Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia are leaving Sunday for Africa, where they will promote girls' education in Liberia and Morocco before going to Spain.
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THE SIRLEAF-LED government has taken its share of criticisms from many across Liberia and the Diaspora. On numerous occasions we have taken the administration to task for various levels of ill-advised decisions which we feel have been detrimental to the government and people of Liberia.
THE RECENT decision to transform the Paynesville Red Light District on the outskirts of the capital, Monrovia is however the one we wholeheartedly welcome with open arms.
THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT is located in the Paynesville suburb east of Monrovia
THE AREA has for some time now gained notoriety as one of the busiest shopping districts but one eclipsed by a wave of high-crimes and misdemeanour and a haven for congested traffic, filth and decay.
LAST WEEK, residents woke up to see stores closed as bulldozers and tractors cleared the main street in the busy Red Light market to make room for ongoing road construction work.
WHILE MANY ARE EMBRACING the transformation, residents and marketers alike are complaining that they weren’t given enough time and were in fact caught off guard by the exercise. “To wake up in the morning and you cannot do your business is confusing, if government wants to build the road we are not against it but we should be inform about it,” Marie Kollie, a marketer told FrontPageAfrica last week.
ON THE CONTRARY, Jani Jallah, Head of Communications at the Paynesville City Council countered: “We were informed by the Ministry of Public works, one of the things they stressed is that they wanted to finish the road in one week due to the rain, we had meeting with marketer heads and the transport sector about the plan and we all agreed.” Jallah continued: “This is development. It is more beneficial to the businesses and the citizens, we are appreciative of the business, and we are hoping that it finishes before the weekend.”
WE SUPPORT ANY project or initiative that will improve the lives of Liberians and a city still recovering from aftermath of a brutal civil war.
ACROSS THE West African sub-region, Liberia’s neighbours are progressing at a faster pace. Although some of them experienced conflict and civil unrest, they have managed to bring development, improve infrastructure and transform communities to make life better for their citizens.
LIBERIA REMAINS A STEP behind because much of the effort to transform has been delayed by corruption and the snail pace of some government officials in pushing the administration’s agenda.
THE RED LIGHT transformation is only a figment of a larger development project. The Liberian Government and the World Bank signed an agreement totalling an estimated US$249 million for the rehabilitation of the approximately 249-kilometer Monrovia (Red Light)-Gbarnga-Ganta-Guinea border road. This Liberia Road Asset Management Project (LIBRAMP) also provides for the maintenance of the road over a 10-year period.
THE OBJECTIVE of the project is to support Liberia’s efforts to reduce transport costs and travel time along the road corridor from Monrovia to the Guinea border and to maintain the road in good condition over a 10-year period.
THE TOTAL ESTIMATED project cost is US$249 million, of which about US$176 million is being provided from International Development Association -IDA (approx. US$68 million) through its credit to Liberia, and approximately US$109 million grant from the multi-donor Liberia Reconstruction Trust Fund (LRTF) administered by the World Bank.
TODAY, THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT has become one of the most dreaded areas for shoppers as marketers have turned the area into a pool of congestion that has made it nearly impossible for motorists to move freely and shoppers to shop without fear of being robbed.
IN NEIGHBORING Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Guinea, rapid transformations are in play. Liberia on the other hand, does not have a decent airport that its citizens can be proud of.
THIS IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT that all Liberians rally behind the transformation of existing dilapidating areas so that Liberia can embark on its own road to infrastructure recovery in the norm and fashion as that Ghana did during the eras of former Presidents Kwame Nkrumah and Jerry John Rawlings which saw state-led approaches that used the instruments and power of the state to engineer socio-economic transformation and market-led approaches to social and economic transformation in a way that dismantled public enterprises and social provisioning established under Nkrumah.
IN NEXT DOOR Sierra Leone, road constructions are pressing ahead while Ivory Coast which endured a major civil unrest continues to make strides.
LIBERIA CANNOT AFFORD to be left behind. As Africa’s oldest republic, citizens deserve a chance to boast of something to be proud of. The revamp of the Red Light District and other ongoing reformation projects as well as the repair of the Mount Coffee Hydro plant will go a long way in cementing Liberia on a path to post-war reformation, transformation and development.
IT REQUIRES NOT just government but all citizens as a whole in working together to ensure that projects are carried out without glitches. In the final analysis, it is Liberia that stands to benefit the most and we must all support what is in the best interest of Liberia. The country always comes first, no matter what!
GEORGE M. WEAH has no doubt been a household name in Liberian politics since the first postwar election in 2005 when the debutant shock Liberia and the world at large relying on his athletics popularity to make it to the runoff election where he lost to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf crying foul in the process.
CONFIDENT OF VICTORY WEAH and his supporters found it very difficult to accept the election result as they took to the streets in protest, requiring the intervention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international institutions to convince Weah and his supporters to abandon their protest for the sake of peace.
THROUGHOUT THE FIRST six years of the Sirleaf presidency, the CDC remained an organized political party, maintaining a functioning headquarter and constantly speaking on national issues a situation that provided some hopes to Weah and his supporters that 2011 was their year of ascending to state power.
MATHEMATICALLY WEAH AND supporters calculated that the nemesis of 2005 which had to do with the low education of Weah could once again come to hunt him in 2011 which prompted the CDC to opt for Weah to contest as Vice Presidential candidate to former United Nations envoy, Cllr. Winston Tubman.
THE CALCULATION DID NOT work out for the CDC as the party performed second to best behind the Unity Party, a drop down the ladder from the performance in 2005 when the CDC won the first round with wide margin over the Unity Party but could not just secure the required 50% plus one vote in accordance with Liberia’s electoral law.
UNABLE TO MATCH THE financial strength of the ruling party coupled with the number of politicians that pledged support to the Unity Party, the CDC boycotted the runoff and the UP smoothly sailed to its second term in power.
STILL POLITICALLY AMBITIOUS WEAH contested the 2014 Special senatorial election and this time came on top of his opponents winning with a massive wide margin although the turnout during the senatorial election was far lower than that of the number of votes cast in 2005 and 2011 in Montserrado County.
IN HIS FIRST ELECTED POLITICAL position, representing the county with the largest number of votes, Weah has been mute on many issues confronting the population and was recently graded by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD’s) as one of the senators with least participation in the Liberian Senate deliberations.
WEAH’S LITMUS TEST BEFORE launching his Presidential bid has now turned out to be a fiasco with the Montserrado County Senator described as mere spectator at the Senate but still that did not deter him and his supporters as he Thursday accepted what he termed as numerous calls from his people to contest the Presidency in 2017.
IN ANNOUNCING HIS THIRD BID for the Presidency, Weah said: “I George Weah on this 28th day of April 2016 here on the Grounds of the Congress for Democratic Change do hereby accept the numerous calls, your calls and declare before you my countrymen and the all mighty God that I shall contest the presidency of our beloved country in the 2017 National elections”.
PERHAPS A LITTLE POLITICALLY MATURED, Weah promised what Liberians would be happy to hear, promising improvement in education, investment in agriculture and provision of basic social services to the Liberian people.
HIS SUPPORTERS CHEERED as he managed to deliver s short speech but on top of the numerous challenges ahead for Weah, the momentum that once characterized previous CDC political rallies was not the same Thursday.
UNLIKE IN 2005 AND 2011 when zealous youths printed their own t-shirts and walked long distances to get to where the CDC held rallies, supporters cued at the CDC headquarters Thursday to get printed t-shirts.
THURSDAY CROWD WAS NOT a normal CDC crowd in 2005 and 2011 which indicates that the political variables have changed dramatically over the last 12 years for Weah and his CDC.
WITHIN ELEVEN YEARS, YOUNG Liberians have learned a lot that politicians are not the solution to their problems especially when an internationally acclaimed Sirleaf with all the accolades could not provide the needed jobs for the hungry population.
THE LOW TURNOUT IN ALL THE 15 counties during the 2014 special senatorial election are a sign that Liberians apathy for politics is growing which makes the work ahead for people like Weah very difficult especially with majority of his supporters amongst the youthful population.
THE CDC LOYALTY POLITICS where the party believe that its supporters are diehard and do not require money and other incentives to be supportive seems to be no longer the reality.
WEAH AND HIS SUPPORTERS DEFINITELY have work at hand to convince an angry and hungry young population to once again come out in their numbers like 2005 and 2011 defying the rain and sun to support this Presidential bid.
IT IS A BOLD AND GOOD announcement and welcome to the political theatre once again but this time, the work ahead looks tougher than previous years
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