LET’S LECTURE: Devolution of Power to Local Government – Part 1

first_imgOver the past ten years there has been a lot of discussion about transferring power from the central government in Monrovia to our political sub-divisions—counties, statutory districts and cities. Gallons of ink have gone into papers, countless amounts of money into workshops and seminars. Yet we do not appear to be any closer to getting the job done than we were a decade ago, so painfully slow has been the process. In this, the first of two articles on this subject, I shall share my experience with devolution in Kokoyah Statutory District, in the hope that that experience may hold some lessons for how we might pick up the pace and proceed with a little more speed on the vexed issue of devolution of power.In 2005, when I served as economic advisor to the head of the transitional government, Chairman Gyude Bryant, I was approached by my people from Kokoyah. They were concerned that they were about to have a district superintendent imposed on them. The person was Mr. Edward Yallah, father of Senator Henry Yallah of Bong County. Yallah the Elder had enjoyed a long and distinguished public service career spanning back to the Tubman Administration. But the people wanted an opportunity to choose their own superintendent.Why had they approached me? Because for decades the House of Zackpah had played a leadership role in Kokoyah affairs, and so, their reasoning went, who better to advance their cause than a scion of the House of Zackpah who was close to the levers of power?Recognizing that their request was somewhat unorthodox (since super-intendents had always been appointed by Liberian presidents, not elected), I nonetheless approached Chairman Bryant. He asked me if I was sure that that was what the people of Kokoyah wanted. To make the point, I arranged for a delegation of chiefs and elders to come down from Kokoyah to meet him.The chiefs came, they confirmed what I had told him, and he gave me the go-ahead to organize an election. Whereupon, I undertook a tour of the district, visiting all three sub-districts—-Boinsen, Tupkpablee and Kokoyah—-and informed the inhabitants that there would be an election for them to choose their superintendent. They were overjoyed.An election date was set and a church in Botota, the district headquarters, was selected as the location for voting. Since we did not have a voters’ roll or the money to conduct a one-person one-vote election, we opted for an electoral college. Each of the three districts would appoint fifteen electors to the Electoral College to vote on their behalf. Election Day was a festive occasion. Such was the enthusiasm that some people walked miles to participate in what some saw as an opportunity of a lifetime. Citizens from the three sub-districts were given time to caucus and select their Electoral College representatives.After that was done, we went into the nomination process. In addition to the two candidates who had already been placed into nomination, I informed the gathering that anyone in the hall would be allowed to nominate a candidate, including himself/herself. At that point, Mr. David Wamah from Tukpablee stood up and nominated himself. So, the three candidates were each given 10 minutes to make a short electioneering speech. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Edward Yallah withdrew, leaving Mr. Quoi Wamah from Boinsen (the largest sub-district) and Mr. Wamah. What happened next was study in political horse trading that would have made Thomas Jefferson proud. The electors for the two smallest sub-districts (Tukpablee and Kokoyah) formed an alliance and outvoted the candidate from Boinsen by a margin of 31-14. Mr. Wamah, who was not a known candidate prior to election day and had only become so through self-nomination, won. Democracy has a way of sometimes confounding the pundits.Then we moved to election of the development superintendent. Again, I introduced a new rule: the superintendent and development superintendent could not come from the same sub-district. That would disqualify a Tukpablee sub-district candidate from contention.Again, something unexpected happened. The paramount chief of Kokoyah sub-district, Mr. Togar Glaygboe, realizing that the electors of Tukpablee might want to return the favor by voting for the candidate from his sub-district, in a supreme act of leadership, withdrew his candidate, thus leaving the field to Mr. Quoi Wamah, the candidate from Boinsen, who was elected unopposed.Paramount Chief Togar Glaygboe acted as he did because he figured that a situation where the two smallest sub-districts (Tukpablee and Kokoyah) carried all the positions, leaving the largest one (Boinsen) with no position was a recipe for future conflict. So, he sacrificed his sub-district in the interest of peace.These elections enabled the citizens of Kokoyah to choose their own district officials, the only district in Liberia to have done so, as far as I know, because of the willingness of the head of state to think and act out of the box. Moreover, this whole exercise was conducted within the span of just a couple of months and cost me no more than US$1,000.Next week we will explore how the lessons learned from the Kokoyah experiment can be applied to other situations.The writer is a certified public accountant and a businessman. He can be reached at (hagreaves49@gmail.com)Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bob Barker Donates 250000 To Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation

first_imgBob Barker, best known for hosting The Price is Right for 35 years, has donated $250,000 to Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation!From the organization’s Facebook page: “The donation is funded through Barker’s Los Angeles-based DJ&T Foundation, named in fond memory of Bob’s wife, Dorothy Jo and mother, Tilly.“Following up on a funding request from WRR for $5,000 for an avian ventilator, Mr. Barker placed a personal phone call to Lynn during which he mentioned that he had done a little research and found nothing but praise for our organization and our work with animals. He then said he was sending $250,000 to support the purchase of the ventilator as well as many other things he knows we need for all the animals we rescue.”WRR serves the cities of San Antonio, Austin, and all surrounding counties, as well as the entire state of Texas. WRR also provides assistance on a national basis to wild animals in need of rescue. WRR provides a permanent home for a variety of mammals (e.g., wolves, bears, big cats, and primates) and non-indigenous birds and reptiles. Each year over 5,000 animals are brought to WRR, mostly from surrounding areas, but many from around the country; the majority of these were rehabilitated and released or given permanent sanctuary.WRR maintains a 24-hour Emergency Hotline and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is supported by a membership of over 11,000 individuals and is assisted by 150 Volunteers. The organization has a Staff of 20 and anywhere from 8 to 15 Animal Care Interns who come from the U.S. and abroad to work at the Sanctuary and gain experience and training in wildlife rehabilitation and animal care.Find out more here.last_img read more

DID YOU HEAR… Detox Facility Proposals Public Hearing With The ZBA Has

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Public Hearing for the Detox Facility Proposal slated for the Wilmington Board of Appeals meeting on Wednesday, August 8 at 7pm at Town Hall has been POSTPONED, again, to Wednesday, September 12 at 7pm at Town Hall.The applicant (Bettering LLC) requested a continuance. Their representatives will NOT be at the meeting and there is expected to be no discussion on the matter.The public hearing began back on February 14 when approximately 200 residents packed the Town Hall Auditorium. Attorney Mark Bobrowski and project engineer Ben Osgood received heavy criticism from three Board of Appeals members and more than 20 speakers from the audience, most of whom expressed a concern over a lack of answers and information, particularly surrounding the facility’s security procedures.After 3.5 hours of discussion, the board unanimously voted to continue the public hearing to its Wednesday, April 25 meeting.  The hearing, however, has been subsequently rescheduled multiple times as the Board of Appeals waits for the Planning Board to complete site plan review.Bettering LLC is next scheduled to be in front of the Planning Board on Tuesday, August 7, after its public hearing for site plan review and a stormwater management permit was continued from Tuesday, July 10.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedDID YOU HEAR?… The Detox Facility Proposal’s Public Hearing Has Been Postponed To June 13In “Government”Concerned Citizens Of Wilmington Reminds Residents Of Public Hearing On Proposed Drug Treatment Center On Sept. 12In “Government”Town Proposes New Rules & Regulations For Subdividing Land; Public Hearing Set For September 10In “Government”last_img read more

DLF pares GIC debt by Rs 3100 crore plans to clear all

first_imgDLF logoWikimedia CommonsReal estate giant DLF has repaid Rs 3100 crore of debt to its venture partner GIC by transferring Noida shopping mall and some land parcels. DLF owed about Rs 8,700 crore to DLF Cyber City Developers LTD (DCCDL), which is a joint venture between DLF and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. With the latest transaction, DLF’s debt has come down to about Rs 5600 crore as of July 2019.In an investor presentation, DLF clarified that it has transferred the Mall of India project in Noida, worth Rs 2950 crore, to DCCDL. The Economic Times also reported that the company also added that it has transferred 3.05 acres of land parcel in Gurugram to the Singapore-based firm. Representational ImageINDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty ImagesThe joint venture between GIC and DLF was signed in December 2017 when DLF promoters sold 40 percent of their stake in DCCDL to GIC for about Rs 1,200 crore. The deal included the sale of DCCDL’s 33.34 percent stake to GIC for about Rs 9,000 crore and the remaining Rs 3m000 crore was acquired by DCCDL through buyback.DLF holds about 66.66 percent in the joint venture firm and the remaining 33.34 percent is with GIC. The Gurgaon-based real estate giant has plans to sell prime commercial project Horizon Central in Gurugram for about Rs 850 crore, to settle the remaining debt of Rs 5,600 crore. The company also plans to transfer its mall in Saket for a valuation of Rs 1,050 crore, reported ET. Real estateThe report also stated that DLF will transfer its commercial land in Chennai for about Rs 1,000 crore. Some parts of the monetary settlement to GIC will be done by transferring SEZs at Hyderabad and Chennai as per the contract with group firm DLF Assets Ltd. The leftover debt of about Rs 7,00 will be paid in cash.DLF has reported a two-fold growth in its profit at Rs 414.72 crore for the June quarter against Rs 172.77 crore last year. DCCDL holds about 30 million sqft of commercial real estate in Gurugram that yields an annual revenue of about Rs 3,000 crore.last_img read more

Kamal for replacement of CEC Nurul Huda

first_imgDr Kamal HossainGano forum president Kamal Hossain on Sunday demanded the replacement of chief election commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda with a credible person for holding a free and fair national election.”We couldn’t be happy after talking to the CEC. We demand that he be replaced with a credible person,” Kamal said while briefing journalists about the country’s overall political situation and election atmosphere at the National Press Club.He further said, “He (Huda) should be replaced not removed. I would like to tell the CEC again we’re not happy with over you. We may change our opinion reviewing your activities. We want you to work neutrally from today, no matter what you did in the past.”As per the constitution, the Gano Forum chief said the CEC should work neutrally and independently without being directed by any one. “But, we’re forced to say you’ve so far failed to demonstrate your impartiality.””I sincerely request the CEC to ask his conscience whether he is working spontaneously as per his own understanding or at the behest of anybody. Acting as per anybody’s directives by the CEC is not only a crime, but also a violation of the constitution. If you continue to do that you’ll be considered as a violator of the constitution in history,” he added.Referring to the CEC’s comment that all the arrests are being made as per his directives, Kamal asked Nurul Huda to explain with documents as to why he is issuing orders to arrest people. “Your explanation will help us examine whether your actions are justified or you’re doing those as an abettor of the government.”He also warned that they may move the court seeking remedy if the commission does not change its current attitude towards opposition.The Gano Forum chief said the wholesale arrest of leaders and activists of opposition parties is still going on which is not conducive to creating a congenial election atmosphere. “This wholesale arrest should be stopped.”Kamal said, “Police are the force of the state…they aren’t the government force. Police have to work for creating a proper election atmosphere. They must provide legal protection to opposition parties.”The eminent jurist urged the CEC to tell the police to help create a proper election atmosphere so that all candidates can reach out to their supporters and carry out their election campaigns with equal opportunities.He said the government is making it impossible to hold a neutral and credible election with its ‘undemocratic’ activities and ‘wholesale’ arrest of opposition leaders and activists.Kamal said they are waiting with eagerness to witness a fair and acceptable election where people, the country’s owners, will get a chance to exercise their right to franchise freely.Showing a photograph, he strongly criticised the police for the way they arrested BNP nomination hopeful Monirul Haque Chowdhury.The Gano Forum president called upon media to neutrally play their role and depict the real scenario of the country as it will help create a healthy atmosphere for a fair election.He also opposed the EC’s decision on using the EVM in six constituencies and said most parties are against it.Replying to a question on seat sharing with BNP, Kamal said there is a possibility of both creating a distance and reaching a consensus over the issue. “We forged the unity for uniting people, and we all parties will field the candidates who will be acceptable to people, responsible and can play a good role in restoring democracy.”He said they will finalise the candidates of their alliance by two or three days.Earlier, in a written speech, Gano Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury alleged that Ganobhaban, the ministers’ residences and government offices are being used for political activities by violating the electoral code of conduct. “But the election commission is playing a silent role.”He also alleged that though the administration and the law enforcers remain under the jurisdiction of the commission during the election, the opposition leaders and activists are being constantly arrested and harassed. “Even, the possible candidates are being arrested and implicated in various cases at the behest of the government high-ups. The judiciary is also being used so that the arrested people can’t get bail within a short time.”Besides, Subrata said, the ruling party candidates are carrying out election campaigns and with assistance and protocol of law enforcers and administration while law enforcers are creating obstacles to opposition candidates’ electioneering and meetings.At the beginning of the press meet, Kamal introduced slain former Awami League finance minister Shah AMS Kibria’s son Reza Kibria and former Kurigram Awami League leader retired major general AMSA Amin who recently joined Gano Forum.The duo said they joined Gano Forum to work for the country under the leadership of Kamal.At the end of the press conference, private TV channel ETV’s ex-chairman Abuds Salam joined Gano Forum.Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gano Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya leader Sultan Mansur were, among others, present.last_img read more