Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Unity Party Chair Escapes From Angry Youth

… As Partisans Demand Employment in Gov’t

By: Jeremiah Sarnor/Executive Mansion Reporter

Monrovia, Liberia: Angry partisans under the banner of the Progressive Youth of the ruling Unity Party led- government have intensified their demands for accommodation in the government while at the same time calling for the immediate resignation of several top brass of the party including the Chairman, Dr. Charles Clark and Mr. Hassan Kaizolu, National Youth Chair.

Addressing a news conference Monday, the spokesman of the group - Mr. Zenatana Sumbo, said the call for the resignation of Dr. Clark and Kaizolu and dozen other senior partisans is due to what he termed their failure to deliver to “the down trodden masses of the youth of the party.”

President Ellen Johnson explaining the Unity Party's development programmes to rural Liberians. Was she on her agenda the youth of the party?
According to him, their peaceful demonstration and demands for the resignation of the party officials is to enhance the effort in bringing about reform in the ruling party. In a pensive mood, Mr. Sumbo said the party chairman and executives of the various counties offices failed to provide basic incentives for other officials and also failed to empower their partisans through the provision of jobs for qualified and competent partisans.

He also attributed their demands to the officials’ failure to provide scholarships and to provide micro-financial loans for self-empowerment. In a related development, the senior senator of Maryland County John Ballout said he’s worried over what is obtaining in the ruling Unity Party.

Speaking to a team of journalists in Monrovia, Senator Ballout noted that the continued neglect of partisans of the UP by the executives of the party is not health for the party and expressed fear that the party might suffer defeat in the 2011 presidential election. He said lack of jobs and empowerment for its partisans will be a setback for the party if measures are not taken to correct the mistakes.

According to him, if the UP is to be successful in the 2011 elections, the party executives must set examples and immediately correct their mistakes, saying that he endorses the peaceful demonstration by the youths. He frowned on the attitude of party executives to close the headquarters of the party to it partisans who elected them.

He added that if the Unity Party does not stop the continuing demonstration, lack of respect for its partisans, they will suffer defeat in the 2011 general and presidential elections.

"The refugees Incident Is Isolated”

…Ambassador Says It Can’t Affect Bilateral Ties
By: Bill K. Jarkloh

The Ghanaian Ambassador to Liberia, Major General Francis Adu-Amanfoh says the current incident in involving Liberians in Ghana is an isolated situation that cannot affect Ghanaian-Liberian relations.

Ambassador Adu-Amanfoh said, “What’s happening in Ghana regarding the refugees crisis I will classify as an isolated case; it is not a regular feature and so both government are going what they can to resolve it within a friendly, brotherly and cordial atmosphere.”

Ghanaian Ambassador F. Adu-Amanfoh and Liberia's Foreign Minister Olubanke King-Akerele consulting in Voinjama on the refugee crisis in Ghana. It was during a cabinet retreat in Lofa County

The Ghanaian Ambassador made the statement in Voinjama, Lofa County when he attended a cabinet treat of the Liberian Government at the invitation of the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. The cabinet retreat was loaded with the refugees
crisis in Ghana, but the Presidential Spokesman, Cyrus Badio who addressed Journalists in Lofa described the conduct of the Liberians in Ghana as “a slap in the
face of Ghana”.

Badio was considering the crafting of the Comprehensive Peace According (CPA) in Accra in 2003, the hosting of thousands of Liberian refuses in Ghana and the vanguard role played by Ghanaian troops along with Nigerian soldiers that prepared the ground for
the rehatting of ECOWAS forces into UNMIL of which Ghana continues to sustain its forces.
Addressing the situation, the Ghana envoy said told a local radio station in Voinjama that the situation was provoked by some 600 Liberians acting in the name of refugees who have decided to demonstrate for US$1,000 and/or resettlement in a third country preferably in Europe and America.

Some of the Liberian refugees in Ghana who are making the demands. The want resettlement in a third country preferrably in Europe or America. Besides the want US$1,000 each - Are they reasonable enough?

Ambassador Adu-Amanfoh explained to Radio Kintoma FM 101.1 that the reports from Ghana were indicating that these 600 Liberians were preventing their
compatriots in Ghana from going about their normal duties of reintegrating themselves and their children from going to schools.

“The Ghanaian security therefore decided to intervene by removing the 600 from the camp to another camp to allow the others have the opportunity to go about their reintegration process,” the Ambassador explained. He said the President of Liberia had spoke with her Ghanaian counterpart, President John A. Kufuor, and that the issue was being handled.

The Government, according to information disclosed by President Sirleaf in Voinjama shortly after departure, had constituted a delegation headed by Foreign Minister Olubanke King-Akerele and dispatched them to Ghana to consult on resolving the crisis.

This was prior to the deportation of some 16 Liberians who were part of the refugees. It was gathered from Ghana that some of the demonstrators went naked in the streets in protest for their demands. Meanwhile, latest information emerging from the Ghanaian capital, Accra, says protesting Liberian refugees at the Buduburam Refugee Camp have left the football field where they have been holding daily sit-in for the past three weeks.
They have been demanding a thousand dollars each from the UN refugee agency for repatriation to Liberia.

The decision to leave their protest site, according to information, followed a meeting Monday with the advanced team of a Liberian government delegation headed by the Liberian Ambassador to Ghana. “Yesterday the refugee camp received a four-man delegation headed by the Liberian ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Rudolph Van-Ballmoos. They arrived at the camp and held a first-hand meeting with the Liberian refugees appealing to them to see how best they could down the protestation which has lasted for five weeks now,” he said.

The report said the meeting was a very successful one during which the refugees presented several petitions to the delegation.” The refugees gave a verbal petition to the Liberian delegation pleading that they are wishing to return to Liberian and that the 20 kilo allotted by the UNHCR to them is very inadequate, and that they are appealing to the UNHCR to increase the $100 to a $1,000 to enable them to return home and resettle themselves after 14 years of civil war.”

The report further that the refugees also told the visiting Liberian delegation that raids on the camp by Ghanaian security forces have caused men refugee to flee the camp into hiding. “They were appealing as well that due to the security raids which has caused all of the men to flee the camp and they are in hiding as we speak, that the Ghana government should be able to exercise restraint to cut this off so their men and brothers would return back to the refugee camp. And they are also requesting the more than 600 women and children that are being detained at the Kodiatbat Center in the eastern region
of Ghana to be returned to the refugee camp for them to be united once more with their families,” he said.

According to Mr. Cephas , a Liberian journalist on the camp having being satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, gathered their belongings and began to leave the football field where they have been protesting for five weeks. “Immediately as a result of the meeting, the ladies in more 200 plus roll up their mattresses, their mats, their lappas, and every belonging from the field and began to sing victorious songs, and that they wanted to return to Liberia and continue to match on with the delegation saying, we want to go, we want to go.

At that moment, immediately they began to set on fire all of the refuse that the caused on the football field and some of the stuff that they have built along the roadside were set on fire,” he said. Mr. Cephas said a high power Liberian government delegation headed by the foreign minister arrived in Ghana Monday and was scheduled to hold meetings with senior Ghanaian government officials, including President John Kufuor. But Cephas said he wasn’t sure whether the delegation would meet with the refugees.

Several Envoys Present Letters to Pres. Sirleaf

(MONROVIA-March 25, 2008): President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says her government is confident of achieving its development goals. The President expressed the optimism Tuesday when she received separately, the Letters of Credence of the Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Ireland, Kenya and Portugal.

Ambassadors presenting their Letters of Credence include His Excellency Kyle O’Sullivan of Ireland, His Excellency Daniel Koikai of Kenya and His Excellency Antonio Montenegro of Portugal, during ceremonies at the President’s Foreign Ministry office. In remarks, the Chief Executive praised Ireland for its continuous support, recalling that since 2004, Ireland has committed 8 million pounds towards Liberia’s reconstruction. The President welcomed the disclosure that Ireland wants to open a permanent office in Liberia.

Irish Ambassadior presenting credentials

In remarks with Ambassador Koikai, following the presentation of his letters of credence, the Liberian President spoke of her gratitude that Kenya has put in place a new government after its election crisis, and said Liberia looks forward to exploring concrete bilateral areas with Kenyan. During remarks with the Portuguese envoy, President Johnson Sirleaf spoke of Liberia’s potential to become a success story with the help of strong bilateral cooperation.

For his part, Irish Ambassador O’Sullivan assured the President of Ireland’s continuous support to Liberia. He said his country sees what he referred to as “a window of opportunity in Liberia.” Kenyan envoy Daniel Koikai stressed his endeavor to strengthen bilateral relations between both countries.

Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia

He said the political solution developed by Kenya after its election crisis is “accommodating of all political interests.” For his part, Portuguese Ambassador Montenegro also expressed his hope of working towards renewing ties with Liberia, and extended an invitation to the Liberian leader to visit Portugal.

The Ambassador og Kenya to Liberia sitting with President Sirleaf

Also present at the ceremonies were Acting Foreign Minister William Bull, Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs Simeon Cole, Assistant Foreign Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs Henry Fahnbulleh and Liberia’s Ambassador to France McKinley Thomas