GNN 2017 Year In Review – Reflecting On Stories That Made News

January  20`17 – 

Liberia’s Elections Commission Calls On Media, Others To Join Voter Registration Awareness

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is calling on the Liberian media, political parties, religious groups and community organizations to join the Commission in spreading awareness about the voter registration process.

NEC Co-Chairman Jonathan K. Weedor made the call Tuesday at the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) under the theme: “Registration, Opportunities, Challenges and Impact.”

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LIBERIA: Man, 38, Charged For Misapplying US$5.8k Visa Funds

Thirty-eight-year-old Dalus George has been arrested and charged with “Theft of Property” for allegedly misapplying US$5,800 intended to process three visas.

According to the Police charge sheet, the act is in violation of the New Penal Law of Liberia.

George is an ex-Executive Protection Service (EPS) officer who also served as protocol officer for Robert Sirleaf, a position he held until he was dismissed from the EPS.

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First Liberia Woman Leader, Ruth Sando Perry Finally Laid To Rest In Ohio

Liberia’s first woman head of state, Madam Ruth Sando Fahnbulleh Perry has been laid to rest following a lengthy illness in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, the United States on Saturday, January 28, 2017 AT AGE 77.

Fahnbulleh-Perry first entered the national spotlight when she was appointed to head a six-member Council of State of the Liberia National Transitional Government amid a yearlong civil war in 1996.

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Planned Protest Action Awaits Ellen’s Financial Policy Tomorrow

As the exchange rate between the United Dollar and the Liberian Dollar continues on its ‘4G’ speed with current rate being put at 115Liberian Dollar to 1 United States, Liberian marketers who said the feel the brunt of this situation have resolved to petition the National Legislature tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

According to the marketers during their peaceful protest to the Capitol to express their frustration to the lawmakers on the continues increment of the exchange rate between the United States Dollar and the Liberian Dollar, all stores, shops and other market places will be closed as a way of solidarity.

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ANC Political Leader Regrets Wrongful Choices During Past Elections

The political leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) has regretted the failure of past leaders to live up to their promises made during their quest to lead Liberia, a situation that has plunged the country backward in term of development, while Liberians continue to make the same mistakes.

Addressing his first major introductory rally in Monrovia Friday, Mr. Alexander Cummings, former executive of Coa-cola stressed that Liberians this time around are fed up, adding, “You are tired of hearing the same false promises. If you keep electing people with the same experience; we are not going to get different results.”

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February 2017 –

Liberian Ebola Fighter, a TIME Person of the Year, Dies in Childbirth

The 2014 West African Ebola outbreak killed 11,310 people. Liberian nursing assistant Salome Karwah was not one of them. The disease that tore through her town in August of that year took her mother, her father, her brother, aunts, uncles, cousins and a niece. But by some miracle it left Karwah, her sister Josephine Manley and her fiancé James Harris still alive.

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Former President Obasanjo Of UN High-level Advisory Board Speaks On Liberia’s Transition

As Liberians eagerly await the much anticipated October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections with over 27 political parties are expected to Battle for the presidency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reassured Liberians at home and abroad of a peaceful transition in January 2018.

President Sirleaf gave the assurance in Nimba County recently at the climax of a four-day tour of the county.

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China Provides US$3m Military Aid To AFL

In another effort to contribute towards the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) civil-military initiatives, the Ministry of National Defense of the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) has provided military assistance in the tone of US$3 million to Liberia’s Ministry of National Defense (MoD).

The assistance included medical equipment, supplies and engineering equipment.

The equipment and supplies provided will enable the AFL perform more effectively in its medical outreach at all its military installations and also cater to civilians residing in and around such facilities.

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River Gee County Finally Cuts Off, As Deplorable Road Condition deteriorates

Reports from the southeast of the Country speaks of the agonizing situation being encountered by travelers including children in hard forest as a result of bad road condition, are calling on the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Public Works to come to their rescue.

Many of the travelers who usually travel from River Gee via Grand Gedeh to Monrovia are now using the route through Maryland and Grand Kru before as a result of the cutting off of the road between Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties.

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March 2017 –

Miss Liberia Celebrates 25th Birth Anniversary With Students, Lauds Nobel Liberia For Support

Ms. Wokie Dolo, Liberia’s beauty queen (Miss Liberia) on Friday, March 31, 2017, joyously celebrated her 25th birthday anniversary with students of the Soul Clinic Public School in Paynesville, the suburb of Monrovia, Montserrado County.

The occasion which was jammed packed due to the anticipation of residents of the area to take a glance of Miss Liberia on the campus of the school saw students, teaching staff and administration expressing excitement over the decision made by the Liberian Queen to celebrate her birthday with students of their school, and to make a generous presentation of educational materials.

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Sen. Cooper Wants Certain Clauses In Code of Conduct Amended

Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper has said there is a need for portions of the Code of Conduct, especially the one that deals with the eligibility of aspirants for the upcoming elections, to be amended.

Cooper, who is also an aspirant for the presidency in the upcoming Presidential and Legislative Elections, noted that Liberians are particularly concerned about the eligibility portion of the Code of Conduct and as such, “Issues that are considered sticky should be critically looked at by the Legislature.”

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Liberians In U.S. Say They Are Grateful To Voffee Jabateh

Liberians in the United States and Canada say they are excited and proud of one of their kinsmen in the United States who they said is doing tremendous well in seeking their wellbeing in that part of the world solving their immigration and other domestic problems.

According to a dispatch from Philadelphia, the United States, the US based Liberians made reference of the foster son of the late Angie Brooks Randall, Voffee Jabateh who is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA).

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Hundreds In Tears Paid Homage To Fallen Musician, Quincy ‘B’ At The ATS For Wake keeping

Hundreds of Liberians as early as midday today walked alongside the casket bearing the remains of Quincy L. Burrowes, affectionately called Quincy ‘B’ from the St. Moses Funeral Parlors in Gardnerville to the Antoinette Tubman Stadium for a nightlong wake keeping.

Mourners, mostly young people in t-shirts with the portrait of the late Liberian musical star were seen in tears as they accompanied the transparent casket to the ATS for the night, as dozens of others stood on the sidewalks to take a glance of the remains of their favorite musical star.

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April 2017 –

T.C. Gould, One Of Liberia’s Legal Minds Finally Laid to Rest

The remains of one of Liberia’s legal minds and senior lawyer in the ongoing Stable Mining trail, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould who was affectionately called T.C. Gould was last week laid to rest in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County following series of activities in his memory.

The casket bearing the remains of Cllr. T.C. Gould was escorted by dozens of sympathizers including members of the judiciary, government officials and members of his fraternity from Monrovia in a huge convoy to the port city of Buchanan where appropriate activities were held befitting the burial ceremony.

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NEC Chairman Sues Two Newspapers For US$825K Damages

The chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome George Korkoya, has filed a lawsuit against two independent newspapers, claiming US$835,000 for libel.

Korkoya’s decision to sue the papers is being interpreted in public circles as a diversion from the concerns raised over his alleged possession of an American passport, which disqualifies him from serving as NEC chairman conducting elections in the country.

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 ‘Strange Disease’ Hits Monrovia, Health Authorities Say 1 Pronounced Dead

The outbreak of what medical authorities considered as ‘Strange Disease’ in Greenville, southeastern Liberia, Sinoe County, has reportedly taken the lives of eleven people and several being placed on critical list has reportedly crept in the populated City of Monrovia with one been pronounced dead by health authorities in Monrovia on Friday evening, and several quarantined in an undisclosed location.

According to health authorities in Monrovia those infected with the “strange” disease showed symptoms of severe stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and headaches, Liberia’s chief medical officer, Francis Kateh, said on national radio.

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May 2017 –

Disbanded Soldiers Threaten To Disrupt Transition Of Power In 2018

Dozens of ex-soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) have publicly threatened President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to disrupt her transition of power if her Government fails to settle the over US$25 million her Government owes members of the disbanded soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia.

Addressing a news conference, the head of the Col. Wolo Nagbe said the ex-soldiers are resolute in their bid as trained soldiers to disrupt the handling over power of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in January 2018; a time set for the handling over power to the newly elected President of Liberia.

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Urey Supported Coalition Cracks, As MDR, LINU Defect

The All Liberian Party (ALP) is somehow looking like a ‘body without shoulders’ as its much-heralded three-party Coalition with the Liberia National Union (LINU) and Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) is falling apart in thin air.

which is headed by defeated 2014 Senatorial candidate, Nathaniel Blama, at the weekend announced its withdrawal from the anticipated Coalition. With the departure of LINU and the inconsistent stance of the MDR’s Prince Johnson, ALP’s political leader Benoni Urey also seems to be wallowing in the depth of ‘cold,’ as he watches one of his biggest dreams crumbling.

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On ‘Disappearance Of Liberty Party Vehicles’, Spokesman Says He’s Not Aware

However, fresh information gathered by this outlet on the issue of the ‘Missing vehicles’ at Liberty Party (LP), has disclosed that one of the drivers of the missing vehicles has been arrested by authority, and is currently undergoing thorough investigation, according to an unconfirmed source.

Spokesman and Deputy Secretary General of the Party, Kla Tumah via mobile phone today has denied of any missing vehicles from his Party, stressing that he is not aware of such report.

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June 2017 –

Selection of Baptist Preacher As Running Mate To Mills Jones Receives Mixed Reactions

Following official pronouncement by the political leader of the opposition Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones that the head Pastor of the Providence Church, Dr. Samuel Reeves as his running mate in the pending October 10, 2017 Presidential elections.

In reaction to this new development, the head of the Board of Directors of the Church, Thomas Mitchell address a news conference in Monrovia noted that the Church should not be drawn into politics, but noted that Dr. Samuel Reeves as a Liberian has his rights to make personal decision and affiliate himself with any organization of his choice.

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Despite progress, challenges remain for Liberia to consolidate peace gains, UN Security Council told

In spite of “remarkable” progress in Liberia since the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2003, the presence of challenges that risk a reversal of the gains made warrant continued international support and attention, the United Nations envoy for the country has cautioned.

“I would appeal to all concerned to increase and consolidate investment in Liberia and support the country at this crucial time, through its transition to a new government and beyond,” Farid Zarif, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Liberia, told the Security Council today.

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UBA Liberia Launches MasterCard System, As Customers Overwhelm Of This Initiative

The management of United Bank for Africa, Liberia today officially launched its MasterCard program in Liberia aimed are improving the country’s financial sector, and meeting the needs of the bank’s customers worldwide.

This occasion which was indeed colorful saw the UBA’s Pan-African Strategy Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications making remarks at the program, lauding the initiative of UBA Liberia to be the first in the country to launch the Master Card system.

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July 2017 –

Rights Group Condemns ‘Brutal Torture’ Against Christine Freeman By Husband

Recently Darius Freeman, a Liberian who is on the run for brutally torturing his visiting wife from the United States has created serious concern among Liberian rights groups who are publicly condemning violence against Liberian women and girls.

The Volunteers for Change Liberia, a non-governmental organization today expressed with dismay over the continuous and deliberate act of domestic violence against women and girls in the country.

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CDC Drops ‘You Eat, I Eat’ Lawmaker; Edward Forh And Others

The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has ditched Representatives Edward S. Forh of District #16 who in 2013 was tagged by former Montserrado County Superintendent Grace-Tee Kpan as ‘You Eat, I Eat’ for his alleged request for portion of the County Development funds to be divided between he and the Superintendent which was backfired.

Also dropped is Julius Berrian of District #10 of Montserrado County during its primary elections, while Moses A. Gray of District #8 and Munah E. Pelham Youngblood of District #9 survived the partisans’ selection.

The primaries, which were held last Friday at the headquarters of the CDC, were described by both the losers and winners as the most transparent in the party’s history.

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Ambassador Conteh Announces Passport Application Center’s Readiness in Abuja

Kaduna City, July 31, 2017: Liberia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Professor Al-Hassan Conteh has disclosed that a Passport Application Center (PAC) is now ready at the Liberian Embassy pending official dedication.

A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says Ambassador Conteh made the disclosure over the weekend when he served as keynote speaker for the 2nd National Annual Convention of the Organization of Liberian Communities in Nigeria (OLICON) held in Kaduna City, Kaduna.

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August 2017 –

More Women Running in 2017, but Women’s Participation Falls Short of 30% Benchmark

Despite twelve years with a female head of state, Liberia has yet to consolidate the gains it made in the political advancement of women when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first elected woman President in Africa in 2005.

The amended Election Law stipulates that a political party “should endeavor to ensure” that its governing body and candidates include at least 30 percent women–as a suggestion rather than a standard, compliance with the law is difficult to measure, much less enforce. Only one party has reached the 30 percent threshold for women candidates – the Liberian Restoration Party. This party is also the only one to field a female presidential aspirant – MacDella Cooper.

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Matilda Parker Denies Asset Ownership in Florida, USA; Presents “Facts”

The former managing director of the Liberia’s National Port Authority (NPA), Ms. Matilda Wokie Parker, has denied Globe Afrique’s investigative report that she owes any property or bought any property in the US state of Florida since becoming managing director.

On August 28, 2017, Globe Afrique’s research and analysis unit published a sales document and a story, captioned: “African Officials accused of corruption buying properties in the US.”  In the story, it was reported that Ms. Parker, who is under investigation for corruption charges in Liberia owed assets in the United States, including a house in Florida and a plot of land recently purchased in Leon County, Florida.

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Joint Security At Various Borders Threatening To Pull Out

Joint security comprising of Immigration, the Liberia National Police and Drug Enforcement Agency assigned at various border points around the country are threatening to pull out during the country’s electoral process if their plight is not addressed by the Liberian Government.

Members of the Joint Security assigned at the border points of Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland Counties in an exclusive interview with a Liberian journalist in southeastern Liberia complained of the lack of food, transportation and other incentives that could propel their operations in that part of the country.

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September 2017

Who Wants To Kill George Weah? Kailondo Describes Assassination Allegation As ‘Baseless, nonsense and rubbish’

Following a shocking revelation by three individuals claiming to be members of the Unity Party (UP), alleged that executives of Party including Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai, and businessman Attorney George Kailondo had hired them to assassinate the presidential candidate of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George M. Weah has been rubbished by one of the accused.

Reacting angrily, Attorney Kailondo speaking a news conference said the allegation leveled against him and others by those individuals is a concocted plan by the CDC out of fear due to momentous victory the Unity Party will receive come October 10, 2017 to capture the presidency of Liberia.

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Woman Kisses Portrait Of CDC Presidential Candidate, Assures Of His Election As Liberia’s 24th President

As the country’s October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections draw closer, supporters of over 23 presidential candidates in the elections all doing all to show their commitment to their would be successors for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in January, 2018.

Recently a female supporter of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Manneh Weah’s presidential bid, displayed her love and interest for the systematic election of her candidate when she publicly kissed the portrait of the CDC candidate.

The lady believed to be in her late 50s, and diehard partisans of the CDC, proved her likeness publicly when she amused bystanders after walking towards a gigantic portrait of the CDC presidential candidate with a glaring kiss on it, noting, “George Manneh Weah will be our next President,” the lady told the huge crowd.

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Impeachment Proceedings Against 3 Associate Justices Have No Legal Basis

The nation is being held hostage by what seems a rather queer constitutional crisis, deeply shrouded in blackmail and extortion, and is being perpetrated by some members of the National Legislature to impeach three distinguished Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, namely His Honor Kabineh M. Ja’neh, Her Honor Madame Jamesetta H. Wollokolie and His Honor Professor Mr. Justice Philip A.Z. Banks, III.

No doubt, there is ill-tempered on both sides, with each clinging to the 1986 Constitution as the source of its authority, but beyond the noise and the flexing of muscles lies a rather interesting question, and that is, whether there is any legitimate constitutional basis for the possible impeachment of the three associate justices by the Honorable House of Representatives.

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October 2017 –

Elections Violence Overwhelming Liberia, Liberians In Great Fear For Elections Result Acceptance

Since the start of political campaigns around the country for elected positions in the pending October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections, the news of election violence seems to be overwhelming as many supporters of political parties continue to breed confusion during their exercises.

Uncountable elections temptations are been reported each day with one party and the others are said to be at each other’s throat with their supporters reportedly inciting what many considered as elections violence, a situation if not carefully handled may lead to a serious crisis during this period.

In less than a month, the news of dozens of elections violence have reported around the country with the news of people being injured as a result of these violence.

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‘Sex Video Man’ Mohamed Sambola Finally Arrested

The man who posted a video sexually molesting a young Liberia woman has been arrested by the Liberian National Police in Monrovia after been in hidden for nearly five months.

Mohammed Sambola, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) was accused of recording and subsequently exposing a ‘sex video’ of a female (name withheld) is currently behind bars was yesterday arrested and detained at the Monrovia Central Prison.

Sambola, also a lecturer at the state-run University of Liberia (UL), was imprisoned by the Monrovia City Court for his inability to secure a bail to prevent him from going to jail because the crimes he is charged with qualified him for a bond.

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Liberia’s Johnson Sirleaf Rejects Accusations of Election Interference

(Reuters) – Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s spokesman on Monday denied allegations from her own party that she meddled in this month’s presidential election.

The dispute has cemented a falling out between Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and her party’s leadership after 12 years in power that saw the country consolidate a post-war peace but draw sharp criticism over alleged corruption and underdevelopment.

At a news conference on Sunday, leaders from Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party accused the president of holding inappropriate private meetings with election magistrates before the Oct. 10 vote.

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November 2017 –

UP’s Varney Sherman Describes NEC’s Ruling As Erroneous

The lead layer of Unity Party legal team, Cllr. Varney Sherman last Friday described the ruling handed by the Board of Commissioners in the case Liberty Party and intervening parties’ vs National Elections Commission as erroneous.

NEC Board of Commissioners on Friday, November 24, 2017 denied Liberty Party and Unity Party appeal for a rerun of the October 10 elections; upholding earlier ruling by NEC Hearing Officer, Muana Ville.

NEC said the complainants and co-complainants failed to provide sufficient evidence to prove their claims of election irregularities and massive fraud during the just conducted elections.

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Ruling Unity Party Youth Wing Wants President Sirleaf’ Expel

The members of the youth wing of the ruling Unity Party (UP) last week in their number gathered at the headquarters of the Party in Congo Town angrily protested opting for the immediate expulsion of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from the Party.

At the same time, the UP youth wing said President Sirleaf is no longer committed to the cause(s) of the party and her actions and inactions are detrimental to the forward march of the institution, especially at such a crucial time when the party should be preparing for the most crucial aspect of the 2017 elections.

“We want for President Sirleaf to be expelled from our beloved party immediately. She is of no help to our cause as a party and as such we don’t need her. We shouldn’t sit and allow this woman to destroy our noble institution,” Emmanuel James, who said he is a member of the youth wing, told the Daily Observer.

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NEC Board Of Commissioners Reject ‘Fraud, Irregularities’ Claims

What appeared to be an endless problem for the start of Liberia’s runoff election is still looming, as political parties involve in the lawsuit against the National Elections Commission (NEC), the Commission on Friday confirmed its rejection of fraud allegations over the first round of presidential elections, setting the scene for a showdown at the Supreme Court.

The announcement, which concerns the October 10 vote, confirms a decision initially taken on Monday, National Elections Commission official Davidetta Lassana told reporters.

A second round of voting, pitting Joseph Boakai of the ruling Unity Party against former footballing superstar George Weah, had been due to take place on November 7 but was postponed by the Supreme Court following a complaint about electoral fraud.

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December 2017 – 

NEC Warns Of Runoff Election Results Declaration

As partisans of political parties in the just ended runoff election are declaring winner of the runoff, the head of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Jerome Kofrkoya is warning all those involved to refrain from announcing that their candidate has won, noting, “As voting closed, the National Elections Commission would like to remind all stakeholders the process of counting and tabulation of results is continuing.

The National Elections Commission is the only institution that has the authority to release election results and it calls on both political parties competing in the elections to refrain from declaring a result until the official results are released,” the head of the electoral body declared.

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UN Chief Appoints Obasanjo To Witness Liberia’s Peaceful Transfer Of Power

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has announced that former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, will be going to Liberia to support peaceful transfer of power to a democratically-elected president next Tuesday.

Guterres announced this yesterday in New York through his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

The secretary-General also welcomed the peaceful conduct of the second round of the presidential election in Liberia.

Liberians on Tuesday voted in a second round of elections, deciding between Vice-President Joseph Boakai and George Weah.

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Runoff Election ‘Unofficial’ Result Shows CDC In The Lead, As Police Warn Of Celebration Now

The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of Liberia’s soccer legend, Senator George Manneh Weah is said to be making the lead from an ‘unofficial’ results being announced by reporters from various media outlets assigned to those counties.

According to assigned reporters in those Counties around the country, quoting provisional results gathered from various polling places, the CDC presidential candidate, Senator Weah has received overwhelming votes from electorates while the ruling Unity Party (UP) presidential candidate, Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai number is gradually reading at a low pace.

“We have been too lenient with this President and as a result this is what we got. I thought it would have been very prudent if we had started with her on a more radical note as others suggested,” James said.

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NEC Releases Provisional Results, As George Weah Captures 61.5% Of The Votes, While Joseph Boakai Receive 38.5%

The National Elections Commission (NEC) has released the first provisional runoff election with the presidential candidate of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senator George Manneh Weah capturing 61.5% of the total votes cast, while Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the Unity Party (UP) receiving 38.5% votes.

Addressing a widely attended news conference, NEC Chairman, Jerome Korkoya said the Commission will release another results from the Counties, this pronouncement by the NEC Chairman which was live on all local radio stations drew supporters of the CDC to jubilate around the country.

The NEC Chairman also disclosed that the next pronouncement of results from the just ended runoff election will be announced tomorrow at the same venue.

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About Cholo Brooks 6229 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.