He was only a high school senior when, in 1984 in the living room of his father, Dr. Edward Binyah Kesselly, Dr. S. Jabaru Carlon and others met to found the Unity Party to contest the 1985 presidential and Legislative elections.Young Kesselly recalled that UP’s founding fathers, by giving it the name “Unity Party,” were determined that the party would “epitomize Unity.” Its original motto was “One People, One Destiny.” He then told the Unity Party Leadership and membership that the best way to honor Dr. Carlon and all of its fallen heroes is by returning “to day zero—a day for us to reflect, start all over and finally realize that the Unity Party is an institution that was founded on ideals and principles, not on individuals and personalities. We should revert to its original path for which he and other great men suffered, bled and died—one that epitomizes Unity.” One could candidly say that with Unity Party’s standard bearer, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, present at the funeral and listening, young Kesselly’s was a mouthful. What was significant about the Tribute was what he did not say, but preferred to hold on the ancient dictum: “A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.”The Daily Observer on Sunday morning called around to talk with some UP stalwarts to gauge their reaction to Mr. Kesselly’s call. Most of them said what the public already knew: that the party is in apparent disarray. UP has not held a congress since 2011 when they met to nominate President Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai to succeed themselves on the UP ticket.The party’s youth wing has been critical of the leadership, and many members have bitterly complained that the administration has not rewarded it partisans with jobs. Said one, “The entire Cabinet is filled with ‘friends of the President,’ not with partisans, and this has seriously embittered the party rank and file.Ironically, one of those in the party leadership being criticized is young Kesselly himself, who heads one of the major components of government, the Liberia Maritime Authority. They say there is no party stalwart in the whole of Maritime except, of course, the Commissioner himself.Unfortunately, Mr. Kesselly could not be reached yesterday for comment on this allegation.But we wish to state that jobs for partisans alone are not what constitute a viable and properly functioning political party. A properly functioning political party is one that holds regular meetings of the rank and file. If it is the party in power, which UP currently is, it should keep the membership regularly informed about government policies and programs, in order to enlist party support. A political party, in developing countries, especially, should hold leadership seminars and workshops to empower the membership with leadership skills to keep them in top shape always, not just at election time.But the lack of jobs for the rank and file is not the only problem that has embittered the UP membership. Some of them, including leading businesspeople within the party ranks, complain that they are unable to get a single contract from the UP-led government. Here again, they complain that the party leadership is giving business opportunities only to “the President’s friends.” Several key partisans with some financial resources say they have been trying to get into the ownership of some of the oil blocks, but to no avail. They say the President’s friends are linking up with foreigners to purchase oil blocks; and these partisans are bitterly and painfully disappointed.Most Liberian leaders are very conversant with how American politicians do business. Both Republicans and Democrats in power reach out to their partisans not only with jobs, but contracts also. These beneficiaries, in turn, oil the parties’ money machines. That is in part of how the American middle class keeps democracy functioning.But it appears that successive administrations in Liberia have frustrated the development of a Liberian middle class. These administrations have consistently favored foreigners. Yet who can and will build Liberia in the way it should be built but Liberians themselves, in the same way the Americans and Europeans have built their countries and the Nigerians and Ghanaians are building theirs? Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
22 November 2013 South African President Jacob Zuma and Botswana President Ian Khama, during their meeting in Pretoria on Thursday, stressed the importance of speeding up infrastructure projects to facilitate the movement of goods and people between the two countries. Zuma met with his Botswana counterpart ahead of the inaugural meeting of the South Africa-Botswana Bi-National Commission, which the two presidents co-hosted. Speaking to journalists after the commission meeting, Zuma said discussions were under way to look at how resources could be streamlined to boost trade between the two countries. “It is a question of how … we streamline trade. In this regard, we have taken a decision that our ministers will meet twice a year to evaluate how far the agreements we have signed have been implemented.” Since the establishment of official relations nearly 20 years ago, South African and Botswana have signed a total of 34 agreements covering various areas such as immigration, defence and security, energy, trade, transport and environmental affairs. Zuma said the bi-national commission would play a key role in broadening and streamlining cooperation between the two countries. The establishment of the commission was “a very important development because our relations with Botswana are historical and for us to take them forward is very important. We were able to get a clear report from the ministers of what we need to do going forward.” Strong economic ties already exist between the two countries, and South Africa remains Botswana’s major trading partner. South African companies have a huge presence in Botswana and are involved in various sectors, including mining, housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking and medical services. Zuma said his meeting with Khama had not only focused on the mutual needs and priorities of both countries, but also brought into sharp focus the importance of regional integration. The two presidents discussed developments in the region and on the continent, including the situation in Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique. According to a joint communique issued after the talks, the two leaders commended Madagascar for holding peaceful and credible presidential elections last month, urging the people of Madagascar to maintain the same commitment to democratic processes in the second round of elections scheduled for 20 December. Khama and Zuma expressed concern over the unfolding security situation in Mozambique, and hoped that the situation would soon be resolved. In recent weeks, there have been sporadic clashes between former rebel movement Renamo and the Frelimo government, with the former accusing the latter of not honouring the Rome peace agreement they signed in 1992. Source: SAnews.gov.za
Kansas state legislators have rejected a measure that would have ended net-metering, the rate system that allows homeowners to sell excess solar and wind-generated power to their utilities.Instead, Midwest Energy News reports, lawmakers passed a compromise that preserves net metering but lowers the reimbursement rate to the utility’s avoided cost.The three investor owned utilities in Kansas had backed the repeal effort, part of a broad initiative by the American Legislative Exchange Council to quash renewable energy initiatives around the country. But lawmakers in Kansas weren’t buying it. Utilities objected to net-metering ratesWestar Energy, one of the Kansas utilities in favor of the repeal, had complained net metering rules were forcing it to pay customers retail prices for a wholesale commodity, The Topeka Capital-Journal said in a report in February.Echoing claims that other utilities around the country have made, Westar executive Mark Schreiber said, “When a customer generates some of his or her own power and gets paid the full retail rate of 10 cents, the result is that other customers pay his share of the cost of the entire infrastructure that he continues to use.”Schreiber favored reimbursement rates at the utility’s “avoided cost” rather than the full retail price, and lawmakers agreed. News reports didn’t specify what the new reimbursement rate would be.The bill also reduces the size of residential solar installations that can qualify for net metering, from 25 kW to 15 kW. For commercial projects, the limit was reduced from 200 kW to 100 kW, Midwest Energy News said.Separately, state representatives in Kansas also defeated a bill last month that would have repealed renewable energy standards that were adopted in 2009, according to The Associated Press. The vote in the House was 77-42 to kill a measure that had the backing of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and had been approved in the state Senate.The standards require utilities to provide 20% of their power from renewable sources by 2020.
The security forces gunned down two alleged members of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) in Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh on Saturday.The encounter took place in Burkapal area of Sukma when the District Reserve Guard (Chhattisgarh police’s special anti-Maoist unit) and the Special Task Force were conducting an anti-Maoist operation in the area.The security forces also recovered 11 country-made weapons from the spot of the encounter suggesting some more Maoists may have been injured or killed.In a separate development, Maharashtra police found one more body of a Maoist in Gadchiroli district.“A decomposed body was found in the forest near Indravati river in Tadgoan forest area of Gadchiroli where an encounter had taken place on last Sunday. One AK-47 rifle was also recovered during a search operation in the area today. Today’s recovery has taken the total number Maoists killed in Kasansur encounter to 34,” Gadchiroli police said in a statement.Mr.Abhinav Deshmukh, the district Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli, informed that 19 bodies have been identified so far and 14 bodies have been handed over to the relatives of the deceased.