Wednesday, April 23, 2008

UN Secretary Feneral Expresses Commitment & Support

...To Liberia's Recovery Process

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon arrives in Monrovia late Monday evening.

Monrovia -

“I was very much impressed and overwhelmed by such very warm welcome at the airport upon my arrival,” the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Radio in an exclusive following his arrival to Liberia late Monday evening.

He said he was visiting Liberia to express his strong support and the commitment of the United Nations to help the Liberian Government and people overcome its socio-economic and political challenges. “At the same time, I hope the Liberian leadership and people will continue to exert their efforts to make their country more democratic based on norms and procedures as well as make the country more prosperous.”

He said he was very pleased to visit Liberia for the first time in his capacity as UN Secretary General to see first hand the progress that Liberia has made and is making with the cooperation of the United Nations. “As this is a country that has experienced a long conflict and now is in the process of peace-building, I just wanted to bring a strong message to the Government and people of the United Nations commitment to support their noble efforts to bring peace, stability and development,” the UN Secretary General emphasized; noting emphatically his admiration for Africa and Liberia’s first female President, Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her leadership in bringing peace and stability to this country.

On whether the UN still considers Liberia as a country in crisis, Mr. Ban replied in the negative saying that this country is in a peace consolidation phase which is gradually drawing to a close and would soon lead to normalcy.

He said Liberia, during the last four and half years, has made tremendous progress in the area of peace building. Mr. Ban said that he was very proud over the achievements that Liberia has undergone since the end of the civil war in the area of peace-building, strengthening their relationship with their neighbors including ECOWAS, as well as enhancing good governance.

As regards the planned drawdown and what the Mission would look like, Mr. Ban said he has made recommendations to the UN Security Council for the first phase of the drawdown plan which has set September 2008 for the phased drawdown of military and police; this has been approved. He noted that based on core benchmarks, the Security Council will then consider the second phase of the drawdown. “I have also discussed with President Johnson Sirleaf about the eventual three phase drawdown plan which lapse in 2010,” he stated; adding, “This drawdown will be done in a gradual step-by-step manner so that it wouldn’t create any negative impact to this peace consolidation process.”

Mr. Ban noted furthered that even during the drawdown phases, UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes will continue to operate geared towards the country’s development efforts.

The UN Secretary General said even though the country is lagging behind in the area of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he was quite confident that over the next five years, through the peace consolidation process, Liberia will be known for enhancing its democratic process, economic development, and transparency.

When questioned about calls from Liberians on the UN travel ban and assets freeze lists to have their names removed or be heard since the reasons for them being placed on these lists no longer exists with former Liberian President Charles Taylor now facing trial at The Hague, the UN Secretary General made it emphatically clear that decisions to remove names from the travel ban list rests solely with the UN Security Council Committee concerning Liberia.

“I’m aware that the Committee is engaged in reviewing the list in light of the developments in Liberia. A mechanism exists by which individuals on the list can appeal to the Security Council Sanctions Committee,” he said; adding, “I understand two persons have already been removed from the travel ban list through this mechanism.”

On the larger sub-Saharan Africa scene with regards recent problems over the rise in the international prices of food and oil and how is it affecting the work of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and how does it plan to deal with the issue as most relief food is purchased from the same major suppliers who are deciding to reduce their exports?

Mr. Ban emphasized that this is a very serious issue which he has already taken up in close coordination with the international community, noting that it does have a very negative impact especially WFP and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

He said these two UN agencies are experiencing shortage of their resources. “WFP has made an urgent appeal to donors to fill this missing gap. However, in a longer term, this will also negatively affect our efforts to realize the MDGs. I’m afraid that it will affect the poorest of the poor in the world mostly in African countries,” Mr. Ban disclosed.

He has decided to urgently create a task force where eminent experts and policy authorities including international financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund will participate. “On the basis of their recommendations, I’m going to take actions to address this very serious issue so that the international community will be able to help those people overcome these acute shortages,” Mr. Ban said; noting that unfortunately, they have seen many protests and riots in many parts of the world including Haiti, Egypt, Burkina Faso. As such the international community needs to importantly address this issue with the greatest sense of urgency.

On the question of whether an African solution through the African Union (AU) for resolving African conflicts a real option and whether it is in fact working? Mr. Ban said the UN continues to maintain a very strong and close partnership with the AU in addressing many serious political and regional conflicts, development, human rights issues. “This is a very important pillar of our work in addressing many important African challenges.”

He citied an example where there was a very important debate at the Security Council that saw the involvement of many African and European Heads of States and Government discussed how to strengthen partnership between the UN and AU and how to strengthen the UN overall capacity and cooperative relationship with regional organizations. He said it was an encouraging one and is committed to work closely with AU in addressing African challenges.

He noted that main challenges facing the UN at this time as the pillar that comprises Peace & Security and Development and Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ban shortly addresses the joint session of the 52nd National Legislature at the Capitol Building.

Following his address to the joint session of the 52nd National Legislature, Mr. Ban will visit the Foreign Ministry for an official photograph and will sign the Guest Book.

He will also meet with members of the Cabinet and raps up his visit with a press conference on the ground floor at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Following lunch hosted by the Vice President Boakai at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ban and delegation departs to the James Spriggs Payne Airport where he will take a helicopter ride to the Roberts International Airport where he will continue his trip to Burkina Faso, the third stop on his West African tour

Travel Ban, Assets Lift Rests on Security Council

...UN Chief Hears Liberians' Plea

FPA Staff Report

Monrovia -

“The decisions on this travel ban and assets freeze are made by the United Nations Security Council. There are relevant UN Security Council Committees dealing with the Liberian case. Therefore, I would suggest that if there are any such requests, the parties or people concern will have to bring this/his case to the focal point of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on Liberia.

The website quoted Mr. Ban as saying, “As I understand there have been two such cases where two individuals have been de-listed upon their appeal and this should be a subject of discussion at the UN Security Council Committee members.”

UNited Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressing the Liberian Legislature yestarday at the Capitol Building

This was the response of the UN Secretary-General when one of three questions was posed to him during a brief interaction with the journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.

Earlier before addressing the 52nd National Legislature, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bomi County’s Representative Alex Tyler drew Mr. Ban’s attention to the travel ban against officials of the former Liberian President Charles Taylor, his associates as well as other Liberians, including some members of the National Legislature.

“A few years ago these individuals were placed on this ban. Whatever the reasons were for the ban have not been fully comprehended by Liberians; even more so when they have not been charged in a court of law. Therefore, for most Liberians, the motive for the ban seems obsolete and parochial.

“Our legislature is besieged by appeals from many quarters including our constituencies to have this matter addressed especially under the momentary efforts that are being undertaken to bring healing, reconciliation, pacification, not only here in Liberia where there is a new leadership; but also in neighboring Sierra Leone where it is progressing under its own democratic leadership,” Speaker Tyler said.

He furthered that as Mr. Taylor is presently in The Hague undergoing due process, the Speaker prayed that the travel ban be reviewed and those placed on it be given due process to afford them the opportunity to defend themselves.

Addressing a press conference on his visit to Liberia, the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban said any decision on the travel restriction of those placed on the travel ban is made by the Security Council.

He said concerns raised by the National Legislature on the matter will be the subject of discussion at the next UN Security Council meeting on Liberia.

On other issues Mr. Ban reiterated that his visit was to see first-hand the achievements of the Liberian Government in post-conflict recovery.

On the issue of being disappointed as the Liberian president is out of the country while he’s visiting, Mr. Ban said he was aware of her planned absence because of the unavoidable scheduling problems.

He said he planned the visit to the sub-region at a very short notice specifically to attend the opening of 12th UNTAC meeting in Accra, Ghana. He said he then decided to visit the countries in the sub-region that have UN peacekeeping operations to acquaint himself of developments there.

Mr. Ban said President Johnson Sirleaf did call him up to inform him about the scheduling problems and he told her to go ahead with her planned travel schedule. “As such, he noted that that should not have been any concern or regret as the Vice President and other members of Government were quite capable of discussing the issues with him during the visit though very brief.

He told journalists during the short stakeout at the Foreign Ministry that he also wanted to place emphasis on UN peace-building efforts and on highlighting progress on the Millennium Development Goals. “The recent worldwide protests over soaring global food prices has demonstrated the need for Liberia to meet the MDGs in order to be safe from the weaknesses of globalization while taking advantage from its myriad opportunities for growth and prosperity,” Mr. Ban said.

He said his visit afforded him the opportunity to see and realize that Liberia still faces significant development and reconstruction challenges. He, however, noted that the Government is working hard, in partnership with the international community, to surmount these challenges. As a result the international community has been generous and urged them to continue to support Liberia’s recovery

“The opportunities that are being presented to Liberia to improve the country should not be squandered,” he urged; adding that it will be equally important for Liberians themselves to show their resolve to pursue peace, end corruption and improve the economy.

Mr. Ban reassured Liberians that as UNMIL has begun the first phase of its drawdown process, it will proceed in a cautious and gradual manner. “We will not put at risk the gains that have been made so far. A gradual withdrawal should allow the Government sufficient time to assume full responsibility for national security.”

Touching on the issue of rape among the Liberian population and sexual exploitation and abuse, he reiterated the UN policy on zero tolerance for these practices. During a meeting he had with UN staff, he said such conduct goes against everything that the UN stands for. “It undermines the trust that is essential for our success in this country and elsewhere.”

He expressed his regrets that rape continues to be the most commonly committed crime in Liberia. He used the occasion to call on traditional and community leaders and elders to take the lead in combating the scourge of rape and other acts of sexual and gender based violence. “Violence against women should not be tolerated,” he stressed.

He ensured that UNMIL, together with the UN funds, programmes and agencies in Liberia, will continue to support the Government, under one umbrella, in meeting its humanitarian and development objectives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's A Shame That Government reneging On Security

…It's Also An Evidence of Police Abandonment of Security The Masses

By: Bill Jarkloh

Hundreds of residents of Monrovia have been holding meetings intended to formulate vigilante forces to counter and help curb the increasing waves of armed robbery in the city, but these vigilante forces or community watch teams may have their own disadvantages that could operate against innocent people.
However, the meetings come in the wake of persistent attacks of armed robbers on peaceful citizens at varying intervals around the city which continues to claim lives and victimized people under the cover of darkness.
One of such meeting was held at the G. W. Gibson High School Campus where residents of Perry Street and Capital Bypass converged and expressed their misgiving of the persistent armed robbery and criminal attacks on peaceful people under the cover of darkness.
The residents cited the instance of a recent visit of the armed criminals when the marauding armed robbers raged hell on the Perry Street where they victimized an entire family, chopped the wife and wasted acid water on the son and his father. The armed robbers also reportedly surfaced in New Krutown where two of them were fortunately killed in the Point-4 area while two others who were escaping to seek protection under at the Magisterial Court were chased by residents who almost mob the court and nearly set it ablaze to release the robbers to them.
On the other hand, residents at the G. W. Gibson meeting cited other incidents of armed robbery instances that were reported from the Paynesville, Old-Road Sinkor and other areas. They noted that the worst feature of this menace is the staying away of police patrols from coming to the rescue of the citizens from the robbers armed with machetes, rifles and/or pistols when emergency numbers publicized – for instance 911 and 355 – are rung. The robbers are sometimes armed with knives, sticks and deadly acid water of late.
“Apparently, the government is unable to curb the armed robbery as evident by the reluctance of the police and UNMIL security forces to rescue victims ,” a resident remarked, saying, “the residents must move now to take their own security into their hands.” This is evident that the government is reneging on its security responsibility, if people should take their own security into their hands.
The meeting was attended by Montserrado County Representative Rufus Neufville who donated L$10,000 to the community residents for the upkeep of the Community Watch team – otherwise referred to a vigilante group.

People's Security & Its Odds
At present, watch teams are all over Monrovia. They are the new anti-armed robbery forces that have basically took over police duties. Instead of police patrols to scare away the criminals at night, watch teams are all over the place, creating difficulties for ordinary travelers at night, who might have genuine reason for staying up at night. The dangerous thing about the watch-team vigilante groupings in neighborhoods or community is that it restricts free movement across communities or one may innocently be considered criminal and innocent harmed by members of vigilante groups or community teams an enemy of his may be serving on which he may not belong.
Besides, the vigilante kind of security that springs up as a result of police reneging on security responsibilities may victimize one e whose detractors may see him at night going about their normal routine or perhaps making his way home.
Finally, the idea of Community Watch Teams or formation of vigilante groups across the city is though helpful in curbing the increasing wave of armed robber, it is equally hazardous. Its hazard is constraints posed to neighborhoods or insolvent community members, the possibility of such security platform being used by some enemies against their possible targets, the restriction of free movement and the mob action against perceived, accused or suspected criminals that may deny them access to the criminal justice system that should establish their innocence and guilt and therefore set them free or proscribe penalties for equitable to the gravity of their offence(s).

MEDIATIC Project & Competitive Experiences of Bloggers in West Africa

In the framework of the Haayo-Mediatic project, you are kindly invited, for the second time, to produce stories on the following theme: “Blogging in West Africa”. We have the pleasure to invite you to send one or two (not already published) article(s) on this theme. Each of the articles should contain between 5, 000 and 6, 000 letters.
The article can deal with blogging by the media, civil society or political actors, the state of the art, the issues and perspectives. It can be based on interviews, on the analysis of the issues around this subject or on both. The articles will be appreciated by our teams and the articles thus selected will be published on the project’s web site.
At least ten (10) articles will be selected according to their pertinence, the quality of their contents and writing. Each selected article will be granted FCFA 100,000 (about USD 200, the reference currency being F CFA) . The Haayo Mediatic project is sponsored by OSIWA. Other calls will be launched during this project’s first year of implementation.
Selected articles are also designed to be collected in a paperback publication (that will be made available to relevant national and international stakeholders on a non commercial basis). The authors accord PIWA the right to publish the productions received. PIWA reserves the right not to award grants if the articles submitted are not up to an appreciable quality. The decisions made by PIWA are supreme and beyond all possible dispute. All participants in this contest implicitly accept the rules presented in this note.
Francophone West African journalists as well as English speaking ones are eligible – The articles can therefore be sent either in English or in French.
Your articles must be sent by electronic mail to AND to no later than 30th March, 2007. Please join your resume and a note attesting that the article has not been published before.
Send your articles to/For more information: Panos Institute West Africa
Tel: +221 849 16 66

Blogging in West Africa
Now, evidence abound in the West African Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that shows it has taken a new dimension with the evolution and advent of blogging.
The web call blogs
Now, evidence abound in the West African Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that shows it has taken a new dimension with the evolution and advent of blogging.
This was boosted with the acceptance of ICT and strengthened by the massive roll-out of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), which has pushed up the need to improve on value added services such as the Internet in the country, as the subscriber-base rises.
Blogging, an ICT industry term is daily increasing reception among various upcoming professionals since the web advancement caught up with the region and in Nigeria and Ghana precisely, Hence, the need to examine blogging by parts of media, civil society and political class in West African region at large.
Primarily defined as act of keeping a dairy on the web, weblog often referred to as a web-log, weblog or blogging, while those involve in carrying out this mission of pushing more information through the ‘community journalism’ module are known as bloggers. Also, blogs have since grown into what some experts categorized as push-button-publishing, a concept that has simplified its module of ownership and publication, which actually takes the push of a button to accomplish.
So, to own a weblog, a potential blogger requires, a computer system connected to the Internet and then make a choice out of the several Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) templates. This entails that programmers; those who coded the initial formula for weblog made it free for users to have access to the programmable codes and change same at will, without hiccups of proprietary.
This is unlike proprietary software being propagated by the likes of Microsoft and Adobe, were simply paid for; align to FOSS activists believe that this attitude contributed to the widening of digital divide between several stratums in the society.
Creating blog …
Creating a weblog lasts for less than 10 minutes, depending on the skilfulness of the potential-blogger and the speed of the Internet access.
And by simply logging on to any weblog-inspired sites such as,, and to name a few, borders on issues of paramount importance to an individual and content generation could be consistently raised among peers both locally and globally, and given the ‘global village’ epistle, with the choice of making it FOSS affair or private like in
Typically, weblogs are initiated on non-profit basis though dated with logs as in diary, which could be updated daily, weekly or as frequently as possible. It’s also published in reverse chronological order, making it handy on a specific subject with sub-themes. Name it and there is a blog for it and could contain recorded ideas too.
13 blind men?
Ten online media websites examined during the course of our investigations across seven acclaimed national dailies in Nigeria and three magazines, additional to three Ghanaian media websites. Outcome showed that only one media website reflected a weblog column in its home page, which is an intension to tap into the future and benefits of weblog through engaging its readership and obviously getting some newsworthy materials as feedbacks. Incidentally this column found in Daily Champion, was not active.
Others consist of Nigerian Tribune, The Guardian Nigeria, The Nation, The Sun, The Punch, Vanguard, The News, NewsWatch and Weekly Trust.
Ordinarily weblogs afford people with the ICT-power to write, share experiences by posting them online, and through a new global diary format called ’a web in our log’ by some industry analysts. As for neighbouring Ghana, our investigations showed that media organisations in this domain are not distanced to ICT but the effect of blogs and consequent usage or propagation is totally absent. Study also revealed that an Accra-based Ghanaian Chronicle, styled to be independent and published thrice weekly, does not have weblog column, while Daily Guide also based in Accra was very difficult to access and Ghanaian Times was not different either.
Nigerian Journalists blog!
Today, blogs in Nigeria and Ghana are visible on and search would unveil estimated 289 blogs on Nigeria sorted out by relevance, cutting across arts, blogs, books, business, design, entertainment, humour, life, media, movies, ICT, music, news, personal, politics, sports and travel among others.
As-such there is a Nigeria Official blog-DTI with 60 blogs linked to it that definitely have to do with Nigeria, even as specific events could be sourced through and positive focus on Nigeria. Equally, Nigerian ICT-media has explicitly risen to the occasion with weblogs dedicated to the sector, including ITRealms Online and ICTNewsNow to name a few.
Research also informed that very few journalists actually have access to the Internet, while very little have access at homes; even at offices journalists find it difficult to blog because supervisors could be watching which would amount to abandonment of duty.
Mr. President’s blog!
Significantly one of the April Presidential election in Nigeria, Prof. Pat Utomi, has been severally described as the new face of Nigerian technocrats, mostly as he has a blog called; where he share his thoughts and actions towards the new Nigerian dream hinged on WordPress, an FOSS component. Apart from being the first Nigerian presidential aspirant to take such a step, it goes to show Prof. Utomi’s passion for ICT-entrenched growth and need to engender this factor in every facets of the economy. In so doing, its seen by stakeholders as an alternative to reaching out to millions of Nigerians in diaspora and specifically the youth, whose embrace to blogging is on the rise. Experience is said to be the best teacher, especially if shared the Utomi way and expected to boost ICT penetration in the country.
Blogger’s Voice
Speaking on impression of blogs in the region, Nigerian blogger cum ICT Consultant, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, said that there are a number of blogs and bloggers in West Africa both in terms of citizenship and location, but this does not compare favourably with the high volume of blog traffic that exist in some other regions of the global.
“In West Africa, Nigeria commands a high number of blogs and bloggers. Blogs on Nigeria and by Nigerians cut across various discussion topics are a number of platforms through which some of these blogs can be seen as a group; the Nigerian Weblog Ring, Nigerian Blog Aggregator and Global Voices,” he said, calling for more collaboration among bloggers, especially with the much-needed task of popularising blogs as a tool of local content propagation, citizen participation and tool for development.
He said that blogs impact positively in Nigeria, especially this election year, even as he blogs about the elections among other topics and judging from the comments, people are reading politics a lot these days. _ He noted that some candidates are going online, citing Prof. Utomi’s Notes, where he shares stories from the field, campaign pictures and response to questions raised thereof.
On way forward, he advocated for collaboration among bloggers to sharpen each other, learn more and jointly to take advantage of blogging, declaring, “Let’s drop guns and pick up keyboards. It’s time for West Africans to blog!” Even as improved Internet access would naturally facilitate increased number of bloggers from this region.
Efforts by media practitioners could boost blogging in the region, if various stakeholders group like the JACITAD set up in 2003 with 75% membership drawn from the media, key into available options in partnership with local, international and service provision entities to make this dream a realty through workshops narrowed down to webloging, Internet-ready Personal Computer ownership structure for media practitioners and annual prizes for best-of-blogs in West Africa.
Author : Remmy Nweke

Blogging: The Ghanaian journalist’s experience
There are few bloggers in Ghana, including some few committed journalists who are proud to flaunt their newly acquired competence in Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) publicly.
They comprise Emmanuel Bensah, a web journalist with the Third World Network, Isaac Tetteh of Radio Gold, Enoch Darfoh Frimpong of the Daily Graphic and Rayborn Bulley of Radio Ghana.
Mr Bensah is currently the acting President of the Ghana Association of Journalists in ICT who seizes every opportunity to promote blogging.
His blogs, which goes by the addresses: and
The first blog seeks to chronicle his trials and tribulations (perspectives, queries, worries) of living and working in Ghana, with a very critical and irreverent analysis of life in Ghana whilst the other looks at general issues affecting his life, but which cuts across EVERY INDIVIDUAL, with some slant that goes for someone who’s come back to his home country after years, and is both reflecting and reminiscing about the trajectory of his life. He also has links and side issues on WSIS and ICTs in general and has five other blogs to his credit.
Mr Bensah is among just about 10 journalists in Ghana with knowledge about blogging.
Some veteran journalists have attributed the lack of interest in blogging to the fact that bloggers in certain countries have been arrested sanctioned or sacked from their work places for publishing articles deemed to be unethical or harmful for public consumption.
Such incidents abound in some Arab countries but experts dismiss it as too remote to take away the benefits and uses of blogging.
An executive of penplusbytes, an international institute for ICT journalism based in Ghana, Kwame Ahiabenu II, has blamed the lacklustre attitude of Ghanaian journalists to blogging on what he called practical challenges such as the lack of skills, access to ICT facilities and time constraint.
All the 10 regional capitals and some districts have Internet facilities, yet a number of journalists lack the basic skills to take advantage of the service.
A recent survey undertaken by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) with membership of more than 500 revealed that less than 20 per cent of Ghanaian journalists have ICT skills. The skill to blog is therefore a remote venture.
Steadfastly penplusbytes has carried on with its objective to create awareness on ICTs among journalists and had on several occasions published articles on blogs to educate journalists in Ghana and in the West African sub-region.
Despite these efforts, journalists in Ghana still find it difficult to create and manage blogs. Interestingly most of the journalists who go through training on blogging end up forgetting the processes involved. One of such training sessions was organised in April 2006 for 20 journalists.
Only three of the journalists who benefited from the training session including Mr Bensah are active bloggers.
The French Embassy in collaboration with the GJA also organised a workshop for journalists in 2005 but the tutorials for blogging was in French which made it difficult for the participants in the Anglophone West African country to grab the techniques.
In the face of the numerous challenges inhibiting the Ghanaian journalist from blogging, Ahiabenu believes there can be a way out.
He is of the view that journalists can seek dialogue with their workplace management to facilitate access for blogging.
Ahiabenu says the local Ghana Association of Journalists on ICT (GHAJICT) can collaborate with the umbrella association-the GJA, to design guidelines that would protect journalists from interferences that could occur when they seek to give their opinion through blogs.
Journalists in most countries already have certain privileges that protect them in the performance of their duties and to Ahiabenu Ghana could emulate the example. There is a test case of a group by the name ‘media bloggers’ who are seeking to be granted the same privileges and protection as journalists in the United States.
Ahiabenu says the benefits of blogging far outweigh the reasons for non-blogging.
According to a web definition, a blog in simple terms is a web site, where one can write on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, to enable visitors to read what is new for their comment through e-mail.
Since blogging was launched almost five years ago, it has helped to reshape the web, impacted on politics, shaken up journalism, and enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect with others.
Blogs are easy to create and have been identified as the convenient way to publish anything at all for a wider public through the Internet. In most cases, search engines give results on topics from blogs.
Journalists in Nigeria are reported to be far ahead in blogging within the West African sub-region even though Ghana is more advanced in the establishment of ICT infrastructure with teledensity penetration of both rural and urban communities reaching 25 per cent at the end of 2006.
Ghanaian journalists have been slow in catching up with the use of blogs and according to Ahiabenu the percentage of bloggers is at about one to two per cent.
Penplusbytes is inculcating the culture of blogging among Ghanaian journalists and to Ahiabenu journalists can allow the process to thrive by asking their editors to edit their stories in order to ensure that there are no excesses that would bring about sanctions from higher authorities.
In addition there should be guidelines on blogging and the engagement of managers to facilitate the acquisition of ICT facilities.
Author : Emily Nyarko

Weed Out the Rotten Ones From the Liberia national Police

An Open Letter to Director of Police

Dear Madam;

Although delayed due to my busy schedule, I write to formally complain Officer Boakai Kamara of the Liberia National Police for trampling on my liberty by using the name of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Republic of Liberia. Officer Kamara on Sunday morning, 24th February, 2008 used the name of the Minister of justice to deny Me, Bill K. Jarkloh – a Monrovia correspondent of the FrontPageAfrica.Com online and Executive Officer for Information at the Embassy of Ghana in Monrovia to denied me my right to treatment and relief when he told the Executive Director of ZODWOCA, an Immigration Personnel who happens to be my sister - Martha Jarkloh - and the Driver of the Ambassador of Ghana ( Mohammed Bashiru) that he could not release to these people because the Justice Minister ordered me detained on account of simple assault for a matter that involved the Sorbor George family and me.

Madam IGP, it all happened when one Sorbor George and his brother jumped at me at my backyard, which faced the George family’s apartment, for no genuine reason after another journalist, David Targbeh who was sitting with George and his brothers behind my kitchen called to greet me. My happiness to see this journalist and to welcome him in the area by a reciprocal greeting was fouled when George’s brother inflicted on my foreface two fists while Gorge simultaneously pulled my feet from under me, giving me the cause to apply self-defense to free my self from them. Following intervention of some neighbors who pleaded with me to let go the temptation which I yielded to, Sorbor George and family played smart and invited the police on Me, Bill Jarkloh, under the pretext I, Bill, had fought George’s wife.

Madam, I did intelligently cooperate with the police as a law abiding person. I was driven first to Camp Johnson Road Police Station in an UNMIL vehicle; thereafter, I was brought here at the Central Police Headquarters in a Star Radio vehicle, where Officer Boakai and a group of police officers at the charge-of-quarter received statements from me, George, George’s wife and his brother, one Natt. I was then charged with “Simple Assault”. It was thereafter Officer Boakai, as Commander at the Charged of Quarters refused every effort by the Executive Director of ZODWOCA Inc, the Senior Chauffeur of the Embassy of Ghana, Sergeant Jefferson Blaye who is the Deputy Commander of the Internal Security Section of the LNP to have me released to them for treatment until the following day when I would be brought back for processing. Besides, Boakai did not listen to my plea for police to take me to a clinic of hospital so that I will be treated at my own expense, but rather told officers who took over from him that It was the Justice Minister that had incarcerated me so they should not allow anyone free me for that night.

It may interest you, Madam IGP, to know that officer Boakai’s claim for refusing these attempts to allow me go home to treat my self was, “Unit 10 has interest in the case; Justice Minister ordered the man detained and says no one should release him.” What puzzles me, Madam IGP, is the claim that the Justice Minister who has nothing to do with the matter between the Gorge family and me to have reportedly ordered me detained in Sorbor George’s behalf, thereby denying me treatment for wounds inflicted on me when the family jumped at me in a fight. I sincerely hold the view that the Justice Ministry’s involvement in such petty case as “simple assault” and my denial of treatment throughout that day was against the spirit of rule of law, justice and fairplay this government has stood for, and has violated the legal maxim that the accused is innocent unless proven guilty.

Beside, I was accordingly humiliated, denied treatment of the wounds he sustained from the fight and thrown into the police holding cell when I should have gone home and prepare my legal defense for court action. This act is on the part of Boakai using the police uniform and the name of the Minister of Justice to violation the basic rights I should enjoy in such a situation until if I was proven guilty contravenes it shows malice and prejudices against me, especially in exercise of my right to medical treatment and liberty. I must say that I could not have absconded the country for simple assault if attempts to have me gone home for treatment were not made fruitless by officer Boakai. This is because my engagements in the society are far more than “simple assault case.” For instanced, I am contributing-editor of the NEW VISION, Monrovia Correspondent of the online media institution on part time basis, and the Executive Officer for Information at the Embassy of Ghana on a full time basis. I believe I deserve treatment more that officer Boakai gave me at the expense of the Justice Minister’s name, and I am therefore calling for an immediate investigation of this matter in a bid to to establish the following:

1. Was Boakai telling the truth that Justice Minister said no one should stand for me to go home until the court processing the next day?

2. Was it right for the Justice Minister to order me detained simply because one Sorbor George’s family and I had misunderstanding?

3. What was the Justice Minister’s interest in ordering a family head detained because that family head and another family are in a conflict that does not concern him as Minister of Justice – especially when such was not treasonable to warrant his personal intervention?

4. If it wasn’t true that the Justice Minister ordered me detained and instructed Officer Boakai to ensure that I was not freed or treated, what had given him the courage to have used the name of such high profile official to detain a Liberia without regard to his basic rights.

5. And finally is Boakai the type of police officer the Liberia National Police wants to keep – one who uses the name of higher-ups to violate the rights of people?

Madam IGP, I rely on your timely action of this complaint as I belief the conduct of Officer Boakai, if publicized will be one of those that could detract the good intentions of the Liberian national Police in particular and the government in general.

With sentiments of our highest esteem.

Yours truly,

Bill K. Jarkloh
A Liberian Journalist