Daily Media Summary 2017-06-15

The Bureau of Public Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Monrovia, Liberia





Dominant stories captured in our summary of today’s dailies include the  Foreign Ministry’s response to  J. Togba Kennedy’s letter sent  to several editors captioned: What is going on at the Rome Mission in Italy?;  the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments’ decision at the just ended 51st Ordinary Session  to  reduce the size of its Commission; the  ECOWAS Authority of Heads of states and government’s  Commendation to political parties in Liberia for their expressed commitments to holding a violence free elections in the country in October 2017 among others articles.  





Foreign Ministry Clarifies

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, last week, read with dismay and shock, a letter to several editors in the local dailies, The Analyst, New Democrat, Front Page Africa, etc., under the caption: What is going on at the Rome Mission in Italy? A Foreign Ministry release states that Mr. J. Togba Kennedy, who signed the letter published in several local dailies, purporting to be an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is not a staff of the Ministry, and thus an imposter. Apparently, Mr. Togba is not informed of modus operandi of the Ministry, and may be writing out of sheer self interest or as a surrogate, the FOCUS newspaper reads. Ambassador Andrew Kronyahn and the Ministry have discussed extensively his future in Liberia’s diplomatic service and is aware of the conclusion of those conversations, the paper says.


Related Captions: Foreign Ministry Clarifies Mr. Kennedy’s “Misleading” Letter To Several Editors (In Profile Daily), Foreign Ministry Speaks On Published Letter (INSIGHT)



ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State Reduces Size of Commission

According to the FrontPage Africa newspaper, the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has approved the recommendation for a reduction in the size of the Commission from fifteen (15) Commissioners to nine (9) and for a reduction of the number of Statutory Appointees to seventeen (17) in all Community Institutions as proposed by the Council of Ministers. The Authority called on the Ad hoc Ministerial Committee to ensure that each Member State gets at least one statutory position and instructed the President of the Commission to extend the reform to other Community institutions and take necessary measures to finalize the process. The Authority endorsed the seven-member Ministerial committee established by Council that will, with guidance from the Commission, propose modalities for the allocation of Statutory positions to Member States based on a credible, equitable and rotational system as well as existing Community Rules. According to a Foreign Ministry release, these were contained in the Final Communiqué at the end of the 51st Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County on Sunday, June 4, 2017, the paper reads.


Related Captions: ECOWAS Authority Reduces Size Of The Commission (In Profile Daily), Authority Reduces Size of the Commission Reaffirms the Importance of Peace, Security and Stability in the Sub-Region (FOCUS)




JFK Needs US$6.6m For Renovation, Equipment

In an effort to reform the country’s largest and oldest referral hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center, into a state-of-the-art institution, the management has requested an additional allotment of US$6.6m as ‘Project Fund.’ Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Wvannie Scott-McDonald, yesterday said the US$6.6m is to renovate, equip and develop the IT infrastructure of the hospital, to make it brand new. The Project Fund will be an addition to the already proposed US$5.2m in the 2017/2018 Budget. Dr. McDonald made the request during the hospital’s Expenditure Hearing of the 2017/2018 National Draft Budget in the Joint Chamber, reports the Daily Observer.


Related Captions: JFK Wants More Money…Requests House To Increase Its budgetary Allotment (FrontPage Africa), Health Sector At Risk…As Donors Withhold Funding Support (INSIGHT)





Morocco’s Membership Request takes Center Stage as ECOWAS Authority Directs Commission to Report Findings At 52nd Ordinary Session

The 51st Ordinary Session of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government has directed the ECOWAS Commission to further reflect on the implications of the request of the Kingdom of Morocco for ECOWAS membership considering the provisions of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty and to submit the conclusions at the 52nd  Ordinary Session of the Authority in December this year. The Authority indicated that it supports in principle the granting of membership to the Kingdom of Morocco having noted the strong and multidimensional ties it has with Member States, the FOCUS says



Everyone Who Registered Will Vote NEC Assures Despite Problems Discovered At Exhibitions

The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya, has assured that regardless of the emerging complaints and citizens’ concerns relating to the ongoing elections process, everyone with a registered identification card is going to vote in the October 10, 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections.  “Every Liberian citizens who were registered by the National Elections Commission to vote and issued a valid identification registration card regardless of whatever emerging error in the process will vote; nothing will happen once you registered,” Chairman Korkoya reiterated amidst the many challenges already discovered during the ongoing exhibition process, the INQUIRER newspaper reads.


Related Caption: No Need To Worry… All Registered Voters Will Vote, NEC Chair Assures (FrontPage Africa)



Bong College Shutdown Amidst Student Protest

In the wake of the ongoing student protest at the Bong County Technical College (BCTC) in Gbarnga, the administration of the college has indefinitely suspended academic activities. The College’s Board of Trustees has also instructed the search committee for a President of the College to summit the names of applicants within one week for onward presentation to President Ellen Johnson Sorleaf. In line with the Act that established the BCTC, President Sirleaf will subsequently appoint a President of the college, the FOCUS newspaper reads.



EPA Gets US$2m For D. Twe Coastal Defense

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it has acquired US$2m for the D. Twe High School Coastal Defense Project. The deputy executive director of EPA, Urias Goll, said the money was provided by the Global Environment Framework (GEF) and will be transferred through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Making the disclosure on Tuesday, June 13, during the EPA’s budget hearing of its expenditure component, Goll said the money will be given to the statutory agency – the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, for implementation. He also told journalists that after the budget hearing, the EPA will apply for another donor support (US$50m) from GEF for other coastal defense projects in Montserrado County. In addition to the US$2m, US$150,000 has been earmarked in the 2017/2018 Draft National Budget for the coastal defense project, reports the Daily Observer.



1,600 Students Pass UL Entrance Exam

The Daily Observer reports that the University of Liberia has released the results of the entrance and placement exam administered on Saturday, May 13 to more than 8,000 candidates, according to a release issued yesterday. This year’s results show a remarkable improvement compared to the last three examinations in terms of the number of students who meet the passing threshold, a release from university indicated. When the scores are tabulated for only the undergraduate colleges, a total of 1,661 students passed the exam with 466 passing regularly, while 1,195 passed provisionally, according to the release. Based on the raw score data, the UL Faculty-Senate on Monday approved a regular pass/provisional pass and unsuccessful threshold to determine who will matriculate to the University. As such, a total of 1,195 candidates meet this threshold, bringing the total number of successful candidates to 1,661.


Related Caption: Only 466 Made Regular Pass…UL Releases Entrance results (FrontPage Africa)


‘Be An Ambassador For Your University’

According to the Daily Observer, Dr. Joseph T. Isaac, president of the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU), yesterday challenged over 278 graduates to become ambassadors for the university. Speaking at the 17th commencement convocation, Dr. Isaac told the graduates that they are now members of change at AMEU University; and as such, their journey will continue long after they have left. “As you graduate today, remember that you are not leaving the university, you are simply joining another constituent group of the university community. You are trading your student membership for an alumni membership,” he said. Today, you have reached that point to move on. You have done the work, paid your dues, walked the miles, talked the talk, made some friends, and above all, learned a lot. So, it’s time to move on,” he said.


Related Caption: AMEU Graduates Urged To Explore Opportunities (The INQUIRER)



Media Council Holds First Hearing

The In Profile Daily reads that the Newly established Media Council of the West  Union of Liberia will today Thursday, June 15 begin hearing into complaints arising out of ethical transgression. The nine-member council, which comprises media, religious groups, legislature, civil society, academia, and women groups, was established and adopted on November 18, 2016, to among other things, guarantee compliance with Code of Ethics for Liberian journalists through contents on multiple media platforms; respect the right to freedom of expression and information and adopt measures that are proportionate and necessary in order to redress violation of the Code.



LACC Welcomes President’s Asset Declaration

The In Profile Daily says the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has welcomed President Sirleaf’s action to file her assets declaration within the timeframe for public officials and employees to declare their income, assets and liabilities in keeping with the new regulations. The LACC calls on all public officials and employees of Government who are required to declare their assets pursuant to the Code of Conduct to do so on or before the last Friday of July 2017.



GVL, Butaw Begin US$120K School Project

Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) and the citizens of Butaw have jointly broken ground for the construction of a US$120,000 eight classroom annex and teacher’s quarters to elevate Butaw Junior High to senior secondary high school level. The projects are in fulfillment of several project commitments made in the Memorandum of Understanding Incorporating Social Agreement (MOUSA) signed between GVL and Butaw District Communities on February 10 this year, a press release said. The classroom annex building will cost US$80,000 and will contain modern four stall flush toilets and a hand pump with a reservoir overhead. The cost of the teachers’ quarters is put at US$40,000 and will have eight bedrooms for teachers on the school campus., reports the Daily Observer.



55,000 Farmers To Receive Agricultural Inputs

The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) has disclosed the distribution of agricultural inputs to at least 55,000 smallholder farmers across the country. The MOA made the disclosure during the recent budget hearing at the National Legislature in Monrovia. According to the acting director of the Project Management Unit at the MOA, William Kawalawu, the MOA intends to create an enabling environment for farmers to improve productivity and enhance food security. He said the agricultural inputs will include fertilizers, improved rice seeds, and cassava cuttings, writes Daily Observer.



MOA, Partners Begin Agriculture Land Use And Suitability Mapping

Liberia is endowed with natural resources and is home to two-thirds of West Africa’s remaining rainforest. However, due to the lack of state-of-the art technology supported land information systems, the country is not adequately benefiting from the suitable use of its natural resources. The lack of suitable land classification also hinders national effort for the development of agriculture and forestry and adversely affects ongoing promotion activities aimed at attracting foreign and domestic investments. To ensure that the country benefits substantially from the suitable use of its natural resources, the Ministry of Agriculture and other government ministries and agencies, as well as the University of Liberia in collaboration with development partners are endeavoring to very soon commence the mapping of agriculture land resources. They will also begin the development of a ‘land suitability map’ that will reinforce the national strategies for expanding the country’s agriculture and forestry sectors, reports Daily Observer.


UNESCO Describes Elections As Key To Growth

The New Dawn newspaper reports that the Regional Director of UNESCO based in Abuja, Nigeria Mr. Yao Ydo, says elections in any country remain key to development and growth. He says elections must not be taken for granted, because they put a country on the right track. Mr. Ydospoke made the remarks in Monrovia Tuesday, 13 June at the start of a two-day electoral reporting workshop organized by the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building or CEMESP, with support from UNESCO.  Addressing reporters at the launch of UNESCO-IPDC project on strengthening conflict sensitivity in journalism, and social media toward supporting peaceful elections in Liberia, the UNESCO regional boss reminds that elections remain a very important period in the life of a country, with obvious challenges as to the best approach toward taking stock, and further consolidating the democratic dividends. He notes that Liberia like other nations had gone a long way, and the transitional period ahead, with presidential and general elections require great attention to avoid any form of violence.



Police Cite Serious Constraints

According to the New Dawn newspaper, authorities at the Liberia National Police say the force faces very serious constraints when it comes to the smooth running of the organization, compelling them to minimize activities that they should carry out just to be able to make their presence felt everywhere. The Police Chief further noted that by the UNMIL drawdown plan, the LNP force should be up 8,000 by now, but the force has not reached that target because they did not conduct any training during the Ebola crisis. Regarding low police deployment in some rural areas, he argues that this is due in part to the lack of housing facilities for the men and women. He said the police have no barracks around the country, something which poses a serious impediment to police deployment.


Mercy Corps Donates Solar Energy Equipment To J. W. Pearson High School

The John Wesley Pearson High School in Ganta received a donation of assorted solar energy equipment from Mercy Corps last week as a means of providing lighting on campus. The donation is part of Mercy Corps’ plan for an additional 59 public facilities within the country that would include public schools and clinics. Cephas Tetteh, Mercy Corps’ energy specialist, made the symbolic presentation on behalf of his institution, in the presence of the press, the FOCUS newspaper reads.