Five Family Members Survive Ordeal

first_imgThe five family members, including three children,  who last Thursday suffered what a doctor described as ‘suffocation due to heat’ in their Zeon Town, ELWA community home, have thankfully survived their ordeal.They are Sabastine Saye, his wife, Joyce Bartuah and their three children, Erica,  5, Eric, 5, and Patience Saye, 15.Doctor Rufus Tall, head of the Sunrise Clinic in the ELWA Community, where the victims received treatment, told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that the family suffered a major suffocation due to heat in the room.The heat was produced from an unattended coal pot in their room while they were asleep, said the doctor, who further explained  that charcoal has some dangerous chemicals that could cause unconsciousness, if not handled properly.When the Daily Observer visited the victims early Monday morning, the wife (Joyce) said that the tragedy started on her twin children, Erica and Eric.According to her, she went outside to prepare her cassava gravy soup, which is part of her daily routine to sustain the family. She said she was on her way back to the room, when one of the twins started to shout, “Mama see, Mama see,” but when she looked around she couldn’t find anything, but the child kept yelling at her to see.Joyce said it was then that she began to call for help and then she lapsed into unconsciousness, and then her husband and her big daughter followed.Joyce said her family is grateful to their neighbors who helped to take them to the clinic. She said they are presently staying with a relative in the same community.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Changing GoL’s ICT Environment: The Road Ahead

first_imgLast week’s article provided some much needed insight on the Chief Information Office, Republic of Liberia, the CIO Regime and the current Chief Information Officer-RL. Based on the number of calls and emails received after that article was published, I can safely say that there were a lot of folks who were totally oblivious to the existence of that office. This week, my intent is to identify and delineate some of the issues and challenges that have been strangulating efforts to achieve a robust Government of Liberia’s (GoL’s) ICT environment. I also use this medium to acquaint you with efforts that are and will be taken to ameliorate the Government’s ICT environment.  Just as many people were not cognizant of the existence of the CIO-RL, so too do many citizens, residents and our international partners not know who decides, plans or implements GoL ICT projects. Worst yet, ask a few of the ICT professionals who work in GoL ministries, agencies, corporation/commissions (MACs), about how Government’s ICT resources (software, Hardware, network equipment, training, services, etc) are purchased; who makes the decisions; how are those decisions made; and based on what standards? That ICT professional might likely tell you that purchases are made without his/her knowledge. All he/she knows is that when ICT resources are made available, his job is to ensure that they are deployed and operational and sometimes maintained. There are no standard hardware or software platforms (dell or HP, Microsoft Windows or Linux) or no standards at all, no warranties, no comprehensive training programs, and worst of all, no due diligence (in procurement) that subsumes total cost of ownership (TCO).Web and Software contracts are signed without the ICT (tech folks) or the legal department’s involvement. As I write this article, we currently have Government entities that have their websites temporarily shut down or “hijacked” (as it is locally termed) because egregious contracts are/were not honored. Oftentimes, when this happens, the MAC loses its web presence (including content). More importantly, it loses its “customers” (citizens, residents, businesses, global partners). Should this be happening at all?Software contracts are signed and implemented with little or no documentation and nothing that resembles a Service Level Agreement (SLA). In such a situation, when there is a fault in the use of the software, and there is no technical support, the ICT/IT department simply discontinues its use and reverts to the manual way of doing things. This is without a doubt, a waste of tax payers’ money.  Then we also have Government institutions that are on the Web using “.Com” and “.Org” top level and second level domains when they should be using  the “.Gov.Lr” second level domain name. Worst yet, there are official documentations that carry the “@Yahoo” or “@Gmail” email accounts, when the official email address should follow this format: GoLpersonnel@GoLinstitution.Gov.LrOther issues such as the individuals bringing their own computers to do “Government’s work”; taking home Government laptops without proper “check-out and check-in” procedures; employees installing their own software on Government’s computers totally ignoring license agreements; watching movies on Government computers during work hours are just a few that need to be addressed. What’s even worrisome is the use of pirated software on Government computers, an act which is not only ubiquitous, but is often perpetrated by ICT professionals who might not understand the implications of their actions. This often happens because someone might have previously recommended and implemented a solution (software, system) that the MAC (entity) could not sustain but forced its implementation because it satisfied the need at the time. Meanwhile, someone got paid and left!   And now, the fight against Ebola has brought multiple international donors to Liberia who are building their systems to provide assistance. That’s very good and we are grateful for the help being provided. But we will not revert to the past, where partners and other donors provided solutions that the Government could never sustain, but were implemented because they(systems) helped serve their needs at the time. When they left, those programs and systems died because the GoL could not sustain them. For example, a donor or NGO provides $20,000 in assistance and that money is spent on the purchase of a Microsoft Windows Server and other proprietary software that require yearly licensing fees. The question is, who pays the licensing fees when that NGO or donor leaves? Total Cost of Ownership must be subsumed and understood before accepting and implementing solutions.Now that I have said all of the above and could say more had it not been for space limitations, let me tell you what the road ahead looks like for GoL’s ICT environment. The Ebola Crisis has given us a chance to build those things we were lacking and fix all that we did faultily. We should take advantage of this opportunity to leapfrog into modern paradigms; something that the GoL has been making significant efforts to achieve.Through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, USAID-GEMS, the World Bank (WARCIP-Liberia Project), and other funding partners, the GoL has begun several initiatives that are geared toward bringing “sanity” to GoL’s ICT environment. An e-Government program has begun that will lead to a fully functional, robust, efficient and effective GoL ICT environment based on standards and best practices. In addition to a bespoke e-Government strategy, policies governing the use of GoL ICTs have been developed and gradually disseminated among MACs. GoL’s online presence is in the process of experiencing a “total reboot.” In addition, communications, collaboration and information sharing will be optimized, modernized, and fully realized, while many of our traditional processes will soon be automated.  The primary goal of all of these initiatives is to provide information and services to citizens, residents businesses and global partners in a seamless, transparent, effective way; ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness within GoL MACs, reduce costs and achieve economic development through ICTs.To succeed in doing all of what I just mentioned, we will need an “ALL HANDS ON DECK” approach. For starters, every MAC needs to or MUST consult the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications through the Chief Information Office for standards, types of purchases, SLAs, etc. New projects must involve the Chief Information Office and the Project Management Office. MAC’s heads or their deputies responsible for signing ICT purchases and contracts MUST ensure that they garner the technical expertise of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications through the CIO, their internal CIO or IT Director/Manager, and their legal departments. More importantly, MAC’s heads MUST ensure that they fully support and enforce the GoL e-Government and ICT policies.Finally, we have been given an opportunity to build/fix or contribute to the building and fixing of our ICT environment through various means. Our contribution will determine the future of the sector. Introducing new and ambitious approaches to reduce costs and waste in government ICT procurement and improve operational efficiency may not be an easy task but it is doable. The challenges involved in achieving our goals are infinite. But all of us must do what we can to ensure that what was said to be impossible becomes a possibility. If we fail to do so, then we would have failed our motherland.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ecobank Wins Best Bank 2014 Accolade

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Ecobank Liberia Ltd. has been named the “Best Bank of the Year 2014” for its immense contribution towards the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country.  The accolade was bestowed upon the bank by the International Learning Institute (ILI) and its subsidiary, Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, at the Champions of the Year Annual Award 2014, held last Saturday at a local hotel in Monrovia.  Chief organizer, Ms. Mildred Dean, said Ecobank was honored for its sacrificial, dedicated and humanitarian services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola epidemic.  She recalled that the Pan African bank was the first institution to help the Liberian government to contain the spread of the virus by donating the first ambulance.Presenting the award to Ecobank’s former managing director, Mr. Kola Adeleke, she said: “We are very happy to award you as the best Pan African bank of the Year for the outstanding performance, sacrificial, dedicated and humanitarian Services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola crisis.”Responding, outgoing Ecobank MD Adeleke thanked the Gender International Magazine for the honor and said it was a big surprise.He pledged the bank’s continuing commitment to work with the Liberian government to ensure that Liberia becomes an Ebola-free country and survivors are not stigmatized.Mr. Adeleke cautioned the public against stigmatizing survivors, noting that it is imperative for survivors to tell their stories.“We have to learn from their experiences and how they came into contact with the disease. Telling their stories will greatly help the national fight,” he said.The Ecobank executive said Ebola survivors are Africans and Liberians, “just like you and me.”He spoke of the grave impact of the Ebola outbreak on economies of the three countries hit hardest by the virus, but noted that as a Pan African bank with vast experience in operating in crisis environments, Ecobank crafted a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that has helped it through crises, including the Ebola epidemic.“During a crisis like this, we sacrifice profitability for liquidity,” the Ecobank boss explained. He assured the public that as a Pan African bank in Liberia, Ecobank is here to stay.Other personalities honored were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Rep. Saah Joseph, Madam Julie Endee, executive director, Liberia Crusaders for Peace, Information Minister Lewis Bowne, Assistant Minister for Health Tolbert  Nyenswah,  amongst other.Institutions honored included the Central Bank of Liberia, United Bank for Africa, and the state-owned radio ELBC.Ms. Dean is also the chief executive officer of the Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, located on Crown Hill, Broad Street, Monrovia.last_img read more

300 Million Children to Receive Immunization Worldwide If…

first_imgThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that the U.S. Government will commit $1 billion to The Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, in the 2015-2018 fiscal years to help vaccinate 300 million children worldwide.A statement from USAID indicates that the amount announced is subject to congressional approval.It further states that the U.S. contribution will support Gavi’s plan to immunize 300 million additional children and save at least 5 million lives by 2020.If approved by the U.S. Congress, the US$1 billion will benefit Africa, especially Sub-Saharan Africa where Polio, whopping cough, diphtheria and tetanus have been affecting children with Ebola now taking center stage.“Providing a new and underutilized vaccine to the world’s poorest countries is a key driver in ending preventable child deaths by 2035,” the statement notes.Accordingly, USAID will be working closely with host country governments, Ministries of Health and Finance, and in-country and global Alliance partners, and will bring its financial, technical, and diplomatic efforts together to support country immunization programs to reach all children with critical, safe vaccines.”GAVI represents a groundbreaking effort that has unified a global community of partners — from rural clinics to multinational corporations — in the fight to end the tragedy of preventable child death,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. “In doing so, we are strengthening our own national security, economic prosperity, and moral leadership.”For the third year in a row in his State of the Union address, President Obama embraced the vision of eradicating extreme poverty. USAID’s support for vaccines and immunization is foundational to these efforts.In June 2012, the world came together for the Child Survival Call to Action: A Promise Renewed, to craft a global goal to end preventable child deaths by 2035 and pioneer new approaches to accelerate progress towards child and maternal survival.  In the last two years alone, 24 priority countries – of which 16 are in Africa – have achieved an eight percent reduction in under-five mortality, saving 500,000 lives. Many of these lives were saved by simple, low-cost, high-impact health interventions like vaccines. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance was created in 2000, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.Since then, GAVI has helped immunize nearly 500 million children; saving 7 million lives, driven down the costs of life-saving vaccinations, and has helped the poorest countries expand their vaccination programs, the statement said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MOT Toothless on Fare Enforcement

first_imgDrivers in Monrovia are continuing to refuse to abide by new transport fares released by the Ministry of Transport on January 15, 2015, imposing their own fares through “delay tactics” strategy.As a result of their discontent with the lower fares, public transport drivers delay in plying the streets until passengers’ demand for transportation increases before drivers bring their vehicles on the roads.On Monday morning, hundreds of passengers lined Broad Street waiting for transportation to get to their destinations on Old Road, ELWA Junction, and Red Light areas.As a result of fewer commercial transport vehicles on the streets, passengers going to Old Road are charged LD$50.00 by taxi against the approved LD$40.00, while buses are charging LD$30.00 over the approved LD$25.00For ELWA Junction, taxis have been charging LD$60.00 against the approved LD$45.00 while buses were charging LD$30.00 contrary to the approved LD$25.00 since Monday of this week.From Broad Street to Red Light taxis have been charging LD$80.00 as opposed to the approved LD$60.00 and buses are charging LD$45 and $40.00 against the approved LD$35.00.Buses especially have been very scarce on the roads since the lower rates were announced, and through the Federation of Road Transport vehicles, drivers have been charging higher fares.It sparked up last weekend when some passengers opposed to paying LD$25.00 against the approved fare of LD$20.00 from Broad Street to Duala.The case was taken to the police and two FRTUL agents and the bus driver, who is an alien, were charged and detained to be sent to court.  They were charged on the grounds that there was no change in the fares as claimed by them.Drivers have remained reluctant to provide services to the public, claiming that their number of passengers has already been reduced because of Ebola and now the fare is reduced further limiting their profits.They contend that if the fares are reduced, the number of passengers should be increased so they can earn the desired profit they need.Prior to the Ebola crisis in Liberia, taxis took four passengers in the back and one in the front while buses took four to five persons on one long seat intended to accommodate only three persons.For now, three persons are compulsory in the back of a taxi and three persons on a seat on the bus.It is not clear whether the enforcement of lowers fares passengers see to be in their interest will work as drivers are devising delay tactics to increase demand for vehicles and get passengers to pay higher rates.Unlike the past when cars appeared on the roads as early as 5:00 a.m., vehicles begin plying the road at about 6:00 a.m.  By 7:00 a.m. impatient passengers waiting to get to work in central Monrovia are all along the roadside waiting and fighting for cars and willing to pay the higher fares.Vehicles also appear late in the evening at the time people are all along the roadside anxiously waiting to go home. At this passengers have no option but to accept the driver’s self-imposed fare.Meanwhile, as commercial drivers torment passengers in the wake of the transport fare malfunction, public buses run by the National Transit Authority (NTA) are scarcely found in the streets of Monrovia.About two of the Indian donated buses are seen running between central Monrovia and Red Light while the rest run in the rural areas and some are on charter.According to sources of the National Transit Authority (NTA), running outside Monrovia brings in more money to the agency and chartering is soley done in United States Dollar which is more advantageous.A trip on an NTA bus in Monrovia from one point to any destination is LD$15.00.  From Monrovia to Voinjama is L$1,500, Monrovia to Ganta LD$400.00, Monrovia to Buchanan LD$250.00 and Monrovia to Gbarnga LD$300.00.This transportation crisis currently facing residents of Monrovia has led to a total disregard for the newly approved fares by the Ministry of Transport as the ministry is apparently not sufficiently equipped or prepared to enforce the regulation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Poor Social Studies Education Claims

first_imgThe Dean of the William V.S. Tubman Teachers College of the University of Liberia (UL), Euphemia K. Abdullai, has noted with that Social Studies (Sociology) is not taught well in Liberian schools, thereby causing society to face deviant behaviors from young people.She made the observation recently while addressing students on the UL Fendell campus, outside Monrovia. Madam Abdullai stressed that many teachers only read the text in Social Studies books, but cannot clearly explain in details with examples that will make students see themselves in the picture as well as understand the subject.According to her, cultural values and norms should be taught in the way that students will know why it is good to go by them, noting, “It will help them understand who they are and how different they are from others.”She said because Sociology is not properly taught to enlighten students of their culture and norms, they are not appreciative of their culture and do not respect their leaders.“Social Studies helps people to have concern for others around you and to obey certain orders from leaders including parents, but because these things are not properly taught, deviant behaviors have always begun with children that are brought up in the home, society and schools,” she added.She also observed that because Social Science is not taught with deeper understanding about society and its basic constituents, many young people and some adults do not have respect for their leaders, but feel they know more than those who lead them.Dean Abdullai also told the students that there is a difference between education and literacy and that no one should consider older folks who did not go through contemporary academic process to be uneducated.“These people in their own rights are educated, and they use it to settle social matters arising in their respective communities.  You don’t tell them that they are uneducated,” she said.Differentiating education from literacy, Dean Abdullai said, “Education is the process of developing skills to produce goods and services to society, while literacy is the ability to read and write.”By education, the Teachers College Dean stressed that one can make use of his/her skills to produce something beneficial to him/her society, unlike literacy that only prepares one to be able to read and write.Definition provided by the UL Teachers College Dean counters claims by Liberians that they are educated when they enter into the academic process.Since UL resumed academic activities on March 17, the William V.S. Tubman Teachers College Dean is one person who has given hope to students that classes would truly continue.Instructors and deans have been staying away from campus for reasons yet be known, but some insiders have hinted this newspaper that they are yet to be paid by the UL Administration.Regardless of what the situation may be Dean Abdullai has been going from class to class urging students to attach seriousness to their lessons, praying with them for God’s mercy as they continue their educational sojourn.These activities on the part of the Dean led some of the college’s instructors and students to say, “We hope God will add about two more decades to your life to still be with us, Dean.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Gov. Jones Denies Wasting Gov’t Money Empowering Liberians

first_imgThe Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. J. Mills Jones, has told his critics that he is not wasting Liberian government money by empowering Liberians in the informal business sector to improve their lives.On a three-day tour to the south eastern counties of Sinoe and Grand Gedeh, stopping first in Greenville City where he dedicated CBL’s fourth rural financial institution, he said the quest for financial inclusion of every Liberian bank under his stewardship is to provide loans to empower Liberian businesses.Speaking to hundreds at separate meetings in the two counties, the CBL boss denied claims that he is wasting government resources on Liberians, adding, “The money belongs to the citizens and therefore they need to get access to it.”He told them that for too long Liberians have been poor and it is about time that something is done about it. “We must do something for ourselves and get out of the valley of poverty and this can only be done through hard work,” Gov. Jones told his audiences.Poverty has been the plight of a majority of Liberians for so long that “we cannot see it anymore because we are so used to it. We must change this and if we have to move our country forward, you young people must learn the new tricks because as the saying goes, ‘you cannot teach old dog new tricks.”Gov. Jones said if Liberians continue to do things the same way, and things are not changing, then Liberians should do things the other way around for prompt transformation and results.Some Liberians are claiming that he is wasting the Liberian people’s money by giving out micro loans to empower Liberians. “Whose money am I wasting? The Liberian people own the money and building a strong private sector is not a waste of money,” asserted Gov. Jones.There is a need for Liberians in other parts of the country to have access to small money to build their lives and Monrovia is not Liberia, he said, adding, Liberians have to change the way they do things.He insisted that counties cannot develop without the involvement of every citizen and called on Liberians to put their differences aside and contribute their quota to the development of their counties. In a statement read on behalf of the group, Friends of J. Mills Jones, Secretary General Jerry Barshell called on Gov. Jones to continue the micro-loan scheme because poor parents who could not afford to pay their children’s school fees can now do so through the micro-loan scheme.Responding, Governor Jones thanked the citizens for turning out to welcome him and his entourage and urged those who are benefiting from the micro-loans to pay back the loans on time.Commenting on the Central Bank’s micro-loan scheme, he said that the idea is to help Liberians get out of poverty. “You say in your motto, ‘Where we go you shall go with us,’ but let me say that we are moving to fight poverty and provide economic empowerment for our people,” said Governor Jones amid thunderous applause.Governor Jones’ trip to Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County was based on an invitation from Friends of Dr. J. Mills Jones (FJMJ) organized under the motto “Where You Go, We Shall Go With You.”While in Zwedru, residents pleaded with him and the CBL staff to establish another bank under the micro-loan scheme in the county to enhance their banking services.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

64 Players for AFCON, CHAN Qualifiers

first_imgNational team coach James Salinsa Debbah will call up at most 40 overseas players and at least 24 from the domestic league for the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.The CHAN competition is organized for players who feature in the local league, while the AFCON tournament is for both foreign based and local players.Coach Debbah, in an interview at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium yesterday, said players would be used rotationally for both tournaments.He divulged that the final choice of the local cream players would be climaxed this weekend by a kick off of practices on Monday, April 20, at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium.The delay in the selection of domestic players was owing to the stoppage of the domestic championship, explained Debbah who however revealed that his pick was based on visitations to club practices in and around Monrovia.“I’m going to start on Monday with the players I have and basically there would be 22 and 23 players,” said Coach Debbah.For the overseas-based players, Coach Debbah named Sam Johnson (in Sweden), William Jerboe (Portugal), Alex Nimely (England), and Baba Kar, a young Liberian who is playing in Italy, among others.He dismissed reports that South African based Anthony Laffor remains captain of the Lone Star. Reports have it that he has verbally resigned.Coach Debbah argued that a new coach has the right to retain or appoint a new captain, though he has not officially unveiled whether the ex-skipper would be among his 40 foreign based players.Meanwhile, Coach Debbah stated that his technical team has proposed that the squad camp in Ghana to acclimatize with the Ghanaian weather, recognizing that Ghana and Togo have similar weather.According to the fixture, the qualifying starts on the weekend of June 12, and Liberia will play Togo in Lome in the 2017 AFCON qualifier. Liberia is in Group A, alongside Tunisia, Togo and DjiboutiIn the Orange African Nations Championship in Rwanda 2016, Liberia will play neighboring Guinea on the weekend of June 19. The return-leg is scheduled between July 3 and 5. Liberia is in the group with The Gambia, Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Sénégal and Sierra Leone.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

“Dual Citizenship Eventual, but Not a Priority”

first_imgThe nationwide debate on the claim to legitimate ownership of Liberia continues to be tested with zeal, heightened by the controversial dual citizenship clause proposed for Liberia. In recent years, the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) toured the country and sought the views of Liberians on changes or amendments to certain clauses in the Constitution and came up with a list of 24 propositions for referendum – among them, dual citizenship and the right of people of non-negro descent, to be allowed to attain Liberian citizenship.In what was described by other Liberian academics as ‘a very meaningful contribution to the dual citizenship debate’, a young Liberian scholar, Dr. Robtel Neajai Pailey, presented her doctorate thesis on the topic on Wednesday, April 20, at the University of Liberia auditorium, with some fellow Liberian scholars and other members of the Liberian society in attendance. Her thesis research work which was done at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, is entitled “The Love of Liberty Divided Us Here” and cataloged factors leading to the introduction postponed passage of a dual citizenship bill in the Liberian Legislature. The postponed status of the proposed bill happens to sum up her thoughts about the matter, given her findings from interviews of 209 Liberians residing in Europe, the United States of America and West Africa. In a nutshell, according to Dr. Pailey, a decision on dual citizenship is nowhere near the top of the list of priorities for most Liberians, at the present time. Moreover, her study sheds light on the respective journeys of several other African countries on the very dual citizenship issue, and what Liberia could learn from those experiences. Dr. Pailey scrutinized in her thesis the “markers” of citizenship narrowly defined in Liberia’s current Aliens and Nationality Law; how citizenship is currently conceived and practiced domestically and trans-nationally; and the symbiotic relationship between (dual) citizenship and post-war recovery.According to her, “Liberia, not formally colonized and more recently emerging from 14 years of armed conflict, represents a stark case study in citizenship construction, because of its idiosyncratic (distinctive, individualistic) history of black settler state formation.“Liberian citizenship has historically been a tool of exclusion, one barring women, non-settlers, non-Christians, and non-blacks, and it remains a violently contested space of inquiry with newer forms of citizenship now developing in Liberia and within transnational spaces.”She argued that conflict, migration, globalization and postwar recovery have configured Liberian citizenship across space and time, thereby influencing the introduction and postponement in the passage of a dual citizenship bill proposed in 2008. Her argument continued that the “bill is used as a point of entry to evaluate Liberia’s long-standing struggle to construct a unique brand of citizenship that is totalizing, tactical and timeless.“The rationale behind my research and contribution to this cardinal proposition is for us to practically fill in the empirical gaps, make informed policies, influence public discourse and begin wider discussions about what Liberian citizenship is and why should people of non Negro descent become citizens of Liberia.”She categorized Liberians into three main classes, namely: Homeland Liberians or citizens who are born in Liberia, reside in Liberia and have all their activities in the country; Permanent returnees or Liberian citizens who live in other countries that return to Liberia and settle; and Circular Returnees or Liberian citizens who are in and out of Liberia frequently due to transnational or global opportunities.She called on her fellow Liberians to stop the multilayered, gendered, aged, racial and ethnicized politics of citizenship.“This leads to the conflict-related expression that, for example, ‘Mandingoes are foreigners or strangers in Liberia’. Let us remember that Liberia is a signatory to many international conventions on global human rights, and that Liberians are citizens in other parts of the world,” she added.“Citizenship definition goes beyond legality. Being a Liberian rationally means having Liberia at heart by making meaningful contributions to its development by the use of one’s talents, time and energy.”Liberians all across the nation will be going to the polls in a referendum expected to take place before the presidential and legislative elections in 2017 to decide a number of critical issues, which include the reduction of presidential and legislative tenures, state religion, among others.Meanwhile, Dr. Pailey intends to publish her study on the matter to inform the Liberian decision on the topic, as well as to contribute to the global discussion on the matter. In attendance to hear the presentation were people from various vocations and persuasions, intelligently engaging the Dr. Pailey with many poignant and thought-provoking questions. The final question, which aptly concluded the question-and-answer session, was asked by the moderator, Norris Tweah, vice president for public affairs at the University of Liberia: “Is dual citizenship in Liberia an eventuality and, if so or if not, why?” “Given the global trends,” Dr. Pailey responded, “I think it is an eventuality in Liberia, but I will say as a caveat that perhaps… this particular moment may not be the right time. If you ask a typical Liberian what are [their] priorities, dual citizenship is not going to be at the top of their list of priorities. There are other bread and butter issues around making sure they have a living wage; that they are able to support their families; that the people they vote into power represent them adequately. They are not necessarily paying attention to what would-be dual citizens could achieve. They respect and appreciate the remittances, but are also concerned about people coming back and disenfranchising them. Whether those concerns are valid or not, they are concerns that I think should be appreciated and they should be reconciled.” She also said that there is a growing trend of dual citizenship being embraced across the African continent: one-third of African countries, she found, have varying forms of dual citizenship, some more restrictive than others. “And Liberia will follow that trajectory,” she said. “But at the moment, given the interviews that I have done and the push-back… I am not convinced that it is a priority now or that it will be passed now.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more