Liberia: Citizens Angered By Representative Matthew Joe’s Dedication of A Flag Pole to High School In Buchanan
MONROVIA – Barely few months after receiving his share of US$30,000 given to each member of the 53rd National Legislature, Grand Bassa County district # 3 Representative Matthew Joe has dedicated a flag pole to students of one of the schools in his district, with scores of citizens describing the gesture as a complete mockery and a slap in the face to the entire student populace and school authorities in the county.
The US$30,000, which came in twofold, was budgeted in the 2020/2021 Fiscal National Budget, for Representatives and Senators to engage their constituents.
Lawmakers were heavily criticized for receiving the money in the wake of numerous hardships and constraints confronting medical clinics and hospitals in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
But on Monday, November 8, Representative Zoe was accompanied on the campus of the Grand Bassa County High School System by an array of his office staffs and others to dedicate a flag pole project his office has sponsored and completed
Though it is not clear whether or not the project was funded from the US$30,000 he received for Legislative Engagement, the initiative came following a request made by the students.
Speaking prior to the dedication of the flag pole, Representative Joe described the project as “a beautiful project”.
He pointed out the project was actualized following a request made by the student leaders.
He emphasized that the fulfillment of the project demonstrates his willingness and commitment to working in the interest of his people.
Representative Joe justified that the dedication of the flag pole was to demonstrate his love for his constituents, especially the students.
“I am very much happy this morning to see smiles on the faces of our students of the county’s high school. I am proud of you people for the level of reception given to me. I want to applaud you for your presence here this morning to witness this little project that we have done by our office from the advocacy from the student council government”.
“When we were campaigning, many people told you that Honorable Joe was not going to do anything for you. But today, they are surprised. Many of the things we said yesterday, we have done all and we have gone the extra mile. Honorable Joe is very much concerned about education and the student community. Today, we have demonstrated that by giving you this flag pole to show to you that we are still working with you and we are in your interest”.
Representative Joe further urged the students to see the gesture as a means to continuously support his workings.
“If you continue to support us in the process, we will continue to deliver to you; we will continue to seek the welfare of our student community”.
He bragged of being one of the leaders who continues to prioritize and support the educational sector in the county, adding that, “this is something that I started doing way back even before I became a Representative”.
“We have come today to make known to you some of these things that we are carrying on to prove to you how much we love you. On behalf of the student council government and that of my office, we want to present to you this beautiful (flag pole) project that is very important for our students on this campus because we have learnt that our students needed this project”.
He named a palava hut project at the Grand Bassa County University, a scholarship scheme, a bus donated to commute students to and from campuses, among others as some of his personal interventions.
Disclosing the commencement of reconstruction works on the bridge leading to the county’s university, Representative Joe vowed to continue to “knock on the doors of the President (George Manneh Weah)” to advocate on behalf of the student community of the county.
In separate remarks, the student leaders and authorities of the school commended Representative Joe for the gesture.
The dedication of a flag pole project by a Representative or Senator remains a peculiar happening in the body politics of Liberia.
Though the actual cost of the project was not revealed by Representative Joe during the brief dedicatory ceremony, an engineer, who preferred not to be named, put the cost at less than US$150.
Citizens of the county and others have been expressing dismay over the decision taken by Representative Joe to happily dedicate a mini project in such a flamboyant manner after receiving over US$30,000 for Legislative Engagement.
They see the action of Representative Joe to engage into pleasantry by cutting ribbon to dedicate the mini flag pole project as an act of deceit and mockery.
Some of them view the project as means to sway the minds of students in the district ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections, while others believe that the gesture was a complete “mockery” to the students and the school in particular.
They claimed that the Grand Bassa High School remains faced with multiple challenges, ranging from the expansion of the school facility to accommodate more students, lack of chairs, educational materials, books for the school library, teachers’ lounge, and clinic among others.
They wondered while Representative Joe chose to downplay these challenges which are a bit costly to undertake the cost of a mini flag pole project which is far cheaper.
“Statesman will be dedicating flag pole? Can you imagine Jesus Christ really needs this emergency grace process for Liberia”, Lamos Salieu Jalloh stated.
Joe Albert Junius writes: “Liberians deserve better. How can a flag pole dedication be counted as development. No to small development”.
“Matthew Joe is making mockery of the county. He’s taking his constituents for joke. Watch out guys, we are coming heavier. It’s so unnecessary. Things like flag pole should not be celebrated or it shouldn’t be proud of. Don’t be complacent with little things Bassolians. It’s your own resources not Matthew Joe pocket money”, Uncle Dee stated on the social media.
Alexander Bealded: “So our district Representative donated a flag pole at a school in Buchanan and it was a massive jamboree and media frenzy. #LIBDatechnique”.
On the other hand, few others hailed Representative Joe for identifying with the students and administrators at the institute.
“Thanks, God bless you”, Wesseh Kollie stated.
Emmanuel Gonofoe noted: “Job well done Honorable lawmaker”.
Winning the minds of electorates with petty projects remains the normal habit of Liberian politicians, especially those seeking re-elections, during electioneering periods in the country.
When electioneering periods draw nearer, these politicians are normally seen in slum and populated communities either making donations or dedicating mini projects which they have sponsored to win more votes ahead of their political rivals or opponents.
Most often, majority of them abandoned unfinished projects they embarked upon in the various communities if the results of the elections do not go in their favor.
Whether or not the flag pole project dedicated in electoral district # 3 in Grand Bassa County is big, small or it is the citizens’ share of the US$30,000 received by their lawmaker, students and administrators at the Grand Bassa County High School are now relieve off the previous stress of either hoisting the Liberian flag on a dilapidated pole or ignoring that during devotion as the new project now stands on the ground of the campus.