presented credentials to Putin. By profession, she is a qualified medical doctor from The Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin and was appointed as an ambassador to the Russian Federation and former Soviet republics by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on September 13, 2017.

With regards to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Putin offered a bit more saying that the strategic partnership with Egypt is being strengthened. In August, Russia and Egypt will mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Cooperation between Russia and Egypt is very active and includes the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Egypt, the establishment of a Russian industrial zone in the Port Said region, and the deepening of military and defense industry cooperation.

"I would also like to point out that regular flights between the capitals of the two countries have been resumed. We continue to work on resuming the rest of the flights," he pointed out.

Last December, fruitful talks with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi were held in Cairo, he noted, and added that they both maintained regular dialogue on a range of topics, including relevant international and regional issues because both countries have had close or similar positions. Quite recently, Putin heartily congratulated the President of Egypt on his resounding victory at the recent elections.

According to diplomatic sources, Mr. Ihab Talaat Nasr, the new Egyptian ambassador to Russia, has replaced Mr. Mohammed al-Badri who completed his mission late October 2017. Previously, Ihab Nasr was the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt responsible for European affairs.

The Gambia was in the Kremlin for the first time in the country's history with the official opening of an embassy in Moscow. Madam Jainaba Bah, a Senior Member of the United Democratic Party (UDP), became the first resident ambassador of The Gambia in the Russian Federation.

"Our ties with the Republic of The Gambia are traditionally constructive. The Russian side is interested in expanding economic cooperation, including by increasing the supply of machinery and agricultural products to the republic. We will continue to expand the practice of training Gambian specialists at Russian universities," the Russian leader explained.

Significantly, Putin underscores the fact that friendly cooperation is maintained with the Republic of the Congo. Bilateral cooperation covers a number of major projects, including the construction of a 1,334 km oil pipeline. In February, Rosatom and the Science Ministry of the Congo signed a memorandum of understanding. Over 7,000 citizens of the Congo have received higher education at Soviet and Russian universities.

Talking about Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, he said that Russia's relations with the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire would continue to develop in traditionally constructive spirit.

"We mainly interact with the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire in the trade and economic sphere. Russia supplies to this country chemical and food products and imports cocoa and its derivatives. As part of our humanitarian efforts, medicine and medical equipment from Russia are regularly sent to the Republic," Putin told the new ambassador, Mr. Roger Gnanga, who had served in diplomatic post in Washington.

Currently, Côte d'Ivoire is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Russia also stands ready to work with the Ivorian side at the UN.

Interestingly, Benin has frequently changed its ambassadors. Mr. Noukpo Clement Kiki, the newly appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the Russian Federation, is a professional teacher and administrator for over 20 years. Quite recently, he had a short diplomatic stint in Canada and now transferred to Moscow.

Relations with Benin are developing in a constructive spirit. Russia cooperates on energy and transport. Russia exports food and chemical products. Over 2,500 citizens of Benin have graduated from Russian universities, according to Putin.

Whatever the possible shortfalls, Putin optimistically expects that, with active participation of the 17 newly arrived ambassadors, these relations will develop dynamically for the mutual benefit of the peoples of their individual countries and Russia, and in the interests of international stability and security.

"I am confident that your time in Russia will allow you to better know our country and its rich history and culture, and will leave you with new unforgettable impressions," Putin, elected for another six-year presidential term and will be inaugurated into office on May 7, told the gathering.

In conclusion, Putin congratulated the new foreign envoys with the official beginning of an important and honorable diplomatic mission, and with the hope that their activities in the Russian Federation will be productive and promote the development of relations between the countries they represent and the Russian Federation. *This article by Kester Kenn Klomegah, an independent researcher writer on African affairs in the Russian Federation.

By Kester Kenn Klomegah in Moscow

WHO ARE THE SHAREHOLDERS OF PAN AFRICAN REAL ESTATE CORPORATION (PAREC)

With an annual income of US $2.8 million and total income of US $34.5 million in the 12 years ending December, 2018 from the UN Mission in Liberia, UNMIL, there appears to be shocking mystery regarding “ownership, in terms of the identities of Shareholders and corporate activities of Pan African Real Estate Corporation” during this digital, computerized age of information technology.


The corporation is, or was, state-owned enterprise that replaced the dissolved, state-owned Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC) as owner/manager of the Pan African Plaza, in which the Governments of Libya and Liberia hold 50-50 interests.

The Libyan African Investment Company (LAICO) was established in 1990 under the provision No. 660 of the Libyan government, and was later acquired by the Libya Africa Portfolio (LAP) in 2006, with a share capital of 992,912,800 Libyan Dinars.

In accordance with its articles of association, LAICO is a holding company, acting as one of the arms of the Libyan sovereign wealth through investing Libyan funds in Africa, mainly in hospitality, hotels and real estate sectors, as well as other multipurpose sub-holding companies, with a long-term, pragmatic vision of developing and diversifying national wealth and revenue streams of the Libyan economy. Therefore, the Libyan-Liberian Holding Company represented Libyan African Investment Company (LAICO) in Liberia.

The Pan African Plaza is owned/managed by
The Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC)
Replaced by Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC)


ASSETS: 8-storey Building in the City of Monrovia, Liberia

Investment sector: Real estate Sector

Shareholders:
• 50% LAICO Libyan Government
• 50% Liberian Government
Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC)
The “Liberian-Libyan Holding Company (LLHC) was established in the early 80s out of a treaty between the two government (Libya and Liberia) which was signed in 1974. Prior to the (civil) war the partnership was on a 50-50 level and the company was involved in real estate and related economic development” (www.winne.com/lr/interviews/mr. Eugene Peabody).

“On the basis of . . . agreement, the Liberian-Libyan Holding Company was formally established in 1978, remained in existence in 1983 and apparently stood at the centre of relations between the two countries. The purpose of the company is ‘to develop and execute financial, commercial, industrial, maritime transportation’” (https://books.google.com/books?isbn=1461659310).

LLHC & Others Dissolved
The Libyan-Liberian Holding Company and six other state-owned enterprises were dissolved by Legislations upon request dated June 5, 2015 by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on the grounds that “they are no more viable and significant to the (economy of) country”. But LLHC was replaced by the Pan African Real Estate Corporation.

Information Blackout
According to the newspaper New Democrat (New Democrat, April 5, 2018), there is complete blackout on the activities of the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), identity of its shareholders, payment of their individual annual return on investment, Corporate income and withholding tax liability under law. Much of that which is known includes the struggles by the warlords (of the Association for Constitutional Democracy in Liberia, ACDL), human rights violators and killers began, that:

1) In 2004, the late Harry Greaves, the Treasurer of the ACDL, and the late Willie Knuckles claimed that former President Taylor had granted them ownership of Pan African Plaza through lease agreement. So, Mr. Jacques Klein, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Liberia in 2002 and head of UNMIL seeking offices for the Peace Keepers, sent a Miss Linda Fawaz to the exiled President Charles Taylor in Calabar, Nigeria. Mr. Taylor’s response was that there was no such agreement.

2) UNMIL, then, negotiated a lease agreement with “owners” of Pan African Plaza and paid US $2.8 million per year would paid a total of US $34.5 million ending 2018. But who are the shareholders of this state-owned enterprise? The answer has become a mystery. But the issue of corporate income and withholding tax, and shareholders’ payment of annual return on investment (including the Government of Liberia) were critical to the tax authorities of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).

3) In an email statement, LRA’s Communication & Public Affairs Manager, Mr. D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh wrote, “This property (Pan African Plaza) is not in compliance with its real estate tax liability nor withholding on rent. The building is currently occupied by UNMIL and it is difficult to access the premises by enforcers to enforce the tax laws. This challenge/impediment is attributed to the reference to Geneva Convention of 1946 on the work of the UN and their diplomatic immunity”.

4) Furthermore, Ms. Leigh Robinson, Head of UNMIL Public Information Office wrote in a response that “UNMIL rents the Pan African Plaza (PAP) from the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), a company registered under the laws of Liberia. Amongst others, the Government of Liberia is significant shareholder in PAREC . . . UNMIL has rented PAP since 2006. The rent that UNMIL pays to PAREC is governed by contractual confidentiality. However, UNMIL has no objection if PAREC releases this information to the public”.

5) According to the New Democrat newspaper, “from the accounts between UNMIL and LRA there is one company with ownership of the building, the Pan African Plaza: That is the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC) which replaced the dissolved Libyan-Liberian Holding Company. The offices of PAREC are at N/N 7th Street, Sinkor”. And

6) At “PAREC’s 7th Street office, it is forbidden to talk about the company’s activities and its shareholders. Contacted on April 2, 2018, the un-identified manger said, ‘this is top secret, why do you want me to give you my secret? Go and ask your government’”.

Our Conclusions
From the foregoing we conclude, reasonably, that:

a) Ownership of Pan African Plaza is known to be the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC) located on 7th Street, Sinkor, Monrovia; that UNMIL contracted to pay annual rent to the Pan African Real Estate Corporation in the amount of US $2.8 million per year since 2006 and that it is known that the LRA is aware of tax delinquency of the Corporation (PAREC) and UNMIL but refuses, neglects or ignores enforcement of the law, citing Geneva Convention regarding UN diplomatic immunity;

b) But diplomatic immunity as provided by the Geneva Convention does not apply to “for-profit” entities or corporations such as PAREC from income, withholding tax liabilities, including employees of diplomatic missions;

c) Disclosure of the identities of the shareholders is a legal requirement, although governed by imposed “contractual confidentiality” for non-disclosure of such identities. Such a contract is in clear violation of Freedom of information Act, especially, in this case in which the Liberian Government is major shareholder in PAREC; and

d) UNMIL says, clearly, that it entertains no objection for PAREC to release the contracted non-disclosure information to the public.

e) That the illegal non-disclosure contract was designed to protect the identities of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf & company who have been pocketing public resources to the tune of US $34.5 million, including loss of income, withholding and real estate taxes.

The Liberian-Libyan Diplomatic/Economic Connection
The Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC) in which the two governments hold 50% share each, was financed 100% by the Libyan Government of Colonel Mumar Khadaffi.

In fact, the Libyan Leader was one of the major supporters of the ACDL civil war of Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleeaf. ACDL delegations, including the late Harry Greaves as special representative of Mrs. Sirleaf, travelled to the Libyan Capital, Tripoli, for audience with Colonel Khadaffi. He provided military training in Libya for the NPFL/INPFL fighting forces, arms and ammunitions for the War. But . . .

But (a), After former President Taylor was convicted of war crimes against Humanity and given a prison term of 50 years (an event aided & abetted by the President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s manipulative efforts) and (b), after the Western states’ “no-fly-zone” over territorial Libya with the murder of the Libyan President who financed the Libyan-Liberian Holding Company, the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf & company saw and availed itself an excellent opportunity to kill and did “kill several birds with one stone”:

1) Announced public support of the Western States’ war, political/economic isolation of and against Colonel Khadaffi and the Libyan nation;

2) Dissolved the 100% Libyan-financed Libyan-Liberian Holding Company (LLHC) and took complete control of its assets, the Pan African Plaza, the 8-stoey building at 1st Street, Sinkor, Monrovia; and
3) Formed the Pan African Real Estate Corporation (PAREC), apparently, owned by Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf & company but governed by non-disclosure (of identities of shareholders) contract, an illegal gag order in violation of the Freedom of information Act

Infrastructural Development: Panacea to Poverty Reduction in Post-Conflict States

By: Thomas Kaydor, Jr.
I. Introduction
This case study is on the Republic of Liberia, Africa’s first independent republic, located on the west coast of Africa. The country maintained an aristocratic republican democracy for 133 unbroken years (Sawyer 1991), but later slipped into a devastating 14 years civil war, which ended in August 2003. The war killed about 250,000 people of the country’s four million population, and damaged key infrastructure and basic social services including homes, electricity, education, health and water facilities, bridges, roads, air and sea ports, and telecommunication (UN in Liberia 2013). Peace and security have been restored to Liberia, following a transitional government instituted by the Accra Peace Accord, and the holding of free, fair and transparent elections in 2005 (CPA 2003). The first post war elections brought Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, first African female head of state and government, to power (UNSG Report 2006).


Although, with the support of the international community and bilateral partners, the government endeavors to restore Liberia to its pre-war status, efforts to reconstruct the country, create access to basic services, and reduce poverty are challenged by the huge infrastructure deficit caused by the civil war (UN in Liberia 2013). Liberia’s current poverty rate is 74.6 per cent in rural areas, 47.7 per cent in urban sectors, and 61.5 per cent average at the national level (LISGIS 2008). The estimated cost of reviving the country’s damaged transport, water and energy infrastructure is about 2.5b USD, at a time the country’s current national budget is 557m (MOF 2014). The Country has transitioned from President Sirleaf to President Weah who took office in January 2018.

This case study argues that governments strive to reduce poverty is stagnated by poor infrastructure, which creates limited access to basic social services, and impedes economic growth and development. It is assumed that if the country’s damaged infrastructure-transport, electricity and water systems-is restored, it will increase access to basic services like water, health and education, spur economic growth and might ultimately reduce poverty. The Problem-Oriented Method (Monash University Library nd.) is used to identify and analyze existing infrastructural problems, and suggests plausible solutions to resolve them. This case study is limited to the impact of poor transportation, and the lack of electricity and pipe born water on poverty reduction in Liberia. It concludes that the government needs to either use one or a combination of three options: the unbalanced growth and big push concepts or borrow low interest rate loans to address its infrastructural deficit. However, the government of Liberia needs to explain more to its citizens on the terms and conditions of whatever option it would prefer.

II. Problem definition
Moteff et al. (2004) define infrastructure as ‘basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a society’ (p. 1). Without the basic infrastructure, a given society will not function properly. All developed countries have basic infrastructure in place. Most developing countries that have made significant gains in growth and development have also invested in basic infrastructure as a fulcrum for growth and development. Prior to the civil war, Liberia experienced economic growth. Majority of the population had access to good transport system, electricity, pipe born water, and quality health and education systems. These facilities and services were destroyed by the war. Therefore, Liberia is amongst the 104 states categorized under the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), where about 1.56b people live in multidimensional poverty (HDR 2013). It is part of the states with the highest percentages of MPI, ranking 84 per cent behind Ethiopia with 87 per cent, and leading Mozambique and Sierra Leone with 79 per cent, and 77 per cent respectively (HDI 2013). Despite this alarming poverty picture, the HDI (2013) labels Liberia as one of fourteen countries that have recorded human development gains of more than two per cent annually since 2000. Most of the low HDI states fall in Africa, where many are emerging from long periods of civil conflicts. Despite this steady progress towards recovery, poverty is widespread and majority of the citizens lack access to basic services in these countries.

III. Poor infrastructure as a challenge to poverty reduction
a. Poor transport system
Good transport system is the lynchpin in all developed countries. Developing countries need to therefore improve their transport systems to increase access to basic services, and spur economic growth and development, thereby reducing poverty (Moteff et al. 2004). However, Liberia’s transport system is poor. Major roads linking rural parts of the country are in a deplorable state. About 51.3 per cent of rural inhabitants are gravely affected by the lack of roads (MPW 2013). According to the Liberia Prioritized Infrastructure Development Programme (2012), about USD 1.2b is required to connect Liberia’s 15 counties capitals (p. 14). The poor transport system hinders access to basic services like schools and health. For instance, health indicators show that mortality rate in rural areas is 84 per every 1000 births compared to urban areas where mortality stands at 68 per every 1000 births. Also, maternal mortality is estimated at 994 per 100,000, and under age five mortality is 110 per 1000 births (LDHS 2007; UN One Programme 2013). Most of these maternal and under five mortality rates occur in the rural communities where health facilities and personnel are scarce due to limited access.

Like the health sector, access to quality education is hampered by poor transport system. For example, the Liberia Education Sector Plan (2009) calls for compulsory nine-year basic education, comprising six years of government funded free primary, and three years of junior secondary education completion. Despite this laudable education initiative, majority of rural residents and the urban poor cannot send their children to school due to limited public schools, and the lack of adequate trained teachers in the few existing facilities (UNICEF Liberia 2013). Most Liberian schools are operated by religious institutions or private individuals whose objective is to maximize profit. The current net enrolment in primary school stands at 34 per cent, and grade six completion rate in the entire country is 35 per cent (UN in Liberia 2013). This implies that about 65 per cent of the children in the country are out of school. Amongst these are children who enroll, but dropout due to lack of uniforms, fees, tuition and other basic education materials.

Besides road transport, sea transport is also affected by the war. The Liberian port industry is administered and operated by the National Port Authority (NPA) in keeping with its statutory responsibilities to plan, manage and develop public seaports in Liberia. The Authority manages four ports, namely, the Freeport of Monrovia, the Port of Buchanan, the Port of Greenville, and the Port of Harper (NPA Master Plan 2014). All these ports were destroyed during the civil conflict. The Freeport of Monrovia is the largest and most important of Liberia’s four ports. It currently services more than 65 per cent of international trade, followed by the Port of Buchanan, which presently handles 30 per cent of trade (NPA Annual Report 2013). The ports’ infrastructure are being rehabilitated, but this requires significant capital investment. A total of USD 99m is required to rehabilitate all four ports (NPA 2013). Limited operation of these sea ports undermines sea transport and international trade.
Poor transport system does not only impeded access to health and education services. It also undermines economic recovery, growth and development in post conflict Liberia by placing constraints on the movement of goods and services (Ministry of Commerce and Industry 2014). The rural residents in the country live mostly on subsistence farming, and some produce cash crops for trade and commerce. Farmers, 75 per cent of the total population, produce goods for consumption and trade their surplus to get necessities unavailable locally (Ministry of Agriculture 2013). Due to the absence of farm to market roads, these rural farmers cannot easily transport goods and services from villages and towns to markets. Most of the goods therefore get spoilt due to the lack of preservation facilities. This hinders increased productivity. The urban poor, for their part, live in slum communities where they are entrapped in hunger, poverty and disease as cheaper food products cannot be found on the local markets. Presently, Liberians living below one USD a day are about 63 per cent, and the population living in extreme poverty stands at 47.9 per cent (LISGIS 2007). Rice, Liberia’s staple food, is mainly imported from Asia, and costs USD 50 for 50kg on the local market. Majority of the poor therefore cannot afford to feed themselves and families.
b. Lack of safe drinking water
The limited access to safe drinking water is the second problem faced by residents in Liberia (LWSC 2014). Access to piped water fell from 15 per cent of the population in 1986 to less than three per cent in 2008 (LISGIS 2008). Project Liberia (2013) indicates that one in four Liberians has access to safe drinking water. Despite the low record of water and sanitation deliverables under Liberia’s reconstruction process, there are some positive outcomes showing improvement. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW 2011, p. 6-7 citied in IMF 2012 Liberia Country Report) indicates that the share of households with access to clean water increased from 67 to 75 per cent between 2007 and 2009. However, wide disparities exist between urban and rural households. Clean and safe drinking water is mostly obtained from hand pumps and bold holds. Access to sanitary toilet facilities rose from 39 per cent to 50 per cent nationwide, with improvement in rural as well as urban areas (CWIQ 2010, p.120-1 cited in IMF 2012 Country Report). Despite these improvements, the WHO Country Office in Liberia (2013) reports that half of all Liberians lack access to toilet facilities; hence they either defecate up streams and in open areas. It further informs that outbreaks of water borne diseases, like cholera, occur regularly, and that as many as one in five deaths in Liberia are blamed on water and sanitation problems.

c. Lack of Electricity
The lack of electricity is the third challenge that undermines government’s effort to reduce poverty (GOL 2013). Liberia has limited energy output. For example, the prewar 170-megawatt power generation capacity and national grid were destroyed during the civil war; hence a little over 0.1 per cent of households has access to public electricity (LISGIS 2008). This power generation capacity is obtained from diesel generators that produce a little more than two megawatts per million people. It costs USD 0.77 to generate one per kilowatt hour electricity (LEC 2012). This cost is exceptionally high (AICD Diagnostic Report 2010). Power tariff of 0.63 per kilowatt hour is about three times the average for Africa, which is very high by global standards (MLME 2013). Rehabilitation of the country’s singular dam, the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant, is estimated at USD 207m (MOF 2012). However, due to the lack of resources, government has been unable to refurbish the dam since the cessation of the civil conflict. Notwithstanding, the European Central Bank (ECB), Germany and Norway have provided grants of USD 65m, 32m and 75m respectively in 2013. The government has committed USD 45m to compliment the grants, and carry out the reconstruction of the dam, which is expected to be completed by December 2015 (MOF 2014).

The lack of electricity affects the operation of concessionaires and the overall national productive capacity of Liberia. The country has attracted over 16 billion USD in foreign direct investment (Liberia NIC 2014). The FDI is intended to restore Liberia’s economy to its pre-war status, and set the stage for economic growth and development. The investment attempts to also increase employment directly and indirectly. The anticipated employment will boost households’ income, and foster other economic opportunities through private sector development. Unfortunately, due to the lack of electricity, majority of the concessionaires have not begun full scale operations to yield the needed resources and employment envisaged in the concession agreements. Concessions that are currently operational in the country face enormous transaction costs due to lack of electricity. Delayed operation retard anticipated employment of some part of the labor force (see annex 1 for expected employment), and the resulting unemployment, mainly amongst the country’s growing young population, increases socio-political tensions (UNSRSG Report 2013). These tensions have become a key security concern because demonstrations, riots and political agitation amongst young people could undermine the fragile peace and relapse the country into another round of civil conflict (President Sirleaf State of Nation Address 2014).

IV. The way forward
Even though the challenges discussed above persist, the government is committed to rebuilding the country, grow its economy and ultimately reduce poverty. It has implemented poverty reduction strategy (PRS) one and two between 2006 and 2012 (IMF Country Report 2013), and aspires to make Liberia a middle-income country by 2030 (Liberia Rising Vision 2030 2013). This vision was set to be achieved in the 1980s, when the country was one of the highest income countries in Africa. In the 1960s, Liberia was on par with Japan’s GDP, though the country grew without development (Clower 1966). The country is presently one of 35 low-income countries (LICs) in the world, and one of 26 Sub-Saharan African poor countries (World Bank Report 2010). One key factor challenging this ambitious aspiration of becoming a middle-income country is the huge infrastructure deficit. Hence, the government needs to use either the unbalanced growth concept, the big push philosophy (Hirschman 1958, Kirschna et al. 2005, & Rosenstein-Roden 1943) or low interest loan option to invest in infrastructural development. This might salvage the poor infrastructural challenge, restore basic services, and eventually reduce poverty.

a. The unbalanced growth concept
Due to the lack of resources in the less developed countries, there is need for the government of Liberia to use the unbalanced growth theory, whereby it could create imbalances in the system as the best strategy for growth (Hirschman 1958). This means that the little available funding should be used efficiently in strategic sectors (transport, electricity and water) that might lead to a rippling effect in the economy. Investment should be made in these projects because they have the greatest total number of linkages to induce growth and industrialization, and lead to poverty reduction (Krishna et al 2005). Although the strategic investment of resources in infrastructure seem the best model, substantive investment in this sector is difficult to achieve due to the lack of financial resources. For instance, Liberia’s real GDP is USD 1233; its GDP per capital is USD 328, and the present growth rate is 8.5 per cent (MOF 2014). Despite this impressive growth rate, the country has consecutively experienced budget deficits in three years. Therefore, reliance on this option as the singular approach to addressing the infrastructural deficit might not yield the desired results.

b. The big push concept
Giving the lack of adequate national resources to mitigate Liberia’s infrastructural deficit, the government should consider the ‘big push’ option (Rosenstein-Roden’s 1957). The idea behind the big push theory is that a country cannot do anything until it can do everything. Outlined by Paul Rosenstein-Rodan (1957), this theory argues that even the simplest activity requires a network of other activities and that individual firms cannot organize such a large network, so the state or some other giant agency must step in. With this background, it might be impossible for the government alone, given its current financial status, to restore the country’s damaged infrastructure. Also, private investors will not maximize the desired profits amidst the infrastructure challenge, yet they do not want to risk their capital in public infrastructural. That infrastructure and social services are considered public goods (Gans et al. 2013), private consider investment in such public facilities a government’s responsibility. However, as some ground speed is required for the aircraft to airborne, certain critical amount of resources need to be allocated for development activities in Liberia. Therefore, the government, private investor and donors’ need to invest in the restoration of transportation, water and energy resources. Concessions could invest some of part of their expected royalties to government in the infrastructural sector. Because no piecemeal allocation in an economy can move on the path of economic development, investment in social overhead capitol is necessary for economic development. With economic growth and development, government can allocate more resources to basic social services, and reduce poverty (Haynes 2008).

c. Low interest loans
Borrowing of loans is the third option available to the government to mitigate its infrastructural shortfall. Loans could be taken from the World Bank and IMF, and friendly governments to undertake the needed infrastructural projects in the transport, water and electricity sectors. However, the WB and IMF may not be disposed to giving loans to Liberia because they and other partners waived USD 4b debt in 2010 (IMF 2010), and placed a moratorium on the country’s borrowing. However, other bilateral partners could lend Liberia interest free loan that might enable the government to develop its national infrastructure, which is very critical to the overall economic growth and the improvement of the people’s lives. One of such avenues for interest free or low interest loans is the China-Africa loan facility (FOCAC 2012). In 2006, China’s grant assistance, interest free and preferential loans to Africa increased astronomically. In addition, since 2009, China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner. In 2013, trade between China and Africa reached USD 210b, unmatched by previous times (Xinhua Global Times 2014). China has expanded cooperation in investment and financing by providing USD 20b of credit line to African countries (FOCAC 2012). Specifically, the China Union has invested USD 2.6b in the Iron Ore mining sector in Liberia (NIC 2012). Liberia supports the ‘One China Policy’. The government should therefore take advantage of the cordial bilateral relationship and get Chinese low interest rate loan to fund part of its infrastructural projects.

Additionally, the Liberian government could utilize the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) process to fund part of its infrastructural projects. The TICAD underscores South-South cooperation, and promotes the development of trade and investment between Asia and Africa (TICAD V Report 2013). It recognizes that infrastructure development, including road networks, energy, and access to safe drinking water, is critical to economic integration, trade and investment promotion, and poverty reduction in Africa. Therefore, the Medium to Long Term Strategic Framework (MLTSF) of the TICAD process forms the basis for a coherent strategic approach to the development of infrastructure in Africa. Giving the strong bilateral relationship between Liberia and Japan, the government could also lobby for more funding to complement other funding modalities, and address its infrastructural challenges.

d. President Weah’s Asian Deal
President George Weah was inaugurated as Liberia’s President in January 2018. IN less than three months, his first move to salvage the bad road situation in Southeastern Liberia landed his government delegation in Asia where a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for a loan amounting to $536m US. This is not a gift as it is being insinuated by some loyalist of the government. This is a loan to be ratified by the Liberian Legislature. What are the terms and conditions of this loan? Who will manage it and how will it be managed? That the government is ‘broke’, how certain are we that the loan will be used for its intended purpose if ratified? By taking over half billion USD loan, are we not compromising standard operating procedures of our traditional partners, the World Bank, IMF, IFC, the African Development Bank, et al.?
Given the foregoing concerns, it is important to do due diligence so that what appears to be a very good move would not pull Liberia into a debt trap that could deny the country future grants and interest-free or low interest loan schemes. While the improvement of Liberia’s infrastructure is significant to economic growth and development, borrowing must be done to directly address the infrastructural challenges, not to fill the pockets of public officials and leave future generations in perpetual national and global indebtedness.
V. Conclusion
This paper argues that poor infrastructure inhibits economic growth, hinders access to basic social services, and undermines government efforts to reduce poverty in post-conflict Liberia. It points out that prior to the 14 years civil war, Liberia experienced economic growth, and the residents had increased access to basic services. It is therefore plausible that if the country restores good infrastructure (transport, electricity and water systems), it might experience economic growth and development as was in the pre-war status. This might increase access to social services and ultimately reduce poverty.

To achieve this, the Liberian government needs to either use one or a combination of three options to address its infrastructural deficit. First, it could utilize the unbalanced growth concept by investing its limited resources in the infrastructural sector as a driver to spur economic growth and development. Second, the government could engage in a joint government, private sector and donor partnership to address the infrastructure challenge and restore basic social services through a ‘big push’ option. Last, it could borrow interest free or low interest rate loans under the China Africa Partnership loan facility, and from the TICAD arrangement to fund some of the country’s infrastructural projects.

To better coordinate this process and ensure implementation success, the government needs to constitute an inter-ministerial or inter-agency coordinating task force that will adopt the appropriate methodology, and coordinate stake holders in addressing the country’s protracted infrastructure dearth. However, these options must be taken with extreme caution so that loans and grants are not accepted and corrupted by public officials thereby leaving the intended development projects unattended, and plunging the country into expanded debt.

About the Author
Thomas Kaydor served as Liberia’s Lead Negotiator at the Eight Rounds of Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the UN in New York. Tom is a Professor at the IBB Graduate School of International Studies where he lectures Public Policy, Quantitative Political Analysis, Political Theory, The Political Economy of Underdevelopment, et al. He holds Master of Public Policy (Distinction) specialized in Development Policy from the Australian National University; Master of Arts (Highest Distinction) in International Relations, and Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Political Science, University of Liberia. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Diplomacy and Negotiation from the Islamabad Foreign Service Academy, Pakistan; and several professional certificates including PRINCE II and other awards. He is a published author, a Development Specialist, Diplomat and Political Scientist. He formerly served as Deputy Foreign Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Integration, and Assistant Foreign Minister for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Republic of Liberia. He served the UN as UN Coordination Analyst, UNDP Liberia, and UN Common Services Adviser, Ethiopia. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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