Liberia: As Pres. Weah Concludes First Leg of Nationwide Tour, FPA Looks into What the Counties Stand to Benefit
MONROVIA – President Weah’s first leg of his county tour midway in his Administration has come and gone, but his excursion has left a lasting imprint and raises the hope of some impoverished communities in the counties.
One such area is Gbi-Doru Administrative District, located in the southern tip of Nimba County, forming the boundaries between Nimba and Rivercess, as well as Grand Gedeh County.
People of the area have for decades complained of being marginalized and abandoned, and dominated by other powerful tribes, leaving their areas remote. County officials including Superintendent, Senator and Representative highly visit the area, let alone Presidents.
But President Weah would brave the storm and make history, despite being advised not to ply the route due to the deplorable road condition, to become the first sitting President to visit the area address the people.
The President’s whose maternal parents hailed from the area was determined to make that dream come true for the people. And so, early Thursday, February 14, he directed his presidential motorcade towards the area, passing through Tappita for the journey that would take him almost three hours.
By doing so, the President and his team were compelled to drive several single-logged bridges and thick forests, make stops in every towns and villages until he reached Dorgbor Town, the district headquarters.
Residents of the area could not believe that a sitting President was in their midst. For once they forget about their many problems and all descended on the district headquarters to see for the first time, a President addressing them.
“Today is a dream come true for most of us here,” Elder Alfred Zelee, in his late 60s. In all my life, it is my first time to see a President addressing a crowd. This alone gives us hope that our place is now open to the world and our children will have a great future.”
In Tappita, President Weah dedicated a dental clinic at the Jackson F. Doe Hospital and solved an age-old problem of electricity through the donation of 1500KWA transformer that will be used to stabilize supply of electricity to the Hospital.
The President’s welcome into Grand Gedeh County was epic. He arrived in the county on February 19. President Weah has always had the massive support of Grand Gedeh County in his political quests.
From Toe Town, the first major town from Nimba County, to Zleh, Ziah Towns, Tuzon and Zwedru, hundreds of thousands of Grand Gedeans lined major corridors to welcome the President into the county.
Earlier at the boundary with Nimba County, the President was received by chiefs, elders and other officials of the county.
President Weah dedicated several projects including the housing units constructed by his government to remove citizens from dilapidated structures in Kpelle Village.
At a Town Hall Meeting in Toe Town, thanked the people of Grand Gedeh for the heartfelt and tumultuous reception accorded him, noting “I am not surprised to receive such gigantic welcome.”
“I am your son, and this is my county,” overwhelmed by the reception Dr. Weah said.
He reminded the people of the county of the importance of keeping and maintaining the peace of the country, without which he said development is unrealizable.
Immediately upon his arrival, President Weah broke ground for a 160-bedroom referral hospital. This project will be funded by the Governments of Liberia and Germany through the German Development Bank (KFW) and Implemented by Welthungergilfe (WHH) Liberia.
The US$15.5 million dollars project is in support of the government’s development agenda, the PAPD. It is expected to benefit around 160,000 persons, and construction works will last for the duration of 48 months occupying an area of 8,513.84 square meters.
He also dedicated the newly constructed annex to the Grand Gedeh County Community College (GGCC).
President Weah also dedicated the 7th Judicial Circuit Court Complex on the outskirts.
The Court Complex project began under the former administration and completed in 2018, the year he assumed power.
Chief Justice, Cllr. Francis Korkpor’s proxy, Cllr. Elizabeth B. Nelson thanked the President for dedicating the building.
River Gee County
River Gee County is now benefiting from a Rice Mill in Jarkaken as a result of the President’s visit.
The combined rice mill has the capacity to produce about 18 metric ton of rice a day. It is part of the Ministry of the Agriculture Smallholder Agriculture Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization Project, SAPEC.
The African Development Bank (AFDB) funded the program under its Agriculture development support initiative.
President Weah said he was delighted to dedicate the Mill at the time the government is placing unusual emphasis and priority on sustainable agriculture development, which is an important pillar of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
The government, he asserted, has initiated the program to support agriculture productivity and development towards achieving food security in Liberia.
President Weah also dedicated other development projects in River Gee including the Fish Town Hospital Isolation Unit, a government of Liberia development program co-financed by the German Government through its Development Bank.
He thanked the government of Germany for its continuous support to the government and people of Liberia, stating that Liberia will be grateful.
In addition, President Weah similarly dedicated the refurbished Superintendent Compound in Fish Town.
Earlier at a Town Hall Meeting in Kiliipo Kanweaken, the President said he was disappointed seeing Kanweaken in the condition he knew it since the 70s.
He said: “That Kanweaken is still the same since 1975 and 1976 is a shame. There’s a progress coming to this corridor under my administration. We are securing funds for this road to be fixed. The street lights project will be extended here and River Gee is part of the seven counties project.”
He said the government install streets light powered by solar energy as kickstarter to revamping the once bustling commercial hub in that part of the country.
President Weah marked a triumphant entry into Maryland County with dedication of several projects.
In Pleebo, the President dedicated the newly built Maternal and Child Health Ward at the Pleebo Health Center.
President Weah, in brief statement, before cutting the ribbon, thanked the administration of the Hospital for the support to the health sector and urged to maintain and use the facility for the benefit of citizens.
He also lauded Partners in Health for working with the government to strengthen the health sector and save lives.
At a Town Hall Meeting in Pleebo, President Weah also thanked citizens for the support and mammoth welcome accorded him, saying that he was excited to be in the City of Pleebo.
The president informed Pleebo citizens of the progress the government has made since the last three years amid thongs of challenges.
Citizens of Pleebo earlier through their City Mayor thanked the President for embarking upon the long-awaited tour, noting that the massive turnout of citizens is an expression of gratitude for the numerous development initiatives the President has undertaken since his ascendency.
Like citizens of other counties visited, Pleebo citizens presented a checklist of issues for his intervention, including a review of the Cavalla Rubber Corporation (CRC) and Maryland Oil Palm Plantation, MOPP agreement as well as the opening up of Pleebo.
Earlier in Karloken, the President Weah broke ground for the construction of a district administrative building.
At a Town Hall Meeting, citizens of Karloken and Barrobo Districts called for the President’s intervention in addressing challenges they are faced with. The mentioned the land dispute between Maryland, Grand Kru in Wloklee, where they claimed their people who lived in Wloklee for years were expelled.
They also appealed to President Weah to intervene in placing several chiefs who are not payroll on salary, among others.
President Weah told citizens of Karloken to channel development request through lawmakers.
Also, in Maryland County, President broke grounds for the construction of a brand new multipurpose office complex and Petroleum storage facility at the Port of Harper.
While, pledging his fullest support, President Weah pointed out that the refurbished port will serve as a viable access to the Liberian economy.
The project when completed, is expected to ease the supply of petrol products to major southeastern counties: Maryland, River Gee, Grand Kru, Grand Gedehand neighboring border cities.
National Port Authority Managing Director, Bill Twehway said the project as a milestone development for the Port of Harper following years ofpoor infrastructure imaging and inactive operations. The project according to Twehway is in keeping with government’s vision to refurbish and operationalize the Ports to ensure super economic activities throughout the country.
Harper Port Director William Wallace and Leon Nynetu, of Express Oil Importation Liberia indicated that the project will create jobs, reduce commodity prices and ease unwanted hardship for commuters especially during the raining season.
Weah lit up streets and homes in his native land, Sass Town, Grand Kru County last Sunday.
The installation of solar lights came few days after President Weah announced making Sass Town “a beautiful city.”
He said, as President, it would be important to ensure that his homeland is developed, while developing other areas in Liberia.
At the commissioning ceremony, President Weah said: “Providing electricity to rural parts of Liberia, including Sasstown, is part of the government’s developmental drive to decentralize country’s resources.”
The streets and 500 homes in Sasstown were lighted, as first phase of his electrification of Grand Kru County.
During a formal ceremony recently to light up the streets of Monrovia and its environs, President Weah promised to extend the project to other parts of the country.
While touring communities in the countryside, the President promised locals that his government would, amongst other things, ensure development is spread out across the country, including electrification of their towns and cities.
Sass Town is among one of the least develop areas in Grand Kru County and Liberia at large, with most of its inhabitants relying on fishing and farming as major source of survival.
The place known as the President’s birth place lacks major commercial center, one high school and a clinic.