By Sherman C. Seequeh
The passion, restlessness and exuberance President George Manneh Weah brings to national development is not only unmatched in Liberia’s leadership history but is paying off quite tangibly and substantively in the last few months of his incumbency. And much of this is particularly expressed in his allotment of resources towards the construction of paved roads and making sure that contractors don’t sleep on their contracts. Not a single week comes to pass when the President is not in one community or another where the Government has embarked on the construction of tarmac roads. Clearly, as news gatherers and disseminators have seen for themselves during this period, the President’s visits are not intended for a leisure or tourist purpose; it is for him to follow-up on and to see how incredible ongoing earthmoving are activities taking place in those communities and how the formerly dusty or muddy roads and communities are taking their new shapes in lasting, concrete asphalt pavements.
From Johnsonville to Mount Barclay and veering from the end towards the Pipeline community, from the St. Michael Catholic Chapel on the Somalia Drive through Tusa Field and onwards to Bardnersville Estate, the President is not giving contractors an inch of complacency but is on them almost weekly to ensure the completion of their tasks of tarmac pavements in a short time.
Further Southeast of Montserrado County, there are also several other road construction activities taking place and the President is not lowering his speed in monitoring community road connectivity. Currently, powerful yellow machines are bellowing through Vokar Mission and the Chucky Communities Road Projects, which when completed, will link Paynesville to Congo Town Back Road.
Already, the asphalt payment project that is piercing through the slum region of SKD Community and Clara Town, along with electrification, is nearing completion. Students, marketers, civil servants, bike riders and their passengers are no more contending with deep, flooded ditches and muddy pathways that they used to call roads or streets in their community.
It can also be recalled that the George Weah administration has also commissioned road projects in Buchanan City,
Grand Bassa County and Gbargnga, Bong County. There is also the stretch of road between ELWA Junction and Cocoa Cola Factory communities which is included in the soon-to-start projects. Demolition on the shoulders of this road is ongoing and to be followed soon by actual laying of tarmac.
Bad road conditions have been an age-old irking nightmare for Liberians, both residents of urban and rural communities. Though the countryside is most affected, with 80 percent of Liberia’s territory inaccessible particularly during the raining season, urban roads and streets are no different.
Since his inauguration in January 2018, barely less than a year, President Weah has not made secret [or made lazy as folks would say about taking something serious] his government’s priority—the priority of priorities—roads, roads and roads. And true to his determination and declaration, the President has gone all out within and outside of Liberia to garner as much resources as possible to connect communities and citizens.
Anyone following the President’s drive in just a few months of incumbency would acknowledge how prepared and determined he is to removing mountains and shaking the heavens to ensure that the country’s road deficit is liquidated.
The context of the President’s sense of urgency for constructing durable, concrete roads is found in the chronic road deficit which is the prime catalyst and staller of Liberia’s economic development, industrial growth and stability.
Having experienced poverty firsthand in slum communities which deprived him some of the goodies life has to offer, the Commander-in-Chief is apparently combing every nook and cranny of the country to ameliorate the adversities of squalor which many Liberians face on the daily basis—much of the problem underpinned by bad road conditions across the country.
These roads are currently under construction across the country and are nearing completion. President Weah, since these projects commenced, has been visiting these projects sites to ensure that his campaign promise for road is actualized. Unlike past leaders who were obsessed with office hours, President Weah spends most past of his office hours at these sites, walking long distances and crossing terrible rivers and bridges to get firsthand information.
The Liberian Leader mentioned that all of his energies and blood will be put in the completion of these roads in the county.
“Before I leave the Presidency, and by the time my presidential powers dwindle, Liberians will remember me for one thing and that will be the construction of roads within the length and breadth of this country.”
Sherman C. Seequeh is a Liberian journalist and political analyst. He’s currently the Director of Communications at the Public Affairs Department of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs.