Wednesday 18 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
George Weah emerged from Liberia's slums to become a superstar footballer in the 1990s, and has leveraged his status as a revered figure among the country's young and poor in his second run for the presidency. Weah faces Vice President Joseph Boakai in Tuesday's presidential run-off, the culmination of 12 years spent building political credibility to match his huge popularity. "You know I've been in competitions –- tough ones too and I came out victorious. So I know Boakai cannot defeat me," Weah said ahead of the vote. "I have the people on my side." The first African player to win both FIFA's World Player of the Year trophy and the Ballon d'Or, Weah was largely absent from Liberia during...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
Vice-president since 2005, Joseph Boakai has campaigned for president as a natural transition candidate after helping to ensure peace has prevailed in Liberia after back-to-back civil wars. Boakai goes head-to-head with former football star George Weah on Tuesday's long-delayed run-off for the presidency after trailing him in most of the country in the first round of voting. Weah won 38.4 percent of votes on October 10, while Boakai came in second with 28.8 percent, triggering a second round as neither man had more than 50 percent of the vote. Boakai has since led a losing Supreme Court battle against the National Elections Commission (NEC) alleging fraud and irregularities marred the vote. The failed complaint delayed the second round for seven...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
Liberian presidential candidate George Weah's running mate Jewel Howard-Taylor began life in politics as first lady to former warlord leader Charles Taylor, but has since established a formidable political reputation in her own right. Howard-Taylor was a surprise pick for vice-president on the ticket of the footballer turned politician, as many expected her to run for the top job herself. Her National Patriotic Party (NPP) was formed in 1997 by members of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) -- Charles Taylor's rebel fighters -- to allow him to run for president in hopes of ending a civil war that began in 1989. She married Liberia's most powerful warlord just before he was elected in 1997 by a population weary...
(AFP (eng) 12/26/17)
Liberia, which elects a new president in a run-off on Tuesday, is an English-speaking nation in West Africa that still bears the scars of a gruesome civil war and a devastating Ebola outbreak. Here is a snapshot of the country: - Oldest republic in Africa - In 1822 the United States starts sending freed black slaves to a part of West Africa that eventually becomes Liberia. The new arrivals declare independence in 1847, establishing the first republic in Africa. Descendants of former slaves run the country until the assassination in 1980 of president William Tolbert in a coup led by Samuel Doe, who establishes an authoritarian and corrupt regime. Doe is captured in 1990 and tortured to death by men...
(AFP (eng) 12/24/17)
Liberians choose a new leader Tuesday in a run-off between Vice President Joseph Boakai and footballing icon George Weah, a vote that will mark the country's first democratic transition since 1944. After seven weeks of delays caused by legal complaints lodged by Boakai's ruling Unity Party against the country's electoral commission, polling stations are due to open at 8:00 am (0800 GMT) and close at 6:00 pm for Liberia's 2.1 million registered voters. Weah's Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has urged voters not to drink too much on Christmas Day and to get up early on the 26th to cast their ballots in what National Elections Commission (NEC) chairman Francis Korkoya has said is "one sacrifice for the good of...
(AFP (eng) 12/23/17)
Liberia's ruling United Party said Friday it would not appeal the top court's rejection of its legal challenge to delay an upcoming presidential run-off vote, seen as a crucial test to the crisis-hit country's stability. The party of Vice-President Joseph Boakai, one of the two contenders in the December 26 ballot, filed the request last week after calling into question the official election body's integrity. But the Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the party's demand that parliament be given the power to set a new vote date. "The Supreme Court has decided, what can we say? Nothing. We have taken note, and we will go to the election,"...
(AFP (eng) 12/20/17)
Dekergar Duko, a lean father-of-two who crushes rocks for a living, often reminisces during his days of backbreaking labour about his life under Liberia's warlord-turned-president, Charles Taylor. Living in a hovel metres (yards) away from the so-called "College of Knowledge" where the dreaded strongman trained child soldiers to kill, Duko recalls when times were so much more comfortable. "I really wish for our former president to be back with us," Duko says. "In Taylor's day, at least we were growing." Duko's image of Taylor as a caring, decisive man -- he would alter the price of a sack of rice with a simple...
(AFP (eng) 12/19/17)
Convicted Dutch arms dealer Guus Kouwenhoven who supplied arms that fuelled Liberia's bloody civil war was on Tuesday released by a South African court on bail of $78,000, local media reported. Kouwenhoven, 75, was arrested at his Cape Town mansion in early December after Dutch prosecutors requested his extradition to serve a 19 year sentence for his role in the west African country's conflict. He was reportedly granted bail "under strict conditions" that include reporting to a police station every two hours during the week. "He has also been placed under house arrest (on weekends) and his passport is to be handed in," the News24 site reported. Kouwenhoven was found guilty in absentia by a Dutch court in April of...
(AFP (eng) 12/18/17)
France on Monday accepted a first group of 19 refugees who were identified in Africa under an overhauled asylum policy that will also see it expel thousands of economic migrants. While it has drawn little public outcry in France, the policy faces stiff opposition from the left and from charities that shelter migrants, 22 of which called in an open letter for France's rights ombudsman Jacques Toubon to intervene. Djamel, a refugee from the Central African Republic, arrived at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport with his wife and four children after spending four years at a camp in Chad, telling AFP: "Now we've no other family. Now you are our family." The new refugees -- also hailing from Sudan --...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
Liberia's ruling Unity Party has asked the Supreme Court to further delay the presidential runoff, which its candidate Vice President Joseph Boakai will contest on December 26. The party filed a request late Thursday in which it called for the country's legislature to be given responsibility for determining the election date. The move came just hours after Boakai was dealt a setback, when a major opposition party announced it would back his rival, former football star George Weah. "We request that the recent ruling of the Supreme Court be reviewed and should include that the NEC chairman and the Executive Director be disqualified from participating in or having anything to do with the run-off elections," the legal filing said. On...
(AFP (eng) 12/15/17)
A Liberian opposition party formally backed George Weah for president on Thursday despite mounting a prolonged legal fight with his opponent, Vice-President Joseph Boakai, against the country's electoral commission. Weah and Boakai are due to face each other in a December 26 run-off triggered when the two men took first and second spots respectively in an October 10 presidential election but failed to win more than 50 percent of ballots cast. The Liberty Party, whose standard bearer Charles Brumskine complained of fraud and irregularities after he scraped third with 9.6 percent of ballots, had joined forces with Boakai's ruling Unity Party in arguing the National Elections Commission (NEC) had rigged the vote. "You are the choice of the people," Liberty...
(APA 12/15/17)
The European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) has re-deployed 20 long-term observers to monitor the run-off election scheduled for December 26. According to an EU statement released in Monrovia, the observer-teams, who are expected to observe the run-off Presidential elections will be deployed to all regions in Liberia. The EU had deployed first ahead of the December 7 presidential run-off announced by the National Elections Commission, before the Supreme Court of Liberia halted the polls, mandating NEC to probe complaints by some parties. Following the probe, the court lifted the prohibition and ordered the NEC to set a new date for the run-off, which the electoral body has scheduled for December 26. The EU was invited to deploy an...
(Agence Ecofin 12/15/17)
It’s officially recorded. As scheduled by the National Elections Commission of Liberia (NEC), the finals between George Weah and the Vice President Joseph Boakai will take place on December 26, 2017. Jerome Korkoya, chairman of NEC, gave the starting signal for the presidential campaign which will end on December 24 at midnight. This finals, initially supposed to be held on November 7 have been suspended to allow NEC to consider the appeals filed by the candidates Charles Brumskine and Joseph Boakai, who came behind George Weah at the end of the first round of the elections. Both of them, rejected by the NEC, filed a new appeal before the Supreme Court. That did not prevent Jerome Korkoya from setting the...
(AFP (eng) 12/13/17)
The runoff in Liberia's presidential elections will be held on December 26, the country's electoral overseer announced on Tuesday, clearing a last hurdle in a protracted saga. It means the final round of voting between the two leading candidates -- ex-footballer George Weah and Vice President Joseph Boakai -- can go ahead. "I am pleased to announce that the 2017 presidential runoff elections will be conducted on Tuesday, December 26, 2017," the president of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Jerome Korkoya, said. "We realise that this day is immediately after Christmas Day,"...
(AFP (eng) 12/11/17)
Up to 6,000 Africans who fought for the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in Iraq and Syria could return home, the African Union's top security official warned Sunday, calling on countries to prepare for the threat. Smail Chergui, the AU's commissioner for peace and security, said African nations would need to work closely with each other and share intelligence to counter returning militants. "There are reports of 6,000 African fighters among the 30,000 foreign elements who joined this terrorist group in the Middle East," Chergui told a meeting in Algiers, according to the Algeria Press Service news agency. "The return of these elements to Africa poses a serious threat to our national security and stability and requires specific treatment and...
(AFP 12/08/17)
Liberia's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the electoral commission to proceed with a presidential runoff delayed for a month by fraud complaints, but said the national voter register must be corrected of anomalies first. "The stay order issued on November 6, 2017... against the NEC (National Elections Commission) is hereby lifted and the NEC is ordered to proceed with the scheduling of the runoff elections in accordance with the constitution," Associate Justice Philip Banks said on behalf of the court in Monrovia. The ruling Unity Party and opposition Liberty Party had alleged irregularities and fraud tainted the results of the first round of voting on October 10 and called for a total re-run of elections. That request was denied by...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Angry AIDS activists are urging western and central Africa to step up the fight against HIV, saying millions of people, especially children, are at risk from complacency and underfunding. A six-day conference in Africa has thrown a stark light on the problems in a region whose two dozen nations extend from Mauritania in the north to Gabon in the south, and include some of the poorest countries in the world. Coalition Plus, an alliance of AIDS groups, said AIDS-related deaths in western and central Africa are running at 5.1 percent, more than twice the 2.1 percent in the rest of the continent. The region accounts for just six percent of the global population, but has at least 16 percent of...
(AFP (eng) 12/06/17)
Conflicts, violence and disaster across Africa forced some 15,000 people to flee their homes every day in the first half of the year, international monitors said Wednesday. A total of 2.7 million Africans were internally displaced within their own countries in the first six months of 2017, a report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) found. They join the estimated 12.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) living in African countries at the end of 2016. That number does not include those who have fled across borders to seek refuge, with UN figures showing there were more than 5.6 million refugees in Africa by end of last year. Internal displacement has soared in a...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/03/17)
Businesses in Liberia's dual-currency economy are feeling the pinch as customers stay home and the exchange rate keeps climbing in the absence of a resolution to the country's disputed presidential election. "Nobody wants to buy, people are keeping their money," said Ruth Wollie, one of many female market traders who make up an important voting bloc for Liberian politicians. "For us to sell 1000 LD ($8) per day is very difficult," she added at her stall in Monrovia. Liberia has enjoyed 12 years of peace under President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, but hopes for an economic revival after back-to-back civil wars between 1989 and 2003 were dashed by slumping commodity prices hitting key exports of iron ore and rubber, and the...

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