US, Liberian diaspora discuss 2017 elections

A cross section of Liberians at the talks.

A cross section of Liberians at the talks.

The Bureau of African Affairs of the US State Department on Tuesday, August 16, hosted a conversation with the Liberian Diaspora. The talks were held at the State Department in Washington, D.C. and it brought together representatives of some US-based Liberian community organizations.
Represented at the high profile gathering were the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA), Grand Gedeh Association in the Americas (GGAA), Liberia Ministers Association of the Delaware Valley, among others.
The attendees discussed matters regarding change, progress, reconciliation, determination, and hope for a stable Liberia.

The State Department Desk officer for Liberia and Mali, Deniece Yeboah, chaired the event. In a brief statement, she said the purpose of the discussion was to hear from the Liberian Diaspora their views on matters that are critical to the sustenance of the Liberian democracy and peaceful co-existence in the country.

She said the US government is interested in the formulation of foreign policies that would ensure a secure, economically vibrant, and safe Liberia.

Deniece Yeboah, Desk Officer for Liberia and Mali

Deniece Yeboah, Desk Officer for Liberia and Mali

The US official said the year 2017 will be a critical period in the political transition of Liberia and urged Liberians to initiate actions and plans that would ensure a smooth and peaceful transition.

“The US government is interested in seeing the holding of free and fair elections in Liberia come 2017,” she maintained.

Also, speaking at the gathering, ALJA National President, Moses D. Sandy, hailed the Liberian government for the prevailing political stability in the country.

President Sandy said despite the challenges of corruption, culture of impunity, weak and corrupt judiciary, the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf administration has done well in sustaining the Liberian democracy and a unified state since its ascendancy to power in 2006.

He cited the current media pluralism in Liberia as one of the of the government’s biggest achievements.

Mr. Sandy said in Liberia, there are 69 radio stations, 5 television stations, nearly 40 newspapers and six major schools of communication. He said press freedom and free speech in Liberia are flourishing.

Moses D. Sandy heads the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas

Moses D. Sandy heads the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas

“The media and government relationship remains cordial. No Liberian journalist has been prosecuted for views expressed in the performance of his or her duties,” the ALJA boss said.

He called on the US government to lend support to the Liberian media through manpower development, logistical, and financial assistances in the execution of its duties. “No democracy flourishes in the absence of a vibrant and efficient media,” Mr. Sandy noted.

For his part, Rev. Moses Suah, national president of the Liberian Ministers Association of the Delaware Valley, stressed the need for the initiation of a massive voters education program in Liberia in preparation for the 2017 general and presidential elections. Rev. Suah said such program would help Liberians in making informed decision during the 2017 electoral period.

Other speakers included Jackson Seton, acting chairman of ALJA Delaware Valley Chapter; Steve Boley and Fred Tarlue Gwyan, president of GGAA.

 

Gardea Woodson

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