MONROVIA – The year 2020, will no doubt go down in history as one of the most turbulent in the existence of humankind around the globe. But be as it may, considering as a case study Liberia, with its dwindling economy that exacerbated hardship at an all-time high since the tiny West African nation gained independence over 170 years ago, there were some men, women and institutions that stood up to the test of times and did exceptionally well, whether in political governance, advocacy, humanitarianism, sports, administrative works, or in whatever sphere and spectrum of society, and appropriately and accordingly contributed their quota toward sustaining peace, maintaining tranquility and fostering nation-building.
For the Women Voices Newspaper (WVN), there is no way, we would sit idly and allow the immense contributions of such individuals and institutions to slip by unrecognized – hence, the 2020 Vetting Committee of WVN brings you a list of go-getters; personalities and institutions that were outstanding during the year in review.
WOMAN OF THE YEAR
Our “WOMAN OF THE YEAR” accolade for the year 2020 goes to none other than Vice President, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard-Taylor.
Born January 17, 1963, our “WOMAN OF THE YEAR” is a Liberian politician, former First Lady of Liberia and the current and first-ever democratically elected female Vice President of the country. She holds a graduate degree in banking and two bachelors’ in banking and economics. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration MBA – Finance with honor from Cuttington University. On December 21, 2011, she graduated with honors from the Louise Arthur Grimes School of Law of the state-run University of Liberia.
In the wisdom of the WVN 2020 Vetting Committee, Vice President Howard-Taylor, is well-deserving of such honor, evident by her exceptional sobriety exhibited throughout the year under review, in spite of very challenging moments that came her way – she kept a level-head, was cool, calm, and above all very professional and patriotic in the face of glaring and demeaning provocations.
As turbulent as the year in review was, our honoree for the award of “WOMAN OF THE YEAR” took up time to identify with several individuals and institutions, including members of the disabled community, a 14-year-old rape survivor, as well as educational and health facilities in the country.
An unforgettable spectacle that unpleasantly greeted the year under review was the onslaught unleashed against the world and its people by the ever-rampaging Coronavirus, killing tens of thousands globally in 2020. In spite of this callosity on the part of COVID-19, our honoree, Howard-Taylor, who herself at some point fell victim to the deadly virus but was treated and cured in a Ghanaian hospital, would emphasize the importance of prioritizing the empowerment of women and girls in Africa in both the pre and post-COVID-19 pandemic response.
Her exploits in politics paid off in 2005, when she was elected as a senator in Bong County, Liberia’s third most populous county. Nine years on, she was reelected to the same post by the people of Bong, before she went on to be picked as running mate to former football icon George Weah in the 2017 election that the pair won.
Our honoree, a visibly involved stateswoman, endowed with a vision for her homeland to realize affordable but quality education, transparent justice system, improved and accessible health system, women’s economic and political participation, as well as an accountable public service system, holds dearly to the belief that she must be able to make the change she advocates for, and to this effect, she has already fulfilled tons of promises including educational related, healthcare and infrastructure development.
During the year under review, our honoree voice was so relevantly loud regarding her advocacy for increased and improved opportunities for the women of Liberia, and she did so in no small way; standing up tall among other advocates as a critical voice on several other issues of national importance.
MINISTER OF THE YEAR
Our honoree for “MINISTER OF THE YEAR” goes to Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet, a seasoned administrator and diplomat, Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr.
Born 1965, Ambassador Kemayah holds a master’s degree in development studies and a bachelor’s in microfinance and community economic development, both from the Uganda Martyrs University. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the state-owned University of Liberia.
Noteworthy of the Women Voices Newspaper 2020 Vetting Committee’s affirmation of Ambassador Kemayah for such accolade is the fact that during the year under review, he successfully navigated the corridors of various governmental posts where he performed exceptionally, prior to finally landing in the current position, where he has significantly achieved a lot within a minimum timeframe.
Kemayah was among President George Weah’s early picks for cabinet post, when the Liberia leader, in 2018 named this go-getter to the position of Deputy Minister of Administration for Foreign Affairs, where his performance was splendid, but was short-lived, as the Liberian chief executive seeing in Kemayah a fountain of capacities and capabilities, sooner than later, posted the experienced public servant to head Liberia’s permanent mission at the United Nations, as Liberia’s Permanent Representative at the world body.
Minister Kemayah, who is of the belief that the Weah-led government’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) is largely dependent on all the help the country can get from its Foreign Missions and Consular Generals, left an indelible mark of impeccable performance at the UN Mission, with the Liberian diplomat even going on to have bagged the collective support of tons of African countries’ ambassadors to the United Nations to serve as Vice Chair of the Bureau of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the strengthening of the role of the Organization, and then chairmanship of the African Group of Ambassadors to the UN, a position he served in so well before he was nominated by President Weah in September of last year and recalled from New York back home to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In spite of challenges that he had to endured even prior to him officially taking office as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kemayah, in what he calls his “Reform Agenda,” during the year in review, as far as professionalism is concerned, with specific emphasis on the Bureau of Passport and Visa, got off to a good start; implementing several administrative policies that have set the workings at the Foreign Ministry apart from other government functionaries, putting it far ahead at a pleasantly galloping pace.
During the year under review, Minister Kemayah fulfilled a promise made to Liberians, when under his stewardship, reform geared towards making Liberian passports affordable and accessible was initiated to enable Liberian citizens travel freely abroad without hindrances. Under Kemayah, last year, the Passport Reform Initiatives was launched and amendment made to the 2017 Passport Extension Contract between the Government of Liberia and Buck Press Limited, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs assuring Liberians that he will work tirelessly to further strengthen the integrity and credibility of the Liberian passport.
Due to his remarkable and effective negotiation skills, the Government of Liberia, during the year under review, garnered additional revenue of US$4.5 million, and Kemayah’s administration also reduced the price of passport booklets to US$40 across the board without touching the revenue due the Liberian government under a contract with Buck Press, with an extended period of 6 years for Buck Press to recoup its cost of investment. Under the amended agreement, the Liberian Government negotiated with Buck Press to reduce the price by 20% of the Liberian passports in various categories with a plan to improve service delivery to ensure that passports remain affordable and accessible for Liberians both at home and abroad. Ordinary Liberian passport price was reduced from US$50 to US$40, express reduced from US$100 to US$80; while the price of passports issued to Liberians abroad was reduced from US$200 to US$160. The prices of diplomatic, official and service passports are also reduced to US$40 respectively, instead of the previous US$50. For all of these good reasons and many more, the WVN 2020 Vetting Committee pick for “MINSTER OF THE YEAR” goes to Ambassador Kemayah, Sr.
CLERGY MAN OF THE YEAR
Longtime Baptist preacher, Rev. Emmanuel Gardea Johnson, III., is our pick for “CLERGY MAN OF THE YEAR” – for the year under review, he never ceased to make his voice heard when it came to exposing ills in the Liberian society, and at the same time teaching and preaching the true Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nation and his congregants at his fast-growing Restoration Baptist Ministry, situated in the Monrovia suburb of Old-road, Sinkor.
The fireburn cleric Rev. Gardea-Johnson, who is repute for being vocal against excesses of successive governments, during the year under review, did not mince his words, when Liberia was being seemingly swallowed up by hardship which was largely blamed upon bad governance and rampant corruption by government actors, and at some point when the country slipped into a state of lawlessness and insecurity, with mob justice on the rise, and the unexplained deaths of several Liberians taking place almost on a regular basis.
Noted for speaking truth to power, without stupor, fear or favor, Rev. Gardea-Johnson, at the time, remarked that Liberia is “a nation dying slowly,” noting that “Fear is in the land” under the George-Weah-led government, and that there were some unidentified individuals roaming the country from house to house killing people, and that such individuals are not being held accountable by anybody, for their murderous actions. At the time, he attributed the failure to apprehend the killers of Liberians including several government officials, who died under questionable circumstances, to the incompetence of some elements within the country’s security sector, emphasizing therefore, the need for such security personnel to be weeded out.
He noted that Liberia now has a system in which the governors promised change and hope, indicating that change is an action word, therefore, the Weah-led government must take action in correcting the ills in society, saying, “don’t tell us what happened in the past. We don’t want to know what happened in the past.” “There is fear in the land, if you came here to bring change, then you have to change the paradigm, you have to change the narrative.” “Don’t tell us what happened before; you are in charge now, make the difference. Don’t tell us about the past – it’s no excuse to say this thing happened before. You have it now, do something about it!” The vocal prelate, our choice for “CLERGY MAN OF THE YEAR” among other things said.
ACADEMICIAN OF THE YEAR
Dr. Yei P. Wiah, a young Liberian female, who emerged as Valedictorian for the 2019/2020 graduating class of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine and Health and Life Sciences at the state-run University of Liberia, is Women Voices Newspaper’s “ACADEMICIAN OF THE YEAR” 2020.
The young brilliant Liberian doctor, Ms. Yei achieved such fete through perseverance and self-motivation.
During the year in review, Dr. Wiah also obtained six (6) different academic awards,” and WVN is certainly proud of Ms. Yei’s academic achievements during the year under review.
HUMANTARIAN OF THE YEAR
Liberian First Lady Clar Marie Duncan Weah, a businesswoman, philanthropist, and advocate, is WVN’s “HUMANTARIAN OF THE YEAR” for the year 2020.
Born March 11, 1965, in Kingston, Jamaica, as the youngest of seven children, and married to Liberia’s 24th President George Weah since June 26, 1993, Duncan-Weah, since her establishment of the Clar Hope Foundation in 2018, the year in review being no exception, has and continues to live up to the goal of improving the livelihoods of the least privileged in Liberia.
She earned a nursing license and a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences from the City University of New York, United States of America. Clar later pursued her medical studies leading her to a nursing career, which subsequently saw her worked at Jamaica Hospital in New York City.
During the year in review, Duncan-Weah, in her role as Liberia’s First Lady, continued to develop programs and social projects that encompass services targeting the assistance of orphans, street children, the elderly, women, and girls, with a focus on rural settings.
As a loving mother and caring individual, during the year in review, the First Lady humanitarianism touched many lives including over 30 orphanages, where at least 3,000 children benefited from her “Christmas package” in Montserrado, Margibi and adjacent counties. Each orphanage received 10 (25kg) bags of rice, 50kg bag of sugar, a bag of cornmeal, two cartons of kidney beans, two cartons of sardine and a 6-gallon-container of vegetable oil among others.
INGO OF THE YEAR
International Non-Governmental Organizations or INGOs certainly play countless roles in global politics, and it goes without saying that it would be highly unimaginable to fathom politics around the globe without international non-governmental organizations presence. INGOs are as diverse as their activities, and one of such INGOs whose activities were not just diverse but impactful regarding Liberia’s forward-march during the year under review, is the development policy organization of the United Nations, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The UNICEF stood with Liberia and Liberians throughout the rather turbulent 2020, as usual, providing humanitarian and developmental aid.
LOCAL NGO OF THE YEAR
The Liberia Crusaders for Peace (LCP) is undoubtedly WVN’s “LOCAL NGO OF THE YEAR” for 2020.
During the year in review, like all other local non-governmental organizations’ activities we followed extensively, we followed the LCP, and in the face of copious challenges, it secured monumental achievements during the year under review.
During the year in review, the LCP continued to play its vital role in advocacy and social mobilization, promoting behavioral change and participatory communication through community dialogue and conversation, theatre, music and dance.
During the height of the Coronavirus attack here, the Liberia Crusaders for Peace, if not the most outstanding, then one high-paced local NGOs that worked assiduously with partners to ensure citizens and residents of the country were educated on the preventive measures of COVID-19, through the LCP animators and mobilizers across the country.
The LCP’s involvement along with her partners, their efforts paid off, making Liberia to have extensively prevented the spread of the deadly virus – thus, drastically reducing the death rate recorded by other nations across the world, making Liberia a success story now being emulating by other countries in the fight against the Coronavirus.
During the year in review, LCP showcased it humanitarian nature, by engaging in the distribution of assorted items including food and sanitary materials to communities, orphanages health facilities, as well as the donation of a vehicle to Antoinette Tubman Cheshire Home located in Monrovia and other valuable items to several other Liberians.
HOSPITAL OF THE YEAR
In spite of mounting criticisms against its establishment, the 14 Military Hospital was established anyway, with millions of dollars of public resources – but looking back, one can safely say the facility’s formation was worth the while; judging the life-saving role it played when Coronavirus struck during the year in review.
The Hospital served as the nerve center of the nation’s fight against the fast-spreading COVID-19, as it played host to dozens of cases, with many at the facility surviving the onslaught of the deadly disease.
HEALTH ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR
For her outstanding leadership, and being able, to during the year in review, withstand and handle the mountainous challenges that inundated the sector she heads, Liberia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah is our pick for “Health ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR” 2020.
As chair of Liberia’s Incident Management System, Dr. Jallah served diligently and relentlessly in the country’s response against Coronavirus, when the scourge was at its height of rampaging the world – for this, and other salient administrative decisions, she attracted not just admiration from her fellow citizens back home and in the Diaspora, but she also gained international recognition during the year under review, when the International Community hailed Liberia for the country’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Under her watch, Liberia was recognized by the acclaimed Wall Street Journal, as becoming a model for dealing with strange outbreaks of plagues, especially COVID-19, with the Wall Street Journal singling out Liberia among several other countries of the world as the best at learning from recent epidemics when it comes to the country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. According to Wall Street Journal, as far as the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by nations globally is concerned, Liberia recorded a single COVID-19 death per 55,040 people, an achievement that is rather a high-rating for the country’s health team under the administrative supervision of Dr. Jallah.
“At present, Liberia has recorded 1637 cases. Of that number, 1354 individuals have recovered with 83 deaths, of which only 13 occurred in our treatment facilities,” according to Dr. Jallah, who made the disclosure during a United Nations virtual conference, during the year in review.
CITY MAYOR OF THE YEAR
Out of a long list of mayors for Liberia’s dozen-plus cities, our pick for “CITY MAYOR OF THE YEAR for 2020, is youthful Jefferson Tamba Koijee, the exuberant City Mayor of the country’s largest and most populous city, Monrovia.
Under Koijee’s administration, the city government of Monrovia has and continues to experience mind-blowing reforms, including the activation of a Revenue Section; standardization of the Monrovia City Police to the point of competing with other national security apparatuses; the upgrading of the Communications Department for public outreach and media relations, as well as putting in place proper mechanism for waste management.
The Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), under Koijee, is internationally recognized, especially with his election as Executive Committee member of the Global Parliament of Mayors. His deliberate approach to making the system at MCC workable aimed at making transparency and accountability the fulcrum of his administration, attracted the World Bank and other international development partners support to his leadership during the year in review.
Koijee, a workaholic, during the year in review, worked extensively in ensuring the MCC appropriately structured issues of waste management in Monrovia; giving the city a complete transformational outlook as far as handling waste across the city is concerned.
Under the year in review, the Mayor of Monrovia, and Chair of Liberia’s Mayor Council, worked with both local and international partners, during the extremely challenging period of the heightening attack of Coronavirus, to provide jobs for thousands of young people across Montserrado County, as the city government’s way of responding to the fight against COVID-19 and its byproducts, including joblessness and acute hardship.
The year in review also witnessed our honoree undertaking beautification projects aimed at making the City of Monrovia, which serves as the capital city of Africa’s oldest republic and adorable one.
As a high school student growing up, he organized many youth-driven and youth centered programs that provided opportunities for scholarship, financial aid, volunteerism in communities, and behavioral change.
His passion for uplifting others, coupled with his dedication to service, and willingness to champion a cause for the down-trodden has won him admiration and large followings especially within the country’s huge youthful population, making him a center of attraction amongst his peers.
Prior to being nominated to the position of Mayor of Monrovia in 2018 Jeff, as he is affectionately called, was and still is the National Chairman for the Revolutionary National Youth League of lead party, the Congress for Democratic Change in the governing Coalition for Democratic Change, an auxiliary organization of thousands of youth around the country. Between 2008 and 2010, Jeff served as the Montserrado County Coordinator for the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), the umbrella organization for all youth in the country.
He also served as founding President for the National High School Union of Liberia (NAHISUL) in 2007, founding president of the Progressive Revolutionary Council, an advocacy group established to seek the wellbeing of the marginalized and downtrodden in society.
Mayor Koijee is a candidate of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management at the Stella Maris Polytechnic and also a candidate of Bachelor of Science (BSC) in Political Science at the University of Liberia.
PEACE AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR
The year in review witnessed the need for the continuous preaching of peace messages, as economic hardship and threatening insecurity underpinned by dismal leadership performance by government actors flare up tension, and one of such individuals who was always preaching such messages was Liberia’s longtime Cultural Ambassador, Queen Juli Endee, our pick for the 2020 “PEACE AMBASSOR OF THE YEAR” award.
Whether through songs, speeches, cultural extravaganzas, or jingles, Queen Endee, never ceased reminding Liberians during the year in review, “peace first, peace last,” cautioning that no matter what, never again should Liberians resort to violence and/or war as a way of solving problem.
Born to Liberian parents in Firestone, Margibi County, Queen Juli Endee is a native of Liberia’s northern Nimba County, but owes gratitude to the centrally located Bong County, her maternal homeland for her cultural and traditional orientation.
She became Liberia’s Culture Ambassador in 1995, a title conferred on her by the Government and people of Liberia, having played a pivotal role in galvanizing support for Liberian artistes in the Diaspora and back home to use their skills to promote peace in Liberia.
Our honoree also holds Liberia’s traditional crown as the country’s cultural Queen, a laurel conferred upon her in 2000, by Elders, Chiefs and Zoes of the land, for the key role she played in the country’s peace process amongst the leaders of the Mano River Basin when Liberia and its neighbors, Sierra Leone and Guinea where at loggerheads.
Queen Endee, a performing and professional artiste, writer, administrator, a producer, mentor, teacher, mother, and a former UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who rose to that portfolio due to her outstanding contributions to the wellbeing of children in sub-Saharan Africa, continues to use culture as a therapy that heals complex societal problems, and ensure peace.
She has taught both national and international schools Liberian culture. During a 19-year stint as Liberia’s Ambassador for Culture, Queen Endee has demonstrated stewardship and convinced many that arts in general and Liberian culture are valuable instruments through which peace and harmony can be enhanced and sustained especially.
MALE MD OF THE YEAR
Liberia’s acclaimed feminine newspaper, Women Voices Newspaper (WVN) is proud to present National Port Authority NPA Managing Director (MD) Bill Tweahway as the institution’s “MALE MANAGINING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR” in retrospect.
Tweahway’s recognition stems from his relentless efforts aimed at ensuring that government’s development drive is well on course and achievable, the year in review being no exception.
Under the stewardship of our pick for “MALE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR,” during the year under review, for the first time ever in the history of port management in the country, the MD of the “gateway to Liberia’s economy”, the Free Port of Monrovia, Tweahway, superintended the completion and dedication of a gigantic modern state of the art corporate headquarters complex of the National Port Authority (NPA), the port’s first ever throughout its seven decades’ existence.
Under Tweahway, the execution of the NPA’s corporate social responsibility was supurb, as uncountable institutions and individuals, including female student Blessing Jalieba, the Valedictorian of the 2020 West African Secondary School Certificate Council Exam (WASSCE), as mandated by President George Weah, benefitted immensely during the year in review.
Student Jaliba of the all-girls Catholic-run St. Theresa Convent School now has an opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming a medical doctor, as she has a full scholarship to enroll at the Mother Pattern College of Health Sciences to peruse her studies in biology; all thanks to Tweahway, who buttressed the vision of President Weah in this worthy venture.
For the year in retrospect, our “MALE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR” bagged several other achievements including Tweahway’s innovative leadership trait deployed in the fight against the deadly COVID-19; which throughout the year in review to present, witnessed the Free Port of Monrovia being safeguarded against the onslaught of the pandemic, evident by instilling and maintaining workable health measures within port limits and facilities. His administration also clocked an unprecedented employment record; from 300 employees to a whopping 2 thousand staffs; settled payment for 175 acres of land as a giant step towards President Weah’s ambitious plan to build the country’s first Dry Land Port; completed dredging at the Free Port; and contributed the staggering amount of US$7 million as support towards the National Budget.
FEMALE MD OF THE YEAR
Our pick for “FEMALE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR” goes to an innovator, Pharmacist Keturah C. Smith, Managing Director of Liberia Medicines & Health Products Regulatory Authority (LMHRA).
Regardless of limited resources at her disposal, during the year in review, under the watch of Managing Director Smith, LMHRA made significant progress in a short period of time.
Plagued with plethora of challenges, such asinheriting a broken system due to political upheavals at the institution, however, with the assistance of her technical team, strengthened by additional administrative staff during the year in review, Pharmacist Smith was innovative to hit the ground running with the statutory mandate of the entity by ensuring that the country has safe, effective and quality medical drugs being delivered to Liberians.
Currently, all previous financial liabilities incurred by past administration as a result of the political interference that feuded internal wrangling at the entity, has been fully liquidated during the period under review by Managing Director Smith’s administration.
The new LMHRA administration under Smith inherited a financially broken institution, especially with the employment of new staff members, thus, meeting the needs of staff salaries and other benefits were the greatest challenge, considering that fees were not being collected as under normal administrative circumstances. Additionally, there was a need for total restructuring of the entity’s revenue collection structures, including reassigning of key staff. But upon Pharmacist Smith’s ascendancy, like all other public institutions, COVID-19 also had a serious toll on the LMHRA’s resource mobilization efforts. Hence, registration of medicines and health products, and other revenue generation areas were at the lowest pace. Accordingly, a very meticulous spending and administrative regime were immediately put into place for operations of the Authority under the on-going global pandemic.
Howbeit, challenges at LMHRA did not stop Smith and her team from recording a success story during the year under review, as the entity under our honoree, among others been absorbed 99.9% of staff salaries, including newly recruited staff who were only being given stipend; as well as within a year, under the instrumentality of Managing Director Smith, through the Board of Directors, the LMHRA constructed a mini-office building currently in use as Quality Control Laboratory in Careysburg, rural Montserrado County.
MALE FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR
Our pick for “MALE FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR” in review currently features for Slavia Prague fame, and is none other but Liberian international footballer Murphy Oscar Dorley, who is arguably Liberia’s best player in Europe this season. He has been a revelation in the Czech Republic top-flight, since his arrival in that part of the world from Lithunian.
The 22-year-old joined Slavia Prague from rival Slovan Liberec last year, but he has settled in quickly. The Lone Star midfielder has since transitioned from an attacking midfielder to arguably the best left-back in the Prague team, with his coach lavishing praises on the Liberian whom he describes as the “Liberian Marcelo.”
Oscar has been really phenomenon in the Slavia Prague’s attacks, as he has put on a remarkable performance both in the domestic league and in Europe as Prague crosses the first stage of the UEFA Europa League.
The Liberian star has got the year running despite the Coronavirus pandemic with 1,306 minutes across twenty-one matches, than his previous 1,706 minutes played in the 2019-2020 season for Slovan Liberec.
Labeled the “Liberian Marcelo”, Murphy Oscar Dorley has surpassed Charlotte Independence Liberian-Spanish right-back Joel Johnson and US-based Othello Bah of Miami FC as the best Liberian fullback per football database statistic.
His pace and speed leaves defenders dazzled, while he has also been clinical in his crosses, contributing up to 5o percent of Slavia Prague’s goals this season.
It’s no surprise he’s attracting interest from Europe’s top clubs, including English Premier League giant Manchester City as well as Spanish side Girona – and if he keeps it up, it’s hard to see Slavia Prague retaining his services for a long time.
SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR
Liberia’s first ever female Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Brigadier General Geraldine Janet George deservingly takes our “SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR” award for the year in review.
Technically, as deputy for administration, under her supervision, the military performed superbly, both on the home front; engaged with security related work as well as the AFL Engineering Battalion that was involved with infrastructure work, and on the international scene, where the Liberian army did well yet again on its peacekeeping mission to Mali..
Tasked with the administrative responsibility among others to ensure the army is up to date, her leadership throughout the year under review made sure soldiers’ welfare were well taken care of, evident by the visible performance of the AFL exuding discipline and showing great deal of respect for human rights.
Prior to her promotion to the post of Deputy Chief of Staff, General George served as Acting Commander of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, headquartered at the Edward Binyah Kesselly Barracks (EBK), formerly, the Schiefflin Barracks.
General George has incomparable extensive military leadership skills. Additionally, she has served in the following posts in the Armed Forces of Liberia: Military Police Company Commander, 23rd Infantry Brigade, Brigade S-5 CIMIC Officer: 23rd Infantry Brigade, Provost Marshal:23rd Infantry Brigade, Legal Officer: Armed Forces of Liberia Headquarters, Acting Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS):Armed Forces of Liberia Headquarters, Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (ACOS J1)(2x)Armed Forces of Liberia Headquarters, and Assistant Chief of Staff for Operation (ACOS J3) (2x) Armed Forces of Liberia Headquarters.
She is a graduate of the College of West Africa (CWA), and she holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations, Webster University, USA, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice, African Methodist Episcopal Zion University College, Monrovia.
She also obtained several certificates including Intelligence, Fight Against Terrorism, Rome, Italy; Administration of Justice, Liberia Institute of Public Administration, Monrovia; Public Sector Management, Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone.
She has had several military trainings, where she attained the following certificates and diplomas: Initial Entry Training (IET), Barclay Training Center (BTC), Liberia; Advance Individual Training (AIT), Barclay Training Center (BTC), Liberia; Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course (BNCOC), Barclay Training Center (BTC), Liberia; Officer Candidate School (OCS), Barclay Training Center (BTC), Liberia; Basic Officer Leader Course, Fort Benning, USA; Basic Officer Leader Course, Fort Benning, USA; Military Police Basic Officer Leadership Course, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, USA; Company Commander Course, Rwanda Military Academy, GAKO, Rwanda; Junior Staff Course (JSC), Horton Academy, Freetown, Sierra Leone; United States Army Command and General Staff College, USA; and United Nations Staff Officer and Military Component Planning Process (Western Accord 14), USA.
Furthermore, General George has achieved loads of awards and authorizations including Distinguished Graduate Advance Individual Training, 22 December 2006; Pistol Classification Sharp Shooter, January 2008; and the United Nations Medal (MINUSMA), 28 SEPT 2017. As it relates to authorization, she is authorized to wear Fort Leavenworth school badge from the Command and General staff College, authorized to wear the International Students Military Badge and authorized to wear the Basic Military Police School badge.
The Deputy Chief of Staff George was enlisted into the AFL on July 24, 2006 as part of the first batch of soldiers of the restructured Armed Forces of Liberia. This batch of soldiers produced the first post war Chief of Staff, Major General Daniel Dee Ziahnkan (retired) and currently Minister of Defense.
LAWYER OF THE YEAR
Our “LAWYER OF THE YEAR” accolade for 2020 goes to prominent and astute Liberian lawyer Cllr. Arthur Tamba Johnson, who heads the Consortium of Legal Practitioners (CLP), a law firm established by him.
Cllr. Johnson doubles as an instructor and Dean of the College of Criminal Justice at the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU).
He hold a Master’s degree in Master of Publication (MPA), a Bachelor of Law (LLB), Master of Arts (M.A) in Political Science- International Relations and other educational achievements including doctoral study in legal studies at the Atlantic International University, as well as a degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) in Legal Studies. He is also a top-ranking member of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), and accordingly holds membership with other reputable international law groups.
During the year under review, our honoree took on several landmark cases in which he made headways, noticeably among which was his winning of the much publicized Sable Mining corruption case. He was appointed during the year under review, by President George Weah to head Government of Liberia’s Assets Recovery Team (ARET), but later resigned in March of last year due to what he termed government’s lack of political-will to fight corruption in the country.
Cllr. Johnson, a well versed criminal lawyer in the country proved during the year in review that he can be a humanitarian and philanthropist in his legal practice, as himself as he selflessly helped dozens of people from diverse backgrounds seek justice by pleading their cases in court. He is a straight forward lawyer, who doesn’t take bribe in his practice of law.
POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR
Grand Bassa County Senator and the political leader of the opposition Liberty Party, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence sweeps our “POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR” award for 2020.
The lone female senator in the midst of 29 males in the Upper House of the Legislature, Senator Karnga-Lawrence throughout the year in review championed the cause for social justice and equality, being vociferous against ills in society, especially from within government.
She often time used the floor of the Liberian Senate, during the year in review to voice out burning issues of national concerns through very strong advocacies and her oversight responsibility as a lawmaker.
In spite of a fierce contest from the ruling party’s candidate fielded against her in the country’s just-ended special senatorial elections, Karnga-Lawrence retained her seat in the Senate.
The astute female lawmaker is a strong politician who is known for competing with her male counterparts in the Senate.
She established herself at the Legislature during the year in review, as the voice for women in the Senate and a protector of the image of the country and the rights of just any Liberian, regardless of political, religious, social, or economic status.
SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR
Mr. Mustapha Rajii, president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), perfectly fits WVN 2020 Vetting Committee’s criteria for the paper’s “SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR” for the year in review.
Raji’s recognition comes from the backdrop of his outstanding leadership qualities and transformational agenda unveiled at the Liberian football house since his ascendency to the FA’s top post, especially over the year in retrospect.
Soccer pundits confirmed our vetting team’s discovery, ranking Raji, due to his achievement at the FA in a relatively minimum time frame, as the best president ever, in the existence of the Association for the last decade.
Just two year in command as FA boss, Raji and team have bagged tons of achievements let’s catalogs Raji achievements including thousands of dollars’ worth of cash benefits to 12 first division clubs; female clubs subsidization via Fifa as financial assistance to aid with transportation, technical staff’s allowances and water for training and games.
Under Raji, the FA among others, finalized national team staff contracts, which were suspended by the previous administration; 20 new match commissioners were recruited and the FA offered refresher courses for more than 50 previous commissioners ahead of the 2019/2020 league season.
Also, during the year in review, under the dynamic leadership of President Raji, construction works got underway at the football house’s new home; a modern-faceted office complex located in Oldest Congo Town, off the Tubman Boulevard, within the SKD Boulevard Community.
GENEROUS LAWMAKER OF THE YEAR
Our “GENEROUS LAWMAKER OF THE YEAR” award goes to none other but Grand Kru County electoral district #2 lawmaker in the House of Representatives, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, a natural born humanitarian.
During the year in review, as usual, Rep Koffa was unreservedly generous; touching lives across all boundaries and reaching out to just anyone in need with his acts of unmatched magnanimity on countless occasions.
Whether it was in his native Grand Kru, the capital, Monrovia or wherever, during the year in review, Representative Koffa unconditionally poured out kindness from the depth of his heart to friends and foes alike.
A career lawyer and one of Liberia’s best in legal practice, Cllr. Koffa is managing partner of the acclaimed International Law Group (LLG), an astute member of the reputable Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA), as well as member of several respectable legal organizations both at home and abroad.
He is a Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and also holds a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the North Carolina University all in the United States from August 1995 to May 1998.
Our honoree also obtained a Bachelor of Public Administration with emphasis in Urban Planning Concentration and with honor too; Cum Laude, from Shaw University in Carolina the United States, from August 1983 to May 1987.