President Weah’s Greatest Challenge

first_imgThe announcement by President George Weah sometime ago setting up a Special Committee to probe allegations of wrong doing by former officials tasked to fashion out the ExxonMobil oil concession agreement had taken the public by surprise. Why, because it was hardly ever imagined that President Weah after having publicly declared on several occasions that he was committed to protecting the interests of his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would have dared venture to raise the curtain on her past stewardship of the nation’s affairs.The Committee has long since completed its assigned duties and recommended that the former officials restitute monies paid to them by ExxonMobil through the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL). To date no former official has paid back a cent, notwithstanding President Weah’s declared commitment to transparency and the fight against corruption. In yet another instance, President Weah is on record for having called for the prosecution of perpetrators of human rights abuse. His call was made long before he ever became President.However, there are now worrying signs that President Weah appears to be withdrawing his call for accountability and is instead seeking accommodation with perpetrators on grounds that there are more pressing national concerns to attend. One such individual has called attempts to ensure accountability a “fiasco”. Some of his officials have even argued that because former President Sirleaf ignored the TRC recommendations, President Weah should likewise do the same and abandon calls for accountability. In just a few days from now, President Weah, currently in China, will be headed to the UN General Assembly in New York upon completion of his visit to that Asian country.But President Weah will be going to the UN at a time when the country’s Judiciary finds itself in rather dire straits with threats of impeachment by the House of Representatives hovering over the Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh. Without realizing it, the issue of accountability has however, taken center-stage with the impeachment process of Associate Justice Ja’neh proceeding at pace. The Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor is digging in their heels, insisting that the House Speaker appears before the Court to answer to Justice Janeh’s claim of violation of his rights to due process.The House for its part has refused to budge, insisting that it will not appear before the Court, arguing that the power to impeach falls strictly within the purview of the Legislature. Under Article 43 of the Constitution the power to prepare a Bill of Impeachment is vested solely in the House of Representatives, while the power to impeach is vested solely in the Senate. When the President, Vice President or Associate Justice is to be tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.Now that the Bill of Impeachment has been prepared and forwarded to the Senate, and with both sides digging in, it remains to be seen whether Chief Justice Francis Korkpor is going to preside over the trial of his colleague as required by the Constitution or whether he is going to refuse to do so on grounds that the House is in error and has disrespected the Court. And without uttering a word, a huge precedent is being set with far reaching implications for the growth and development of the country’s fledgling democracy.But just what President Weah, a virtual newcomer in politics, should make of these developments which, for all purposes, are sorely testing the resilience of our nascent democracy. In the opinion of this newspaper, these problems or developments are but symptomatic of the corrosive and erosive effects of impunity on social cohesion including our national political and economic well-being. It is impunity for example which has seen government officials including legislators and judicial officials place themselves above the law.As noted in US State Department Human Rights reports, justice is on sale to the highest bidder and in ways more than one, Judges and Justices as well have interfered in court cases in which they have vested interests. Likewise also are members of the Legislature who, from all intents and purposes have placed themselves above the law. They have without any degree of conscience passed into existence very bad concession agreements that have placed the future of the country in jeopardy. They have also refused to submit to audits by the General Auditing Commission.As for the Executive, what more can be said? It has over the years exercised unbridled powers and bent its coequal branches to its will. These developments have taken on appearances of a tragic comedy — the Legislature up against the Judiciary with the Executive looking on with bemused interest. The towering figure in this drama is President Weah who came to the job with almost impeccable credentials — having no part in the violence of war, corruption free and self-made. He now has a charge to steer the nation from the path of endemic corruption, impunity and recurrent conflict to a path of peace and development.How he intends to go about this will of course continue to remain a subject of intense concern. He has to tackle impunity head-on. As a first step in this direction, President Weah should implement the recommendations of the Special Presidential Committee (SPC) calling for restitution. His is indeed a tall order to which he has to measure up.His colleague and former team mate James Salinsa Debah summed it up in these words:“George has achieved a lot in football and the people love him for it. But should he become president of Liberia, the public will forget his performances on the football pitch and judge him by what he achieves in office. People in the country are yearning for change and want it very quickly. If he doesn’t deliver it, the people could turn on him. It is a big risk he is taking and I wish him well.”This is indeed President Weah’s “Greatest Challenge”.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgDonegal businessman Neil Blaney has officially ended his long association with the Milford Inn Hotel.The Milford Inn has been taken over again.The operating company managed by Mr Blaney will no longer continue to manage the Milford Inn Hotel and will cease operations at the popular venue.However, jobs at the hotel have been saved and the premises will remain open as investors have moved in to take over the running off the hugely popular hotel. Martin Kelly owner of Bluebird Care will take over the hotel while his wife Patricia will act as General manager.Mr Kelly has moved quickly to dispel any fears over pre-booked weddings and parties at the hotel and says all functions will go ahead as planned.He told Donegal Daily, “I invested in the company two years to try and save The Milford Inn from closure and we leased it to an operating company managed by Neil Blaney.“Regrettably the company can no longer continue to run and as a results the investors are taking over the running of the business from tomorrow onwards. “Neil Blaney wished the company well in the future.”The Milford Inn will be closed this Wednesday and Thursday but will  re-open on Friday through to Bank Holiday Monday.The Milford Inn will be closed on Monday to Thursday for the rest of May.It will be open as normal every Friday to Monday.Kelly added, Any weddings or functions previously booked will go ahead as planned. “Wedding parties have already been contacted and reassured this morning.“Bingo on Tuesday nights will also go ahead as normal.”INVESTORS MOVE IN TO TAKE OVER MILFORD INN HOTEL was last modified: April 28th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinessFeaturesnewslast_img read more

DD Motoring: Remembering Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly

first_imgby Brian McDaidA month has passed but still, the cars arrive from all corners of Ireland to pay their respect or just for a chat at his graveside.A friend of Mandy’s, James Mc Carville lands from Monaghan and meets Mandy’s brother Teighearnán and they both head up to the graveside. Advertisement I decided to give them space and I took a spin out to Glenswilly.It’s a fine summer’s evening, there’s a crowd of young ones saving the hay and building the bales into a stack in the old sports fields near Rashedoge.Taking a left, I head on up the Glen and the school soon comes into view. Great days of celebrations flood my mind. The sight of three former pupils, Michael Murphy, Copper McFadden and Neil Gallagher landing in the gate of their old school in 2012 with the Sam Maguire in their hand would be a dream come true for many.Sam Maguire arriving at Glenswilly N.S with former pupils Michael Murphy, Copper Mc Fadden and Neil Gallagher. In 2012. Photo Brian McDaid.A few years later for me the day former pupils Damian Gallagher and Manus Kelly landed in that same school gate with the national and international silverware in their hands following that year’s Donegal Rally. Advertisement That was an image I’ll never forget.Agnes Wiseman former vice principal at Glenswilly National School pictured with her two former pupils Donegal Rally winners Manus Kelly and Damien Gallagher who were back as special guests for the school prize giving Photo Brian McDaid.On the wall in the school hall behind Manus and Damien with their silverware including the Jim Kennedy Memorial was a collection of pictures of a bandaged up Neil Gallagher (Mandy’s Cousin) lifting the National League title, next to that Copper Mc Fadden was lifting the Dr. Maguire County Final Cup and Michael Murphy in the middle lifting the All Ireland Sam Maguire Cup.Parish achievements don’t come much higher than this.By now, the road has taken me to McFadden’s and I take another left turn and I’m soon on the start of the Breenagh Stage.Coming to the point on the road, where just over a year ago, I had arranged to meet Manus to do a portrait of him in the run-up to the defence of his title for the third time. That night Manus was there waiting.Tonight Glenswilly is looking picturesque but the road is a lonely one for me.Manus was looking for rain that year and his wish was granted and over Breenagh he rattled his opposition.The old cottage along the Breenagh Stage where Manus Kelly granny was reared. Photo Brian McDaid.Driving along the road past where the old sheep dip once stood I look across at the old cottage where Mandy pointed out the home that his Granny was reared. The Breenagh Stage wasn’t used this year but the round bale positions markers can still be seen and are a nice memory of the year Manus won his hat-trick in 2018.WaitingFor them who worked with Manus, every time the door opens at Uptown Cafe or at his offices opposite the Mount Errigal Hotel they are just expecting Mandy to walk in.For me it’s the hopeful gaze into every Tailored Facility Solutions van that I meet on the roads thinking for a moment I am going to see the outline of Manus behind the wheel, and his familiar wave that I have taken for granted since I first got to know him.Sometimes it’s hard to express what you really want to say.Its 36 years since a Donegal crew first won the Donegal rally, and I still haven’t got around to telling Vincent Bonnar and Seamus McGettigan how proud I was of them back in 1983.Manus Kelly at the finish ramp at the Mt. Errigal Hotel with Donall Barrett after their win in the National in 2015. Photo Brian McDaid.I was there on that Fanad Head Stage when it was them who came through the stage first in their Ford Escort instead of Bertie Fisher who was leading the event.Fisher was to drive through later in his rearranged Opel Manta. Bonnar pushed on to record the first-ever win by a Donegal man, that’s the problem with local heroes.We just assume that they will know how much we think of them even if a word of praise for them never passes our lips.Old woundsDeath is very hard to except at the best of times and in the case of Manus it becomes more difficult when someone departs this life at such a young age.We try and place simple facts of where we were and what we were doing and say them over and over to ourselves that we associate with the time that Sunday we received the devastating news.Then in our mind, we end up opening up old wounds that we thought were healed long ago.For me, my mother’s death, also at 41 years of age, just three weeks short of her 42nd birthday in 1970 floods back from 50 years ago.She was laid to rest in Conwall along what was then the new perimeter wall.Now her grave is in the middle of the same graveyard and Mandy’s grave in now along the new perimeter wall.Along with trying to come to with terms with the loss a friend and a hero his passing is also making me relive memories of me as a five-year-old losing a parent.I’m now on the road back from Glenswilly were once the bump on the bridge of the old road was. I’m automatically looking over the Graveyard wall again now in search of Mandy’s grave.The three trees together along the wall is my reference point, Manus would love that, a tree for every win.As his grave comes into view there are now even more people up at his graveside this time, so tonight I will give my visit a miss.New careerTwo months ago on the 26th of May at ten minutes to eleven on a Sunday night at the nearby Aura Leisure Centre, Manus had a Donegal win of a difference.He was elected to the Donegal Co. Council to represent his area.That familiar smile from Cllr. Manus Kelly on the Sunday evening of his election to the Council. Photo Brian McDaid.This was a different stage that we were used seeing him on but he took his victory with his typical Manus Kelly infectious joy, something everyone around him wanted to be part of.It was the start of what was looking like a very promising political career.My last conversation with manus was at his first and only area meeting of the Letterkenny and Milford Municipal Council.That day Mandy and Kevin Bradley were the new kids in the block a week or so before the Donegal Rally which both of them would be competing on as drivers.Along Lough Swilly, which flows out to the Atlantic between Inishowen and Fanad Head, the sound of Manus Kelly’s rally car that gave us so much joy followed by success with his first-ever outright win on the very last stage on 2016 Donegal Rally, was also going to give us so much sorry.I was there you would hear and see him for the very last time when his car left the road that Sunday.In our hearts and for along time to come he will remain the “King of the Hills of Donegal”On what was one of the most heartbreaking days of what was the biggest wakes witness in Donegal fellow competitor and former winner of the Donegal.Declan Boyle filled the Glen once again with that familiar old sound of a flat-four Subaru that Manus won the Donegal three years in a row. Declan and Mandy’s son Charlie led the funeral cortege to its final finish.On his approach to the very last corner just off the “Conwal straight” Boyle put the Subaru on the right-hand side of the road to make sure he would get in the narrow graveyard gate with one cut.That high gear Subaru reflected exactly how we all felt that day as it struggled to make it way over final few feet up through the cemetery on Manus final journey.Beautiful gestureOne of the bravest and most beautiful gestures on that very emotional day was that of Manus Kelly’s wife Bernie who did what she felt Manus would have wanted and presented her husband’s title to the 2019 winner, Sam Moffett with the winning laurels.Now Conwall has two ‘Kings of Donegal’ within its cemetery walls. The first one was buried there nearly seven hundred years ago in 1258 AD.His name was Godfrey O’ Donnell. Back then his people called him the Chieftain of Tyrconnell.Mandy Kelly near the start of the Breenagh stage just over a year ago. Photo Brian McDaidHis grave is believed to be along the wall at the ruins of the 7th century Abbey.A passage from a poem penned about that Donegal chieftain all them years ago has something very familiar to the way we feel over these last few weeks at the loss of our present-day King of Hills of Donegal, Manus Kelly.Donegal yet died he there all gloriously,A victor in the fight,A chieftain in his people’s head,A warrior in his might,They dug him there a fitting grave,Upon that field of pride,A lofty cairn the raised above,By fair Lough Swilly side.B.MCD.DD Motoring: Remembering Manus ‘Mandy’ Kelly was last modified: July 25th, 2019 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UC Davis exotics specialists help return bald eagle to the wild

first_imgIn early May, a Good Samaritan in Northern California found a wounded 6.8 lbs. male bald eagle on the side of a rural highway in Modoc County, about 75 miles east of Mount Shasta. The bird was taken to a local California Department of Fish and Wildlife game warden, who delivered him to Shasta Wildlife Rescue. Knowing the eagle needed more care than SWR could provide, he was transferred to the UC Davis veterinary hospital.Once at UC Davis, the eagle was examined by the Companion Exotic Animal …last_img

Zuma calls on youth to help move SA forward

first_img3 March 2014President Jacob Zuma has called on young South Africans to dream big and to help the country move towards meaningful economic emancipation, saying that youth development and empowerment was “critical to the success of our democracy”.“You must dream about a prosperous South Africa; we dreamt about freedom and it happened,” Zuma said in his address to the Presidential Youth Indaba on Jobs and Skills in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg on Sunday.Zuma said the government was investing heavily in education and skills development, which were key to enabling young peopleto run the country’s economy.“To date over 8 000 youth have been assisted to rewrite their matric,” he said. “The results in 2013 were an impressive 78% pass rate.“At the level of higher education, 12% of our population now hold a postgraduate qualification, up from 7% in 1996. Student enrolments at colleges have increased by 90%. There are increases in enrolments at universities and universities of technology as well.Zuma said South Africa had to build an inclusive economy that created jobs, but importantly also one that reflected the demographics of the country. He said the ownership, control and management of the economy had to be changed, working with business, labour and the community sector.While ownership of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange had changed only slightly since 1994, Zuma welcomed the fact that over R600-billion in black economic empowerment transactions had been recorded since 1995, while the percentage of black people and women in senior management had increased from less than 10% in the 1990s to over 40% today.National Development PlanZuma asked the young conference delegates to start thinking about their contribution to growing an inclusive economy and to moving the country forward, and to familiarise themselves with the government’s long-term strategy for job creation and poverty reduction, the National Development Plan (NDP),“Within the NDP are some instruments that we want you to know and understand very well as young people,” he said.The President noted that the youth had pointed out issues of concern, such as work experience and finding the first funding to become an entrepreneur, adding that he was pleased that the heads of funding agencies like the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa) were in attendance at the Indaba.In the past year, the Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC) and Sefa had approved funding of more than R160-million for young entrepreneurs.Zuma also noted that the government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) had created 3.7-million work opportunities between April 2009 and September 2013, while 277 out of the country’s 278 municipalities had signed protocol agreements committing them to achieving their EPWP targets.The EPWP targets women and the youth, with 54% women and 50% youth making up the participants in the programme.Source: read more