Saturday, August 22, 2009

Young Professional Program Demands High Standards

… Pres. Sirleaf Points At Good GPA & Community Participation
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the President Young Professional Program (PYPP) will demand of qualified participants, high standards of performance in academic works and community; reports Bill K. Jarkloh.
The President also said although reward in terms of salaries of participants may not be that too big, participants stand top immensely benefit in its long term agenda. The President spoke at the Monrovia City Hall Thursday when she officially launched the PYPP
The PYPP which aligns with national Capacity Development Strategy is closely coordinated with Liberia’s civil service Agency, and the Ministry of Planning’s Capacity Development Unit. It is being implemented by these relevant government institutions in collaboration with Johns Snow Incorporated (JSI) Liberia.
In her remarks when she launched the program, the President said those that will be qualified will have to have talents that requires of them grade average and community service participation that would pull them out amongst the other from their your communities or in the schools or institutions, so as to be identified as the top ones who have the potential to become professionals.
“It will require talents because on the job their will be learning and knowledge sharing including building skills on computer training programs to enable you to build on the knowledge that is attained from the University,” President Sirleaf noted, indicating that the reward will not be so large in terms of the monthly pay they m ay put themselves as ones favored to go high in service when they shall have applied all the skills to be achieves while on the program.
“Just thing of it in a longer time when you enhance your talents when you work with people that will enable you to grow professionally, you would have put yourself becoming one of favored ones to go high in service when you shall have applied all the skills to be achieves while on the program,” she encourage the prospective participants.
She said the PYPP is one of the initiatives of her administration intended to for capacity building and directed towards using Liberians at home and in the diaspora to foster the country’s development objectives.
She name many other projects sponsored by American billionaire George Soro and others, who committed resources that will enable to incorporate high level Liberian professionals in the diaspora to return home and take up responsible position in government.
“The resources provided,” she said, “enable us to at least extend the opportunity cause to offer government salary as an incentive to come home.”
She also made reference to a program of the UNDP to repatriate Liberians home for a limited period of time which she noted has also providing them a salary scale that is more than the government can provide, and made mention of the Senior Executive Service (SES) Program, one intended to attract Liberians professionals at home and abroad to come and undergo program supported by wide range of donors - bilateral and some foundations - to provide money for the attraction of talents that are needed to carry on the task of managing the development program of Liberia.
The PYPP, a proxy of the Minister of Planning and Economic Affairs – Amara Konneh said, is a full time program and is not a part-time one and required for admission into the two years PYPP program include a current CV or résumé, a most recent college transcript and three letters of recommendations.
Speakers at the occasion, including Deputy Justice Minister for Administration Eva-Mae Mappy Morgan, a Liberian Fellow assigned at the Ministry of Education- Lincoln Ajoku, JSI’s PYPP Program Manager and fellow – Saah Charles N’Tow and Theresa Jordon who is the National Capacity Development Program at the Civil Service Agency have all spoken well of the President’s Young Professional Program.
Mr. Charles N’Tow disclosed how the PYPP will pay the young professionals some US$350 with transportation attached, saying that the first phase of the program is running for the next two years and may be expanded or extended after its first phase.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lofans Want “Bygone Be Bygone”

…Say Nothing Less Than Forgivingness Will Bring Genuine Peace

Residents of Lofa County have frowned on recommendations by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) suggestion prosecution for of actors of the Liberian war and sanctions against those considered supporters of the wars.

The position of the Lofans followed recent report quoting some Civil Society Organizations that that would revert to the people to generate national consensus regarding the recent recommendations by the TRC providing prosecution and sanctions of people placed in varying categories.

The Lofans from five towns said nothing will bring genuine peace and reconciliation amongst the people than forgivingness, calling on the National Legislature to prudently act on the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission in a manner that will not reverse the gains made towards peace and development made.

The Lofans, representing some towns including at a Galamai, Vomemai, Duowoiljallamai, Kaba’s Town, Beteijamai, Korwormai, Bakuma and Voinjama town, said in told a workshop in Voinjama City that it is now time for Liberians to adopt the spirit and attitude of forgivingness which, in their view, would sustain the gains made thus far. The Lofan residents further said that Liberians were tired of war, and noted that there was no need for reintroduction of acrimonies feelings amongst the people under the canopy of reconciling them. Other towns and villages represented at the workshop were Lawalazu, Zanalormai, Kolahun, Zaawadamai, Tennebu, Barkadu and Se-Mata

The spoke while making their input on the topic: Peace & Reconciliation in Post Conflict Liberia within the context of the TRC Recommendations. Most of the 26 participants of the workshop underscored the need for healing and coexistence amongst the people of Liberia instead of the tendency of fear and mixed feelings that have characterized suggestions imbedded in the findings of the TRC.

The TRC recently submitted its findings to the President and the National Legislature providing for the prosecution of warlords and their factional commanders and others labeled plunderers of the national resources during the civil conflict as well as spelling out a 30-year sanction against some public figures said to be sponsors of the civil wars, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“If there is another conflict because people want to punish those who brought war on us, our children’s schools will further be delay, the present spirit of development in the country will die and the women who are always the foremost victims will once again be driven out of their homes into refugee camps while their husbands, children and brothers will be forced into fighting war again,” said Rebecca Samufa of Se-mata.

Farkollie Gayflor of Zanalormai interjected, saying that most of the warlords still have their fighters on the ground, who are suffering unemployment and could be induced into fighting for little or nothing, since most warlords are strategically placed and have bigger earning power that they can use to cause mishap.

“Let us not take for joke threats by the warlord that they will resist prosecution and could fight if they were to be prosecuted; I heard many others arguing that the men they say they are dependinmg on are just figure but in reality not on ground. But why should be believe in this argument in the face of the overwhelming joblessness and the increasing reports of armed robbery – why shouldn’t us think that the criminals could be hired to start a disturbance that could destroy the peace attained now,” Olive Johnson of Voinjama City argued.

Of the 26 participants, only two said the idea of prosecution and sanction for warlords, their followers and their supporters was good and could curb impunity, while the rest disagree, saying “let bygone be bygone.”

In what is considered her first public statement on the findings and Recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says while she has always admitted her supported to former NPFL leader Charles Ghankay Taylor, she has equally expressed remorse to the Liberian people for her “misjudgment” and has enjoyed the people’s confidence by virtue of her election as President.

The President said her early support to Taylor was because of the consideration that she felt the brutality of the “dictatorship” by former President Samuel Kanyon Doe should be challenged, saying nevertheless, “…it was equally clear that when the true nature of Mr. Taylor’s intentions became known, there was no more impassioned critic or strong opponent to him in a democratic process.”

“I have talked about this openly over the past twelve years and expressed remorse to the Liberian people for my misjudgment. In turn, the Liberian people rendered their judgment,” she maintained, saying in 2005, “I was elected President of the Republic of Liberia,” the first female President of Liberia indicated saying that her mandate has become to return hope to the country and to make the children smile again.”

President Sirleaf’s National Independence Day statement in which she made the assertions constitutes her first public statement on the final findings and recommendations of the Truth and Recommendation which linked her to public sanction barring her from public office for 30 years.

President Sirleaf accentuated, “This is as much as I can say to you as I am named in the report for sanction and I have been advised that it would be legally imprudent for me to give a more extensive comment on the report,” noting also,”... my comments could be misinterpreted as an attempt to influence what ever action the National Legislature might take on the report, and I do not intend to do so.

The President, who added that she believes in the wisdom of the Liberian people and is convinced that they will make a proper judgment on the TRC’s Final Report, told the Liberian people that she has dedicated her to navigating a future for Liberia free from war and fear and grounded in individual freedom and opportunity.

“Sometimes, the circumstances were opaque, the distinctions between evil and good were not so clear—this is the nature of conflict and war,” she indicated, noting that when on January 16, 2006 she spoke to the nation, she recognized that the vote for her was a vote for change.

Didn’t I Deserve My Government’s Protection?’

--Liberian Journalists Feels Discriminated

A Liberian journalist says he feels discriminated by the Liberian authorities considering the failure by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to investigate his “illegal dismissal” complaint filed against Mr. Peter Owusu Manu of the Embassy of Ghana.
The Editor of the NEW VISION Newspaper and former Executive Officer for Information at the Embassy of Ghana, Bill K. Jarkloh, is therefore calling on the Minister of Foreign affairs of Liberia to probe his complaint so as to accord him his labor rights under the Liberian and international laws.

Mr. Jarkloh, who accused the Ghanaian diplomat, Mr. Manu, and his collaborators at the Embassy of witch-hunting him, said he was ashamed that a Ghanaian diplomat would abuse the rights of d in eNMBASST, before the Liberian Government through the Foreign Ministry to ensure that the journalist’s labor rights are protected.
Photo: Mr. Manu of the Ghana Embassy
Mr. Bill K. Jarkloh said, “Manu should hide behind so-called diplomatic status to abuse the rights of a Liberian and to also insult and insubordinate authorities at Ministry of Foreign Affairs for seeking redress in favor of a Liberian who has worked and was illegally dismissed without his benefits.
The Journalist said he is disturbed by the apparent lack of interest being exhibited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, especially the office of the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Krubo Kollie, who has been silent and have him running up and down the stairs of the Foreign Ministry for redress. He said the continuous silence and delay to give him redress is dangerously an indication that Liberians working with foreign missions are not protected.

“But I as for me, I insist on protection by my government. The same way government would have had me liable if I offended the Embassy is the same way the Government must protect me if the Embassy a diplomat of the Embassy or the Embassy offends me,” the Liberian journalists lamented. Mr. Jarkloh displayed documents that indicates he was terminated from work at the Embassy of Ghana for was referred to as “Financial Difficulties” and noted that this dismissal was an act of witch-hunt by Mr. Manu and his collaborators at the Embassy which could not have been if an Ambassador was on ground.

Journalist Bill Jarkloh said the lack of interest in his “illegal dismissal” complaint against the Charges d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Ghana is indicative of the lack of the political will on the part of authorities concern to accord protection to Liberians working with diplomatic entities who have been deprived by diplomats or whose rights may be violated and abused.

The journalist said he is utterly ashamed of the weakness of the Offices of Legal Affairs Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Deputy Minister Krubo Kollie, for allowing the Charges Affairs of the Embassy of Ghana, Peter Owusu Manu, to insubordinate and practically insult the authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia on the alter of seeking protection for a Liberian violated by a diplomat.

Jarkloh recalled that Mr. Manu of the Embassy of Ghana has always bragged that no Liberian authority can act against him in the event of any action he might take and may be considered wrong under the Liberian laws, saying, “Manu threatened that he would terminate my services without my full benefit after the end of the tenure of the Ambassador of Ghana, H. E. F. Adu-Amanfoh, whom Manu thought was protecting the Liberian from terminated from the embassy employ.

According to the journalists Manu acted upon his desire to violate his (Jarkloh’s) labor right, terminating his services under the canopy of “restructuring staff position due to financial difficulties” facing the embassy. The worst of the matter is that Manu did so without paying his four months benefits for the four years of service and the one month in lieu of notice of termination as required by the Liberian Labor laws and the laws of Ghana.
Jarkloh intimated that when Manu was reminded of the five months benefit payment, he said the laws of Liberia could not hold on any action he takes against Liberians working at the Embassy, which Jarkloh said was erroneous and therefore prompted him to have complained to the Ministry of Labor for protection of his right.

However, Mr. Reginald Doe, the Hearing Officer who was assigned Journalist Jarkloh’s case referred the matter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on ground that a Foreign Diplomat was involved, and that the Labor Ministry could not assume jurisdiction as such.
Mr. Doe who documented the case file and forwarded to the Foreign Ministry for attention of Minister Olu Banke King-Akerele who was already out of the country, even though during a follow-up, he was referred to the Office of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Kruboe Kollie who acknowledge receipt of the case file.

Accordingly, the deputy foreign minister for legal affairs wrote inviting the Ghanaian Embassy Charges d’ Affairs, whose response in a note verbale (diplomatic note) as insulting and insubordinating the authorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The journalist’s concern for protection comes in the wake of a challenged put up by the Ghanaian diplomat, Peter Owusu Manu, against the intervention of Liberian Foreign Ministry authorities into an ‘illegal labor practices’ complaint filed against him by the Mr. Jarkloh, who served the Ghanaian Embassy for four as Executive Officer for Information.

Journalists Jarkloh quoted some staff at Deputy Ministry Kollie’s office as saying that Manu’s performance when he (himself) delivered his Note Verbale defied contemporary diplomacy. Journalists Jarkloh said when Manu took note verbal to Deputy Minister Krubo Kollie’s office, he flung it on the desk of an office staff without a word and walked out ignoring the “who are you” chorus from the staff present at the office, Mr. Jarkloh said he was told.
Cllr. Kollie’s staff intimated to the journalist that it was later discovered that it was one Peter Owusu Manu, a Ghanaian diplomat, responding to a letter from the office of the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs after the envelope was opened and the contents of the diplomatic note was read. Cllr. Kollie and her staff, according to Mr. Jarkloh, were astonished by such undiplomatic behavior, which they said was insulting to the Foreign Ministry of Liberia.

In his diplomatic note, Manu, instead of honoring the invitation by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the Minister should send her representative at the Embassy of Ghana for any hearing desired of the “illegal dismissal complaint” by Mr. Jarkloh. In his Note Verbal of 4th April 2009 and addressed to the Foreign Minister proper, Manu wrote, “Mission will however welcome any representative from the Foreign Ministry to be briefed on Mr. Jacklor’s past threats of blackmailing of the Mission’s staff in the event of any attempt to terminate his appointment.”