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Jugbeh Kekula, a nurse from Grand Bassa, wins Liberia’s First “Integrity Idol” competition
Yesterday marked the end of the first Integrity Idol campaign in Liberia. The Accountability Lab asked citizens all over the country to nominate public servants that they feel embody the values of integrity, transparency and accountability. The team received over 1,400 nominations from every corner of Liberia. With a panel of independent experts, the Lab narrowed down the field to the top 5 nominees (see descriptions below). These nominees were filmed doing their jobs and talking about how they demonstrate integrity.
The videos (at www.integrityidol.org/liberia) were shown on LNTV and SKY TV last week; and audio versions were broadcasted on a number of radio stations including Radio LIB, LIB24, SKY Radio and others. Liberians were encouraged to vote for their “Integrity Idol” by watching the episodes and voting online on the website or by texting their choice to the free shortcode 8355.
The five finalists were:
- Daniel Gbety Nyenkan – Maryland County; Court Clerk – Ministry of Justice
- Jugbeh Tarplah Kekula – Grand Bassa County; Nurse -Ministry of Health
- Seorweh Dlayee Jaycheneh – Maryland County; Prosecuting Attorney – Ministry of Justice
- Oliver K. Kuson – Maryland County; District Education Officer- Ministry of Education
- Comfort Nimely – Grand Kru County; Caretaker Ministry of Internal Affairs
Over 5,000 votes came in from all over Liberia and Jugbeh Kekula, a registered nurse at the Government Hospital, Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County, was crowned Liberia’s 2015 Integrity Idol with 51% of the vote. UNMIL generously provided transport for the finalists from the south east of the country to Monrovia; and Paynesville City Corporation provided the city hall for the ceremony yesterday, December 14th. Upon learning that she was Liberia’s Integrity Idol, Jugbeh notes that she feels “fell very honored.” We should all practice honesty, we should be faithful, we should be sincere, we should do everything to the best of our ability. We should do the right thing. You may not be appreciated on the spot but as time goes by you will be rewarded as I have been today.
As grand prize winner, Jugbeh received a robe made from fine country cloth and a rooster.
Another incredible lady, Comfort Nimely, a caretaker at the Grand Kru County Commissioner’s Office came 2nd with 30% of the vote; with Oliver Kuson, a District Education Officer in Maryland finishing third with 8% of the vote. However, the Lab’s Executive Director, Blair Glencorse, observed that “this is not about who won the most votes- there are many reasons why some finalists may have got more votes than others. The value of Integrity Idol is in the process, not the outcome. It celebrates individuals, but those that serve the collective good.”
The event attracted representatives from a number of prominent government agencies, civil society organizations and international partners, with representatives from the British Embassy, iLab Liberia, Internews, the Business Start-Up Center, Action Aid and the National Democratic Institute capping each of the finalists with an Integrity Idol sash.
Entertainment was provided by Balawala Cultural Group and the Accountability Lab’s hip co Ambassador, Henry ‘Amaze’ Toe. President Sirleaf was personally represented by her Minister of Public Works, W. Gyude Moore, who delivered the event’s keynote address.
The five finalists, who will remain in Monrovia for several days, also partook in a high level, invitation only dialogue with key national and international governance figures, co-sponsored by the National Democratic Institute.