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AFRICAN NEWS & INFORMATION
Liberia's ELWA Junction Taking Modern Face And Future Look (PHOTOS) Tags: Developments Progressive Liberia News ELWA

An Ariel view of the once market-crowded ELWA Junction being transformed by the Paynesville City Corporation 


Following protracted period of war fought in Liberia, coupled with the benefits of a ten-year of fragile peace, it seems that development in areas that were greatly affected by the civil strife is becoming the major priority in the country.

Caldwell Township and Via Town commercial province, both of which are on the Bushrod Island, are some the areas that were affected by the war but have received some level of developmental transformation.

One of the places that recently attracted public attention is the ELWA Junction which is taking undoubtedly a modern shift.

ELWA Junction is located in Paynesville outside Monrovia, Liberia’s main political capital city. ELWA is a major intersection that connects Monrovia to the Paynesville City and the only international air port in Margibi County-Roberts International Air Port.

The future view of the ELWA Junction that welcomes tourists and foreign guests to Monrovia

Construction work ongoing at ELWA Junction includes the building of an artificial waterfall which is currently being surrounded by lights and a flower garden. Also, building of sidewalk for predestines and planting of flowers, plastering of the floor are among many of the works ongoing at the ELWA Junction.

Moreover, the fencing of various curves of the four major routes of the ELWA is nearing completion. The area is being fenced with mental irons placed between various cement pillars that have reached its full potential of beautification. Up to the publication of this report, men were still at work at the ELWA.

Adding more attractions to the area in Paynesville, the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) has constructed a new high rise multipurpose complex of the Corporation. The multimillion dollars building, according to authorities, cost over US$10 million, and is expected to be rented or given to individuals of interest for whatever purpose.

According to the Director of Public Relations (PR) of the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), Jani K. Jallah the project which is currently ongoing is aimed at beautifying the ELWA Junction that connects the Country’s Political Capitol-Monrovia- and the Paynesville City to the only international Air Port in Margibi ounty.

PCC’s Director of PR said the total estimated cost of the project is over hundred thousand of United States Dollars (over US$100,000).

According to her, the project is mainly being sponsored by NASSCORP. She said NASSCORP has provided for the beautification of ELWA Junction the amount of eighty thousand United States Dollars (US$80,000) and that the cash is being managed by the Corporation- NASSCORP. 

Additionally, PR Jallah said initial contributions to the project was provided by some well-meaning Liberians including business owners in the Paynesville vicinity but she refused to provide the total initial amount collected from the business entities and well meaning individuals.

She noted that after the implementation of the project, a detail report on the project will be provided outlining actual amount received and used.

Also, when asked about the contractor doing the work, PCC PR said the project is a PCC Project. “We asked the General Services Agency (GSA) for some of their technicians who are currently working along with us to have the project completed. We actually did not choose to get people from other places to carry out this project. What we did was to use the local resources to benefit residents of the Paynesville Community,” she noted. 

In an effort to ensure that the development work ongoing will not jeopardize normal business operation of petty traders, commercial vehicle drivers, money exchangers, among others transacting businesses at the ELWA Junction, the PCC PR Director said the PCC has already secured a spot at a well-known place, named “Sam Town.” 
The area is located opposite the Isaac A. Davis School and adjacent the Total Filling Station.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the dedication of the project, some Liberians predominately businessmen and women have began lauding the Government of Liberia effort for being farsighted in carrying out the modernization project of the Junction.

Some business people including, motorcyclists, petty traders, shoe shine boys, money exchangers and commercial vehicles drivers as well as passerby told this paper that they are happy for the level of development ongoing at the ELWA Junction. Some even suggested more development work that the PCC could undertake at the ELWA including a construction of an over head bridge for pedestrians since the proliferation of business people at the ELWA would even increased following the completion of the ongoing project.

However, most of those spoken to are also calling on the government/PCC authorities to provide for them a durable place with shelter and electricity where they will be able to transact peacefully their businesses without being threatened.

In addition, some of critical views expressed concern over the durability of the construction after its completion and whether or not many Liberians will appreciate the initiative of PCC by extension, the Government.

George Kulu, a commercial motorcycles and former national Coordinator of the defunct Liberia Motorcycles Transport Union (LMTU) said although he appreciate the development ongoing at the Junction, there hasn’t been any specific place suggested for them to park.
George said the PCC has not provided for them a parking lot where those who desire to ride motorcycles will get them something, according to him, makes it difficult for him to fully appreciate the ongoing development work.

He further suggested that the PCC authorities need to create for them a parking lot where Justice Ministry-Liberians can access motorcycles.
George also said there is a need that the Government of Liberia through, PCC expand the ELWA Junction and build an over head bridge for predestines moving along the Junction.

Men at work at the ELWA Junction

“It is not always good to speak bad about what government is doing but I think this road should have been expanded before the PCC commence her work. We even heard of the construction of an overhead bridge due to the deep curved and designed ongoing. We see the other work ongoing but the over head bridge is still missing. I think the government needs to take the building of an over head bridge for our people into consideration,” George noted.

George calls for the construction of an over head bridge was buttressed by Sis. Gomah Sumo, a 55 year old woman selling larpa at the ELWA Junction. Sis Gomah suggested that “if the Government will thank of building an over head bridge it should be something that will last long for the good of all of Liberians. It should not be like the one which was at University of Liberia that later, Public works got to demolish it. We need projects that will last very long not for few days.”

For his part, Amos G. Williams, a commercial vehicle driver noted that although he welcomes the development ongoing at the ELWA Junction, he hopes said work will be durable to benefit the people of Liberia.

“We saw the light poles planted by the Liberia Electricity Corporation at the beginning of Madam Sirleaf’s regain how it could not substantially benefit the Liberian people. We are also seeing the road projects constructed in and around the country. Today we are again seeing a new intervention headed by the PCC at ELWA Junction, I am only hoping that it will last long for us,” he noted. 

Speaking on the issue of parking for commercial drivers, he said: “I have not seeing any sign for us round town commercial drivers, except for those driving on the RIA-Marshall Motor Road. But we that are in town here, there is no space for us”

Also speaking to several shoe-shine boys, Diaco Dolee and Israel Chris said they constrain to thank the government for such initiative but noted that the project crafters did not take into consideration addressing the wellbeing of citizens who transact businesses at the ELWA Junction.

Diaco: “They asked us to go to Sam Town. But we don’t think that’s good idea for us because; up to now there is no work ongoing there to ensure that we can all move there.”

Israel: “while it is truth that the work is a good initiative, the development ongoing should not put stop to those of us ‘hosing’ to sent ourselves to school including universities. The PCC people want us go to a place that is not conducive for citizens.”

A petty trader, Clarence Diggs also pointed out that the new place –Sam Town- secured by PCC authorities for them is in a deplorable state place sign of work ongoing at the Sam Town where they are to be relocated the part of PCC to find for them a parking space.

“I want to thank PCC for the changes ongoing here. I see that they are working and everything is moving on gradually. But my only frustration is about our new location, there is no construction work ongoing there which makes me think that there is no plan for street sellers,” Clarence.

In addition, petty traders currently operating at the Sam Town have expressed their frustration over issues confronting them.

Speaking to the head of local businesses men and women at the Sam Town market place, George Freeman said even though, the new location for peti traders is being appreciated by them, the area currently lacks electricity and other petty traders are not taking advantage of the place which makes buyers not to take delight in the place.

He said at night it is difficult for them to transact businesses due to the huge darkness in the area amidst criminal gangs.

“At night, the criminals from around will gather here, even though, we are yet to experience any attack of the criminals on us, the presence here fear us a lot which caused us sometimes to move our goods nearer the Super Store Supermarket. Again, the PCC people don’t understand this. Up to 11 PM, the PCC people forcibly take away our goods,” George noted.

Darling-girl Williams and Monyou Tarr were two petty traders who claimed to be victims of the PCC alleged harassment at night and during broad day light.

Darling-girl: “the people are not buying here but on many occasions since we moved here, the PCC people take our goods, last month April, I pay L$500,000 to them before they can release my goods. But when I came, my goods were incomplete. This is something that happens to us on a daily basic especially when we just move out of this place or come on the road.”

Notwithstanding, PCC says, it remains determined to implement the Paynesville City orneriness and to continuously involve in itself with developmental activities aimed at beautifying places in Paynesville that needs attraction when funds are made available or solicited.

Source: Solomon Watkins/UNDP Trained Development Reporter

Liberia's President Apologizes To Mother Of West Point Slain Teenager (PHOTOS) Tags: News Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Crime West Point Local

She came to say how sorry she was: Today, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, visited the poor neighborhood of West Point, now under quarantine after suspected Ebola patients fled a treatment center a week ago Saturday. On Wednesday, during protests over the quarantine, 15-year-old Shakie Kamara was shot in the legs by security forces. He died the next day of blood loss and hypothermic shock.

Sirleaf went to talk with the angry residents, who have complained that the quarantine is unfair, that they can't lead their normal lives, that there isn't enough food for them.

WATCH VIDEO - Liberia's West Poin Riot & Shooting

And she went to apologize to Eva Kamara, mother of Shakie.

Freelance photographer Tommy Trenchard, covering the visit for NPR, spoke to Eva Kamara afterward.

"She said it made her very proud that the president would come and talk to a poor woman like herself," Trenchard reports.

Kamara was in tears for part of the conversation with the president.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf apologizes to Eva Kamara, the mother of a boy who was shot by Liberian security forces last week and later died (Photo by Tommy Trenchard for NPR News)


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The overall reaction to the president's visit among West Pointers was mixed, Trenchard adds. People wanted to let Sirleaf know the hardships they are facing because of the quarantine. "A lot of people were saying we're hungry, we don't have food to eat," he says.

But he didn't sense a lot of anger directed toward Sirleaf: "It's important to remember that people here, even those who would vote for the opposition, have a strong respect for the office of the president."

West Point residents want Sirleaf to lift the quarantine so they can resume their normal lives. But the government is unlikely to lift a quarantine until three weeks have passed since the West Point treatment center was attacked — that's the time it takes for Ebola to emerge after contact.

A West Point resident shouts to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during her visit (Photo by Tommy Trenchard for NPR News)


During the visit of roughly 40 minutes, Sirleaf was surrounded by her entourage. One member occasionally handed out cash as the president made her way down the main road.

"At one point," Trenchard says, "she commented to two guys who had just received a thousand Liberian dollars [about $12 U.S.]. She said, 'Don't spend it on drink.'"

A youth wounded in clashes lay by the roadside in West Point. Soldiers fired live rounds when a crown tried to break through a barricade.

Source: NPR

African Union To Deploy Joint Military And Civil Mission Against Ebola Tags: AU News West Africa Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–21 August 2014: The Peace and Security Council of the African Union on Tuesday invoked Article 6(f) relating to its mandate with regard to humanitarian action and disaster management at its 450th meeting. The Council authorised the immediate deployment of a joint AU-led military and civilian humanitarian mission to tackle the emergency situation caused by the Ebola outbreak.

“Using the infrastructure of the Peace Support Operations, the African Union Commission is finalising the planning of the joint military and civilian mission code named Operation ASEOWA that could start deployment by the end of August 2014,” Said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission.

The African Union Support to Ebola Outbreak (Operation ASEOWA) is expected to deploy civilian and military volunteers from across the continent to ensure that Ebola is put under control. The mission will comprise medical doctors, nurses and other medical and paramedical personnel. The operation is expected to run for six months with monthly rotation of volunteers. The operation will cost more than USD25 million and the US government and partners have pledged to support the African Union with a substantial part of this amount.

The operation aims at filling the existing gap in international efforts and will work with WHO, OCHA, US CDC, EU CDC and others agencies already on the ground.

For further information contact

Wynne Musabayana | Deputy Head of Division | Information and Communication Directorate | African Union Commission | Tel: (251) 11 551 77 00 | Fax: (251) 11 551 78 44 | E-mail: MusabayanaW@africa-union.org | Web: www.au.int|Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

Tawanda Chisango| | Social Affairs | African Union Commission |Tel: +251115182029 | E-mail: Chisangot@africa-union.org | Web:www.au.int |Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

About the African Union

The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission.

Source: AU

Unidentified Planes Attack The Libyan Capital Of Tripoli Tags: News War Libya North Africa

TRIPOLI — Unidentified war planes attacked targets in Libya’s capital Tripoli on Sunday, hours after forces from the city of Misrata said they had seized the main airport.

Tripoli residents heard jets followed by explosions at dawn but no more details were immediately available. In recent weeks Libya has seen the worst fighting since the Nato-backed campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Renegade general Khalifa Haftar has declared war on Islamist-leaning forces, part of growing anarchy in the oil producer. His forces claimed responsibility for air raids on Tripoli on Saturday and last Monday, targeting a group called Operation Dawn. But this group, consisting mainly of fighters from Misrata, said on Saturday that it had captured Tripoli’s main airport from a rival faction from Zintan in western Libya.

In the campaign to overthrow Gaddafi, fighters from the towns of Zintan and Misrata were comrades-in-arms. But they later fell out and this year have turned parts of Tripoli into a battlefield.

Libya’s neighbours and Western powers worry Libya will turn into a failed state as the weak government is unable to control armed factions.

Libya faces the prospect of two competing parliaments, after the claimed Misrata victory at Tripoli airport which Reuters could not immediately confirm.

In a challenge to the parliament elected on June 25, a spokesman for Operation Dawn called for the old General National Congress (GNC) to be reinstated. Misrata forces have rejected the new House of Representatives, where liberals and lawmakers campaigning for a federalist system have made a strong showing.

In a sign of deep divisions between Libya’s regions and political factions the House of Representative declared the Operation Dawn as well as militant Islamists like the Ansar al-Sharia as "terrorist groups".

The House of Representatives, which has fled to Tobruk in the east with senior officials to escape fighting, asked renegade general Haftar to fight the Operation Dawn forces. Gen Haftar launched a campaign against Islamists in the eastern city of Benghazi in May and threw his weight behind the Zintan fighters.

His air defence commander, Sager al-Jouroushi, said on Saturday that his forces were responsible for the air strikes on Saturday and a similar attack last Monday.

Misrata forces have blamed the air strikes on Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, two countries that have cracked down on Islamists. Libya’s government says it does not know who is behind the attacks.

"This is a war between the Libyan state and the state institutions led by our sons, soldiers and officers in the army, against terrorist groups outside of the law," the House of Representatives said in a statement.

Fighting also erupted between Haftar’s troops and allied army special forces with Islamists in two Benghazi suburbs on Saturday, killing eight soldiers and wounding 35, medics said.

The violence has prompted the United Nations and foreign embassies in Libya to evacuate their staff and citizens, and foreign airlines have largely stopped flying to Libya. The country’s government lacks a functioning army.

Source: Reuters

South Africa’s Population Breaks 54 Million Tags: News South Africa

Releasing its latest mid-year population estimates report, Stats South Africa said the country’s population grew by an estimated 1.58% between July 2013 and July 2014 to just over 54 million in total.

Life expectancy in South Africa continues to rise as the country’s population breaks the 54 million mark, Statistics South Africa reported on Thursday.

Releasing its latest mid-year population estimates report in Pretoria, Stats SA said the country’s population grew by an estimated 1.58% between July 2013 and July 2014, increasing by about 844 000 people to stand at just over 54 million in total.

According to the report, South Africa’s life expectancy at birth now stands at 61 years, having increased from an estimated 52 years in 2005, thanks to a lower infant mortality rate and a decrease in the number of Aids-related deaths in the country.

Stats SA said the decline in South Africa’s infant mortality rate – from an estimated 58 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 34 infant deaths per 1 000 live births in 2014 – pointed to an improvement in the general health and living standards of the population.

Aids-related deaths, meanwhile, dropped from an estimated 363 910 deaths (51% of all deaths) in 2005 to 171 733 deaths (31% of all deaths) in 2014, as a direct result of the increased roll-out of free antiretroviral therapy in the country.

According to Stats SA, the overall number of deaths in the country decreased from an estimated 716 083 deaths (15 deaths per 1 000 people) in 2005 to an estimated 551 289 deaths (10 deaths per 1 000 people) in 2014.

At the same time, the country’s birth rate has decreased, from 24 births per 1 000 people in 2002 to 22 births per 1 000 people in 2014.

Stats SA said the dual transition from high to low birth and death rates had changed the age structure of South Africa’s population, resulting in both a high proportion (30%) of the population under the age of 15, as well as growing proportion of elderly people, with an estimated 4.5-million people aged 60 years or older.

Source: Southafrica

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