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Liberia: “This Is Not What We Voted For” – West Point Residents Express Lost Hope, Laments Hardship under Weah

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Monrovia – Several residents of the Township of West Point have expressed frustration over the increasing wave of hardship under the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government of President George Manneh Weah.

“The hard time is too much even for the schooling aspect. I voted for change, but what I am seeing is very different. I am out of high school but cannot go to university because there is no support. The rate is going too high and when it goes up, things get hard.”

– Abdullai Sheriff, Resident of West Point

The residents claimed that since its inception, the CDC-led administration is not doing enough to better the living conditions of ordinary Liberians, most of whom, are living in abject poverty.

The residents include marketers, students, unemployed youths and elders.

They vented their anger in an exclusive interview with FrontPageAfrica on Wednesday, October 9.

Miatta Kamara, 42, is a mother of five, who sells charcoal for survival in the densely populated township of West Point.

Ms. Kamara claimed that she has been selling charcoal since 2002 to take care of her home and pay the tuition and other fees for her children at grade and university levels.

She stated that the hike in the exchange rate between the Liberian and United States dollars is immensely contributing to the escalation in the prices of basic commodities.

Problems Too Plenty for Mother

Presently, the exchange rate between the Liberian and United States Dollars stands at L$212 to US$1. 

Madam Kamara maintained that though she voted for the CDC during the 2017 General and Presidential Elections, the present realities in the country are really discouraging us. 

“My first two children’s father died. My other children’s father left me. The problems now too plenty because things prices keep going up. We are not using U.S dollars, but whenever you go ask for things’ prices, the people will tell you to bring U.S dollars. I voted for George Weah for me to see change. But now, it is worse.”

Abdullai Sheriff, 23, is another young Liberian residing in the Township.

Due to the lack of a job, Sheriff is engaged into gaming activities in West Point.

He runs a Winners’ Sports Betting Machine, where people troop in to bet on a regular basis.

Sheriff observed that the lack of education opportunities for young people remains a major challenge under the Weah-administration.

“The hard time is too much even for the schooling aspect. I voted for change, but what I am seeing is very different. I am out of high school but cannot go to university because there is no support. The rate is going too high and when it goes up, things get hard.”

“My first two children’s father died. My other children’s father left me. The problems now too plenty because things prices keep going up. We are not using U.S dollars, but whenever you go ask for things’ prices, the people will tell you to bring U.S dollars. I voted for George Weah for me to see change. But now, it is worse.”

‘Business Not Flourishing’

Decontee Toe, 27, has been selling women’s slippers for the past 15 years in the Township of West Point.

She has two children, 14 and 10.

She told this newspaper that business is not flourishing as compare to three years ago.

The young Liberian mother wants government to address the escalation of registration and tuition fees at various public, private and faith-based schools operating in the country. 

“I am the mother and father for my two children because, their father and I parted. I buy the slipper cartoons in USD because when you are buying in Liberian dollars, the rate can be too high. People selling in the stores can take L$1,150 for US$5. Before we buy, we have to change the money to USD.

“We want the government to come to our rescue because, business is not going like before. The way we used to sell-we are not selling like that again. Three years ago, we used to sell two cartoons of slippers a day, but now; the one cartoon can carry us the whole week. My family and I voted for Oppong. I voted for things prices to be alright, but right now, things are not fine. This is not what we voted for. 

“I am building a ‘hanging bathroom’ on the river just to survive. There are many challenges; so this government should forget about shifting blame and join hands with other Liberians to make the country better,” Joe Swen stated.

Swen, 40, and a father of two, charges residents, visitors and others L$5 or L$10 to urinate or defecate in a wooden structure with several rooms constructed over the Mesurado River, just few steps from his residence.

Swen noted that the CDC-led government must be focused and prioritized the well-being of its citizens if it (government) must succeed in the future.

Prioritize Students Wellbeing

“Since this government got in power, the unemployment rate has increased. Lot of people are losing their jobs, especially in the private sector. I believe that this government is not in the interest of the common people. The government needs to bring in investors or else, we will continue to suffer. The money is not circulating. Even people who are working; they are not taking pay.”

Madam Madia Flomo disclosed that she sells cold water to sustain her children.

“My cold water business is just from hand to mouth. If you buy L$400 water, you will only get L$100 profit. Things are hard. Prices just going up. I voted for change, and not for things to be like this.”

Ebenezer Williams is a student attending the LACOSSE Teacher Training Institute in Monrovia.

He wants government prioritizes the wellbeing of students.

According to him, the quality of the country’s education system remains appalling, and as such, government should provide more opportunities to citizens desirous of acquiring higher education.

Williams added that the lack of a public health facility in the Township is a paramount issue that must be addressed by government.

Joseph B. Kokolo, 34, is a former contractor at local trading center in Vai Town, outside Monrovia.

“I was working as a store boy in one of the stores of this trading centers; but just recently, I was among 54 persons the people put down from the job.”

“Since this government got in power, the unemployment rate has increased. Lot of people are losing their jobs, especially in the private sector. I believe that this government is not in the interest of the common people. The government needs to bring in investors or else, we will continue to suffer. The money is not circulating. Even people who are working; they are not taking pay.”

West Point is a township in Monrovia located on a peninsula which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. 

Home to approximately 75,000 people, West Point is one of Monrovia’s most densely populated slums.

The Township is also a vote-rich slum of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), one of the political parties that make up the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), which is presently ruling the country.

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