Friday, December 23, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
On the eve of Liberia second run elections, most newspaper lead with the news on Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) boycott of the elections, The New Republic main front page story reads "No Turning Back – CDC Insists On Staying Away From Runoff" The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has dug in the heels and tacitly taken a'' no turning back posture'' not to participate in the runoff elections for reasons shrouded in failure of stakeholders to consider its grievances and concerns. Ordinary Liberians, envoys of foreign missions accredited to Liberia, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and many others have been encouraging the CDC to relinquish its demands and return to the status quo but to no avail as the party has made it clear it would only participate if its demands were met; something many see as being too swallow. Cllr. Winston Tubman who was invited to Abuja by the Chairman of ECOWAS, Nigerian president Good luck Jonathan, told the nation Saturday that the party's position was irreversible, stressing '' the CDC will never reward fraud by taking part in the runoff election. If he the party does, according to him, it will be tantamount to granting legitimacy to what he described '' a corrupt history. Mr. Winston Tubman, the CDC'S standard- bearer has called on Liberians to give up their franchise; their rights to vote.
In the same vein, CDC standard bearer Tubman on why his party is boycotting run- off elections was the lead of Front Page. The paper wrote: I have just returned from Abuja on the invitation of the Nigerian President and Chairman of ECOWAS. I am grateful to him for the seriousness with which he continues to treat the current Liberian electoral situation. I believe we had a frank exchange of views. The contact between us continues. As we approach Nov-8-2011, the bulk of the CDC's complaints of voting irregularities that marred the Oct-11-2011 ballot remain unaddressed. After the resignation of Mr. James Fromayan, the flawed infrastructure remains intact at the national elections commissions, NEC. In our last press statement we said that the removal of Mr. Fromayan was an important first step in the process toward transparency, does resolve all the significant issues. With barely four days to Nov-8, we officially inform the Liberian people and the world that the CDC cannot participant in the Nov-8 ballot. We call on all CDCians, well-wishers and Liberian to stay away from the polls on Nov-8. Any government coming out of the Nov-8 process will be one without a national mandate to govern and will not be recognized by the CDC.
Following the trend of boycott stories, the Heritage lead with "ECOWAS: CDC's Statement to Boycott- Run-Off Election Unfortunate". In this story the Heritage reports that The ECOWAS Commission says its attention has been drawn to an undated press statement titled ''CDC Final positions on the holding of elections on Nov-8-2011'' and issued on 4 Nov-2011 by Ambassador Winston Tubman, standard bearer of the congress for Democratic Change(CDC), in the aftermath of a meeting held a day earlier in Abuja with Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria and chairman of the ECOWAS Authority. In the statement, Ambassador Tubman informs about the withdrawal of CDC from the 8-nov-2011 presidential run-off election and calls on CDC followers and Liberians in general to stay away from the poll, citing unaddressed CDC complaints about voting irregularities in the course of the first round of the election that took place on 11-oct- 2011. The ECOWAS Commission regards this statement as unfortunate, as it is intended to undermine the election and the democratic process that Liberians are striving hard to consolidate. It also goes against the grain of the discussions that Ambassador Tubman held with the Chairman of the Authority. In that meeting, the chairman advised the CDC leadership against boycotting the reminder of the electoral process, and impressed upon them that it was too late in the day, and quit against the relevant ECOWAS Protocols, for the CDC to demand changes that would require a consensual constitutional process of amending relevant electoral laws.
Subsequently, the chairman strongly urged Ambassador Tubman and all Liberians to endeavor to fully participate in the run-off in order to ensure a credible outcome and assist in the consolidation of democratic culture in the country.
According to the Heritage, writing the under headline "Ellen, Tubman Clash", the paper indicated that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has accused the standard- bearer of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Cllr.Winston Tubman of violating the Constitution by calling on CDC partisans to boycott Tuesday's president run-off polls.
The presidential run-off is between the ruling Unity Party (UP) and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). The presidential run-off election is triggered by the failure of any of the 16 presidential candidates who participated in the Oct-11 presidential and legislative elections to win an absolute majority (50% plus 1) of the total valid votes cast as enshrined in the Liberian constitution. According to the constriction, which is regarded as the organic law of the country, if no candidate obtains an a absolute majority (50% plus 1) of the total votes cast in the presidential race, them a run-off is necessary.
In Profile also contribute to boycott dominating the Liberia media on the eve of the second run presidential elections with " Face Off " headline, the paper reports that the runoff presidential election in Liberia is expected to take place tomorrow November 8th, amidst a deadlock that has kept a participating opposition party-CDC threatening to boycott the process. CDC refrained from allowing its vice standard Bearer George Oppong Weah participate in a runoff debate with UP Vice presidential Candidate Joseph Nyumah Boakia on Thursday, Nov-3rd in Monrovia, something observers said was a slap in the face of the process.
'' The political spirit we enjoyed during the first round of legislative and presidential elections has diminished because the exercise has become a one team show,'' a disappointed Liberian told the IN Profile Daily Friday evening in central Monrovia. Fanatics of UP have been heard claiming that CDC is afraid of defeat to get into the race, but critics have argued that if the ruling UP was in the opposition camp it would insist in the same form and manner especially when there are grounds to hold and put forth preconditions before taking part in the process.
The Independent also reports that "America Not Happy With CDC" the paper said according to a US Government, '' as evidenced by international and domestic observers, the October-11 first- round presidential and legislative polls were fair, free and transparent. We are supportive of moving forward with the Nov-8 election as called for by the National Election Commission (NEC). Participation in elections is a fundamental part of democracy. We commend all Liberians for their peaceful participation in the elections, and encourage all Liberians to exercise their political voice and vote on Nov-8,'' the statement noted.
Accordingly, the US government has commended leadership of ECOWAS for their important contributions coupled with the role of UNMIL in promoting security during the electoral period as well as working with all sides to protect the integrity of Liberia's democracy.
The US government including the international community has reiterated their commitment to sent observers again to monitor the election process as resorting to violence is unacceptable.
In spite of the boycott, Front page is quoting the ruling Unity Party candidate and president asking voters 'GO OUT AND VOTE'. The standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party, UP President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on all eligible voters in Grand Bassa County to turn out and vote in the November 8 Run-off elections.
''we want to say to you, Nov-8, your constitutional right is to go out and vote, that's the one thing you have in your constitution. Nobody can take that one from you because when you get behind that screen, that's just you and your God and your conscience; and you go and vote the way how you want to vote. Don't let somebody deny you that one,'' President Sirleaf urged the Bassa people to vote for a better Liberia and the future of their children. She expressed gratitude for the support given her by the Liberty Party strongman Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskin. President Sirleaf said, we are going to continue to work for the democracy that so many have suffered for and we are going to continue to build institutions as political parties. Cllr. Brumskine and I have talked about that, we want to make sure liberty party retains itself, that liberty party grows in strength, that liberty party is prepared to compete in other elections.'' Speaking to citizens of grand bassa at the fair ground in Buchanan during a last minute campaign, president Sirleaf reminded them that Liberia is for all Liberians irrespective of their political affiliation.
Cllr.Brumskin urged his supporters to commit themselves in ensuring that president sirleaf is reelected by turning out to vote come Tuesday Nov-8,2011. After the first round as you know I met with president sirleaf and I committed that I would support her in the second round. I did not stop there, I came to Grand Bassa County on Wednesday, went on the radio, spoke to all of the bassa people, met with liberty partisans and I said to you this is not our time, this is the time of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,'' he said.
The Daily Observer lead with news on the preparations for the runoff " Run-Off Set for Tomorrow" it reports that despite a boycott planned by the opposition Congress for Democratic Change CDC, the national election commission has vowed to go forward with a run-off tomorrow to determine the country's next president.
CDC standard bearer Winston Tubman announced the boycott on, immediately sparking a strong reaction from incumbent president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Unity Party.
Last Saturday, at a press conference at CDC headquarters in Monrovia, Tubman responded by accusing Johnson-Sirleaf of trying to intimidate him and of violating his right to free speech. '' There is nothing in our laws that compels Liberians to vote or not to vote, and to call upon them to vote or not to vote is no violation at all—it is an expression of my free speech Constitutionally guaranteed''. He added that the president's statement ''makes people feel that an effort is being made to silence me, to intimidate me, to make me afraid to speak what I believe needs to be said.
Assessing the conduct of upcoming second run presidential elections, The News lead with : ''No Plan To Disrupt Election'' The paper indicated that Congress for Democratic Change CDC standard bearer Cllr. Winston Tubman has trashed newspapers report that partisan of the CDC have planned to disrupt Tuesday's presidential run-off. There are media reports that CDC loyalists have planned to prevent people from voting on Tuesday by throwing stones at voters who would turn out.
The CDC has said it would not participate in the run-off election and has called on all its partisans and supporters stay away from the process. But Cllr. Tubman in an interview on Sunday said he is not aware of any plan to prevent people from voting on tomorrow. He explained that there is no plan bye the CDC to disrupt people of their legitimate rights to vote. '' I have no intention to call on my supporters to go and interfere with the right of people because when we start to do that, violence would be provoked and we don't want violence,'' he said.
We conclude our review for today with The News which lead with "ECOWAS Will Recognize Runoff Results If…………" The news said the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS has reiterated that it will recognize the verdict of the Liberian people arising from the 8 November presidential run-off election provided, ''the preparations and conduct of the second round of the presidential election are adjudged by the competent authorities and endorsed by credible observers to be in accordance with the electoral laws of Liberia.''
The ECOWAS position statement on the pending run-off election was contained in a release from Abuja, Nigeria following reports that the opposition Congress for Democratic change CDC of Ambassador Winston Tubman had maintained its threat to boycott Tuesday's poll. In view of the CDC's continuous boycott threat, the ECOWAS Commission said it deeply regrets the retrogressive tone of Ambassador Winston Tubman's statement, which seeks to disrupt the concluding phase of the 2011 presidential election. The commission has however said it has launched a final appeal to the CDC, and all Liberia stakeholders, not to miss '' this historic opportunity of consolidating democracy and peace in the country, and to actively participate in the 8 November poll.''
This daily news review is compiled by African Elections Project (AEP) Media Monitoring Center at LMC, Monrovia, Liberia.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Early provisional results from National Elections Commission(NEC) today 13th October 2011 puts ruling Unity Party (UP) candidate -President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in the lead with 44.5% and while the main opposition party Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate Winston Tubman at 26.6%.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Despite the heavy rains being reported in Montserrado, Bomi and Lofa, voters are not detered and are still in queues waiting to exercise their franchise
At the Vision Academy polling station on 1st Street Jallah Town in Monrovia, queues started forming as early as 4am. According to Inspector Thomas Cooper of the Liberia National Police (LNP), stationed at that polling precinct, "most people got out early to avoid a rush later as they think it will rain in the afternoon" he added that there are political party polling agents in all the polling centers under his watch and the voting process is well organized by the National Elections Commission (NEC). He says the security personnel will vote after everyone has left the queue.
John Toe 21, who queued since 4am and the first voter at the precinct says "I am here to be part of the history, where Liberians are free to change our leader using our thumb instead of the gun. I voted for CDC because I want Ellen out."
Mercy Mulbah 37, who was in the queue in the same precinct says she will vote for the Unity Party of President Sirleaf "why change a good thing? Am here to give my full support to the president in appreciation of the peace we are enjoying in Liberia."
At the University of Liberia polling center the story is not different as people started queuing long before the polls opened.
According to Willametta Telleoyan the Polling Officer at New Jerusalem Church polling center. They have enough voting materials for all the registered voters in their polling center and believes no one will be denied to exercise their franchise.
NEC officials were present and ready for the voting process. Most polling centers had officials of political parties present as well as Liberia National Police providing security.
About 1.8 eligible voters are expected to vote at 1,780 polling precincts across 19 electoral magistrates, to elect a president out of 16 presidential candidates with their running mates. In addition, there are 99 senatorial candidates contesting for 15 seats , while there are 793 candidates contesting for 73 seats in the House of Representatives.
Full results for the presidential candidates are expected to be announced on October 26, 2011 according to the National Election Commission (NEC) Chairman, James Fromayan.
Monrovia October 11, 2011-The Elections Coordinating Committee, (ECC) has commended the level of enthusiasm and spirit that characterize the ongoing general elections in Liberia.
ECC observed that despite heavy rains on the morning of elections, turnout is encouraging and the process is orderly and peaceful.
The group noticed that polls opened on time and materials were available at polling centers visited.
The Elections observation body also commends political party representatives, local and international observers for making their presence felt at polling centers.
According to the ECC, security presence remains visible and the level of priority accorded people with special conditions such as the disable, elderly and pregnant women is commendable.
ECC intimated that the level of cooperation from all parties in the process including voters demonstrates a strong commitment to ensuring that the general aspirations of citizens are guaranteed through the outcome of the elections.
The group however notes there are few challenges that, if not addressed, could undermine the gains made so far in ensuring a credible and transparent process.
ECC observed some cases of congested polling places and dark voting rooms which could compromise the secret ballot system.
The ECC also notes that the slow pace in the conduct of the polls is hampering the processing of voters thus leading to long queues.
In some cases, the ECC said, some party agents were disallowed on grounds they did not have party identification cards and in other cases the voting rooms were too small to accommodate large number of party agents. The ECC said these situations could discourage many voters from continuing the process.
Meanwhile the ECC calls on the NEC to ensure that corrective measures are taken to address the issues of slow pace at poling centers.
The ECC on the other hand encourages voters to remain patient and remain in the queues until the end of voting.
ECC is a consortium of over thirty civil society organizations with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The ECC seeks to promote free, fair and credible elections in Liberia.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Sirleaf, the president of Liberia since 2006, is not exactly a controversial figure, but she's not the Dalai Lama either, and her inclusion among today's three Nobel Peace Prize winners might have as much to do with Liberia's domestic and international politics as about the transforming role of female leadership in the developing world. "Shocked response in Monrovia to Johnson Sirleaf's Nobel prize, there are serious misgivings about Ma Ellen in Liberia," UK Independent report Daniel Howden tweeted from the Liberian capital, noting Sirleaf's "murky" record during that country's bloody civil war and reporting "thousands of opposition supporters" rallying against the prize. A local told him, "[The International] Community put fine flowers atop the grave but there are dead bones underneath."
The prize, of course, has gone to less-than-saintly characters before: Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, and Henry Kissinger, to name just a few of the leaders who achieved acts of great peace as well as great violence. But does Sirleaf really fit on this list? She did help bring Liberia out of war, her 2005 election saw the highest rate of female participation ever recorded in Africa, and she's made slow but real work at rebuilding her country, one of West Africa's great hopes before war tore it apart. Still, there have been a number of peace-builders in Liberia. Blattman, considering whether Sirlead has been "a force for peace," answered with a tepid, "Yes and no, but mostly yes." University of Massachusetts professor Michael Keating wrote, "It was actually Leymah Gbowee, a co-recipient of this year's Peace Prize, who did all the heavy lifting of peacebuilding while Charles Taylor was still in power." So why not limit the prize to Gbowee, a prominent activist whose efforts to end Liberia's civil war were chronicled in the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell? Why add Sirleaf?
Well, Sirleaf is up for re-election. In four days. And her prospects are looking awfully shaky. In Liberia and in the West, there seems to be a growing consensus that the Nobel committee was not unaware of this timing. "I want her to win the election so I'm glad but the timing is strange," a Liberian government official told Howden. "Happy for Sirleaf, but the Nobel comes *4 days* before the election??" asked Todd Moss of the Center for Global Development. Monrovia-based American venture capitalist Matt Jones tweeted, "Sirleaf's Nobel feeds hugely in2 the conspiracy that her 2005 election & 2011 re-election r determined by foreign gov'ts."
Conspiracy theories aside, it's natural to wonder if the Nobel committee was hoping to play some role in the election. Not to fix the results, exactly, but to throw their weight behind their preferred candidate in an effort to remind Liberians why they elected Sirleaf in 2005. It would be a bit reminiscent of their 2009 recipient, Barack Obama, a decision that was widely viewed as more about nudging him toward certain policies than about rewarding past behavior.
Even if Liberia had national polling, it would be unreliable and incomplete. But election-watchers tend to describe Sirleaf's reelection as uncertain. And her loss could have serious ramifications for the country and the region. Her leading opponent is Harvard-educated lawyer William Tubman, whose real electoral support comes from his running mate, George Weah. A football star who came close to winning in 2005, Weah answered then-criticism about his fitness for the job by, in the years since, enrolling at Florida's DeVry University.
But the real concern is not for the lackluster Tubman or running mate Weah, the Sarah Palin of Liberia. It's for a less prominent candidate named Prince Johnson, a former warlord who has left a long and bloody trail across Liberia. Johnson has close ties to fellow warlord Charles Taylor, who is responsible for much of West Africa's worst violence. Taylor is currently on trial at The Hague for war crimes, but that hasn't sapped his alarming popularity back home in Liberia. Alpha Sesay, who monitored the trial for the Open Society Justice Initiative, told TheAtlantic.com's Robbie Corey-Boulet that Taylor's verdict "could go either way."
Next week's vote could lead to a runoff in November. If that happens, and if Taylor wins his trial and comes home to throw his considerable popularity behind Johnson, Liberia could see a return to the days of child soldiers and chaos. That's probably not an especially likely outcome, but neither is it unforeseeable. Even if Sirleaf lost to Tubman, the instability and resentments that comes with so many African political transitions could provide an opening for Johnson, Taylor, or another Taylor-backed warlord to seize power. Probably the best way to ensure continued peace in Liberia, even if not exactly prosperity, would be for Sirleaf to win a second term.
This thinking informs much of the Western world's involvement in the politics of Sub-Saharan Africa. Rwandan President Paul Kagame has an abysmal human rights record that seems to get worse all the time, for example, but the U.S. and other Western powers continue to back him because, as diplomatic officials say privately, urging a political transition would too dangerously risk another division along sectarian lines that could lead to renewed war. Isn't that the lesser of two evils? Maybe, maybe not -- that's one of the questions that makes great power diplomacy in the developing world, and in Africa in particular, so difficult. But it would be an odd game for the Nobel committee to be playing.
Monday, October 3, 2011
As Liberians go to the polls on 11 October 2011 to select a new president, members of senate and house of representatives, African Election Project (AEP) www.africanelections.org is providing leadership in the use of information and communication technologies(ICT) to cover this landmark elections under its Liberia Incidence Monitoring Platform" project www.myliberiawins.org.
The ICT based incidence Monitoring platform will monitor incidents of violence, irregularities and human rights abuses, spanning the period of pre-elections, during elections and post elections, thereby contributing to building peace and entrenching democracy in Liberia. Also the project is designed to facilitate the work of journalists and citizen journalists by actively using ICT tools in disseminating election information and knowledge thereby stimulating a vibrant online and offline dialogue between the media and civil society through forums on elections issues with the ultimate objective of promoting free and fair elections in Liberia.
Liberia's upcoming election has largely been viewed as a test of the willingness of Liberians to fully commit to democracy and the deepening of good governance in the country after the end of a 14 year civil war which ended in 2003.
According to African Elections Project Director, Jerry Sam, "the use of ICT during this election coverage will bring about transparency in the whole electoral process, ensure the timely release of electoral news to citizens residing in Liberia and in the Diaspora, issue alerts to the relevant institutions to prevent potential incidence of violence and to ensure credibility in the final outcome of the elections."
He added that, a modern fully equipped Call Centre is in place to enable citizens report elections violence incident in additions to SMS reporting system via short-code 2011. In order to coordinate information transmission from elections observers throughout the country, a group of field officers have been deployed to play this role. The project will also make use of social media tools such as twitter, facebook and youtube to reach out to online audience. Other tools to be deployed include cutting-edge call center software and a news database software which are designed to keep track of the elections activities as it happens.
African Elections Project in Liberian which covered the recently held Liberia referendum is coordinated by the International Institute of ICT Journalist (Penplusbytes) with strategic and financial support from Humanity United (www.humanityunited.org) working hand in hand with key partners including ushahidi Liberia and Liberia Media Centre (LMC)
African Elections Project (AEP) www.africanelections.org @africanelection
AEP was established in 2008 to cover elections using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) across the continent. AEP have successfully covered elections in Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania, Mozambique, Malawi, Togo and Niger.
Humanity United www.humanityunited.org @HUtweets
Humanity United is a philanthropic organization committed to building peace and advancing human freedom. We lead, support, and collaborate with a broad network of efforts, ideas, and organizations that share our vision of a world free of conflict and injustice.