Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dillon Wins Liberty Party’s Primary;Set for Senatorial by-Election

Liberty Part’s Darius Dillon says he is poised to render useless the traditional belief that only older folks have leadership capability.

Dillon who is vying for the vacant senatorial seat for Montserrado County Friday night told delegates at a Liberty Party primary, “In my opinion as a politician, we need people with strong courage and principle to represent the interest of the people, whom we serve. Liberty Party members, we have come to make a decision that would send a signal that Liberty Party is ready and is also standing on a solid ground.”

The Liberty Party senatorial candidate observed that Liberia is rich in natural resources, and wondered why its citizens continue to live in abject poverty.

The simple reason for the applauding conditions of the people, Dillon told his supporters, is because of some dishonest leaders, whom he said, do not have principle and the political will to represent the interest of the people.

He spoke at the LP primary for the by-election intended to fill the Senatorial vacancy occasioned by the death of Montserrado County Senator Hannah G. Brent.

Dillon, already a senate staffer in the office of Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, was elected as the Liberty Party’s candidate leading the party to the November 10 polls. He will be facing the Unity Party’s Clemenceau Urey, Wilson Tarpeh Alliance for Peace & Democracy (APD) amongst the total of 11 the National Election Commission (NEC says it submitted full documentation that could qualify them for the contest.

Liberty Party partisans await results of the Primary results of the process to elect the party's nominee for the vacant Montserrado County senatorial seat left vacant by the death of Hannah Brent.

Prior to the primary, some of Dillon’s supporters, who spoke to journalists said, James Ngenda, who Dillon beat at the primary, is not a popular figure when it comes to party politics, but noted that that there were some politics interplayed with some ‘big hands’ behind the curtains to kick Dillon out.

They described Dillon as a grass rooter, who will deliver the political variables for the people. The Liberty Party primary election commission was headed by Cllr. Hilton Poehoe, a senior executive of the party.

Following the election of Dillon, the Liberty now faces the task of campaign to fill the vacant post along with the Clemenceau Urey of the ruling Unity party, a candidate from the popular Congress for Democratic Change and other candidates who are yet to be fully identified.

Dillon in particular and his Liberty party in general have been very vocal on issues affecting the Liberian society and also commending the government when it performs well like the past when it heap praises for road rehabilitation across the country.

Canadian Red Cross Delegation Visits Liberia

A high power Canadian Red Cross delegation arrives in the country Monday as guest of the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS.

The Canadian delegation which is led by Mrs. Michèle Dionne, wife of the Prime Minister of Quebec will be in the country for one week to meet with authorities of the Liberian Red Cross and appraise the partnership between both organizations.
A Red Cross release says during the visit, the delegation will travel to Tubmanburg, Bomi County to tour the Liberian Red Cross Community Based Health/Malaria Project in the county.

The delegation will Wednesday attend the Open House Exhibition of the LNRCS’ Child Advocacy and Rehabilitation program and visit beneficiaries of the community in Brewerville. At the exhibition items produced by CAR beneficiaries will be displayed, while the Canadian delegation will interact with beneficiaries and staff of the CAR Center and visit one of the beneficiary community.

The delegation will Tuesday pay a courtesy call on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to discuss the LNRCS and CRC Partnership vis-à-vis Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy would be highlighted.
The Canadian delegation will also meet with the Minister of Health and Social Welfare,

Dr. Walter Gwenigalee to discuss issues surrounding community health challenges in Liberia and Canadian Red Cross support for the fight against malaria.
The Canadian Red Cross delegation will Tuesday also meet Internal Affairs Minister Ambullai Johnson and Gender and Development Minister Varbah Gayflor. The discussion with Minister Gayflor will center on development opportunity and challenges of women and children affected by war: the case of Liberia.

The Canadian Red Cross is working in partnership with the LNRCS in the areas of gender and child protection, organizational development, child advocacy and rehabilitation, the release signed by the Red Cross’ Media & Public Relation Officer James Kpargoi concluded.

Divided CDC Foams Over Flooded Bi-election

...But NEC Warns Against Pre-Election Campaign Warning

By: Bill K. Jarkloh/Call: 231-6-468-244

In the face of a flooded race to fill in the Montserrado County Senatorial vacancy left behind by the demise of Senator Hannah Brent, the main opposition party of football legend George Weah, the Congress for Democratic Change (DCD) is falling apart over who should represent the party in the race.

With the death of Senator Brent reducing the number female representation in the Senate to four, political commentators imbued with this gender advocacy think a female candidate would be ideal to occupy the slot. At present, Senior Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor of National Patriotic Party representing Bong County, Maryland County’s Gloria Musu Scott of the ruling Unity Party, Margibi County’s Senior Senator Clarice Jah of the Liberty Party and Montserrado County’s Joyce Musu Freeman-Sumo of the Congress for Democratic Change are the remaining female Senators in the Legislature.

George Manneh Weah: the Pivot of the opposition CDC

However, names of several potential men have spouted. Some of the names that have spouted on the crowded field include Professor. Alhaji Kromah, two times presidential candidate of the All Liberian Coalition Party (ALCOP); Clemencea Urey who won Saturday’s UP’s primaries as the party’s candidate and Darius Dillion of the Liberty Party;

Others are Acarius Gray; Geraldine Doe-Sheriff and Eugene Nagbe all from the CDC , Professor and former Finance Minister Wilson Tarpeh, Daniel Johnson who heads the Monrovia City Council and Edwin Snowe, former speaker of the current House of Representatives and a Montserrado County representative whose intention remains unconfirmed and an array of female candidates.

When it was announced that vacancy occurred at the Upper Chamber of the National Legislature, moves that were made in political domains reflected what was reminiscent a split in the one time mutual cooperation that have bind the CDC’s political activism and positions amongst members.

Instead of standing together, the Chairman of the Party, Geraldine Doe-Sheriff hastily announced her interest to the opposition to the dislike of party godfather and standard-bearer Weah who did not bite4 his tongue in registering support to Lenn Eugene Nagbe, the Secretary General of the party who too was eyeing the vacancy to contest it.

Apparently, the CDC executives wanted to out-smart each other since constitutionally, the National Elections Commission is required to conduction a bi-election to fill whatever vacancy that is created in the National Legislature within 90 days, as such may be occasioned by death or resignation of a member(s).

In words of Weah who spoke in the media from the United States, Nagbe was the choice of the party and not Party Chairman Geraldine Doe-Sheriff, but Madam Sheriff, with some party stalwarts standing behind her decisively implied the fact that CDC is no personal property of Mr. Weah but a political institution that should be patterned in a democratic manner. She said Weah was not saying the truth and that a party convention would decide who should be supported by the party.

On the other hand, loquacious Acarius Gray stepped in, registering his interest to contest for the vacancy on CDC’s ticket.

In the meridiem of time, however, CDC has held party congress in New Krutown where partisans preferred Madam Geraldine Doe-Sheriff for the Seat for Montserrado in the Senate, but Acarius Gray considered the congress’ result faulty and unacceptable.

Notwithstanding the fact that Weah who supported Nagbe as the Secretary General for the Senatorial vacancy hasn’t reacted to the DCD’s congress that has elected Madam Doe-Sheriff for the position, Mr. Eugene Nagbe himself pledged support to the congress’ choice of party Chairman sheriff to contest the by-election.

Mr. Nagbe said the CDC has spoken and that he stands by the decision of the CDC, while the CDC’s Assistant Secretary Acarious Gray resented the congress and its choice of party chairman Doe-Sheriff.

Eugene Nagbe, Acarius Gray, and Geraldine Doe-Sheriff are all top executive members of George Weah’s CDC, serving currently as secretary-general, assistant secretary-general and chairman respectively.

The disagreement amongst at the party’s hierarchy potentially could squander the CDC’s chances of victory since others who may not be interest in the controversial choice of the party may commit their loyalty at the polls to some others who may in fact be outside the party as the race is indeed flooded.

Others whose names have surfaced include University of Liberia Economics and Banking Professor Wilson Tarpeh of who has entered the race for the second time after his defeat by the CDC’s iron-lady Senator Joyce Musu Freeman-Sumo during the 2005 senatorial election.

Like Tarpeh who was defeat when to Senator Freeman-Sumo, the Unity, the Unity Party’s Clemenceau Urey, also fell to the gallant CDC female in the senatorial Montserrado County race also was elected to contest the ensuing senatorial by-election

It is also speculated that dethroned Speaker Edwin Melvin Snowe, a Representative for Montserrado County may likely take advantage of the vacancy to bid for the Upper House, although this intention by Snowe has not been made official. Snowe, a one time stalwart of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Charles Taylor contested the Montserrado slot he occupies at the Lower House in Parliament as independent candidate after the NPP apparently denied him to use party ticket.

Similarly, women seem to be overcrowding the race for the Montserrado County seat at the Senate, according to an online report. Already, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has reported the official registration of nine independent candidates, pending the holdings of primaries of various political parties, who are expected to field their candidates before the Commission’s set deadline of September 26, 2009.

Evidently declaration of interests ahead of party primaries or the submission of self arranged or genuine petitions to personalities which has usually characterized Liberian politics has been the order of the day. So far, the females have all decided to go independent despite whatever current political affiliations they might be having at the moment.

One of such women who contemplate contesting the vacancy is Jacqueline Capehart, a long-time business executive, saying that her desire to contest the bi-election borders on the lapses that have occasioned present legislative works on Capitol Hill. “I’m really disappointed by the level of work being done by our lawmakers. Our representatives are not liaising with us, who they claim to represent. There must be palaver-hut kinds of discussion”, Jacqueline told a reporter.

Previously a member of the opposition CDC, Capehart said her ambition for the senatorial position is also based on her desire to contribute to the task of re-building the war ravaged nation, irrespective of which profession one finds him or herself into.

Says Capehart: “It has reached the point in this country now where we ought to contribute our quota to nation building, regardless of where you find yourself”. Looking from the political horizon, it is evident that she might go as an independent candidate since the Unity Party she is member of has already voted Mr. Clemenceau Urey.

It was Urey, George Kailondo and Ms. Capehart despite who desired the contest on party ticket but were defeated at party primaries; she still desires to run while Kilando, a businessman, bowed graciously to Mr. Urey and accepted his defeat. UP’s Urey got an easy ride over George Kailondo during Saturday’s primary after the latter conceded defeat, prior to the primary election.

Further, it is also speculated Mr. Darius Dillion of the Liberty Party, who now serves as senior senatorial aid in Bong County Senator Jewel Taylor’s office, has expressed interest. Dillon is noted for his critical advocacy and stance against basic decisions that he considered inappropriate

Another female candidate, Grace McGill Kpan, President of the Dock Workers Union of Liberia desire the race as well. Kpan says she believes in the quest for workers to be represented at the highest level. McGill Kpan, who is also known for her unwavering advocacy as a labor leader sounded confident in a race that promises to produce other political giants, already testing the waters for the ensuing 2011 Elections.

“I’m a servant-leader who has worked as a labor leader”, she added. McGill Kpan then added the obvious voice as would be expected from any female candidate. “It’s good for another female to take that seat, because the number of females in the House is already minute”.

Meanwhile, the National Elections Commission (NEC) which spoke of the formal registration of some nine nominees warned against pre-election campaign, saying that anyone engaging in pre-election campaign would be disqualified.

With the list of contestants expected to grow, the NEC put nomination period between September 12 - 26, to be followed by a period for objection and claim, if there will be any. The Commission further said political campaign will take place from October 14 to November 8 followed by the replacement of voters’ identification cards from October 20-31 and the arrival of paper ballots on November 1, 2009.
The official announcement of polling results is would be on November 14, four days after voting. In case of any runoff, it will be conducted on November 24 with final results announced on November 27.

Statistics at the National Election Commission have it that Montserrado has 14 electoral districts with 496,508 registered voters of the 1.3 million people in Montserrado County, while 280 voting precincts and 989 polling places used in the 2005 elections remain unchanged for the ensuing bi-election.

International Funds Going Dry for Irregular Conflicts

…UNHCR Chief Tells Annual Meeting

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, on Monday, warned that as global conflicts become more complex and involving state armies, militias and insurgents, humanitarian efforts are increasingly put at risk.

Recounting the deadly toll inflicted on UNHCR in Pakistan earlier this year, where three staff members were shot and killed and one kidnapped and subsequently released, Guterres said the targeting of humanitarian workers “undermines not only the operations in question, but the very foundations of humanitarian action”.

Opening the 60th annual session of UNHCR’s governing Executive Committee (ExCom), Guterres said that providing humanitarian relief in an environment where the line separating the civilian from the military has become blurred is both “difficult and dangerous”.

While the shrinking humanitarian space represents one of the greatest challenges the UN refugee agency faces in the developing world, said Guterres, actions taken by some countries to limit access to their territories by asylum-seekers was effectively shrinking the “asylum space” in the developed world.

Guterres said practices by some countries to deny access to asylum procedures were not in keeping with international law, while other states had such low recognition rates for asylum seekers as to render that access “meaningless”.

These practices add to the problem of secondary movements as asylum-seekers “search out states where they have some hope of having their protection needs recognized,” said Guterres. “A truly European asylum space in this context is a must,” he said.

Guterres also updated delegates on the on-going reform process within UNHCR which, he said, is aimed at “finding the resources to protect more people, rescue more lives and bring home more refugees in safety and dignity”.

Staffing at the agency’s Geneva headquarters has been reduced by 30 percent, while global activities have increased by more than 50 percent, he said. Work carried out by UNHCR’s Global Service Centre in Budapest would result in savings of US$ 13 million in rent and salaries in 2010 as compared to what it would have cost in Geneva.

Guterres also highlighted five global trends, which in combination with the world economic downturn, are causing crises to multiply and deepen. Population growth, urbanization, global warming, food, water and energy insecurity and migration are all more and more interconnected, he said.

Describing “an arc of crisis” stretching from southwest Asia to the Great Lakes of Africa, Guterres said two thirds of the world’s refugees and three quarters of the 14.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) assisted by UNHCR in 2008 resided in the area. In addition, nearly all significant internal displacement in 2009 had occurred there, notably in Pakistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

While some 600,000 refugees voluntarily repatriated in 2008, this represented a 17 per cent decrease over the previous year and was the second lowest return figure in the past 15 years. “Massive repatriation movements are decelerating as the situations in Afghanistan, southern Sudan, DRC and elsewhere are less and less conducive to return and reintegration,” Guterres told delegates.

With opportunities for repatriation and local integration declining, the demand for resettlement places is on the increase. Last year, UNHCR submitted more than 121,000 refugees for resettlement, twice as many as were put forward in 2006.

“While this represents just over one percent of the total number of refugees in the world,” said Guterres, “it is already a larger number of refugees than there are places available.” The importance of resettlement as a durable solution will only increase, he said.

Joining Guterres at the opening of ExCom was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay. The opening session also welcomed Djibouti and Moldova as new ExCom members. The 60th Executive Committee session will conclude on Friday October 2nd.

Furious Education Minister Explores

By: Bill K. Jarkloh
Read blog:

Bittered with journalists after his suspension, Furious Minister of Education Minister Joseph Korto has lambasted journalists, saying they are ‘paid agents of his political opponents’ who go after him. Dr. Korto, after he resumed works from a one-week suspension without pay, was irritated when the Truth FM’s Patrick Honnan quizzed him on the TRUTH Breakfast Show via phone, seeking to know whether he considered his suspension demeaning, a sign of weakness or strength.

The journalist engaged Dr. Korto on the Truth FM via telephone and further quizzed him on reports from the hinterlands indicative of poor school facilities, a situation reminiscent of that of the E. Jonathan Goodridge’s condition for which Minister Korto and his deputies were suspended.

Dr. Joseph Korto -Minister of Education/Liberia

“I know where you guys are coming from. You are referring to a picture of a school in the interior of Nimba where you have gone and taken pictures that you have published in the papers. But that school is not the only school, there are a couple of good school facilities that have been ignored,” Minister Korto furiously responded the TRUTH FM Breakfast Show question. The Furious Education Minister contended, “One like you do not know what is happening around, you guys are paid by political opponents to go after people. You may take it and say what you want to say,” he said, noting that the school that was being used as the radio station’s reference was a self-help project – a makeshift school built by the people themselves.

Although presenters of the show countered that the situation was a perfect example to develop an idea of what the public school system is like in the countryside (meaning remote or rural Liberia), Dr. Korto refuted this assertion, saying that his administration has been doing well. But the presenters insisted that there are others rural public schools journalists have no access to, using places such Karnplay in Nimba and also rural Grand Gedeh for Example.

“The President holds me responsible for what are happening in the public education sector because she knows that those should not be happening considering my intellect. You know it is not possible for me to be everywhere; but the President think as head of the Education Ministry, I should be responsible so she suspended me,” he explained.

He added: “I had a lot of respect for you guys. But I know now that you are paid agents hired by my political opponent to tarnish my good hard earned reputation,” saying “you guys are playing politrick with me.”

Recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, describing the Education Minister irresponsible, suspended Minister Joseph Korto and his deputies after an unannounced visit at the Campus E. Jonathan Goodridge Public School in Barnersville where she discovered the surrounding of the campus insalubrious and unhygienic. Accordingly, the President on that day, September 7, 2009, described the learning atmosphere at the institution to be horrendous something which she ordered the institution closed for one week.

The visit of President Sirleaf at the E. Jonathan High School was predicated upon threat of strike action by students of the school due to filthy learning condition and bad Administrative practices.

In a rather tough frame of mind, President Sirleaf termed the leadership at the Ministry of Education as irresponsible and inattentive considering its failure to institute requisite administrative and instructional measures at the institution.

Information Minister Dr. Lawrence Bropleh revealed that funds for the cleanliness of the campus will be made accessible from the Presidential Project Budget due to the exigency of the case at the institution. Public Schools in Liberia are disappointingly managed with students in rural areas sitting on cement blocks to learn something which have been reported consistently in the media.

Observers classified the President impromptu visit at the institution as a welcoming venture and challenged her to continue to make such visit a habitual exercise to other Public Schools around the country. The Ministry of Education shares the giant size of the country’s budget with absolutely ineffective policy and poor implementation something which parents and guardians of students attending these institutions have complained for prompt remedy and solution but to no avail.

Deputy Ministers suspended along with Minister Korto are Hester Williams Katakpa, John Emmanuel Roberts and Mathew Zazay. The recent action of Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the E. Jonathan Goodridge Public High School branding the Minister of Education and former Presidential Candidate Dr. Joseph Korto as irresponsible and reckless in the discharge of his duty entails a matter of attention as we gradually enter the 2011 Presidential election.

Being irresponsible in leadership as affirmed by the Liberian President further illustrates a better picture over the ability of Dr. Korto to administratively control the affairs of any entity least to mention the Country as a whole.

In a bid to substantiate the views of the President concerning the griminess of the giant size institution, I personally visited the E. Jonathan Goodridge High School in Barnersville and realized that the President’s action to suspend authorities at the Ministry to be lightered. Besides the poor running of the institution, other investments like the structures and buildings which are considered assets of government are seen unattended to as far as its renovation is concern.

Coming back to the capriciousness of Dr. Korto as Minister of Education, one could doubt how effective an individual given the task as Minister of Education and by extension, heavily supported by national and international organizations and also supported by the government as indicated in the budget of Liberia would ignored and downplayed his responsibility in making learning condition in Public Schools an acceptable areas for education. What if Dr. Korto had won the 2005 election in Liberia?

As a former Presidential Candidate, there is a need to clear the air over the irresponsibility quality attributed to you Dr. Korto so as to safeguard your ability to govern or share and inspect responsibilities given you. While it remains factual that President Sirleaf is the Boss of Dr. Korto, classifying Dr. Korto and his entire deputies as irresponsible clearly taint the credibility and characters of these educated individuals.
On the other hand, there is also the need for Dr. Korto as a Politician to clear the air over the irresponsibility character attributed to him. Remember, statement alluded to individual’s credibility without prompt response may likely follow them in the future.

The Ministry of Education is just a section of the entire administration of the country and branding Dr. Korto as irresponsible person only indicate his inability to run the affairs of the whole country. The actions against the heads at the Ministry of Education should also be extended to other institutions in government.

Significant percentage of people employed in government institutions usually go free from the inability or refusal of their Bosses to monitor them thereby impeding the needed results expected from such output. “I believed the action against the heads at the Ministry of Education will signal warning to other heads of government institution to dedicate responsibility and further monitor such responsibility.”

What Kills General Charles Julu?

…Mournful Grand Gedeans Blames Government

Gen. Julue(right) shakes hands with President Sirleaf after his release

As the cold hands of death snatched away Lieutenant-General Charles “the ROCK” Julu sinking the dreaded general beneath, Grand Gedeans have begun blaming the death of Julu on treatments meted to him when he was detained by security forces of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led Government on suspicion of coup plot. Julu, whose name was often associated with nearly every political evil especially plots to overthrow, died in a local Ivorian hospital following a “protracted illness.” However, with the controversy introduced by this latest blame trading on the part of Grand Gedeans, Journalist Bill K. Jarkloh pieced together family and tribal reaction as reported and brevity of the historicity `of Lieutenant-General Julu’s military involvement with conflicts in Liberia.

Grand Gedeans called him “bior” - a southeastern word meaning “warrior.”Some said he is a legend, while others yet referred to him as a demagogue or a devil manifest in Liberian history. No matter what the “ROCK” was, his life was marred by military adventurism that was punctuated with reports of coup plots and unsuccessful attempts led by him to overthrow, attempts for which General Julu was always a wanted man and was jailed and freed as situations of law and reconciliation occasioned.

The General Julu died recently in the Ivorian Capital of Abidjan. Family sources revealed that the “Rock” crossed to the Great Beyond on September 25, 2009 at 7:00 Ivorian time at a local hospital in Abidjan.
According reports, mourning family members in the United States who are currently meeting at the home of Mrs. Annie Payonnoh Dennis, sister of the deceased, in Worcester, Massachusetts have confirmed that Julu suffered Pneumonia for several years before he came down with hypertension or high blood pressure.

But multiple sources closed to the Julu family claimed the former General contracted illness while in incarceration at the National Security Agency (NSA) and at the Monrovia Central Prison at Center Street, South Beach, although Julu, it was said, nearly got paralyzed when he reportedly suffered a mild stroke in 2005.

The former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia who died of protracted illness was 67 and survived by more than 20 children.

A statement reportedly issued by the GDAA, the Gbarzon District Association in the Americas, says the “The death of this fine General is a gust to the Arm Forces of Liberia and the entire nation as a whole,” while family sources blamed Julu’s death on the Unity Party regime of the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Government.

However, the illness of the ROCK was reportedly exacerbated for what family sources somehow blamed on his prolonged detention by the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf regime on allegations of attempting to overthrow the Unity Party government.

Although Janet, Julu’s widow is yet to be contacted, some family members disclosed in the media that Julu nearly got paralyzed when he reportedly suffered a mild stroke in 2005.

Our sources said when the retired general fell sick, he was treated by doctors in Monrovia before he was transferred to neighboring Ivory Coast, where he received further treatment.

Information gathered in Monrovia indicated that General Julu was taken to a European country unnamed, where he was said to have briefly received medical treatment, which was of no betterment to his recovery.

Doctors reportedly told a relative who was said to have accompanied him on the health trip to Europe that the hospital could do nothing about Julu’s worsening condition.

The “ROCK” was then returned to the Ivory Coast where traditional herbs were the only option left, but it was disclosed that Julu could not further survive the appalling health condition. He then died from his illness bringing to complete futility efforts by herbalists to safe the ailing retired general.

As efforts are however being made to independently confirm the reports, the Executive Committee of GDAA issued a statement in the United States extending condolences to the widow and children of former General Julu. “Our prayers and thoughts go out to the bereaved families during this redoubtable time that is unbearable,” the GDAA statement indicated.

The statement quoted Mr. Alphonso Zean-Soe, National President of the GDAA as saying, “We urged or Gbarzonians and friends of the district to call Mrs. Annie Panyonnoh Dennis for a word of encouragement and support.”

According to reports, family members in the United States are currently meeting at the home of Mrs. Annie Payonnoh Dennis, sister of the deceased, in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Our sources said when the retired general got sick he was treated by doctors in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, before he was transferred to neighboring Ivory Coast, where he received further treatment.

General Charles Julu, known in and out of Liberia, is however negatively portrayed to many Liberians as an associated with coup d’etats, plots, assassinations, willful killings, some of which allegations remained unproven up to the demised of the general.

They young military Sergeant at the time was reportedly disrobed in 1972 by the William R. Tolbert regime on allegation of coup plot intended to overthrow the government of President Tolbert government. Although sources said Julu was detained for short while, disrobed from the Armed Forces of Liberia.

He then settled in Nimba County and joined the Plant Protection Force (PPF), a private security of the LAMCO concessionaire in Yekepa. Julu rose through the ranks and became its commander.

In 1983, Julu’s name surfaced again when some rebellious officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia, led by the late Brigadier General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa staged what is today called “Nimba Raid”.

During the raid, supporters of Quiwonkpa reportedly attacked Julu’s home and chopped off the fingers of his daughter, himself barely surviving the onslaught on his family.

Following the attack on his home, Julu reportedly committed atrocities allegedly killing tens, perhaps hundreds of Nimbaians accused of conspiring with his attackers. A female witness recently testified that Julu was responsible for the death of several PPF officers who were accused of attacking his home and victimizing his family. Julu had refuted the allegations.

After the Nimba raid, the slain Liberian President Samuel Kanyon Doe appointed Julu Commander of the Executive Mansion Guard Battalion with the rank of Brigadier General. He served that position until the outbreak of the NPFL bush war in 1990.

When army generals, Smith and Craig failed to contain the NPFL forces, Doe again assigned Julu to oversee the general frontlines in Nimba and Grand Bassa County, the position he held until he was appointed Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia in the latter part of 1990.

But Julu absconded the country and did not return until in 1994 when he mysteriously appeared at the Executive and staged unsuccessful coup that defied reasoning in an attempt to dethroned Transitional Head of State David Kpomakpor.

Julu and his supporters led by the late MODEL commander Arthur Baygbo faced a barrage of bombings and hails of fire from the West African Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and ejected from the Executive Mansion.

In an attempt to escape, A group of civilians who arrested the former general stripped naked at Mamba Point and turned him over to ECOMOG, which took him into custody at their based on the Bushrod Island.

Julu and 12 of his kinsmen were charged with sedition and tried on the Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia by a military tribunal headed by General Kpenkpa Y. Kona. The AFL Court Martial Board found Julu and others guilty and detained them at the notorious Post Stockade military prison at the Barclay Training Center (BTC).

But the convicts were released by forces of the defunct ULIMO-J during the April 6, 1996 street battle in Monrovia. He then fled to Guinea where he reportedly participated in the forming of the LURD rebel group that helped to run Taylor out of Liberia.

Just before the general and presidential elections that brought President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to power, Julu was reportedly involved with pseudo church activities. However, President Sirleaf's son, Fomba Sirleaf who is Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), ordered the arrest and detention Julu and fellow Krahn man Andrew Dorbor on allegation of attempting to overthrow the Unity Party led government. The two were taken to court and were acquitted.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Four Forest Management Contracts Ratified

As Legislature Presses for Constitutional Amendments
The National Legislature yesterday ratified four forest management contracts forwarded to parliament by the President of the Republic of Liberia. The contracts, including Atlantic Resource Ltd., Geblo Logging Ltd., Euro Liberia Logging Company and International Consultant Capitol (ICC) were on the 21st day of September 2009 sent to the Legislature from the executive branch of government through the office of the president for consideration.

A report submitted to the office of Speaker J. Alex Tyler by the Committee on Investment and Concession, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Contracts and Monopolies and Judiciary on the four forest management contracts said “In line with legislative traditions and practice, the contracts were referred to the committee on investment and concession, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, contracts and monopolies and judiciary to scrutinize the four draft contracts and appropriately advise plenary for action.”

In the report, the committees further said in furtherance of this mandate, the joint committee convened on the 22nd of September 2009 to begin its scrutiny of the four contracts. At the conclusion of the first session of the joint committee, it was resolved that the joint committee seeks the input of public by inviting stakeholders both from the government and civil society.
Hence, the report said the joint committee conducted a public hearing on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 with eh following persons and institutions appearing and making presentation; Ministry of Finance represented by Assistant Minister Andrew Paygai and the Ministry Justice represented Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Sam Russ by; Sustainable Development Initiative represented by Silas K. A. Siakor, Forestry Development Authority represented by its Technical Managing Director one Moses Woabeh , Boakai Sirleaf who is the Deputy Minister of Agriculture representing his Ministry While Loggers Association of Liberia represented by Mulbah Willie , National Investment Commission and the civil society,” the report contained.
It said during the almost three hour public hearing, which was broadcast live, the Executive Branch, represented by National Investment Commission, Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Finance as well as the Civil Society represented made presentations, requesting the Legislature to ratify the four contracts.
“They justified that the contract were in line with the Poverty Reduction Strategy of government and will purposely jump start the logging section in the forest region the country by providing jobs and contributing revenues to the national budget,” the report said, adding that representations made during the hearing maintained.
Representatives of these institutions furthered that the agreements were negotiated in good faith, and to ensure the welfare of the country particularly taking into consideration the interests and social benefits of the communities hosting the forests.
“On the other hand, the Civil Society organization represented by Sustainable Development Initiative (SDI) made the presentation on diverging fronts. The SDI maintained that the contracts were not accompanied by bidding documents to show various offers and how the winners were selected and that the contracts were not also accompanied by due diligence report to show whether the companies selected during the bidding process have the capacity to manage the portion of the Liberian forest given them under the 25 years contract.
The SDI representative at the hearing, Mr. Siakor, then called on the House of Representative not to ratify the contracts until the four documents are presented to the legislature.
As for some of the loggers associations, they maintained that the bidding process was conducted in free, fair and transparent manner and that document are available and indicated that the companies selected have overwhelming capacity to manage the various forests sector was long overdue and as such was requesting the House of Representative to swiftly ratify the contract so as to revive economic life in the forest region of Liberia.
After a careful and thorough scrutiny of the four forest management contracts and taking into consideration all of the issues raised by the actors, the joint legislative committee established that the revamping the forest sector through logging is belated considering the time interval between the enactment of the Forest Reform Law of 2006 and submission of the second forest contract in September 2009.
According to the findings of the joint committee on the issue of due diligence and bid submission document, Committee held that the bid submission documents clearly established that the amount bided for are exactly the amount stipulated in the contracts, saying that as for due diligence, two key issues were considered in selecting the winners.

The Committee named the two issues as the offer and the financial capacity to execute the offer. “From the documents presented to the committee followed by the joint committee’s evaluation of the all documents, it was established that the four companies selected and awarded the contract met all requirements under the law and have the financial capacity,” the committee said.

The joint legislative committee the submitted its recommendation, taking into consideration that the four forest contracts which also seek to address issues of unemployment, contribute to government revenue generation and build the capacity of local community through the provision of social benefit.

The joint committee having being satisfied with the content of the agreement coupled with the all necessary clarification made, recommended that ratification of the four forest management contracts by the Honorable House of Representative which Plenary endorse.
Meanwhile With the House of Representatives of the Liberian Legislature amending several constitutional articles, the House Committee Chairman on Elections, Representative Gabriel Smith says the amendments made in the Liberian Constitution by the House of Representatives are subject to referendums.

Principal among those provisions amended is Article 83 (b) which by the amendment, states that “all elections of public officers shall be determined by a simple majority of the votes cast except for the president and Vice President” Others constitutional articles amended Tuesday by members of the Lower House of Parliament pending national referendum are Articles 78, 50, 83 (a) and 83 (b) following several weeks of consideration.
The amendments in Article 83 further provided that in the case of the Senate, where applicable, the senatorial candidate who obtains the second highest number of valid votes shall be declared the second winner.

Concerning presidential election in Liberia, the House’s amendment states that if no candidate obtains absolute majority on the first ballot, the two candidates with the highest number of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in a run off.

The House made the amendment on the September 21, 2009. Accordingly, the House’s Committee on Election and Judiciary met in conference with the Senate’s committee on Autonomous agencies with the sole purpose of harmonizing the house’s version of the amendment.

According to the Committee Chairman on Election and Inauguration Representative Gabriel B. Smith, after a length consideration of the following constitution provisions, namely: Article 78, 50, 83 (b). He said the conference is pleased to recommend the following for timely consideration and endorsement by this plenary the attached amended version of the proposals.
Representative Smith noted at the House’s Plenary Tuesday that in keeping with the original version of Article 78, a political party shall be an association of hundred qualified voters in each of at least six counties within the Republic of Liberia, further saying that the article provides that a political party shall be an association with a membership of not less than 10,000 registered voters in a county.
Mr. Smith said Article 83 (a) says voting for the President, Vice President, members of the Senate and Members of the House of Representatives shall be conducted throughout the Republic on the second Tuesday in October of each election year. He said Article 83 (b) all election of public officers shall be determined by an absolute majority of the votes cast.
The Chairman Election and Inauguration Committee noted that if no candidates obtains an absolute majority in the first ballot, a second Tuesday following, the two candidates who received the greatest number of votes on the first ballot shall be designated to participate in the run-off Election. He said the amended version of Article 52 (c) original version say resident in the Republic ten years prior to his election, provided that the President and Vice President shall not come from the same county.
Representative Smith said the Amended version of Article 52 (c) no person shall be eligible to hold the office of the President or Vice President, unless that person is: domiciled in the Republic for ten years immediately prior to his election, provided that the President and Vice President don’t come from the same county.
Mr. Smith noted that the original version which Article (b) which say there shall be election of paramount, clan and town chiefs and mayors by the registered voters in their respective localities, to serve for a term of six years, and they may be re-elected and may be removed only by the President for proved misconduct, and the Legislature shall enact laws to provide for their qualification as may be require.
According to Representative Smith, the amended version states Article 56 (b) there shall be election of paramount, clan and town chiefs and mayors by the registered voters in their respective localities, to serve for a term of six years, and they may be re-elected and may be removed from officer for cause by resolution of two-third majority of members of the council of chiefs and elders at their respective level of office; in keeping with due process of law.
Similarly, Article 56(b), by the amendment, provides that “there shall be elections of paramount, Clan and town Chiefs and mayors by registered voters in their respective localities, to serve for a term of six years. They may be re-elected and may be removed only by the President for proved misconduct. The Legislature shall enact laws to provide for their qualification as may be required.”