Friday, January 25, 2008

In First Public Appearance: UNMIL’s New Boss Rules Out

Making her first public appearance since she took over
the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Madam
Ellen Margrethe Loj last Saturday warned strongly
against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA) in
particular and all forms of indiscipline and bad
behavior in general; Bill Jarkloh reports from

Madam spoke in Gbarnga when she addressed a
Bangladeshi Medal Day. She said, “All our contribution
and sacrifice will become easily tarnished by act of
indiscipline and bad behavior.”

The Special Representative of the Secretary General
(SRSG) of the United Nations and head of Mission of
UNMIL said sexual exploitation and abuse should never
and must never be accepted amongst us.” The first
UNMIL female leader cautioned, “Each and every one of
us must strictly observe the Secretary-general’s
policy of zero-tolerance against SEA.”

…Counts Zero-tolerance for Sexual Exploitation

Saying that they all must work individually and
collectively to guard against SEA, she also urged
strongly all commanders of the forces of UNMIL to take
responsibility seriously. “I urge you to do your
personal best. We are the representatives of our
countries, the UN and the international community. So
let us serve in Liberia as worthy representatives,”
she admonished the forces.

Drawdown Plan
The UNMIL boss has also announced the commencement of
the drawdown plan and adjustment process in the UN
forces from Liberia. Madam Loj said, “These
adjustments and re-alignments are going to be done in
a cautious, careful and well-calibrated manner, so
that no security vacuum is created” in Liberia.

The UNMIL boss noted that UNMIL peacekeepers and
personnel will continue working hard to help Liberia
get back on the path of freedom and prosperity. She
intimated that said the UN will continue to work
harder and effectively in Liberia to help the
government to consolidate the hard-won gains made.

According to Madam LOJ, “There is a lot of
peace-building work to be done to ensure that Liberia
does not slide back into conflict and chaos,” adding,
“Development is crucial for sustainable peace and
security. All of them are interlinked. And they are
all about the people”

Tribute to the Bangladeshis
She paid tribute to the Bangladeshis earlier. Madam
Loj acknowledged that Bangladesh has enjoyed the
distinction of being one of the highest contributors
in the UN peace-keeping missions worldwide.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative
(SGSR) for to Liberia also implored Bangladeshi forces
in Liberia for their “valuable contribution” toward
the peace and security of Liberia.”

The UNMIL boss indicated that the Bangladeshis were
amongst the first to arrive in the Mission in 2003
with contingent deployed from neighboring Sierra
Leone, noting that the Bangladeshi Contingent in
Liberia served in that country in a diverse ways.

“You assisted greatly during the DDRR process to
help many ex-combatants to get reintegrated into
society. Your work is recognized and appreciated,
especially your efforts in helping deal with property
disputes and issues of law and order,” Madam Loj said.

According to her, an important issue in for UN
pace-keeping operations is the need to foster a very
good relationship between the UN peacekeepers and the
local population, an area of operation she expressed
happiness that the Bangladeshi has achieved.

“In this regard, I am happy to note that you have
never restricted yourselves within the boundaries of
military responsibilities only. You have been
undertaking various humanitarian activities, such as,
training for the youth, free medical care, donation to
educational and vocational institutes, assistance in
agricultural development and much more,” she observed.

The UNMIL boss recounted the Bangladeshis’ tangible
marks of their generosity as being in the form of a
vocational training center, children’s park and
football ground. All of these including a peace
monument called “Shanti…” are located at the
“Bangladeshi Square” a developed plague of land with
modern technological training facility and a café at
the outskirt of Gbarnga in Bong County.

“This Square should also remind everyone of your great
contribution in Liberia. In fact, in serving the
people of this country some of your colleagues had
made the ultimate sacrifice. And so we remember them
with appreciation and respect on an occasion like this
today,” she exclaimed.

Also speaking was the Sector commander. Brigadier
General Mohammed Monawar Hossain who recounted the
achievements of the Bangladeshi forces in Liberia,
especially in Gbarnga where they are based.

The program was attended by the top ranking
administrative staff and military brass of the UN
Mission in Liberia as well as members of the
diplomatic corps, senior government officials and
county administrators.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Too Good to Ignore: A Food for Though

When my Ugandan Friend, Alfred Wasike send this piece in my box, I considered it a food for thought. I therefore decided to share it and the best way is to post it on this blog. Obviously he received it from a friend. So dear readers, as he titled it so I will. Read and see how the carelessness for others affect us as exemplified in this piece

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package. What food might this contain?” the mouse wondered. He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning. There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me and cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!" The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose." So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.
Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral; the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them. The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.


The Journey of Life: My Perfect Example's A Lesson

(A brief Auto Biography By Bill K. Jarkloh)

A Liberian of the Kru tribe of that country, my journalism career has made me a very curious person whose curiosity has made me to know a lot of things by practical experience and skills practice and applied professionally. For instance, driving and moving earth equipment such as caterpillars, tractors and light vehicles was not something that I formally learned from people or institutions. What this should mean is to tell of the fact that education is not only in the classroom, but it is a process of know and gaining new ideas through human determination and applied skills. This was exactly how I went through life to reach to the medium height that I find myself today, as a career journalist and Information Officer of a foreign mission. However, it is a know fact that every journey through which life is acquired is not an easy one as one may see in my case.

Born unto the Union of Mr. Johnson Weah Jarkloh (a fisherman and sailor) and Madam Anna Jlopleh-Jarkloh (a farmer) on November 27, 1964, I started my academic sojourn at the Panwhan Public School and went through the doors of Sanquin Jr. High School and Sinoe High School where I completed my Junior High (Jr. Secondary) School education. The fourth of seven children – five boys and two girls now - scattered around Europe and Africa, this third boy of my illiterate parents was really born in a remote village [Panwhan Town], Sanquin Municipality which later becomes a district in the Southeast, Sinoe County to be précised. Upon the death of my dad in 1983, Bill left the Sinoe High School in Greenville City and went to Monrovia, the Capitol City of Liberia, to continue his education.

Meanwhile, He was a cameraman while going to school in Greenville, owing to the fact that he has no source of support as his poor parents were far away in the remotest part of the County – Sinoe. Greenville is the Capitol City. Consequently, Bill was working for one Jonah Tifueh, a brother of his friends Emmanuel Shine and the late William Butch, whose mother’s generosity caused him to live with the family eventually. It was at this time that Jonah asked Bill to take his camera around, promising him five Liberian dollars on every pack film used.
It was a quick service camera which I carried around nightclubs, entertainment centers and school campuses to ensure that I make life possible and gain something with which I would pay my school fees and contributed to class activities. That I did - and it worked well - until 1983 when I found myself in Monrovia as a result the death of my dad.

My coming Monrovia was painful. I felt for my dear mother, whose companion was my dad. Amid adversities, my mom was busy on the farm while my dad was on the sea – all struggling to sustain the younger ones. But the death of my dad left my mom vulnerable as all of us who used to help her farm and fetch fish were all away from them, except for the last two brothers – Rudolph (now in Ghana) and Justine now in Monrovia. Besides, my dad sometimes could take to Greenville by Canoe, produces of the farming they did at home, sold them to complement efforts at schooling. So his death pierced my heart and I decided to return home to my mom to help her. By this time I have promoted to the 10th grade at the Sinoe High School.

she said: “Your future is bright, I can see. You will be a blessing to us if you go to Monrovia for school. Let me pour this my mother blessing: Your suffering is limited. Jobs will look for you and no enemy of yours shall succeed – for the God I serve says to me that your enemies are your footstool.” She then sipped the cup and poured the water on my back from her mouth. I then agree to take the challenge of life.

But my mom wanted all her children educated. The genius who is the second of us the brothers and sisters, Joseph N. Jarkloh was already in Russian at the Odessa Polytechnic Institute pursuing a Masters of Science Degree in Radio and Electronic Engineering; Morris Karpeh Jarkloh, now a Methodist Cleric with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology (BTh.) was teaching a local Junior High School, Martha M. Jarkloh, the third of my parents children was in Monrovia pursuing a high school diploma (she now works with the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization) and I the next in line was now back home, joining Rudolph J. Jarkloh and Justin J. Jarkloh – all kids at the time – to be with our mom fro her help and comfort. Tina G. Jarkloh, who next to me, was already in Monrovia with our aunt, although she hadn’t started school. But our mom did not like her children to be unlettered like her and dad; she begged me to go Monrovia to her sister, Klaplah-dee to continue my school. When I was insisting to stay and help her farm, she said: “Your future is bright, I can see. You will be a blessing to us if you go to Monrovia for school. Let me pour this my mother blessing: Your suffering is limited. Jobs will look for you and no enemy of yours shall succeed – for the God I serve says to me that your enemies are your footstool.” She then sipped the cup and poured the water on my back from her mouth. I then agree to take the challenge of life.

When I cam to Monrovia, Aunt Klaplah-dee said she could not afford to send me to school. “Not everyone in the family can know book. Some of your friends are at the Freeport throwing bags of rice to make life for their people,” se said in an apparent thought of making me a bread winner for Tina and I who were now under her roof along with her biological children and grand children. But I insisted on schooling. I went to the Duala Market in Monrovia –this market was within the proximity of my locality. I totted loads of marketers from cars to - selling tables for dims, nickels and at most quarters of a dollar. The aggregated collection was used towards my entrance at the D, Tweh High School in 1984, and I was able to matriculate at the school.

At D. Twe I started my journalism career as an amateur. Named News Editor for Voice of the Atlantic, the press club of the school, I served as the newscaster, representative the press club to the Student RECORDER Newspaper on which all schools of the time had representations. When General Thomas Quiwonkpa’s attempt to overthrow the Samuel Doe Government failed in 1985 when I was an eleven grad student, I was one of those called to active national journalism by the Ministry of Information. For me, that was the beginning of the blessing my mom told me of. The MIRROR Newspaper I was seconded by the Ministry trained me through workshops, local seminars and refreshers courses. I then took responsible assignments such as reporting the National Legislature, the Judiciary and other parastatals o0f government. From Cub Reporter I was elevated to reporter and then to senior reporter. From their after my completion of the D. Twe High school, I was sponsored to the Certificate course of the Mass Communication Department of the University of Liberia where I earned a Certificate in 1990.

Today, the need for education has become an indispensable factor of life. This has drawn me back to the University of Liberia for a Bachelor of Acts Degree in Mass Communication with emphasis on Broadcasting – doing my senior courses. But education is dynamic. It isn’t achieved only through classroom lessons, but through other interactions. So I worked with a number of Liberian newspapers. To name a few in recent postwar Liberia,The INQUIRER, THE NEWS, THE ANALYST, THE NEW VISION and online outlet that has arouse my interest in internet journalism have topped the list. Interesting, while in active journalism, I am applying the Public Affairs skilled gained in school, at the Embassy of Ghana where I work as Executive Officer for Information. I was taught public affairs reporting and public relations at University of Liberia, and the opportunity at the Embassy is an avenue for practice of these skills. But I will never forget my mom, for her prophecy has come through. Everywhere I work, I was called to the job instead of seeking jobs. I am always contented with my work putting into it my best – so I always won awards at work places – either reporter of the year, best feature writer of the year and others.

Moreover, one thing that suited me in contemporary journalism is my involvement with internet journalism. This started with my online reportage with the U. S. based Liberian online agency, the climax of this interest is my recent attendance of the Panos Institute West Africa initiated Regional Workshop on ICT issues. This workshop has introduced to me a new dynamism in journalism, and brought to sharp focus the participation of the ordinary citizens in shaping their destiny through the dissemination of information. The discussion at this added more to may achievements, especially having discussed the channels and ways they are used to ensure that the ordinary people participate and have a say in the governance process I for instance through the use of the cyber communication on internet and mobile phones. This has arouse my interest in the information communication technology of information societies, and they way these channels of communication help the people to participate in decision making processes that affect their well-being through person-to-person and person-to-institution contacts. I will appreciate if I should participate in more of these workshops, to explore new dynamism in area of concern so as to enhance my potentialities and my contribution to society and humanity. My dear readers, this is the first of the series of articles about my experiences of life - I mean experiences covering my very existence. Many more will follow.

About the Author:
The Author of this article, Bill K. Jarkloh, is a career journalist. He edited several Liberian Newspapers, including The NEWS, The ANALYST, The POST etc. He won the Press Union of Liberia's Best Feature Writer of the Year award and held the title for three consecutive years from 2001-2004. Bill is a senior student of the University of Liberia reading Mass Communication and minor in Sociology. At present, he writes for the FrontPageAfrica online outlet based in the United States as a Monrovia correspondent and is editing the NEW VISION Newspaper based in Monrovia at his free hours. Bill is the Executive Officer of the Embassy of Ghana for Information. He is traditionally married to pretty Ms. Korpo Kortimai, a Woman and Child right advocate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cuban Pathologist Finishes 2nd Autopsy in 'Angel' Death: Ghanaians Investigating

The Ministry of Justice has disclosed that the second autopsy performed on the body of the late 13-year old Miedeh Angel Togba has been concluded and the report will be released after the on-going investigation is concluded by the investigating team brought in from Ghana.

Photo: President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf: vows to bring perpetrator to justice

According to a U. S. based online outlet,, Liberian Liberia’s Minister of Justice, Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks informed journalists today that the Cuban pathologist has since concluded her work and has returned home.

He said the report was satisfactory and Government has explicate confidence in the credibility and experience of the Cuban pathologist with 27 years experience in the profession.

“The investigation is proceeding along the lines that we expect. It is proceeding rapidly,” Cllr. Banks said.

Photo:Little Angel Togba: Sedduced and killed - for what?

Additionally, the three detectives that were also flown in from Ghana are now scrutinizing the autopsy report to further their investigation in collaboration with officers of the Liberia National Police.

Photo:Hans Williams: Is he at fault?

Cllr Banks said that the detectives have been closely looking at the photographs; they have also gone back to look more closely at the crime scene; they’ve also done extensive interviews with people with information as to what may or may not have occurred on that day. “All of these are things the detectives have been proceeding with,” he said.

Justice Minister Banks said Government will make the autopsy public as soon as the detectives conclude their investigation and make recommendations.

He called on all (journalists, rights groups and family members) to stop speculating on the outcome of the second autopsy which they have not even seen.

Photo:Justice Minister Philips Banks: "Autopsy Is Confidential..."

Cllr. Banks noted that the autopsy is confidential and would be released at the appropriate time by his Ministry after the conclusion of the investigation by the Ghanaian investigators.

The 13-year old Angel Togba, on 30th November 2007, allegedly hung herself in the bathroom of her guardian, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Williams.

Liberia’s Solicitor-General, Cllr. Tiawan Gongle announcing the outcome of the first autopsy said there was no foul play; however, rights, civil society and family of the deceased questioned the report.

Cllr. Banks, later told journalists that the report read by the Solicitor-General was inconclusive; rather it was a progress report.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf directed the Justice Minister to conduct another independent autopsy on the body to determine the cause of death; thereby satisfying all affected parties.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Brawl Saddles Presidential Nomination, Ex-Minister Sees Govt Illegitimate
01/21/08 - Bill K. Jarkloh, FPA Staff Writer

In the wake of public brawl resulting from the appointment of regarding what is referred to as the appointment of Cllr. Comfort Natt as Judge of the Debt Court, a former Liberian official, Dr. Vamah Kanneh says a review of the Comprehensive Peace Accord has rendered the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration illegitimate.

According to a report, Comfort Natt was the Judge of the Labor Court of Montserrado County, and has been nominated to the Debt Court to replace Judge James Jones who is also transferred to another court by the President.

Dr. Kanneh, speaking on the Renaissance Communication Inc (RCI) Radio news, reasons that the Ellen Administration has come to power through the illegitimate arrangement of the CPA. He said the elections that were held did not consider such constitutional provision as the 10 year-residency clause amongst others, and wondered whether the Ellen Government that is a product will not be breaching the

He called on the Liberia Bar Association (LNBA), the Trial Judges Association of Liberia, and the Supreme Court of Liberia to provide legal explanation on the current debate surrounding the appointment of Cllr. Comfort Natt as Judge of the Debt Court of Liberia.

“In my lay man’s mind, I afraid that the President might be interfering with judiciary by the appointment of Comfort Natt, and if these matters are not corrected the Executive Branch may pretty soon subdue the Judiciary,” Dr. Kanneh, a former Minister of Health and former Transport Minister averred. His comment comes against the backdrop of public outcry of against the transfer of a judge from the Debt Court to another court to give room for the appointment of Cllr. Natt to that court as the presiding Judge. This decision is being criticized by the association of trial Judges of Liberia. The Association considered the appointment of Cllr. Natt to a Court already presided over by Judge James Jones just for the transfer of the latter to the Tax Court as a violation of the Constitution which says judges shall preside for life, and also noted that such decision by the Executive is an interference of the function of the court.

Some other legal pundits reasoned that the transfer of judges should be left with the Chief Justice whom is the most senior authority and head of the Judicial Branch of Government s shave it that.

Recently the Liberty Party (LP) of Cllr. Charles Brumskine and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of football legend George Manneh “Oppong” Weah denounced the appointment of Cllr. Natt as Judge to the Debt Court of Liberia.

The two political parties see Cllr. Natt appointment as breach of the Liberian Constitution. In a joint statement, LP and CDC cited Article 72 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia provides that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and judges of the subordinate courts of record shall be retired at the age of seventy.

Besides, the two parties argued that judges by provision of Article 71, which says the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia and judges of subordinate court of records shall hold office during good behavior. They may be removed upon impeachment and conviction by the Legislature based on proved misconduct or gross breach of duty, inability to perform the functions of their office or convictions in a court of law for treason, bribery or other infamous crimes.

The two political parties said the Constitutional breach by President Ellen Johnson as evidenced by the removal of Judge Jones from office is an impeachable offense, and are therefore calling for the reversal of Cllr. Natt’s appointment as debt Court Judge or be impeached from office as President of Liberia.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Laurence Bropleh has reacted to the criticisms heaped against President Sirleaf for the naming of Cllr. Natt as Judge for the debt Court.

Dr. Bropleh said the President has in keeping with the Constitution nominated Judge Natt to the Debt Court pending Senate confirmation.

The Information Minister further said the Constitution has empowered the President to nominated judges for confirmation and subsequent appointment, saying that this was just what the President did.

It can be recalled that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made a number of appointment during which an Executive Mansion release notes that the President nominated Cllr. Natt to the Debt Court pending the Senate’s confirmation.

Those appointed at the time include Mr. Ian Yhapp, Chairman, Board of Directors, Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Mr. Michael Slewion, Director General, Commission on Higher Education, Ministry of Education and Mr. Andrew Togba Davies, Magistrate, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Others are Mr. Winsley Nanka was named Deputy Auditor General for Audits, General Auditing Commission (GAC) and Ms. Elizabeth Tubman, Deputy Auditor General for Administration, General Auditing Commission (GAC) amongst others.