Wednesday, May 05, 2010

UNMIL Public Information Office Media Summary

Source: UNMIL News

A visiting UN Under Secretary-General Special Adviser on Innovative Financing for Development, has held talks with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to solicit her government’s support for UNITAID.
• UNITAID is an organization launched by Brazil, Chile, France, Norway and the UK in 2006 to help fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
• Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy said the UN finds it necessary to help UNITAID in its endeavor to combat the diseases.
• Mr. Douste-Blazy said UNITAID would ask the Liberian government to place one US Dollar on every plane ticket to support the global initiative.
• The UN Under Secretary-General Special Adviser said the one US dollar on the plane ticket will augment funding for the achievement of MDGs four, five and six.
• He said UNITAID is trying to bridge the gap between poor and rich countries mainly in the area of health.
• In response, President Sirleaf welcomed the initiative describing HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis as major challenges to the health care delivery system of the country.

Local News on Liberian issues

Senate Suspends Threshold Debate, Honors High Court Citation Today
[Daily Observer, The Inquirer, The News, The Analyst, New Democrat, The Informer, Heritage]

• The Senate has endorsed a citation by the Supreme Court to suspend all further debates on the controversial population threshold bill.
• The Senate took the decision Tuesday after a heated debate erupted on the merits and demerits of the citation issued by Justice-In-Chambers Kabineh Jan’eh.
• In the citation, Justice Jan’eh mandated the Senate to stay all further proceedings on the threshold bill based on a petition against the National Legislature and other parties.
• The petition relates to a complaint filed by a group identified as Concerned Sector Youth represented by one James Doe against the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services, National Elections Commission and the National Legislature.
• The group claims the results of the 2008 National Population Census among other things were marred by flaws and inaccuracies.
• Meanwhile, the Senate says it will attend Wednesday’s conference called by the Justice-In-Chambers with the petitioner of the writ of prohibition.

LBS Director General-designate Finally Rejected
[Daily Observer, Front Page Africa, National Chronicle, Heritage]

• The Senate has rejected the confirmation of the Director General-designate of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Darryl Ambrose Nmah.
• The Senate denied the confirmation of Mr. Nmah in its closed-door session Tuesday.
• It was gathered that the once-rejected LBS Director General-designate failed to meet the required confirmation votes of sixteen.
• Although Senate President Pro-Tempore Cletus Wotorson refused to comment on the rejection of Mr. Nmah, he confirmed that one or two Presidential nominees were denied.
• Mr. Nmah was earlier rejected by the Senate on what is thought to be his poor human relations.

Justice Ministry Dismisses Newspaper Claims against Elite Presidential Guard
[The Inquirer, The News, The Analyst, Front Page Africa]

• The Justice Ministry has dismissed a Front Page Africa newspaper caption: “SSS Secret Detention of Innocent People Exposed.”
• In the story, the paper alleged that personnel of the elite presidential guard have been engaged in secret arrest, detention and torture of individuals alleged to have committed crimes.
• The article also reported that the action has become a common practice in the administration of the Unity Party-led government as was done during past regimes.
• But the Ministry of Justice in a release expressed shock at the story and called on the paper to provide evidence to support its allegations.

Double Pay For Single Job, Key Government Official Benefit
[New Democrat]

• The Finance Ministry has confirmed that a select group of cabinet ministers and other top officials are benefiting from a dual remuneration scheme wherein they are paid lucrative sum.
• The pay in lucrative sums comes from both government and the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) capacity development fund.
• Reacting to a newspaper publication, which showed Minister Augustine Ngafuan’s mansion currently under construction, the ministry’s public affairs unit revealed in a statement that the minister is amongst few cabinet officials benefiting from the UNDP’s capacity funding scheme.
• It says the minister receives US$3,000 monthly from the UNDP scheme, arguing that such earning and those from government are the sources of funding enabling the construction of his palace.
• This means that the minister and others are being paid twice for a single job.
• The statement: “Members of Cabinet earn US$3,000 per month and Hon. Ngafuan has been a member of cabinet since January 2006....”

“We Will Vote People Oriented Leaders”…Unity Party Partisans Vow
[The Inquirer, The News, The Analyst, Heritage]

• Ahead of the merger convention scheduled to take place in Ganta, Nimba County this weekend, several delegates and partisans of the ruling Unity Party are pushing for the election of what they call political faces at the hierarchy of the new political institution.
• The partisans, many of whom are youths, described the pending convention as a crucial stage where the future of the three parties forming the merger would be decided, and by extension the future of Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as President of Liberia.
• The concerned partisans, who preferred anonymity, said they are going to the convention with the aim of putting in place a leadership that would be politically attractive and people oriented.
• They also called for change in personalities and strategies; something they said can only be assured if the right kind of leadership emerges from the convention.
• Several personalities including Cllr. Varney Sherman, former Internal Affairs Minister Ambulai Johnson, Assistant Labor Minister Cole Bangalu, Maryland Senator Gloria Scott, Mr. Clemenceau Urey, Montserrado Representative Dusty Wolokolie, former State Minister Morris Dukuly, former Assemblyman Isaac Mannah, former Cabinet Director Medina Wesseh and former Unity Party Secretary General Henry Fahnbulleh are expected to vie for several positions at the Liberia Action Party, Liberia Unification Party and the Unity Party merger convention expected to run from the 6th to the 9th of May in Ganta, Nimba County.

Star Radio (News monitored today at 09:00 am)
UN Under Secretary-General Meets President Sirleaf

Senate Suspends Threshold Debate, Honors High Court Citation Today
(Also reported Radio Veritas, Truth FM, Sky FM, and ELBC)

Senate Confirms Presidential Nominees, Defers and Denies Others
• The Senate has confirmed Harrison Karwea and Soko Sackor as Minister and Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Internal Affairs respectively.
• Also confirmed were Othello Gongar, Education Minister; Mator Kpangbai, Deputy Education Minister and Jerolimek Piah, Deputy Information Minister.
• Others are Grace Kpaan, Superintendent, Montserrado County; Billy Johnson, Chief Medical Officer, John F. Kennedy Medical Centre and several Township Commissioners.
• At the same time, the Senate has put a hold on the confirmation of Assistant Information Minister-designate Isaac Jackson and Assistant Gender Minister-designate Marthalyn Dagoseh.
• Also, the Senate has deferred the confirmation of Deputy Police Director-designate Al Karlay and Deputy Immigration Commissioner Col. Robert Budy.
• Some Senators are requesting a Police or judicial clearance from Mr. Karlay who was earlier dismissed from the Police because of a fuel scandal.
• In another development, the Senate has denied the confirmation of the Assistant Superintendent-designate of Grand Cape Mount County and two commissioners of River Gee County.
(Also reported Truth FM, Sky FM, and ELBC)

LBS Director General-designate finally rejected
(Also reported Truth FM, Sky FM, and ELBC)

Coalition Of ‘Five’ To Monitor Education Sector
• Five civil society groups in the country have formed a coalition known as the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education.
• The group comprises the Centre for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia, the Liberia Education Technical Committee and the Federation of Liberian Youths.
• Other members of the coalition include the Liberia Economic Journalists Association and the Liberia Institute for Certified Public Accountants.
• According to an official of the group Thomas Doe-Nah, the coalition would monitor targeted procurement processes in the education sector, document best practices as well as bad practices in public procurement in the education sector and make recommendations for change.
• Mr. Doe-Nah believes a fraudulent procurement process in the education sector would adversely affect the atmosphere of learning in the classrooms, noting that the coalition would advocate for government to either prosecute or blacklist companies with questionable records in securing procurement contracts.
• Former Education Minister now Executive Director of the Liberia Education Trust Dr. Evelyn Kandakai launched the coalition Tuesday in Monrovia
(Also reported Radio Veritas, Truth FM, Sky FM, and ELBC)

Liberian Embassy in Ghana Faces Logistical Constraints
• The Liberian embassy in Ghana says it is faced with logistical constraints.
• Ambassador Rudolf Von-Balmoos said the embassy has only one vehicle, making it difficult to effectively operate.
• Ambassador Von-Balmoos however said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working on improving the situation.
• At the same time, the Liberian Ambassador has praised government for the level of support the embassy is receiving.
• Ambassador Von-Balmoos also spoke of good bilateral relationship with the Ghanaian government.
• He disclosed partnerships for support to the education and military sectors are being concluded.
• The Liberian diplomat said a pending visit to Liberia by Ghanaian President John Atta Mills will serve as evidence of the good relationship between the two West African countries.

Truth FM (News monitored today at 10:00 am)
Guinea Encroaches On Liberian Territory, Hoists Flag
• [SIC] The Guinean government has allegedly encroached on Liberian territory along the border town of Yealla, Lofa County.
• The Guinean flag according to reports can be seen across the river on the Liberian side of the border.
• Local residents say the Guinean flag was hoisted on the Liberian territory during the regime of junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara.
• But speaking to newsmen in Zorzor, Lofa County President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the action of the Guinean government was against international boundary laws, which declare rivers as the legitimate demarcations for neighboring countries.
• President Sirleaf said she will properly review the country’s boundary document and subsequently deal with the matter diplomatically.

Justice Ministry Dismisses Newspaper Claims against Elite Presidential Guard

International Clips on Liberia

Liberia accuses Guinea of encroaching on its territory

APA-Monrovia (Liberia): There is looming conflict between the two Mano River Union member states of Guinea and Liberia, with reports that Guinea has allegedly encroached on Liberian territory near the border town of Yeala in northern Liberia. According to a report published by a local daily here on Wednesday, the Guinean flag can be seen hoisted along the border town of Yeala on the Liberian side of the border. The report quotes local residents as saying that the flag was hoisted during the regime of junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara. The report quotes Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as saying that the Guinea government’s action was against international boundary laws, which declare rivers as the legitimate demarcations for neighboring countries. President Sirleaf said she will properly review the country’s boundary document and subsequently deal with the matter diplomatically. The Liberian president however said Liberia currently enjoys friendly relations with the government led by current leader General Sekouba Konate. A similar boundary dispute is brewing between Sierra Leone and Guinea, with the Sierra Leone government complaining that Guinea has encroached on a portion of land in Sierra Leonean territory near the border town of Koindu. Since then, the town, which once boasted of being a major international market has been reduced to a local market, as Fulas from Guinea who once invested heavily in Koindu, have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

President Sirleaf Receives UNITAID Proposal on Financing MDGs

http://www.isria.com/pages/5_May_2010_27.php

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Tuesday received a proposal from the head of UNITAID, a United Nations entity, for Liberia to play a role in an innovative project to finance development and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The President was also invited to join the UN Secretary-General and other world leaders in a campaign related to the MDGs, in connection with the High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Goals, scheduled for September. The proposal was presented to President Sirleaf by Mr. Philippe Douste-Blazy, UN Under-Secretary-General and Chairman of the Executive Board of UNITAID. Mr. Douste-Blazy spoke of the widening gap between developed and developing countries in the health area, and said UNITAID had come up with new thinking on how to address the problem. Concerning her participation in the MDG campaign, President Sirleaf, responding, said she was already involved in various health initiatives. Her Government’s commitment to the health sector was strong. She had committed to provide free basic health care for all in all Government public health facilities. Continuing, the President noted that malaria remains a big problem in Liberia, so the fact that UNITAID was addressing that health issue was a good thing. The innovative mechanism would be examined in this light.

Visiting Liberian delegation appeals for ideas to reduce poverty

http://runningafrica.com/news-05052010-PRS-Delegation-Appeals.html

A Liberia government delegation currently visiting with Liberians in the United States says the collapse of the Liberian economy can be attributed to the sustained period of instability in the country pre-dating 1990. Long before the scheduled 3 pm start of the program on Sunday, May 2, 2010, scores of Liberians from the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware converged on the venue of the town hall meeting in West Philadelphia. At the kickoff of the formal presentation, two senior government functionaries in the persons of the youthful Liberian Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Mr. Amara Konneh and the Director General of the Civil Service Agency Dr. C. William Allen briefed the gathering on the implementation of Government's Poverty Reduction Strategy Program also known as "Lift Liberia". The PRS has for 4 pillars which include enhancing Peace and Security, revitalization of the Liberian economy, improvement in Governance and Rule of Law and rebuilding of infrastructure and provision of Basic Services. The anxious and attentive gathering of Liberians listened first to Minister Konneh who is the National Coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction and Development Committee (LRDC). He told the audience that it was Government's intention to tap into the Liberian Diaspora in North America, Europe and Africa and solicit their help in moving the country forward, adding, "Your remittances totaling between $80 - $100 million dollars has significantly helped the Liberian economy."

Somali pirates hijack Russian oil tanker: EU navy

London (Reuters) - Somali pirates hijacked a Russian-owned Liberia-flagged oil tanker off the coast of east Africa on Wednesday with 23 Russian crew members on board. "At the time of the attack, the Moscow University was heading east with a final destination of China," the European Union's EU Navfor naval force said in a statement. "The ship has a crew of 23, all from Russia, and all are believed to be well."

International Clips on West Africa

Guinea

Guinea election won't be delayed, says junta chief

Conakry (Reuters) - Guinea's June 27 presidential election will not be delayed, the head of the West African country's ruling military junta said, amid growing concern that army factions will try to disrupt the vote. The reassurance comes under international pressure for a swift transition to civilian rule in the leading bauxite exporter, after decades of harsh military leadership spanning back to its independence from France in 1958. "No one has the power or the right within my immediate entourage, among my close collaborators, to prolong the transition or to delay elections for any reason," General Sekouba Konate said late on Tuesday on state television. "All of us are leaving after June 27, which will mark the end of our mission and our mandate," he said. Konate took over power in Guinea after former junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara was shot in the head by a would-be assassin in December and evacuated from the country for treatment.

OHCHR and Guinea sign agreement for presence

Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The UN Human Rights office and the Government of Guinea on 4 May in Geneva signed an agreement establishing OHCHR's presence in the West-African country. The new country office will work to promote and protect human rights in Guinea. The decision to establish an OHCHR country office in Guinea originates from a report by an International Commission of Inquiry mandated by the Secretary-General to investigate the 28 September 2009 violent suppression by Guinea's security forces of a mass demonstration against the military junta. The report confirmed the killing of 156 people and uncovered the rapes of women and the arbitrary arrest of political opponents as well as the looting of their homes. In view of the Commission's findings, the report recommended the establishment of the office as well as a series of reforms which were endorsed by the Secretary-General in January 2010. After signing the 'host country agreement' with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Francophonie of the Republic of Guinea, Mr. Bakary Fofana, the UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay said that "The new office will boost the UN's ability to cooperate with the Government in its efforts to promote and protect the human rights of all Guineans. It is a clear indication of the current Government's commitment to draw a line under the country's troubled history."

Ivory Coast

AU Peace and Security Council briefed on prevailing situation in Cote d'Ivoire

http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90855/6973379.html

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union was briefed on the evolution of the situation in Cote d'Ivoire by the special representative of the Chairperson the Commission for Cote d'Ivoire, a statement released to media said on Tuesday. The briefing was also given to the permanent representative of Cote d'Ivoire to UN and diplomatic advisor to the president of Cote d'Ivoire, the ambassador of Nigeria, in her capacity as the representative of the country currently holding the Chairmanship of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and the representative of the Commission of ECOWAS to the Commission of the African Union. The Council expressed its serious concern with the lack of progress in the process of exit from the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire since its meeting of March 5, 2010. According to the statement, the Council underscored the need for the country's parties to make every effort for the early completion of the process. The Council urged the parties to promote an environment conducive for the completion of this process and the holding of inclusive, free, transparent and fair elections. It particularly urged those to find solutions to outstanding issues, in conformity with relevant provisions in the Ouagadougou Political Agreement and Supplementary Agreements, the statement added.

Adviser Says President Gbagbo Not Cause of Ivory Coast Crisis

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/west/Adviser-Says-President-Gbagbo-Not-Cause-of-Ivory-Coast-Crisis---92824199.html

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo’s special adviser says the disarmament of rebel forces and the re-unification of the entire country are the two main conditions needed to be achieved before credible elections could be held. Lambert Bahi Serry said there is need for the international community including the African Union to help with the full implementation of the Political Agreement that was recently signed in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou. “I think for the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to state that it means that they are in face with what the president has been saying over and over again that we need to have all these bodies like the African Union, the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States, the U.N. Security Council to put pressure on the signatories of the Ouagadougou agreement so that the last step the 20 percent that we have left to have free and fair elections are completed,” he said.

Sierra Leone

48 Hours Ultimatum to Leave Russia…Via Cairo and Ghana

http://standardtimespress.net/cgi-bin/artman/publish/article_4613.shtml

A letter sent to Sierra Leone’s Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation at Gloucester Street, from the Sierra Leone’s Embassy in Moscow written by H.E. Dr. Salieu Mohammed Turay has explained that he was not the one granted persona non- grata, but his son who was allegedly involved in a rape scandal in Moscow. According to Hon. Turay, he had warned his step son Teslime Wilson to refrain from associating himself with night clubs, friends and Russian girls. He said his step son proved to be recalcitrant and as he continues to encourage friends and Russian girls until late one night he was stopped from entering the diplomatic house with Russian girls and friends by the security. Though they were able to persuade the security officer to let them in he later called in the police who came and removed the night visitors from his residence. The Russian Ambassador further explained that preparation was made to repatriate Teslime Wilson to Freetown when he disappeared around 3.00 am, but was located at his hideout through the assistance of the Regional Police Headquarter and the Russian telephone provider, Megafon and was given 48 hours to leave Russia.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

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