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Rep. Kogar Describes Gompa City Office As ‘Kitchen’, Blames Lawmakers

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By: Nathaniel Success Topkah (Correspondent Nimba County)

Representative Samuel Gongben Kogar of Nimba County Electoral District #5 has described the office of the Gompa City Corporation (GCC) as a ‘kitchen’ hall.

The Lawmaker says, Ganta as a swinging city in Nimba, the office of the City Government is far below the virtue of a place regarded as one of the bumming cities in the country.

” This place does not resemble the city of Ganta. This place is looks like a kitchen… I want to tell you today.” Hon. Kogar told the Mayor.

Ganta was created as a City in 1977 by the Legislature and officially named Gompa City.

Ever since that time, the city has grown into one of the busiest in Liberia in terms of business and infrastructural development.  Sadly, the city does not have a City Hall until now.

The Buu-Yao Policymaker also wants the city to have a modernized and representable City Hall where citizens can converge to commemorate historical events as well host special stakeholders meetings.

” The hall of a city serves as a recipe or conduit by which society converge.” The Lawmaker said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Kogar who is the Chairman of the House’ Committee,  blamed the poor condition of the Gompa City Council Office as well as the lack of City Hall on the Nimba Legislative Caucus.

He said Nimba being one of the counties with a huge number of Lawmakers at the House of Representative, it is sad to have one of the leading trade cities in the country without a contemporary City Hall.

” We should be able to ensure that the county we represent is ably and adequately represented at the National Legislature.”

This is about time we make use of our number that we always boast of. You should blame us as Lawmakers because the appropriating powers lie in our hands.” He lamented.

The tough talking Nimba County Lawmaker has therefore vowed to lobby with the national government through the help of his colleagues to ensure that a budget is allocated in order to erect a representable City Hall in Gompa in the near future.

Speaking further, he urged Mayor Amos N. G. Suah to make a requisition to the House of Representatives through the Caucus so that they (Lawmakers) can push for Gompa City to be captured in the national budget.

The administration of Mayor Suah started a City Hall project in May 2019, but the construction work has been halted due to the lack of financial support.

According to the Gompa City Mayor, the total cost of the project is  estimated at $4,88000USD ( four hundred eighty-eight thousand United States dollars).

Gompa as a City depends solely on the municipal taxes to run its government and this actually challenging according to the Lord Mayor.

The City also lacks a vehicle to be use for collection of garbage across the street allays.

” We want tomorrow when the President comes they (residents) should say let’s go to the city hall, not kitchen hall. Rep. Kogar concluded.

He made the deliberation while addressing a group of Commerce Inspectors at the Gompa Corporation City Office over the weekend in Ganta, Nimba County.

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Margibi: Citizens Want Referendum Postponed

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Citizens

By Abraham Kollie (Margibi Correspondent)

Several citizens of Margibi are calling for the cancelation of the upcoming national referendum.

Citizens are expected to vote in a referendum and the senatorial elections in December of this year. Concerns have been raised by scores of organizations, calling on the National Election Commission (NEC) to postpone the referendum due to the lack of enough civic education on the process.

Margibians have also joined the call for the postponement of the national poll. The citizens said, there has not been a single Town Hall meeting conducted by the Government of Liberia regarding the process, adding that they are not knowledgeable about what they are going to vote for.

“The time for the Referendum is short, there has not been any Town Hall meeting or awareness on the referendum so what are we going to vote for, so we are calling on the government not to conduct the referendum on December 8,” the citizens added.

Meanwhile, the citizens are calling for the removal of the clause that is restricting Liberians who may have dual citizenship status from occupying key appointed and elected positions in the Country.
They claimed that Liberians in the Diaspora are making significant contributions to the growth and development of the Country.

The citizens argued that denying Diaspora Liberians the opportunity to occupy key positions in the Country would keep it underdeveloped on grounds they will hold back their investment plans.

The document is quoted as saying “a natural-born citizen of Liberia may hold the citizenship of another country but shall not qualify for elected positions and the following appointed positions: Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia; Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers; all heads of Autonomous Commissions, Agencies and Non-Academic and Research Scientific Institutions and Ambassadors.”

Full Text of President George Weah’s Address at the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations

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Address
Statement by His Excellency George Manneh Weah President of The Republic of Liberia H
September 21, 2020
Mr. Secretary-General;
Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;
Ambassadors;
Heads of Delegations;
Distinguished Delegates;
Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of the Government and People of Liberia, and in my own name, I would like to take this occasion to extend warm greetings and heartfelt congratulations to the United Nations on the Seventy-Fifth anniversary of its founding.

Liberia is a founding member of the United Nations. We were one of only four African nations signed the UN Charter in 1945. Since then, we have stood firmly by the ideals and principles of the United Nations as enshrined in that document, which has stood the test of time.

Today, as a Nation and as a People, we renew that commitment. We strongly believe that, in spite of its imperfections and shortcomings, the United Nations is still the most effective forum for ensuring international peace and security.
Through its many humanitarian agencies, it has been very effective in the advancement and development of humanity, and the protection of human rights and the vulnerable in society.
Over the years since its founding, however, there have been the constantly changing dynamics of international configurations of power and influence, as well as shifting alliances, which have given rise to the need to re-examine and perhaps re-define the mission and vision of the United Nations so that it can become more relevant and responsive to the new realities.
Accordingly, in 2015, the United Nations established a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) to replace the former Millennium Development Goals, with an Agenda to achieve these goals by the year 2030. They are meant to be a roadmap for our collective efforts to bring peace and prosperity to all mankind.
Today, already five years into the 15-year Agenda, we pause to observe this SDG Moment, and to take stock of our progress so far along this important roadmap. With only ten (10) years left, it is already clear that we will have to re-double our efforts and accelerate our actions in many areas if we are to attain any or all of these lofty goals by the end of this decade.
In so doing, we must take into account the fact that the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has not only slowed our progress but has also exposed in many ways the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of the current international world order. The impact is especially felt in the areas of income inequality, poverty reduction, and sexual and gender-based violence, as well as discrimination against women and girls.
It is important, therefore, that in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our search for solutions will be guided within the framework of these Global Goals, in a manner that will accelerate our transition to more sustainable and inclusive economies.
As we confront these new challenges, multilateralism, international cooperation, and global solidarity will become increasingly important in addressing the complex problems the world now has to grapple with. The extent of that cooperation will determine how rapidly Member States, especially developing nations, will recover from the impact of COVID-19 and endeavor to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The future we want is a United Nations that is more equitable and inclusive. We must have an inclusive society so that no one is left behind; and all member states must do their part in order to ensure that the UN is relevant to everyone.
The United Nations we need is expected to continue to deliver on its commitments, with emphasis on the pillars and principles enshrined in its Charter, and must also continue to respond to global challenges with the over-arching goal of “Leaving No One Behind”.
Let us all, therefore, take urgent and concrete actions towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the timely attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Thank you.

(Without Input from Executive Mansion)

Ministry of Labour Revokes Work Permit of CHICO’s Project Manager Assigned in River-Gee

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Labour

The Ministry of Labour has with immediate effect revoked the work permit of CHICO’s Project Manager assigned in River-Gee County; Mr. Xu Tao for acts incompatible with his status as an alien worker in Liberia, a release from the Ministry says.

This action of the Ministry is in line with Section 5 of 2019 Revised Regulation #17 of the Ministry of Labour. The Ministry of Labour has therefore requested the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), which has the statutory powers to issue Resident Permit, to also invoke relevant portions of the Immigration and Naturalization Law of Liberia to revoke Mr. Tao’s Resident Permit so as to prevent him from carrying out any illegal work in Liberia.
In a release from the Ministry of Labour, the action to request the LIS to revoke Mr. Tao’s Resident Permit is because, the purpose for which Mr. Tao was offered Visa and Resident Permit to allow him to enter and stay in Liberia no longer exists, thereby giving him no reason to be in the Country.

This latest action by the Ministry of Labour comes as a result of the continual disregard and gross disrespect on the part of Mr. Tao, a Chinese national, for refusing to honor invitations from Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labour after several communications addressed to him through his employer (CHICO), citing him to respond to allegations levied against him by the National Timber, Wood, Construction and Allied Workers Union of Liberia (NTWCAWUL) for what the union considers as “continual violation of the rights of the workers, as well as the Collective Bargaining Agreement entered into between the Company and the Union”. The latest of these complaints is dated May 22, 2020, in which the Union also accused Mr. Tao of allegedly humiliating and ill-treating Liberian employees.

On September 14, 2020, Ministry’s communication signed by Labour Minister Moses Yarkpazuo Kollie and addressed to the General Manager of CHICO, the Ministry termed as disappointing and unacceptable, for the refusal of Mr. Tao to honor several invitations requesting his appearance to respond to allegations against him. The Ministry added, the actions of Mr. Tao, has led to the immediate revocation of his Work Permit and that, he’s not qualified to work in Liberia as of the date of the Ministry’s communication to CHICO.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour is currently carrying out a full-scale investigation into the complaints of the Union and will ensure that all necessary actions in keeping with applicable provisions of the Decent Work Act of Liberia is instituted impartially. At the same time, the Management of CHICO has been citied to respond to all allegations contained in the complaint of the Union as mentioned supra.

Labour Minister Moses Y. Kollie is also admonishing all alien workers in Liberia to be in full compliance with of the Decent Work Act of Liberia and the Provisions of 2019 Revised Regulation #17 so as to avoid further action in keeping with the Labour laws of Liberia.

Criminals Threaten SKD Sports Complex Community Residents  

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SKD sports complex community

KMTV has observed that criminals are usually terrorizing residents of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex Community in Paynesville.

At dust dark our reporter said, the criminals usually move into major community routs to snatch away valuables from anyone in and out of the community.

The criminals are using a motorcycle to also chase any pedestrians, tortured, physically harm them if they neglect giving up their valuables demanded from them by the criminals.

The situation has created fear for inhabitants and causing them to abandoned mainly the main streets leading to their area around 7 pm each day.

The presence of Police is not noticeable in the area during night hours.

Details are emerging ….

ALJA Condemns Targeted Attacks on Liberia’s Opposition

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ALJA

Minneapolis, Minnesota-The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) says the current wave of targeted physical attacks on opposition Liberian politicians by alleged supporters of the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) are detrimental to Liberia’s peace and stability, and the rule of law.

ALJA says the repeated orchestration and the execution of physical attacks on opposition Liberian politicians; and the disruption of their political rallies by individuals believed to be supporters of the CDC and President George Manneh Weah run contrary to the principle of peaceful coexistence.

The Association says these attacks, are polarizing Liberians; and they have the proclivity of plunging Liberia into another civil war. ALJA in a press release issued on September 21, 2020, condemned in the strongest term individuals believed to be supporters of the CDC for the September 13, 2020, threat on the life of Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillion, and his supporters in District-16 based in Montserrado County.

Senator Dillion was speaking at a political rally organized by his supporters in the St. Paul Bridge Community in Montserrado County when a man believed to be a CDC supporter, reportedly armed with a tear gas canister and a knife tried to bulldoze his way to where the Senator was speaking.

ALJA said had it not been for the swift intervention of the Senator’s bodyguards and supporters, the individual would have physically attacked the Senator. ALJA maintained the that this action endangered the life of the Senator and those of his supporters that attended the rally.

The Americas based Liberian Journalists organization expressed concern over the increased level of violence, primarily on opposition politicians, in the run up to the Senatorial bye elections scheduled to be held in December. The organization also expressed disappointment that too often the perpetrators of these attacks are not held accountable, creating the impression that they are state sanctioned.

ALJA recalled that in recent months, alleged CDC members attacked Senator Dillion and his supporters in Clara Town while attending a political rally. The Liberian government instituted a probe into the matter but the outcome of the probe remains pending.

The Association also, cited the violent attacks on the Chairman of the Collaborating Political Parties, Alexander Cummings, and members of his entourage including Representative Yekeh Kolubah of Montserrado County in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County while on a political mission; and Ms. Telia Urey, a former representative hopeful in Montserrado County and her supporters as some of the foremost targeted violent acts perpetrated against the opposition politicians in the country.

The Association says it is troubling that despite all of these brazen acts of violence reportedly committed against opposition Liberian politicians by alleged supporters of the CDC and President Weah, the President and the Liberian government are yet to take any concrete actions in punishing the perpetrators and curtailing a recurrence.

Meanwhile, the Association says it welcomes Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillion, retraction of the threat he made against President Weah. On September 13, 2020, Senator Dillion in the wake of the reported foiled attack on him and his supporters in District-16 threatened that he and his supporters would stone the President’s convoy and his residence should the attack perpetrated against him and his supporters be repeated.

ALJA says it strongly condemns the Senator’s threats against the President and called on politicians of all stripes to act responsibly in spite of the provocation as threats of violence is counterproductive to the peace and stability prevailing in the country. The Association says it rejects violence or threats of violence from the CDC and their supporters as well as leaders and members of the opposition.

ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objectives of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.

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LMDA Warns Government and Health Workers on Go-slow to Refrain from Inflammatory Statement

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Press Statement :

The Liberia Medical and Dental Association (LMDA) wishes to inform the press and general public that it is deeply concerned about the recent standstill between the GOL and NAHWUL which has led to the go-slow action of health workers across the country.

LMDA has been committed to mediating this issue and has been cardinal in initiating negotiations for timely resolution.

In the midst of negotiations, LMDA strongly cautions all parties to refrain from making any inflammatory statement and advises against the government’s decision to replace health workers who have legitimate concerns. This decision is unacceptable by doctors across the country.

As leaders in the health system of Liberia, LMDA has always championed the improvement of the healthcare delivery system through constant advocacy and negotiation with GOL through MOH.

Some of these advocacies have yielded fruitful
results and we appreciate the government for such.

However, other advocacies are yet to be addressed by the government and we keep encouraging them to do so.

It is worth emphasizing that the medical field like others is one of team work, and that every member of the team from doctors to cleaners plays very peculiar and indispensable roles in healthcare delivery.

In the absence of one member, the entire team is distorted, resulting into adverse patients’ outcome. The practice of medicine calls for a team that is “fit for purpose and motivated” in order to perform at their best according to their code of professional ethics.

Given that other members of the team are absent due to the ongoing go-slow action, it is just the
matter of time before the entire healthcare delivery system crumbles and death toll among patients increases exponentially.

The medical team cannot also work effectively when basic materials are lacking and the environment is unsafe.

GOL should continue to endeavour in strengthening this fragile health system by providing all necessary support to build a resilient healthcare system.

Knowing that we as Liberians including government officials and ordinary citizens are the direct beneficiaries of the healthcare system we build, we must prioritize improving the healthcare delivery system even in the midst of harsh economic situations.

LMDA is calling on NAHWUL and GOL to continue the negotiations so as to avert the go-slow action and have health workers returned to duties immediately.

Relative to the demands enlisted in NAHWUL press statement, LMDA is proposing
the following actions:

1. Union Certificate: Considering the legal implications of this demand as indicated by GOL through the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Justice and Civil Service Agency, LMDA encourages the leadership of NAHWUL to seek legal recourse in this matter. We encourage them to suspend this demand as a prerequisite for health workers returning to work as legal proceedings take time to be resolved.

2. Reclassification of Health Workers According to Qualification and Payment of Salaries as per Professional Status: LMDA acknowledges that
disparity in salaries of similarly qualified employees results in demotivation in the
workplace. We encourage the GOL to reclassify the health workers and upgrade their salaries at the level of others with similar qualification.

3. Redeployment: LMDA hereby reminds NAHWUL that the authority to employ, assign, promote, transfer, or pension employees lies solely with the Ministry of Health using rules and regulations governing civil servants. However, LMDA
encourages MOH through the Human Resource to adhere to standard best practice, and publish policy documents regarding transfer of employees so as to alleviate fears of witch-hunt in the workplace.

4. Replacement of Pensioners: We encourage the GOL to replace pensioners promptly so as to maintain adequate workforce to cater to the increasing loads of patients at public health facilities. The pensioning of health workers without timely replacement creates gaps in the workforce which results in potential adverse patients’ outcome.

5. COVID-19 Victims Benefit: LMDA extends gratitude to the GOL and its partners for allocating some benefits to the families of health workers who lost their lives to COVID-19. We however encourage the GOL through MOH to establish a support mechanism in the form of medical and/or psychosocial support for survivors who may experience medical complications resulting from COVID-19.

6. Salary Increment: LMDA acknowledges that health workers in general receive
low salaries considering the huge risk and demanding nature of the work they do.

In as much as health workers commit to their duties not mainly because of the salaries they make, it is clear that their wellbeing and satisfaction is cardinal in providing quality and professional services to their patients. We therefore encourage the GOL to commit to a progressive salary increment of minimum
percentage each budget year until the target is achieved.

7. Hazard Benefits: LMDA welcomes the news of GOL allocating 2M US dollars to pay hazard benefits to health workers. We however encourage the government to explore other avenues such as tax waiver/break to health workers for specified
periods in the absence of cash payment since funding is limited. In the midst of these difficult times, LMDA again admonishes both parties to resort to continuous negotiations as all efforts are geared towards calling off the go-slow action and returning health workers to duties.

LMDA strongly frowns on any act to replace health workers who are on go-slow, as these actions will only
undermine all ongoing negotiations and create another set of misunderstanding.

LMDA remains committed to negotiating with both parties to seek amicable solution and reverse this go-slow action in the soonest possible time.
May God bless and protect us all as we together work to resolve this issue.

Thank you.

Signed: _______.               Approved: __________
Dr. Moses Ziah, II           Dr. Emmanuel K. Ekyinabah
Assistant Sec General.                President

Maryland: 64 Years old Man Commits ‘Suicide’ in Pleebo, Maryland County

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By: Bryan Dioh ( Maryland County Correspondent) 

KMTV has gathered that a 64 years old man, Zaka Swen has committed suicide in Pleebom Maryland County after accused his Wife of having sexual affairs with one of his workers,  a charcoal producer.

Swen and his wife Hellena both usually earned their living by producing charcoal  for survival.

According to the deceased lover Helena Doe, her late dude Zaka Swen left their home after his accusations against her damaging several properties including a tank that is normally used by them to rest during their time at the coal producer site.

“My Husband after accusing me of having extra relationship, left me and the children and went to the farm where we normally produce the Coal and destroyed our tank ,brush our Vegetables and destroyed all my clothes and as I speak only this clothes on me left.”

The remains of Zaka Swen

After he did that ,I complained him to some people and elders in the nearby town to investigative the case between us and the people decided to setup a date to investigate the issue before his sudden death.”

For his part, Scottville Zone 10 Chairman in Maryland County,  Mark Kanel expressed frustration over the situation while stating that Zaka the deceased has over and over complain his wife to him as Chairman but each time he decided to investigate the two wouldn’t turn out to his office for investigation.

He mentioned that Zaka also on several occasions attempted hanging himself in the Community but was quick to point out that the death of Zaka was suspicious.

“This has happen on two different occasion ,the first time this happen we invited some people to investigate the matter but the late Zaka Swen did not turn out.” Mr. Kanel added.

He said Community Members have also on several occasions advise the deceased  but all efforts did not materialized.

The death of Zaka bring to two the number of persons who mysteriously die in the Scottville Community in Maryland County  in less than two months.

It can be recalled that a 45 year old man identified as Solo Tiamba, former employee of the Cavalla Rubber Cooperation lifeless body was discovered on the  August 10, 2020 in the Scottville Community after allegedly been murdered by unknown person.

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Police Intervention Causes Motorcyclists, Other Pressure Groups to Cancel Plan Protest

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By: Nathaniel Success Topkah (Nimba County Correspondent)

Motorcyclists and other pressure groupings have with immediate effect canceled their planned major protest based on a proactive intervention from the Liberia National Police (LNP).

The cyclists, who are predominantly young people had earlier planned to stage a massive protest on today, Monday 21 September in the Trade City of Ganta.

The aim was to call for justice on behalf of their fallen colleague, Samuel Selleh who is believed to be killed by the ex-deputy commander of the Ganta Police Department in early March this year.

Police in Nimba have since arrested and sent the accused to court, following the alleged commission of the crime. He was charged with murder after a preliminary police investigation and placed behind bars at the Sanniquellie Central Prison.

Civil Society Organizations, youth groups, women, and other aggrieved citizens, not to leave out the family of the victim felt that the case is being compromised because defendant Kowo is yet to appear in court for a proper trial since he was being indicted in March.

Holding this perception constant, the motorcyclists and other disenchanted citizens planned to carry out the peaceful march on Monday in order to claim the government’s attention in launching a speedy trial.

Against this backdrop, a delegation from LNP headquarters headed by Police spokesperson Moses Carter, held an emergency peace talk with all concerned parties in Ganta on Saturday, September 21, 2020.

The meeting brought together stakeholders, aggrieved cyclists, and members of the victim’s family.

Mayor Amos N. G. Suah, of Ganta City, Hon. Amos S. Gbatu, Commissioner Bain-Garr Administrative District were also at the meeting which lasted for three hours at the Ganta Concern Women Center.

At the meeting, Mr. Moses Carter and the legal person of the LNP, Attorney Peter K. Gbanyah pleaded with citizens for the delay in the case and called on them to continually demonstrate patience for the sake of peace.

They also promised the family that they will make sure that the case is being proceeded with and be brought to a logical conclusion in accordance with the criminal laws of the Republic of Liberia.

Mr. Carter also confirmed to the citizens that Court proceedings will begin on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie.

He called on the aggrieved citizens and would-be protestors to continually repost confidence in the Liberia National Police as they are going to make sure to stand with the family in their quest for justice.

” When we are a country lost one citizen, it breaks our hearts as officers because it’s our duties to protect lives and properties.” The police spokesperson lamented.

Carter applauded the victim’s family and other frustrated citizens for the level of resilience shown over the period.

However, Mrs. Nohn Tappia Dekpa, a senior member of the Selleh’s family expressed her deep frustration and disappointment both in the Police and the Court due to the manner and form in which trail of the case has been delayed.

Mrs. Dekpa, therefore, requested Mr. Carter and his entourage to ensure that the family lawyer can have a copy of the indictment sheet before Tuesday’s court trial else they will stay away from the process.

She said it is the indictment document that will assist their lawyer to plead on behalf of the family.

” As I’m now hearing that the case will start on Tuesday… I want you to make sure that my lawyer has a copy of the indictment document so that it’ll help him to work in line with the County Attorney if not, we’ll not go there.” Madam Dekpa explained.

“I no longer trust the County Attorney because he himself has admitted to us that there are too many calls from other big government people so that he’ll comprise this case, so I’m afraid.” She continued.

According to her, they have applied every frantic effort in obtaining the indictment sheet from the 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Sanniquellie but to no avail up to press time.

Besides, the aggrieved citizens in conjunction with the family are demanding that the late Samuel Selleh, who was also a 9th-grade student of Ganta YMCA High School be given a befitting burial.

With the trial now set to kick-off, the would-be protestors have agreed to disembark on their plan protest but insisted that the case be tried free and fairly so that the law can take its course else, they will have no other choice but to go on the rampage and ransack the county with a massive demonstration.

“We want to appreciate you, people, for this timely intervention, but we’re looking at this case process with our eagle eyes if anything changes we’ll still go-ahead with our actions, this time around we’ll be very aggressive…so as this case is about start please inform the judge to be fair in his judgment!” Mr. Abayomi S. Wiefue said.

MediaAid Signs MOU For Training AYR Staffs In Zorzor, Lofa County

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MediaAid Foundation-MAF has entered a partnership agreement to train all on-air staffs of the Alternative Youth Radio-AYR in Zorzor, Lofa County.

The MOU calls for the training of all seven (7) staffs of the AYR by the Peter Quaqua School of Journalism-PQSJ beginning next training quarter/semester in November, this year.

Journalists at AYR

At the signing ceremony Friday, 18 September 2020, MediaAid Founder/Executive Director Titus Tokpah disclosed that the Alternative Youth Radio will pay 40-percent of the tuition and fees for the selected radio staffers, while the remaining 60-percent would be raised through a joint project proposal.

Titus Tokpah

Tokpah assured that AYR staffs stand to improve their knowledge of mainstream journalism, increase ties between both entities, provide networking opportunities with other colleagues, among others.

On behalf of the Alternative Youth Radio, Founder/CEO James James Youthand Childrenadvocate Kwabo disclosed that his facility will provide internship opportunity for PQSJ students as part of the partnership.

James Kwabo

James Kwabo is a US Exchange Fellow under the Mandela-Washington Fellowship, while Titus Tokpah is a Fellow of the US International Visitor’s Leadership Program-IVLP respectively.

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Bong County Senator Tokpa Provides FM Transmitter to Radio Zota Hope

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Bong

By: Joseph Titus Yekeryan (Bong Correspondent)

Bong County Senator and Chair on Autonomous Agencies at the Liberian Senate Dr. Henrique Flomo Tokpa, has restored the hope of radio Zota as he provides over five thousand United States Dollars equipment (400kilowatts) to sunlit up the institution.

The lone community radio station in Zota District went off about four years now according to a report due to the nonexistence of the transmitter, as the only one that served the institution over the past got damaged.

Since the station went off, the People of Zota have had no means of attaining information on local happenings from their communities, a situation many people described as an act of “being in darkness.”

But the Bong County Senator, following an appeal from local authorities of Zota, paid for an original Italian made FM transmitter in an effort to recommence standard broadcast activities at the institution.

“After I became Senator, I decided to do a Countywide tour to appreciate all of my people for voting for me in the 2018 by-election, and on that tour, it was my decision to kill cows in every district that I go.

That appreciation continued in almost all the Districts in Bong County; but when we planned the Zota appreciation program, the people of the District told me not to buy them cow but I should instead use the money and buy a transmitter for the only FM  Radio station in Zota, so I listened to them and did exactly what they requested,” Dr. Tokpa explained during the dedication of the materials in Zota.

He said as a servant leader, it was good that he listened to his people because they are his direct employers; maintaining that “a leader who listens, never fails.”

The Former Cuttington University President said, the media is a foremost contributing dynamic to every Nation and as such, the need for community radio stations to be buttressed is very solicitous.

According to him, his quest to keep supporting community developments across Bong County remains unbending, and will always listen to the people of Zota and Bong County at large.

Dr. Tokpa then challenged the management of the station to help maintain the station and always be professional in their reportage.

“Don’t engage in negative Journalism, blackmailing people is not good journalism but only sparks divisiveness and undermines the process of a state. Please verify all of your information and don’t let someone use your platform to insult or spread lies against others” he adds.

He said he is a victim of falsehood and will not want the Radio Zota Journalists to preach hate messages on their platform.

At the same time, Bong County District#4 Representative, Robert Flomo Womba, extended commendations to Senator Henrique F. Tokpa for the gesture to his district.

“Dr. I want to say thank you so much, I hope that people who have been saying that Dr. Tokpa has abandoned Zota will be the one to spread the message of your gesture. I trust you that is why I stood with you and I know that you will always support me in helping the people of electoral District number four” Rep. Womba maintained.

Making remakes, Zota District Commissioner Arthur Kpoleh described Dr. Tokpa’s gesture as a downing of a new day in their lives.

Mr. Tokpa promised to set up a Board of Trustees that will ensure the full operation of the radio station in the best interest of the District’s citizens.

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Liberian Youth Satta Sheriff Captures UN 2020 SGDS Young Leader Title

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Every 2 years, the UN Youth Envoy recognizes 17 young change-makers from around the world for their leadership and contribution to the global Goals. This year, a young Liberian female Satta Sheriff made the list.

As a member of the Young Leaders Initiative, Satta will carry the title of “Young Leader for the SDGs” and will be recognized among the finest talents under 30 for her contributions to the sustainable development goals.

Satta Sheriff

Satta will work to advocate for the Goals in ways that are most accessible and relatable to young people around the world. Promote innovative ways of engaging their audiences and peers in the advocacy and realization of the Goals.

Contribute to the brain trust of young leaders supporting the UN for key moments and initiatives related to the Goals.

As Young Leader of the SDGs, Satta is expected to produce the following deliverables during her two-year mandate.

• Participate in the capacity building program and the announcement of the 2020 Class of Young Leaders during the 75th UN General Assembly, taking place from the 21st to 29th September 2020.

• Develop a work plan in cooperation with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth that will form the basis of your two-year appointment as Young Leader for the SDGs

• Organise and/or engage in at least four activities a year to inspire young people to learn about and take action for the SDGs.

• Participate in at least one United Nations-sponsored activity and/or event during each year of her appointment.

• Create, share, and publish content on multiple platforms at least four times a year related to your work as Young Leader for the SDGs.

• Submit four progress reports and one final report at the end of your two-year mandate as Young Leader for the SDGs.

This year’s class of the UN Young Leaders for SDGs will represent diverse voices of young people from different regions and industries.

Young Leaders for the SDGs will support efforts to engage young people in the realization of the Goals both through strategic opportunities with the UN and through their existing initiatives, platforms, and networks.

While individual Young Leaders may promote a specific SDG or several goals at once, they will be expected to advocate the Agenda as a whole and give special emphasis to its integrated and universal nature.

The Young Leaders will represent a cadre of leading young people supporting one another as well as the broader mission of the SDGs.

The role of the Young Leaders for the SDGs will be to support the UN in efforts to catalyze a generation of young people who care about the SDGs and are working toward their realization. In particular, the Young Leaders will.

The Young Leaders will be expected to continue their support for the SDGs, and efforts will be made to offer opportunities to engage in UN and partner-led initiatives, speaking opportunities, and other such events as identified by the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.

Kparnyan Town, Firestone Company Land Dispute Resolved

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By: Abraham Kollie (Correspondent Margibi County)

Residents of Kpanyan Town and the Firestone-Liberia Company have finally resolved their long-standing dispute after weeks of negotiations.

This follows the intervention of Margibi County District #1 Representative Tibelrosa Summoh Tarponweh, Liberia’s Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf and Liberia Land Authority Chairman,  Atty. Adam Manobah.

During a town hall meeting held in Kpanyan Town on September 19, 2020, following the inspection of the land in question, both parties agreed to set up boundaries to divide the disputed land into two portions.

As part of the agreement, the residents were allowed to use a land commencing from Brown Town to the Gion Creek to carry on their agriculture activities, while the Firestone Management will control the use of a land beginning from the Gion Creek to Carter Camp to replant their rubbers.

For a while now , the people of Kpanyan Town and other nearby villages and towns have been complaining and protesting on grounds that the company has been allegedly encroaching on their land and destroying their crops. This led to the intervention of their Lawmaker, Representative Tarponweh, calling on the Liberia Land Authority to conduct an impartial survey to amicably resolve the situation.

Representative Tarponweh discussing with residents

The Liberia Land Authority’s recent investigative survey revealed that the disputed land though was occupied by the town residents long before the existence of Firestone in Liberia, falls within the Company’s concession area, adding that the company is leasing the land from the Government of Liberia.

Speaking during the meeting, Minister Varney Sirleaf lauded parties for being peaceful and vowed to extend the residents’ request to President George M. Weah so that the towns and villages adjacent Firestone will benefit from the land rental fees paid to the Government by the Company.

“We have not come here as a court, but we are here to make peace between our people and the company. The happiness of our people enhances the existence of the company. I am excited that both parties are willing to adhere to the MOU that will be signed shortly. We have realized that Firestone is paying land rental fees to our Government. We can’t hold them for that. I am carrying your proposal to President Weah so that you can benefit from these rental fees too”, Minister Varney explained.

For his part, Representative Tarponweh disclosed that he has written communication to the Plenary of the House of Representatives to address the issue of the land rental fees.

The Margibi County District #1 Lawmaker assured the residents of his continuous supports but advised them to always act lawfully, which he concluded will make his job easier in representing them.

“There is no question that Liberia has intractable problems. We can not rest until our people are duly served. In the past, these things were not probably dealt with; that’s why we are still dealing with them.

With the privilege to serve, the friends of our people will be our friends; the enemies of our people will be our enemies. Firestone is not our enemy but a partner and we will ensure that companies respect the rights of our people.

We will support our partners when our partners are right but will oppose them when they are stepping on our people. Let’s continue to work within the law. We (public officials) should be the voice of the voiceless. I remain committed to the attainment of that goal,” Representative Tarponweh asserted.

Representing the Management of Firestone, Mr. Richard Fallah, Firestone’s Government Relations Manager, thanked the Lawmaker, the Minster and others for their intervention and reassure the company’s commitment to peacefully working with the residents.

Dr. Syrulwa Somah who represented the residents committed the town to peacefully coexist with the company.

The land in question is approximately one thousand (1,000) acres along the Du-River and borders with Divisions #44 and 45 in Firestone, Lower Margibi County.

The MOU is expected to be signed shortly between the parties, which will also recommend for Firestone to electrify the entrance and the street of the town.

Rep. Goshua says, Liberia Deserves Better Calls for Halt to Divisive Politics

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By: King Brown
(Grand Bassa County Correspondent)

Barely few months to the much anticipated senatorial election, Grand Bassa County 5th electoral district Lawmaker, Thomas Alexander Goshau, has cautioned politicians to stop playing divisive politics.

He cautioned them to be more constructive in their approaches if they want to be elected in the 2020 senatorial election.

The comments of the ANC lawmaker comes as a  result of the huge wave of electoral violence in Liberia amongst political party’s candidates, partisans, supporters and sympathizers.

He said people have been induce to be trucked on daily basis from one county to another which he said if Liberians are not careful the outcome of the special senatorial election would be dangerous and frustrating.

On the 8th of December 2020,  fifteen of Liberia 30 senators across the fifteen sub political divisions of the country well be elected or re- elected to represent their county at the Liberian Senate.

Representative Goshua who is also the Chairman of the Grand Bassa legislative caucus said, the heated political tension now in Liberia has the propensity to put fear in the ordinary citizens and even scare people from voting.

He said politicians are threatening and insulting each other while some people are being murdered over night by unknown individuals in the country, which he said is far from politics.

According to our reporter, the political tension in Grand Bassa County is alarming, because politicians are attacking each other on social media, Radio platforms, churches, schools, commercial vehicles, Hotels,  intellectual forums, homes, public buildings, beaches, entertainment centers, occasions, streets, voter roll update centers, etc.

“This election if we are not careful it well be chaotic.” Rep. Goshua added that politics will come and go but Bassa and Liberia remain the common denominator for every citizen.

“Let me tell you all today that constructive approach is the best way forward because it brings more developments and even help make our country stable but divisive politics will not take us anywhere as a country, it is only meant to bring war and big divisions amongst us as Liberians.” the lawmaker noted.

He mentioned that no level of politics should bring division amongst the people of Liberia because after the political season, typical Liberians will remain as sons and daughters of their country, adding that Liberia is the only country Liberians have which cannot be taken away from them.

As Politicians gear up for December 8 Senatorial elections, Hon. Goshua said, the political war that is now taking place in Liberia amongst politicians and supporters ahead of the much talk about election is worrisome for the democracy of the country and as such people should make sure that the country peace and stability is well protected.

Hon. Goshua said. “Let us all remain peaceful as we go into this special senatorial elections comes December 8, 2020, because Liberia is the only and common denominator that all of us have as Liberians and we must protect it.

We should also know that this country deserves better; therefore, no one should allow politics to deceive them to destroyed someone else.”

Hon. Goshua who got elected during the 2017 presidential and representatives elections on the Alternative National Congress (ANC) ticket is currently serving as a member on foreign committee at the house of representative.

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“Commerce Inspector Job is not Fishing Expedition”Says, Rep. Samuel Kogar

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By: Nathaniel Success Topkah ( Correspondent Nimba County)
The Ministry of Commerce has for the first time certificated its inspectors in Ganta, Nimba County following an intensive two days capacity building training.
Over twenty-five inspectors across Nimba benefited of the workshop focusing on the different ways Inspectors are to engage businesses, molding their  minds in the discharge of inspectory duties and what their roles should be.
Rep. Samuel G. Kogar, House’ Committee on Commerce cautioned the Inspectors not to consider their job as a fishing expedition but to put the State above self interest.
“With these certificates you’re holding today, I urge you to be proactive and nationalistic for the State of Liberia. This country has gone to the extent that the issue of value is no longer looked at.” The Nimba County District #5 Lawmaker asserted.
Also speaking, Adolphus B. Parker, Deputy Inspector General of Rural Liberia, said though the Ministry holds a training workshop for its inspectors after every three months but this was the first time that the training was held in Nimba.
“We’ve been conducting training for our inspectors but it’s been in Monrovia so this time we thought of bringing it Upcountry starting with Nimba because Nimba has the highest number of inspectors in rural Liberia.” Mr. Parker revealed.
The County’s chief Commerce Inspector, Alphanso K. S. Miamen, extended his heartfelt thanks and regards to the Commerce Ministry for their efforts in the decentralization of the periodical training and hopes that this will not be the end.
Also at the ocassion, Superintendent Nelson N. Korquoi call on the Inspectors to use the knowledge acquired in serving the country.
“Use this certificate as a working tool to push forward.” The Superintendent instructed the Inspectors.
Supt Korquoi served as the Senior Commerce of Nimba before his ascendency to the County Administration.
Nimba County is unarguably the highest revenue generating county in rural Liberia and second only to Montserrado in the country.
The county is a business bumming area.
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“Uncompromising, Unreasonable” Government Labels Health Workers on Go-slow

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Despite intentional steps taken by the Government of Liberia to amicably resolve the ongoing standoff with members of the leadership of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, they continue to remain uncompromising, unreasonable and recalcitrant.

The leadership continues to demand unionization for health workers, in addition to an immediate implementation of standardized pay-grade and increment in salaries for more than 9,000 health workers at an estimated cost of US$15 million per annum.

The leadership is also demanding payment for more than 11,000 health workers who are not directly involved with COVID19 response, potentially a payment of US$8 million as “hazard pay” in addition to their regular monthly salary payment through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

The government, during a meeting chaired by President George Manneh Weah on September 8, 2020, informed the leadership of the workers that unionizing civil servants, including health workers, would be a violation of chapter 1 Section 1.5 of the Decent Work Act, and the Civil Servant Standing Order which together exclude Government Employees from unionizing.

On the demands for immediate salary increment and hazard payment, the government assured the health workers of its demonstrated commitment to gradually increase the salaries of health workers, especially workers who are currently earning far below their standardized pay grade; and potential payment of a onetime hazard payment to health workers who are directly involved with the COVID-19 response.

Pursuant to this commitment, the government, through the Civil Service Agency, has already begun the process of recategorizing all health practitioners as a prerequisite to the salary adjustments which form part of their demands.

The government has also committed U.S.$2 million as initial payment of the hazard honorarium.

While acknowledging the hard work and enormous sacrifice health workers continue to make, the government emphasizes that there are limits to its capacity to handle all of the workers’ demands in the short run.

These decisions have been communicated to the leadership of the striking workers, but they insist that all of their demands must be met as a precondition to calling off the ongoing strike action at several health facilities across the country.

The government also thanks the majority of health workers who have elected not to abandon their assigned posts and calls on their striking colleagues to return to work as the government works on modalities to address their concerns.

The call, however, has gone unheeded, putting the lives of patients at risk. This action conflicts with the code of ethics of the health profession, which prioritizes saving lives over pecuniary gains.

The government continues to encourage health workers to return to their assigned posts but will not allow the health system to be put at risk.

Therefore, the Ministry of Health has been instructed to solicit applications from qualified health workers of various grades, including nurses, nurse aides, midwives, laboratory technicians, etc, in order to fill the temporary vacancies that have resulted from the strike action.

These applications must be submitted immediately to county health centers, the Ministry of Health, and the JFK, for screening by the MOH.

The new recruitment will not affect health workers who did not abandon their posts. The government reiterates its commitment to ensuring that there is continuing improvement and viability of the health sector.

Meanwhile, the government commends the army of volunteers, including nurses and medical officers of the Armed Forces of Liberia, who have stepped up to fill the gap in areas where some health workers have abandoned their posts. Such volunteers will be given first preference as the government hires to fill the gaps.

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