Liberia: Disgusted Over Pro-Poor Wasteful Executive Mansion Project

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The Editor,

Call it “The Executive Mansion Pro-Poor Wasteful Renovation Project” that has now cost nearly $40 million since the days of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from a minor fire incident that occured 15 years ago on our Indepedence Day, July 26, 2006. Liberia will be 174 years old this July and yet we can’t firgure out how to renovate the official home and office of the President of Liberia.

If this is not incompetence and corruption, then give it a new name: from a self-anoited Harvard University “Economist” President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to now a footballer-turned politician President George Manneh Weah.

15 years of renovation: 12 years under Ellen and 3 years sofar under Weah and counting. Both Ellen and Weah promised to fight corruption but the Executive Mansion money gobbling sinkhole with no end in sight renovation project has now cost the taxpayers perhaps over $40 million.

We would have and still could be better off asking the Israeli government that built the Mansion in the 1960s to built a replica at a cost perhaps far less that the $40 million that we flushed down the toilet. Smart economics that doesnt require a Harvard degree you would think. But no, kickbacks, chopping, licking elbows and corruption must prevail over common sense.

God alone knows how many unfit overmight companies that were “awarded” the no-bid contracts to renovate the building and then they disappeared with no accountability to the taxpayers, including a Chinese company that reporredly stole the expensive decorations in the Mansion and shipped them back to China. Talk about fighting corruption in Liberia? “Puah-puah and weh-side-self”; bothLiberian expressions of disdainful behavior.

But the Weah-led CDC regime refuses to allow Lofa County Senator-elect Brownie Samukai to take his senate seat over a flimpsy unproven $1.4 million allegation but Weah allows Ellen to walk away after squandering over $30 million allocated to her Ministry of State office to repair the very Executive Mansion.

Then her son Robert Sirleaf milked NOCAL–the National Oil Company of Liberia into bankruptcy and fled into exile living the lifestyle of Hollywood stars with over $50 million. Mom President Ellen officially took responsibity for her son brazen daylight robbery but no one has been charged since, let along arrested.

Back to the RENOVATION which might rival the period of biblical Noah building of the Ark. Next, the rains and the unforgiven mighty Atlantic Ocean will swallow up the Executive Mansion as the brilliant engineers and their the 15 years of “renovation” did not take into account the unforgiven tropical rains of West Africa and an Ocean that has been swallowing up homes from New Kru Town to West Point and as far away as ELWA and other oceanfront properties in Liberia. It is the wall protecting that Mansion that was washed away this weeek. Next could be the Mansion itself. Then what?

Only in Liberia and Africa’s first failed experiment at democracy. After 174 years of socalled indepedence, we are still trying to figure out how to provide electricity, safe drinking water and good healthcare for our people. Yet, Liberian leaders are winning some sort every imaginable national and internation awards, including the once prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf despite her public confession as the chief architect and mastermind of the 14-year Liberian genocidal holocaust that claimed 250,000 lives. Just a thought and not a sermon.

Jerry Wehtee Wion
Washington DC, USA
[email protected]

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