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Blogs: Liberia Elections 2011 Daily News Review (may To July)
Liberia Elections 2011 News Review - 6th July 2011
Wednesday 6th July 2011
Campaign Begins…NEC Warns Parties, Contestants
We start today's headlines news with the Daily Observer which has it that, in order to prevent potential political collisions, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has called on all political parties to coordinate the scheduling of their rallies during the campaign process leading to the soon to come October polls. The Commission has also instructed all parties to submit to its offices schedules of their party’s rallies and other campaign events to enable it (NEC) monitor and obtain firsthand accounts of their activities.
NEC also wants the government to provide equal protection to all candidates during this campaign period and avail public facilities to opposition political parties and independent candidates. St the same
time, NEC chairman, James Fromayan, has warned all political parties and independent candidates against the use of profane languages during the campaign period.

The Daily Observer also continues that there a number of  Briefcase Parties Roaming as campaign for Liberia’s presidential and general elections begins. A survey by their correspondents indicates that most political parties whose members are seeking elected public offices are seeking elected public offices are operating in briefcases as they have no recognized headquarters nationwide.
According to a live radio talk show hosted yesterday on Truth FM 96.1 (TBS Show), out of 29 political parties registered with the National Elections Commission only the governing Unity Party of incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has recognized headquarters in all of the country’s 25 political sub-divisions.
The correspondents also indicate that the opposition Congress for Democratic Change of Cllr. Winston Tubman and retired international soccer celebrity, George Manneh Weah, has headquarters in three of the fifteen counties namely: Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, and Montserrado Counties.

On a different note, the Daily Observer quotes Presidential aspirant Professor Dew Tuan Mayson of the opposition National Democratic Coalition (NDC) strongly calling on his supporters to say ‘No’ to the four propositions of the National Referendum slated for 23, August, 2011.

Campaigning Is Not Warfare…NEC Chair Urges Political Parties
As the race for the executive mansion begins throughout the country, the National Elections Commission (NEC) has reminded all political parties and would be candidates in the 2011 Presidential elections that the political campaign is not warfare. Addressing a major news conference held to declare political campaign open in the country, NEC Chairman, James Fromayan urged political parties and independent aspirants to bear in mind that the elections is a contest purely about marketing oneself or their political philosophy to the electorate. The INQUIRER reports

INQUIRER Boss Urges Elections Reporters

The managing editor of the INQUIRER Newspaper Mr. Philip N. Wesseh has called on reporters covering the pending elections to behave properly to avoid being considered partisans for any political party.
Mr. Wesseh said much is expected from the reporters and therefore they should be mindful of how they go about covering the process. Mr. Wesseh spoke recently as a facilitator during a five day Elections
Reporting Workshop for 17 community radio stations held at the Liberia Media Center, of which the radio stations are partners. Among other things, Mr. Wesseh lectured the participants on Practical Experience- Fundamentals of the Newsroom and story idea.
He told the reporters that as they go about during the process, they should guard against be caught in partisans debates and discussions adding, “your role is to cover the events and avoid making statements
or comments during political party debates or discussions”.

29 Parties Formally Certificated…NEC Declares “Political marathon” Opened
In the News, twenty nine registered political parties have now been permitted to canvass for the Liberian presidency, the National Elections Commission (NEC) declared Tuesday July 5, 2011 at a program to officially open the political marathon.
The chairman of the NEC, James Fromayan said his decision to declare July 5, 2011 as an official time for campaign was in keeping with its scheduled time frame. According to the NEC Chairman, the commission is scheduled to release the final electoral districts on July 8, 2011, while nomination of qualified candidates will commence from July 20 through August 15,
2011.

We Must Ensure Peaceful Environment
...Ellen tells Liberians
Also in the News, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reaffirmed her government commitment to free expression and debate on all issues without being restrained during the electoral process.
She said many a time Liberians differed in their approaches and ideas of governance as well as in strategies for socio-economic reconstruction and development.

DECLARED
The Inprofile Daily reports that, eagerness, nervousness and euphoria, that have since electrified Liberians for the pending 2011 general and presidential elections with claims and counter claims of electoral violations have been relaxed.
It is now left with hopefuls and aspirants to “let the cat out of the bag” so that electorates would know whom to choose during the D-day. The long awaited campaign for the elections has been officially declared by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) the Liberia’s electoral body made the declaration Tuesday at its headquarters in Sinkor, Monrovia. Speaking at the occasion, NEC’s Chairman, James Fromayan said “This campaign is for political parties and aspirants to engage the voting population in explaining their platforms to the eligible voters as the means of soliciting their votes”. Chairman Fromayan described political parties as major stakeholders in the electoral process, assuring the commission’s willingness in working with them in case of reasonable concerns.

Builders On Sandy Grounds?
Tuseday, July 5, 2011 marked the formal launching of campaign for political aspirants throughout the country with a formal ceremony held at the headquarters of the National Elections Commission (NEC) seeking to address pertinent issues on the process that is expected to last until October 9 this year.
Underscored in a statement delivered by NEC Chairman James N. Fromayan that the exercise is not intended for conflict creation, urging all political aspirants not to allow their disagreements to degenerate thereto, with no iota of personality attack encouraged and placing the media at the entrance, we consider the resolve of the NEC not only as one intended to create an enabling environment but one in which the citizenry must realize the true existence of the Republic of Liberia as an independent nation. Unlike the past, prior to the civil crisis when opposition political parties were most times barred from holding political for a in public places, appeal by the NEC that public facilities be made available to all dependent upon mandatory presentation of their schedules. In the conduct of political campaigns and rallies to the commission ahead of time in order not to create conflicting situations, the NEC may well be on its way in preventing what pessimists may have long opted in having a chaotic situation often attached to electoral processes in the African region. Inprofile Daily editorial

Referendum’s Battle…Jackson on Brown’s Back
Also in the InProfile Daily Isaac Jackson, Assistant Minister for Information Services at the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICAT), has sharply reacted to recent comments on the media by the chairman of the National Democratic Coalition (NDC), Lewis Brown that the referendum is not appropriate and that he, Brown, will vote no to all propositions.
According to Jackson, “the NDC Chairman’s argument on the media was no supportive since he did not mention the diverse electoral systems in the world”

NEC Justifies
Why campaign begins before Qualifying Candidates
In the Heritage today The National Elections Commission has given justification why it Tuesday, July 5, 2011 officially announced the commencement of the political campaign for the much publicized 2011 presidential and general elections in the absence of qualifying candidates.
The NEC comments are in response to concerns by some politicians including the public that the Commission did not qualify any a spirant to contest the ensuing elections before it officially announce the commencement of political campaign for the 2011 elections yesterday. At least 27 political parties, coalitions and alliances are expected to be involved in the campaign when the exercise goes in full swing.

As Campaign Kicks Off Ellen Assures Unhindered Debate, Freedom of Expression
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reaffirmed government’s commitment to ensure free expression and debate on all issues as the country embarks on a new electoral journey.
The a statement to mark the commencement of political campaign ahead of the general elections, the Liberian leader said her administration believes that freedom of expression does offer an alternative to
violent confrontation. She said “even when some of our compatriots have at times exercised their right to free expression using words that have been inflammatory and abusive of freedom of expression, we, as a tolerant leadership, have refrained from taking any actions that could undermine the free atmosphere. The Heritage

NEC Warns Against ‘Dirty Campaign’...As Ellen Assures Free Speech
The National Elections Commission declared campaign officially open for this year’s Presidential and Legislative elections Tuesday and warned against what could be described as “dirty campaign”.
The Informer adds that, Chairman Fromayan warned against the use of the airwaves, publications and any paraphernalia to malign an opponent’s reputation or launch personality attacks. “No iota of personality attacks should be encouraged or countenanced during this campaign season”, Chairman Fromayan advised. He also called on the media not to allow their spaces to be used for incendiary utterances. “The media”, Chairman Fromayan cautioned, “should checkmate the use of profanity, invectives or refrain from inciting violence; we equally call on the media to give equal access to the candidates.

Campaign without Faces
Unprecedentedly, official campaign for the ensuing general and Presidential elections has been declared in the country without the National Elections Commission informing the electorate who are the qualified candidates, eligible political parties or certified electoral districts to canvass ahead of the polls.
Keen observers here say this is very strange in the country’s 164 years of existence could send wrong signals, about the first post-war democratic elections being planned and conducted by Liberians themselves.

CDC Warned!!...No, you can’t declare own results
The National Elections Commission has issued an indirect warning to the Congress for Democratic Change that it has no authority to announce its own results at polling booths during the scheduled elections, a threat the party has made.
According to the New Democrat, CDC Chair, Mrs. Geraldine Doe-Sheriff recently declared that the CDC will announce its own results “minute by minute, hour by hour during the elections to avoid, she added, being cheated as it was in 2005.

RUNNING ON GOVERNMENT’S TIME...Public Officials’ Political Desires Vs Prez ‘Warning’
As campaign officially begins Tuesday, dozens of public officials currently in the employ of the government are expected to be using government endowed immunities fueled by hard earned tax payers dollars to run their personal political campaign.
Ranging from superintendents of counties to deputy and assistant ministers and directors of ministries and agencies taxpayers money will be used at the disadvantage of their competitors who themselves are taxpayers. While the Executive Mansion could not confirm nor deny reports that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has instructed all public officials with political ambition to resign ahead of the elections, Internal Affairs Minister, Harrison Karnwea confirmed via a Truth FM radio talk show, that he had instructed all superintendents with political ambitions to resign latest today, Wednesday the 6th of July.
Front Page Africa reports

Pre-election Tourney for Political Parties Begins Soon
Finally in the News, The first pre-election football tournament amongst certain political parties is scheduled to begin July 16-17, 2011 at the Airfield. According to the Movement for the Promotion of non-violent Elections in Liberia, organizer of the program, the event is expected to promote peace and cordiality amongst the various parties during campaign season and after election.
The group said the tournament would be held on the theme: “To Avoid Pre and Post Electoral Violence”.
The participating parties include the ruling Unity Party, Congress for Democratic Change of Ambassador Winston Tubman, Charles Brumskine Liberty Party, Rev. Kennedy Sandy’s Freedom Alliance Party and
Ambassador Dew Mayson’s National Democratic Coalition (NDC). Others are Senator Prince Johnson’s National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDC), the National Democratic Coalition, and Ambassador
Nathaniel Barnes’s Liberia Destiny Party, as well as Simeon Freeman’s movement for Progressive Change.

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