- S/C Trashes Call for Rerun Polls, Votes 4-1 for Run-off … Cites Lack of Sufficient Evidence, Sources: Daily OBSERVER, INSIGHT and New DEMOCRAT
- More Questions than Answers, Justice Ja’neh Issues Descending Opinion on Supreme Court’s ruling, Sources: The ANALYST, The and The INQUIRER
- We’re disappointed – Brumskine Laments High Court Verdict, Sources: The ANALYST and The INQUIRER and The ANALYST
- UP Defends Role in Lawsuit, Source: The ANALYST and New DEMOCRAT
- Blind Eye Justice – Urey Describes Supreme Court’s Ruling, Source: The ANALYST
- Millions Students Enroll in School … Ellen Tells US Audience, Say Education Is One of the Weakest in Country’s Recovery, Source: INSIGHT
- EU and Solidaridad West Africa sign a 5 Million Euro Grant Agreement to develop the cocoa sector in Liberia, Sources: INSIGHT and New DEMOCRAT
- Liberian Court Clears Way for Presidential Run-off Vote, Source: Reuters
- Liberia Court Says Presidential Runoff Vote Can Go Ahead, Source: VOA News
LIBERIA MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS
S/C Trashes Call for Rerun Polls, Votes 4-1 for Run-off … Cites Lack of Sufficient Evidence, Sources: Daily OBSERVER, INSIGHT and New DEMOCRAT
The media report that amid tight security at the Temple of Justice Thursday, four of the five justices of the Supreme Court upheld the National Elections Commission’s (NEC) declaration of the runoff election, with a caveat, while another justice disagreed with his colleagues’ decision. Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, Associate Justices Philip A. Z. Banks, Jamesetta Wolokollie and Sie-A-Nyene G. Yuoh were in favor, with Justice Kabineh Ja’neh against.
Justice Ja’neh’s argument was that the Liberty Party (LP) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) proved beyond reasonable doubt to substantiate their claims that the conduct of the 10 October presidential and legislative elections was marred by irregularities and fraud and warrants a rerun, of which the majority disagreed. Outside of the courtroom, and presumably all across the country, people were glued to their radios and social media, listening attentively as Justice Banks read the majority judgment (opinion) of the Court.
As soon as Banks announced that there was not sufficient evidence by the complainants — Liberty Party (LP) and the ruling Unity Party (UP) — the quiet courtyard turned jubilant, shouting: “Thank God the court did not hold the country hostage!” In the majority ruling, Banks said, “it is the considered opinion of this Court that the ruling of the NEC’s Board of Commissioners declaring a runoff election is hereby affirmed.”
Admitting that the Court’s investigation revealed that there were irregularities and fraud; he, however, noted that they were not of a magnitude that requires the 10 October results to be cancelled and a rerun ordered.
However, as precondition for the runoff election, the Supreme Court has mandated and ordered the NEC to fully comply with the standards of publications of the Final Register Roll (FRR) as in keeping with law.
The NEC has also been ordered to conduct a full cleanup of the FRR to have it comply with the provision of the law.
The FRR is to be available in published hard copies to all Election Magistrates and polling places across the country in accordance with law prior to the conduct of the runoff election.
Contentiously, the NEC has also been mandated not to allow anyone whose name is not in the FRR to vote during the runoff, noting that the FRR is the only electoral document that speaks to the eligibility of voters.
“Poll watchers, who did not register at their places of assignment and those whose names are not in the FRR should not be allowed to vote.”
The Chairman and members of the Board of Commissioners of the NEC and other staffs of NEC have been prohibited by the Supreme Court from public utterances and pronouncements relating to any matter that may emanate from the runoff.
Meanwhile, the NEC is expected to tell Liberians when they are going to head to the polls to vote. The two parties, which are to participate in the run Election, are the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) of Senator George Weah and the ruling United Party of Vice President Joseph Boakai.
More Questions than Answers, Justice Ja’neh Issues Descending Opinion on Supreme Court’s ruling, Sources: The ANALYST, The and The INQUIRER
Associate Justice, Kabina Janneh making comment at Thursday’s Supreme Court decision for a runoff election to be held, presented a descending opinion to verdict which dismissed the Liberty Party and the ruling Unity Party’s complaint to nullify the 10 October election results on ground of electoral irregularities. Ja’neh said he believes the LP and UP proved their fraud and irregularities claims but the court said their evidence was not too strong enough to allow a rerun of the entire poll.
We’re disappointed – Brumskine Laments High Court Verdict, Sources: The ANALYST and The INQUIRER and The ANALYST
After the Supreme Court ordered a runoff in the verdict it delivered Thursday following a month-long election dispute, the leader of the opposition Liberty Party, Cllr. Charles Brumskine has expressed disappointment in the court’s decision not to nullify the 10 October presidential elections result. “The Court ordered the correction of some of the things that we complained of that made the electoral process unconstitutional and unlawful”. He stated. However Brumskine stated that the country was witnessing a proud period in its history.
UP Defends Role in Lawsuit, Source: The ANALYST and New DEMOCRAT
Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling ordering a runoff election, ruling Unity Party presidential candidate, Vice President Joseph Boakai said their law suit was meant to ensure a credible election and not for selfish motive. He stated further that the UP supported the law suit of the Liberty Party to bring about a free and fair electoral process without interference and manipulation, when he spoke to The ANALYST Thursday following the announcement of the court ruling to have the runoff take place.
Blind Eye Justice – Urey Describes Supreme Court’s Ruling, Source: The ANALYST
Businessman Benoni Urey, also leader of the opposition All Liberian Party (ALP) has termed as “blind eyes justice” the Supreme Court verdict in the month-long election dispute filed by the Liberty Party and backed by the ALP. He made the comment Thursday at a gathering of some political parties following the Court’s ruling for the presidential runoff election to go ahead. Further he termed the verdict as one that was marked by what he calls ‘self-interest’ which he noted could lead to conflict.
Millions Students Enroll in School … Ellen Tells US Audience, Say Education Is One of the Weakest in Country’s Recovery, Source: INSIGHT
Speaking Monday, 4 December 2017 from the United States at the Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series of the Clinton School of Public Service of the University of Arkansas in Little Rock, Arkansas, President Sirleaf disclosed that the progress made in upgrading the educational system in her country has led to an increase of two million students enrolled in school. She, however, added that there is a serious deficit of qualified teachers to properly mold the minds of the young people.
A dispatach from the US quotes the Liberian leader as saying, “The students are so many and the teachers are so few,” she said, adding that there is a need to give the children quality education to enable them to compete within the global community. President Sirleaf also noted that the health system in Liberia also remains a challenge that must be addressed to enable Liberians to enjoy the benefit of quality health care.
EU and Solidaridad West Africa sign a 5 Million Euro Grant Agreement to develop the cocoa sector in Liberia, Sources: INSIGHT and New DEMOCRAT
The media report that on 7 December 2017, Emma Sundblad, Chargé d’affaires at the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Liberia and Isaac Gyamfi, Regional Director at Solidaridad West Africa signed a 5 million Euro grant agreement to develop the cocoa sector in Liberia. Under the Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme (LICSIP), Solidaridad, with funding from the European Union, and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, will work with farmers and agro-businesses to improve the quality of Liberian cocoa and increase cocoa exports. Solidaridad will also work with the government on sector policies and regulations to create a vibrant, competitive and profitable cocoa economy. The project will last for 4 years
The project targets the entire cocoa value chain in Liberia, and envisages working with and training of 5000 cocoa farmers. Activities include distribution of planting and other input materials, linking farmers and agro-dealers to international suppliers and buyers, support to the government of Liberia and specifically the Liberia Agriculture Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA), and finally branding and marketing of Liberian cocoa on the international market.
The project will be implemented in Bong, Nimba and Lofa Counties, with Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Gbarpolu Counties as the secondary counties. The Liberia Cocoa Sector Improvement Programme is the first contract to be signed under the EU Liberia Agriculture Programme, a 30 million euro programme financed by the EU with the objective to boost agricultural economic development and to improve the food and nutrition security in Liberia
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ON LIBERIA
Liberia’s Supreme Court cleared the way for a Presidential Run-off election, ruling on Thursday that it had not found enough evidence of fraud to halt the whole process. Ex-soccer star George Weah will now face off against Vice-President Joseph Boakai in a vote that could mark Liberia’s first peaceful transition of power in seven decades.
The court dismissed a complaint from the third-place finisher Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party, which had said fraud had undermined the first round of voting in October. “In the absence of sufficient evidence, the court cannot order a re-run of the election,” Justice Philip Banks said, reading out the court’s decision. “There were over 5,000 polling places, (so) to present evidence of just a few is problematic,” the judge said. “The evidence should have (shown) ... that they were committed in such magnitude that they could have altered the results.”
The winner of round two will replace Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as leader of the small West African country, one of the world’s poorest despite abundant diamonds and iron ore. The delays caused by all the legal wrangling have ratcheted up tensions in a country still recovering from decades of civil war that killed tens of thousands.
However, a spokesman for the Liberty Party said it would accept the result. “If we did not respect the judiciary, we would not have come,” Darius Dillion said. “Liberia has won, our democracy has won.”
Liberians are eager for change after Johnson Sirleaf’s 12-year rule, which sealed a lasting peace that many doubted was possible, but which has failed to tackle corruption or significantly lift living standards of the country’s poorest. Authorities still have to name a date for the run-off. NEC spokesman Henry Flomo told reporters outside the court he believed one could be held in two weeks, but said the date would be announced shortly. The judges made the ruling with a 4-1 majority.
Liberia's supreme court cleared the way Thursday for the presidential runoff to go forward, saying there was not enough evidence to support allegations of fraud. The second-round vote between soccer star George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai had been put on hold last month after the Liberty Party alleged irregularities in the first round of voting on 10 October.
But the court said Thursday those violations were not sufficient to overturn the vote's outcome. The National Elections Commission has been ordered to clean up its voter rolls before the second round can be held. The court challenge had been raised by the Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine had placed third. Voters are choosing a replacement for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first female leader and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
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