LIBERIA HAS LOST a lot since January 2006 when Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf assumed the mantle of authority to lead Liberia out of the darkness of war.
THE ELECTION OF AFRICA and Liberia’s first woman leader drew instant recognition and international attention.
IN THE PROCESS, a lot of Liberia’s partners rallied around the nation emerging from war in hopes of helping Liberia and Liberians pick up the pieces.
SADLY, AND REGRETTABLY a lot of those goodwill has either been lost, mismanaged or simply thrown to the dustbin, denying thousands a shot at a better life.
TODAY, SEVERAL PROJECTS LAY idle because those tasked with the responsibility of delivering have either failed to follow up on promises made or shamelessly adopted a show of arrogance many assume when they become servants of the people.
TAKE THE SOMALIA DRIVE road project for example.
THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT’S RECONSTRUCTING of the route from the Freeport of Monrovia to the Redlight Junction in Paynesville City is expected to have its first phase completed by July 2018.
THE REALITY IS that this project could have been completed much sooner had the then Minister of Public Works, Antoinette Weeks not given the Japanese officials who were requesting a simple meeting, the run around, just to finalize the fine-prints of the deal.
THE JAPANESE GOT ANGRY and wanted to abandon the project. Thank God the current Minister cooperated with the Japanese in the interest of the Liberian people.
IN 2013, Mr. Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, CEO of ArcelorMittal during a visit to Liberia made a promise to President Sirleaf that his company would embark on the construction of a US$40m deal with the government of Liberia to build a 70km road between the towns of Ganta and Yekepa, close to the company’s iron ore mine in Mount Tokadeh.
CONSTRUCTION WAS PROJECTED to start in November 2013 with completion of the black-top highway expected in 2015.
SADLY, then Minister Weeks wasted so much time sealing the discussion leading to the start of the project that Ebola came and all hope was lost.
PRIOR TO EBOLA, President Sirleaf and several legislators from Nimba contacted Min. Weeks about this project and she did nothing. Min. Weeks never signed the contract for this project. It was signed by Dep. Min. Claude Langley.
TODAY, THE PROJECT is at a standstill.
DESPITE MITTAL’S assurances that it remains committed to the construction of the Ganta Yekepa highway, the lack of funding has put the brakes on the project.
MITTAL AND MANY other concessionaires have cited the deadly Ebola virus outbreak as a reason for the slow trend.
NOW COMES REPORT based on a FrontPageAfrica investigation that Liberia is failing to fulfil its part of the bargain regarding the electrification of rural Liberia because Lands, Mines and Energy Minister Patrick Sendolo has gone on one of his unilateral sprees.
The Cross-Border Electricity Supply project is divided into three (3) lots for the supply and installation works. Lot 1, Maryland County, Lot 2, Nimba County and Lot 3, Grand Gedeh County. But an FPA investigation has found that a number of accountability and transparency issues is complicating Liberia’s ability to fulfil its end of the bargain.
UNDER THE MINISTER’S watch, three mystery accounts have been opened without the consent of the LEC board amid questions that next-door Ivory Coast has not received a penny in payment which was part of the original arrangements.
HOW MANY MORE arrogance must Liberians endure? How much more can Liberians take? How many more losses must we endure over the behavior of arrogant servants?
SERVICE IS NOT A RIGHT but a privilege. But many in the Sirleaf administration have adopted a tendency that they are doing the people of Liberia a favor by serving them when it should and must be the other way around.
PART OF THE BLAME befalls the President who sadly encourages some officials to get away with murder and thefts.
IN A MARCH 16, 2016 letter obtained by FrontPageAfrica recently, directed to Minister Sendolo, President Sirleaf expressed concern, disappointment and frustration over the time her administration is taking to complete the process that would improve the slow implementation performance which is the hallmark of her looming legacy.
SIRLEAF WROTE: “One case in point is the long delay in finalizing the arrangement for the outsourcing by the LEC of the distribution system in Ganta to a private Liberian entity. I understand that this arrangement will also extend to the other three countries that are benefitting from the ECOWAS Border Project. As you know, we have obtained approval from the Cote d’Ivoire authorities to apply a preferential tariff that will reduce the cost per kilowatt hours from 14 cents to as low as 5.6 cents per kilowatts.”
SIRLEAF CONTINUED: “It is sad that we are very adept at moving at great speed to conclude talks and financing arrangements abroad but unable to achieve the needed objectives from these efforts which is to deliver the planned services to the citizens.”
THE SAD REALITY is this: Why should a President have to go to this length to explain the importance of a key legacy issue to a sitting Minister who from all indications appear to be stalling progress on the energy sector?
GOD HAS BEEN good to Liberia. While we lost many friends, families and loved ones to the civil war, he has stood behind Liberia’s resurrection and its reemergence into the world of normalcy. But God can only do so much and the international community and Liberia’s partners cannot and must not be asked to do more than they have already done.
UNLESS LIBERIANS take heed, understand the plight of the people and do all within our power to makes things right, we will continue to linger in a sea of abject poverty.
BUT IT MUST START AND END with the head and those giving the privilege to serve; it must start and end with our resolve to put Liberia first.
THE BUCK LIBERIA Must Stop Here!