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WHY US, LIBERIA: WHY DO WE BEAR THE GREATEST BURDEN OF THE EBOLA SCOURGE?

first_imgAll Liberians should seriously ponder why Liberia with a population of only about 4 million should account for more than half of the Ebola deaths. Sierra Leone has a population of about 6 million and Guinea around 12 million. Why did a population of 4 million come to account for more than half of the Ebola deaths than a combined population of around 18 million in Guinea and Sierra Leone?Let me start by citing the The Liberian Daily Observer editorial of September 17, 2014 https://www.liberianobserver.com/editorials/needed-think-tank-help-liberians-start-doing-things-differently-hence-forth: “When, by God’s grace, we overcome this Ebola crisis, Liberia and Liberians will need to start doing everything differently…We need a THINK-TANK … to help us to chart a more constructive and brighter future for ourselves and our posterity”.The asymmetrical and disproportionate impact of the Ebola on us than on Sierra Leone and Guinea should make us rethink our strategies: the things we should have done but didn’t do and the things we should not have done but did.Let us look at the way Ebola is spread. We are told that we should not be afraid of Ebola because it is not spread through the air but by contact with … bodily fluids like blood, sweat etc of an Ebola infected person. Well, Liberia is in the Tropics and it is a hot country. In addition, most people walk. When you walk in the heat in a hot country, you sweat a lot and most Liberians sweat and sweat is one of the major conduits of Ebola. Thus in a densely populated area, sweaty contacts are easy to come by. Just walk along streets in Monrovia and it will become apparent how easily sweaty contacts can be made.Let us take a look at some density issues. Guinea occupying an area of about 95,000 square miles has a population of around 12 million. Metro Conakry has a population of about two million or about one-sixth of the population, or roughly 17% . Sierra Leone occupying an area of about 28,000 square miles has a population of around six  million. Metro Freetown has a population of around 1.1 million or, again, around 18% of the population. Compare these to Liberia, occupying an area of around 43,000 square miles, with a population of roughly four million. Metro Monrovia has a population of around 1.3 million or about 32%.  So, roughly one-third of the population of Liberia is in the Metro Monrovia area. We can see how dense the Monrovia environ is and, therefore, how easily the Ebola virus can spread.Why did Liberia have more than half of the Ebola deaths? We should remind ourselves that we cannot excuse ourselves because of coups and wars. Both Sierra Leone and Guinea have had the same disruptive issues. Indeed the more gruesome things like lost limbs occurred more in Sierra Leone than in any other place. So we should really and seriously consider the reasons why we should account for more than half of all the deaths from the Ebola virus. Maybe it is the bad things we should not have done but have done and the good things we should have done but have left undone.Let us take a look at some of these. Liberia cannot develop the way it wants to without a robust and effective devolution of powers and resources to the counties or regions. Dr. Sawyer knows how hard I have insisted on this, way back, even before the 1986 Constitution. We had worked on a pattern of devolution with, at that time, fewer counties. I still wish that, for purposes of development, we had fewer counties but we can not go there now because of political and delimitation issues. I was told, at that time, that the legal advisers of President Doe did not think that that is how a strong man governed and, to put it in colloquial terms, he should be able, and have the power, to appoint the lowest dog catcher in the smallest village. So it was not done. I have been adamant about this issue of devolution and I have come back to it time and time again, this time, recently, even suggesting a formula for revenue reallocation and enduring political structures for the counties. Some have argued that with devolution there will be too much corruption in the counties to which I counter by saying that even now there is a huge volume of corruption in “River City”; that the counties with their own resources can manage their development and even compete with one another; that the counties will be able to attract indigenous people and technically skilled people to increase the population and help the development. I am still insisting on a robust devolution because I am convinced that it will bring about excellent benefits to the Nation and spread the wealth of the country more evenly and more equitably.One of the effects of devolution, I submit to you, is the even distribution of the population, easing the population pressure on Monrovia and its environs. I am always puzzled why most of the Ministries do not have full functioning branches in all the counties —Agriculture, Youth & Sports, Commerce, Finance, Information, Transport, Public Works, Labor, Gender, Posts & Telecom, Health and Human Services, etc and agencies like EPA, Forestry, GSA. Indeed, these regional or county branch offices can make effective local data collectors for the central government, thereby making it possible for the government to have more accurate and reliable national data. With a functioning devolution and regional or county branches of Central ministries, we will have these regions developing robustly and fast, while, at the same time, reducing the pressure on Monrovia and its environs. I am sure that Monrovia is not able now and will be far less able in the future to sustain the influx and growth of its population. It does not now and will not have the amenities nor the basic infrastructure to sustain a larger and growing population.There is also another growth effect. As the counties have their own resources to develop, other businesses like banks, restaurants, barber shops, tailors and seamstresses and other shops will spring up thereby attracting more people and, again, reducing the pressure on Monrovia. Monrovia will not be the only center of government and population growth and that will be good for the entire Nation.There is also an additional benefit that accrues from this. We may not know it or we may know it and look away, but as the “up country” pours into Monrovia, foreigners (you know who they are) pour in to fill the vacant spaces. There are now many towns in Liberia that have “plenty” of foreigners, good neither for our growth and development nor for loyalty to the Motherland. A robust devolution will help us solve some of these issues and problems. If more and more indigenous Liberians stayed behind “up country”, it will be more difficult for foreigners to invade and occupy our towns and villages.One of the arguments when Ebola first showed its ugly head from Guinea into Liberia was that we could not close the border because of the food coming in from Guinea. We have a very fertile land, why have we so neglected our agriculture? Agriculture should be a major priority and with it and many road arteries to bring the food to the market we can have food sufficiency. There is, for example, a 1970 extensive study on the problems and prospects of rice production in Liberia that is still relevant today. If the recommendations were followed, we may be self-sufficient in rice production today and less reliant on imports. It is important to note here that the concentration of the population in the urban area has constrained governments to advocate and make policies that are urban-friendly and appease the urban dwellers to the detriment of the whole country. The importation of rice and its heavy subsidization has blunted the domestic rice production. No well-meaning farmer will make an input of, say, seven dollars in producing a hundred-pound bag of rice and sell it for six dollars while at the same time giving away, free, a couple of bags to politicians, soldiers, police officers and the like. Local farmers are not stupid. They are experienced and are economically savvy.Why did all those who took the entrance examination to the University of Liberia fail? Why are more and more students taking the West Africa examinations failing? Why do we not have enough seats in schools even at the university? Why are there not enough, some times no, books for students? Why aren’t there enough qualified teachers in the schools? There is also an earlier study on teacher retention in Liberia done with Dr. Jabaru Carlon. We cannot continue to blame all our social, economic and development problems on the civil war. We are more than ten years from the war and more than eight years into a democratically elected government. As the editorial said, we need to start  doing things differently. Maybe this ugly Ebola has come to open our eyes to the fact that we should figure out new and creatively novel ways of approaching and solving our problems. We need to ask ourselves very serious questions about the way forward.Our health and road infrastructures need to be attended to urgently. I am not unaware of the flow directions of Liberian rivers, from north to south, and therefore the engineering difficulties in road and bridge construction. But I am told that this can be overcome by long north south roads and short east west roads. We need good roads all over the country and not just in the Monrovia area. The road system will facilitate agriculture, health delivery and even education. It will facilitate trade and communication.As I see it, devolution will help us solve a lot of our problems and we will not be in a position where a catastrophe like Ebola will impact us far more than it impacted countries much larger than we are. Let us get our priorities straight. Let us provide the leadership to significantly curb, abate and reduce CORRUPTION (notice that I did not say ERADICATE because, for all practical reasons, that is an impossibility). Let us go out and resolve to make a better Liberia. Let us chart a new course and apply new ideas, even organize a THINK-TANK to help us chart new and novel territories. We have abundant resources.  Let us use them wisely, prudently and equitably for the benefit of all Liberians.Dr. Igolima T. D. Amachree is a professor of Sociology emeritus. He can be reached at         it-amachree@wiu.edu. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Parika: A bridge to the heart of Essequibo

first_imgLocated in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Parika is the gateway to the Essequibo coastlands.Known as a port township, as it is popular for its ferry service to Supenaam, Bartica, and the islands such as Leguan, Wakenaam, Hog Island, etc; Parika was also in talks of becoming a town.Having over 4000 inhabitants, the community is also famous for its Saturday night-Sunday morning market, as well as being a commercial hub due to its central location.Up to 500 individual merchants set up their stalls containing various produce. These produce includes banana, coconut, plantain, cassava, watermelon, etc. It is also known for its exotic pet trades including parrots and various birds.Parika is also known as a vast fishing community, as fishers would go out to sea from the wharf and return to ply their trade on a daily basis.It is also a major hub for land transport, since it is a route terminal for minibusses.The community is also known to be one of the central business areas in Region Three, housing more banks than any other region. The fact that Republic Bank, Scotia Bank, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, and Demerara Bank are located in Parika is testament to the commercial viability of the village.Parika is also home to Guyana’s first two-tiered parking facility. The parking lot known as the S&R Parking Lot, is located at 162 Parika, East Bank Essequibo.The multimillion-dollar structure leads the way countrywide in terms of single parking spaces.The construction of the steel structured parking lot commenced in 2010 and can accommodate 102 vehicles.The parking complex is convenient for persons travelling to the islands and only costs $500 a day.Parika also houses many schools, a health centre, a Police Station, and many businesses, which is one of the main reasons for the daily hustle and bustle on the streets.The community contains much more than what is seen on the surface. Driving into the backlands, alias the ‘backdam’, there is much more to be seen.The backdam is widely known for its ground provision cultivation and poultry rearing.These farmers supply provisions, such as plantain, eddoe, cassava, yam, sweet potato, etc to various parts of the country; the same is done with the poultry.The people of Parika however, are the highlight of what the community stands for: Unity is visible in the close-knit community.Speaking with a few villagers, they all talked about the comforts of living in the community.Some proclaimed that “we are all like family here”, which says much about them.It is a custom for loud music to be heard when traversing through the community since weddings and parties are held regularly.According to villagers, one does not need an invitation to these events, since as long as you live in Parika, you are welcomed.The sunshine village is continuously developing and is expected to be a greater attraction in years to come.A section of wharfParika Post officeParika’s Police StationS&R Parking Lot and Taxi ServiceParika’s Health CentreOne of the banks in ParikaA section of the marketlast_img read more

MESSENGERS OF PEACE

first_imgIn 2012, Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia, as part of an ongoing effort to grow and strengthen collaboration with civil society rolled out a 21 day peace activism programme.In MOP, we recognize that partnership with individuals and organizations cut across every aspect of our work, helping to bring about results that no organization can achieve independently. We (MOP) believe that partnership and collaborative relationships with others are critical to delivering results for peace consolidation in Liberia.Since its establishment in 2008, MOP has worked with several partners, starting with the Community Outreach programme, Public Information Section-UNMIL, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, The Catholic Church-Liberia, The Carter Center, International Alert, Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation, Peace Building Office, Youth Action International, Center for Media studies and peacebuilding, United Nations Volunteer Programme-Liberia(UNV) and other broad range of partners worldwide to advocate for sustainable peace and development in Liberia.In December 2013, MOP, through its Friends of MOP initiated a month long fundraising campaign to mobilize resources for its peace clubs and to raise public awareness about the need for durable peace. The “Dollar for Peace Campaign” is our first incursion with the public and the corporate sector. MOP’s goal is to engage national peace partnership with the private sector through the corporate social responsibility programme and with other non-public partners to develop a joint response to issues of peace consolidation. The full potential of partnership and collaborative relationship with the private sector would be explored further in the years ahead.All youth based and volunteer based organizations are working towards a common goal of sustainable peace. Therefore, cooperation, collaboration and partnerships are ingredients required to defuse tensions, between communities and countries of the West African region and thereby reduce the risk of increased conflicts.The Palava hut system and the early warning programmes are great examples for peace partnership and collaboration.Our experience partnering with various stake holders has shown that peacebuilding strategies of Peace Advocacy, partnership and engagement are becoming the over arching national planning tool in many post conflict environment, providing a vital opportunity for placing peace initiatives as the core of national development programmes using a multi-sectoral and scaled up response.Using capacity building and partnership strengthening approaches to address peace building and consolidation issues, helps ensure synergy and avoid duplication of programmes. It also helps to foster greater alignment between global initiative and national development strategies and to acc as a conduit between local and national actors and national peace policy making processes.The importance of partnering for peace in Liberia cannot be overemphasized and despite the benefits of peace partnership, important challenges exist, for instance, not one non-governmental organization, Government organization and even the private sector has the capacity to leverage the strategic and allocative priority of global programme funds for peace. Many partnerships rely on piece meal, ad hoc and hand down approaches to access funds.MOP firm believes that existing silo, ad hoc and piece meal approaches to building and consolidation of peace in Liberia helps no one. Too often peace building initiatives are still treated as an “add on” or optional extra not seen as important by the private sector. During the planning phase of last year International Day of Peace, MOP approached one of the telephone companies with a proposal for partnership but was informed the company was more interested in growing their clientele. Given that private sector has no history of partnering for peace with local NGOs, it is about time to start one.We have come to understand that capacity building programmes and sponsorships explicitly support primary stakeholders and not everyone. Access to new digital social media system to collect quantitative and quality date from counties for early warning and dissemination of information and for monitoring is limited.There is a general lack of organization-wide and coherent understanding of what partnerships and collaborative relationships are; what value they can add to the realization of sustainable peace and what form of cooperation is most appropriate under which circumstances.Our interactions with private partners, international organizations and even other local non-governmental organizations have shown bureaucratic burden as one of the most important burdens in working with partners. Most private organizations still too often see local peace builders as mere contractors, service providers and implementing agents rather than as genuine partners.What most NGOs want are relevant relationships that deliver real value. Fully embracing partnerships and collaborative networking; either formal or informal; is the only way of doing peace business. This, however, entails a transformation of current mindset of individuals and organizations.Messengers of Peace-Liberia is more interested in getting tangible value in return for their time, attention, endorsement and data. We therefore urge organizations, particularly the private sector to acknowledge other local NGOs as genuine partners operating at eye level in the pursuit of common goals, rather than as mere sponsors, supporters or agents.Messengers of Peace will pursue a way forward by increasing, in the short term, the use of informal collaborative relationships and strengthen cooperation with knowledge partners and build strategic alliance with the media. In its medium term plan, MOP intends to organize an annual social responsibility recognition award for all private enterprise operating in Liberia. A more strategic approach through information sharing, networking, collaboration and partnership is not only essential but critical.This article is best surmised by an African saying “One hand cannot tie a bundle” The message here is the need to create space for the meaningful involvement and participation of civil society in the peace consolidation process. It’s something worth thinking about.Until next week, remember: Peace, above all, Peace First. Let Peace Prevail.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Duport Road Residents Undertake Drainage Project

first_imgSeveral residents of Duport Road East community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia on Saturday, April 12, completed a drainage project that would address the challenges presented by flooding in the area.In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer after the exercise, Augustine Boakai, the project’s manager, said the initiative was funded by residents in the community. He went on to praise them for their level of cooperation.“We communicated with the acting Mayor of Paynesville for assistance; unfortunately we have not heard anything from her, until now,” he added, “It was only the community’s members that supported the project.”Boakai said residents would continue to engage stakeholders, including the Paynesville City Acting Mayor, to help them address the problem of the bridge that was constructed by District #10.“Since the construction of the bridge, almost every home in the community has been seriously affected by flooding. When even a little rain falls, the entire area becomes flooded due to the drainages and waterways being obstructed by the bridge,” Mr. Boakai explained.The Duport East project manager said if the bridge is not attended to by government, he would mobilize the community to remove it.“We are not threatening the government, but want them to know that we are tired of flooding as a result of the bridge,” he clarified.He called on the acting city mayor to help residents find solutions to solve the drainage problem once and for all.“We realized that this presented an opportunity to improve the health and sanitation conditions of the area as well,” he said of the drainage project he and other Duport Road residents undertook.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Boy with Swollen Eye Pleads for Help

first_imgThe uncle of a 12-year-old boy is appealing to humanitarians, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to come to the aid of his nephew. According to Mr. Musa Rogers, his nephew is in constant and severe pain in his left eye and the pain has extended to the right eye. The left eye is the one seriously affected and is growing bigger every day.He told the Daily Observer yesterday that he took young Sherrif to two hospitals and one of them advised that if the family does not want the boy to lose both eyes, he should be flown abroad for advanced medical treatment.“This is why we are appealing for help in order to take him outside Liberia for treatment. We don’t have what it takes to take him to either Ghana or other places for treatment,” Rogers stated. Hospital documents from the SDA-run Cooper Memorial Hospital on 12th Street, Sinkor, said they had seen him on March 11, 2015. The hospital has one of the best eye facilities in the country.“This lad was brought into our clinic by relatives for the first time from the RIA Highway on March 2, 2015 for a second opinion on his eye condition and possible management. He complained of a severely painful swollen left eye, unable to see at all with the left eye, multiple hard skull masses especially frontal and left parietal regions and swollen left side of his face.”According to the hospital, Sherrif’s family reported that his condition started four months ago when some knots on his head plus swelling on the left side of his face became visible. “The left eye was red, painful and discharging water. His mother applied traditional eye medication on the affected eye. He was later taken to a nearby general medical facility and treated for a few days and discharged. The lad was in severe pain with his head wrapped in a cloth to conceal his affected eyes, skull masses and the facial deformity.”Please contact the Daily Observer on 0886631025 or 0886534553 to offer assistance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tribute To Sheikh Kafumba Konneh

first_imgSheikh Kafumba Konneh was a patriot whose love of country was undying and unimpeachable. He was a man of God who saw God’s grace in all God’s people, irrespective of creed. He was an erudite religious scholar whose deep knowledge and proper understanding of the tenets of the Religions of Abraham fortified him to be a courageous and tenacious peacemaker when violence and strife captured our country. He was the last of the legendary trio consisting of Archbishop Michael Francis, Bishop Nah Dixon and himself who remained the moral compass of our society when violence, ambition and greed smothered truth, shattered peace and threatened to extinguish our common heritage.I have known Sheikh Kafumba for about 40 years and have watched his evolution from a magistrate devoted to issues of the Rule of Law and justice for the poor, to an early supporter and member of the Unity Party of Dr. Edward Kesselly in the mid-1980s, and his transformation into a distinguished religious scholar, understanding the deeper meaning of religion that binds us in our common humanity. Like Ibn Khalidun, the 14th century Islamic scholar, Sheikh Kafumba explored the intersections of religion, culture, science, and politics to embed tolerance, promote scientific knowledge, and build a peaceful, inclusive and progressive society. We owe Sheikh Kafumba Konneh an enormous debt of gratitude. The fact that our violent conflict did not degenerate into a religious war can be attributed in large measure to his efforts. He was the boldest champion for religious tolerance. I recall our mission to Libya in 1993 in the search of peace. As Colonel Khadafi lectured us about his African revolution, Sheikh Kafumba lectured him back about the detrimental role of the Libyan leader in the Liberian conflict. We sat in wonderment at the courage, eloquence, and profound analysis of Sheikh Kafumba at a time and in a situation where others would have been tempted to be opportunistic and sycophantic.I personally owe a debt of gratitude to Sheikh Kafumba for enhancing my understanding of the meaning of tolerance and for helping me deepen my appreciation of the diversity of our society and my respect for that diversity. Sheikh Kafumba dedicated himself to the struggle to end marginalization, ensure that we respect each other and use our diversity as building blocks for a better society and not as stumbling blocks to progress or walls to separate us from each other.I also owe Sheikh Kafumba further for rescuing me and taking me out of harm’s way when my life was threatened in 2000 when armed security men stormed the offices of the Center for Democratic Empowerment, violently assaulted the staff, plundered and destroyed equipment and almost killed Conmany Wesseh and brutally assaulted me. Sheikh Kafumba appeared out of nowhere, pulled me up from the ground and sped me off to safety.We thank you Sheikh; we honor you!To the family that nourished him, we say thank you; we will remain grateful to you. To the religious community he led, we ask that his virtues and values continue to guide you.To the Liberian society he struggled to preserve and reform, let us continue to deepen our appreciation of the richness of diversity and our respect for one another irrespective of creed, ethnicity, social standing and political persuasion. May God Almighty bestow his grace on us all. Thank you.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Balancing Political Privilege in Ethnically Diverse Counties

first_imgOur Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor last Wednesday sent in a story of a Mandingo rally in Ganta, during which they called for greater inclusion of their tribesmen and women in the county’s administration.We find this both a realistic and reasonable plea. It is realistic because they know that although they are quite prominent in the county’s business sector, they are a minority ethnic group in Nimba. It is reasonable because being a group with considerable economic power, it makes sense to bring them into governance because that may cause them to feel that they have a greater stake in the county’s success story—in terms, not only of political, but also socioeconomic and cultural relevancy. All of the educational institutions in Nimba should strive to recruit talented, ambitious and progressive students from all ethnic groups, because their success tomorrow in the economic, political or social arena would bring credit to their respective alma maters.That is why in many countries across the globe, schools and institutions of higher learning are proactive in their enrollment. They don’t just sit there and wait for students to apply. Many of the leading institutions, especially of higher learning, go out and scout for talented senior high students who represent the vast diversity of the societies in which these institutions are resident. They seek out students from all races, religions, ethnicities, etc., who show exceptional athletic or leadership potential, and entice them with scholarships and other amenities (conveniences, facilities). The motive is that if tomorrow a student becomes highly successful in business, politics or any other arena, such as engineering, literature, sports, medicine, or science—whatever—such a student would not forget the schools that helped him or her to succeed. We see this among Liberians in the Diaspora, especially the United States, where the alumni associations of several Liberian high schools meet regularly, raise substantial sums of money in order to lend a helping hand to their alma maters back home.Graduates of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) took the lead as early as 1991 when they organized the BWI Alumni Association in North America (BWIAANA). Since that time they have contributed substantially to their school in Kakata, Margibi County. During the civil war, it was primarily the BWIAANA that helped keep the doors of BWI open. Right now there is an ambulance somewhere in Minnesota, purchased by the BWIAANA, waiting to be shipped to BWI in Kakata.Alumni of several other institutions, especially Rick’s Institute, St. Patrick’s High/St., Theresa’s Convent and Bravid W. Harris, are very actively supporting their alma maters here at home.That is as it should be in all of the counties of this republic. A wise politician or administrator in any county would do well to reach out to all ethnic groups in the county, bring them in, and make them to see themselves as an important part of the body politic—a group that truly matters and is to be reckoned with in any county decision making.The Gio is Nimba’s dominant ethnic group, followed by the Mano. The Mandingo come third and maybe the Kpelle, fourth, followed by a tribe that is nearly extinct, the Gbi.The Gios are so numerically powerful that the Manos find the Gio numbers matchless when it comes to elections. That is why a few Mano leaders some time ago were considering the idea of two counties, one Gio, one Mano. But that idea was quickly shot down by even some Mano leaders, who thought the county’s influence nationally could be diminished (weakened) by such a move. As we mentioned in a recent editorial, Nimba is gifted with quite a number of entrepreneurs that have made the county the envy of many others in the country. Many visitors have come from Nimba highly impressed with the county’s progress. The Nimba leaders and people can be sure that should they adopt a philosophy and practice of reaching out to all its people, regardless of ethnicity or religion, the county may soon find itself competing more forcefully with Montserrado, not just in terms of population, but industry, commerce, education, culture and even tourism.We hope that Superintendent Fong Zuagele, Senator Prince Johnson and all the other Nimba leaders would endorse the vision of reaching out to all its people, regardless of ethnicity, giving them unfettered opportunities to excel in every possible area. In so doing, Nimbaians would develop into a creative, dynamic, thriving, prosperous people that would be hard to match anywhere in the republic. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

7 Die ‘Mysteriously’ in Greenville

first_imgResidents of the port city of Greenville, Sinoe County woke up yesterday to discover that half a dozen of their kinsmen had died under mysterious circumstances.In his reaction to the news, Derry S. Dokie, the Ministry of Health’s representative in River Cess with oversight responsibility for Sinoe County, said in a text response to the Daily Observer that there were “unexplained causes of the deaths which started at about 5 a.m.”“Since 5 a.m. today (yesterday morning) six persons have died from suspected fever of unknown cause,” which health personnel in the county are investigating.The Ministry of Health in Monrovia has been urgently called upon to put into place interventions before the situation gets out of hand.The Liberian National Police (LNP) spokesperson, Sam Collins, confirmed to the Daily Observer that the LNP is investigating the deaths, and have dispatched homicide and forensic investigators to the county.Collins spoke on a radio phone-in program yesterday after many versions of the deaths started filtering in to Monrovia from Greenville.Collins called on the public to remain calm as the LNP is carefully reviewing the situation.An ELBC correspondent in the county told the station that some of the dead were students and that their bodies are at the Francis Grant Hospital.He reported that because of the intensityof the crisis, health authorities in the county were in a meeting for most of yesterday.Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has confirmed the news and told ELBC that investigation is ongoing to ascertain the circumstances leading to the deaths.The Ministry of Health’s communication director, Sorbor George, said a rapid response team has already taken specimen of the dead for testing.He said the tests will be conducted at a laboratory in Marshall, Lower Margibi County.According to Mr. George, the victims had earlier complained of headaches and abdominal pains, and doctors struggled to resuscitate them “to no avail until they died at various intervals.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Let’s Remove This Corrupt System’ -Urey

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) (From left) ALP Vice standard bearer Duopue and standard bearer Urey uplift their hands to the cheering of their supporters at the 2nd National Convention in Ganta, Nimba CountyALP standard bearer selects a son of Nimba as running matePresidential aspirant Benoni Urey did not show any sympathy to the ruling Unity Party when he told partisans of his All Liberian Party (ALP) to join hands to remove the “corrupt system” from power.In his acceptance speech after he was endorsed as the standard-bearer at the party’s 2nd national convention in Ganta on July 7 and 8, he called on Liberians to deny the Unity Party any chance to continue leading the country.“The UP government is the most corrupt government in Liberian history,” he said. “We do not want a government that will turn our boys and girls into prostitutes.” He, however, did not give further details about his claim.He noted that “This government has abused us for 12 years, divided us and failed to reconcile us.”Mr. Urey said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been living like someone displaced for 12 years because of her failure to have completed the renovation work of the Executive Mansion, where he claimed, US$20m has been spent in vain.He told jubilant partisans that he did not want to be president for riches, rather “I want to move the country forward by taking the government resources from Monrovia to the interior.”He said his government will create an environment where the poor will become rich, where the Christian and the Muslim can live together and where the country’s traditions will be respected.Mr. Urey said his government will ensure that 60% of the country’s revenues will be left for county development funds and will ensure equal rights for all Liberians.This 2nd national convention was held under the theme “Let’s get Liberia Working.”  He said, “We want to change Liberia, where all Liberians will get on board for rapid development.”The ALP convention in Ganta coincided with Unity Party standard bearer Joseph Boakai’s weeklong visit to Nimba.Nonetheless, the ALP pulled great numbers of partisans, and many said the crowd at the ALP convention was beyond their expectation.To the joy of thousands of partisans, Urey named a son of Nimba County, Mr. Alexander Duopue as his running mate. Though Mr. Duopue is not popularly known in Nimba, his father, the late Moses Duopue, was a prominent citizen of Nimba, a revolutionary, who was an adviser to the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) military government of the late Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe.The late Moses Duopue, was from Tappita District, Zohnghain Town and he was allegedly killed at the Gborplay Base of the defunct National Patriotic Front of Liberia headed by former Charles G. Taylor.With Duopue’s son emerging as running mate to Urey, the ALP gets a boost but the move could divide Nimba politically, according to political observers here.Mr. Duopue, in his keynote address, said he is standing on the shoulders of the great fallen sons or heroes of Nimba, including General Thomas Quiwonkpa, David Duayen, Jackson Doe, Eugene Kidua, among others, as well as his father, to bring light to darkness.Mr. Duopue expressed how humble and grateful he was for “such confidence to be reposed in me to be part of the team.” He said the ALP leadership will restore the hope of Liberians, by improving education, providing better healthcare and also improving on the terrible road conditions throughout the country.The government of the ALP will lead the people diligently, and people will once again trust their leaders, Mr. Duopue said.Earlier when he arrived in the city, hundreds of partisans chanted along his route, “We want Urey, we want Urey, No More UP, US rate is too high.” They lined the main street of Ganta and almost brought the city to a standstill. There were scores of placards bearing pictures of Mr. Urey.Upon their arrival, the ALP held a musical festival to welcome its delegates and all sympathizers to the convention where nearly all Liberian musicians were present at the Methodist Gym to entertain the audience.Vice standard bearer Duopue started his education at the St. Mary’s Catholic School in Duala, Bushrod Island, Monrovia.  In 1983, he attended the Kwendin Vocational Training Center (KVTC), Nimba County, where he graduated from secondary education and earned a WAEC Certificate and Diploma. He traveled to the United States and attended the Barringer Annex in Newark, New Jersey. He is also a 1998 graduate of the University of Liberia where he earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Accounting majoring in Economics. He also earned a Master of Science degree (MSc) in Accounting and an MBA in Finance from Strayer University, U.S.A. in 2007 and 2009.last_img read more

Sports: The Battle for Nouakchott on Sunday

first_img– Advertisement – Lone Star leaves for Mauritania todayCoach James Salinsa Debbah may be asking himself so many questions as his boys failed to “show their juice” last Sunday in the first leg of the African Cup of Nations at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.With a two goal advantage, the local Lone Star players and Coach Debbah may have realized that once the battle was not won at home in the first leg, it may darn near be impossible to win away.That position comes from the team’s poor away history; that is if they have one. The regular Lone Star that is filled with Liberian professionals is yet to find one, as the past away games never produced wins.And that makes the task on Sunday in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, a difficult assignment for the Liberian side. Although they may be the underdogs, they may have the trump card for the game.Having lost 0-2 and wasted a penalty, the Liberian side will be fighting, as if for their lives, like a man who is drowning.“The one who is down fears no fall” is an adage that clearly fits the situation. It is veteran coach Josiah N. Johnson, credited to have said that “football is like a biscuit,” that should be quoted here. Ever tried to break a little portion of a biscuit when you were a kid to share with a friend or sibling? It broke at an unexpected angle, didn’t it? And that is somehow what happens in sports, as veteran coach Johnson (Masayo) has noted when he coached the national team for 15 years.For many who think Lone Star’s trip to Mauritania would amount to a disgrace, the players know that it is in such difficulties that they should put up their best performance.Since they showed a lot of disorganization in the first leg, they should now approach the game in Mauritania with caution and with much better organization. Pushing the ball from one player to another must be done with a purpose, and the strikers should be prepared and ambitious when the ball is lobbed in their direction.The Mauritanians reportedly prepared for at least four months for this particular game, while our players trained for a week.While many of us are not convinced that our boys can score more than three goals against their opponents, Coach Debbah should come up with a plan that would make the Mauritanians appreciate our kind of football at the end of 90 minutes of play on Sunday.All we can wish for the boys is a good game; and therefore, good luck!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Coach Debbah is expected to design a strategy to demand respect from the Mauritanians in Sunday’s matchlast_img read more

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