Pro-Poor Governance at Work: 90 days Ultimatum for Public Works

Pro-Poor Governance at Work: 90 days Ultimatum for Public Works to Pave Doe Community Road

On Monday, 7 May 2018, residents of Doe Community on Bushrod Island woke up in tears of joy when H.E. President George Manneh Weah entered the slum community to break grounds for the pavement of the dilapidated road leading through Clara Town into the community. Thousands of residents and students lined the street ponds of dirty water to warmly welcome the President whose operation is becoming unorthodox compared to the immediate past President of the Republic, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. President Weah, himself, was seen operating a yellow machine as an evidence of his commitment to ensure that the people of that community are liberated from the continuous bad road problem.

It was a busy day for the Minister of Public Works and his team on whose shoulders the responsibility rests. President Weah has given an ultimatum of 90 days to the Minster of Public Works, Hon. Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan, and his team to complete the pavement of the road during the height of this raining season in Liberia. This seems quite challenging, but when quizzed whether the President’s mandate will be expeditiously executed, Minister Nyenpan says ‘the pavement of the road is considered done’.  He believes that the pro-poor government under President Weah’s leadership is sensitive to the needs of the poorest of the poor; hence delivering basic social services and infrastructural development to them must be done in the shortest possible time.

The consummate Minister who is an Engineer, a Lawyer and Diplomat believes that the Public Works Minister needs to act quickly to alleviate the suffering Liberians experience due to the lack of access to counties, districts and even communities in and around the Capital, Monrovia. ‘Our government must do what others failed to do for the suffering people of our country’, the Minister lamented.

It can be recalled that Minister Nyenpan made a commitment to end the suffering of countless Liberians who spend sleepless nights in the forests and on highways due to bad roads. When he took office, he said “we will make sure that all major highways are passable come this rainy season”. He committed his administration to creating access to communities that have long been craving for good roads.

The Minster noted that ‘it is almost becoming a tradition in Liberia for primary roads to become inaccessible during rainy season due to lack of maintenance, occasion by the lack of no money syndrome, but the Public Works Ministry under our watch will ensure that all primary roads are passable beginning this rainy season’.

According to the former LPRC Executive and Sinoe County Senator, ‘the year-round accessibility will accelerate commercial activities and at the same time enhances the delivery of medical supplies across the country’.  With this, he said, ‘President Weah’s pro poor agenda will take precedence once the ordinary man or woman can be able to transport his or her goods and services at a lesser cost from one destination to another in exchange for what pleases him or her’.

‘Today, the day has arrived for the Doe Community, one of the slum communities in the Monrovia area; and I know other communities, Districts and counties will soon benefit from paved roads’’ the Minister in a joyous mood asserted.

Minister Nyenpan has since inspected the Logan Town-Bombo Town, Caldwell-Diggsville to Bardnersville, Somalia Drive, Police Academy among others are road projects that have been ongoing. He has also assessed the situations of the Buchanan-Greenville highway, Ganta-Tappita-Zwedru, Pleebo-Barclayville, Lofa-Mendikorma, Voinjama-Vahun and other major highways in the country.

Due to the awesome job being done by the Ministry of Public Works, a pro-democracy group, African Media Network of Liberia in partnership with the Independent Civil Society Network on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 honored the Works Minister for his dedication and commitment to duty.   The African Media Network of Liberia is a consortium of media practitioners and CSO actors operating as a pro-democracy institution.

The honoring program took place in the conference room of the Minister. Making a special recognition statement, the group spokesman, Mr. Jeremiah E. Paye, said ‘their decision to honor the Public Works Minister is based on his hard work’.

Highlighting summary of the Minister’s achievement over a short period of time, the media group said it recognized the Minister and delegation negotiation visit to Japan, Tokyo where bidding process for the commencement of rehabilitation work on the other two lanes of the Somalia Drive was launched.  Additionally, the group mentioned the Minster and delegation’s inspection tour of roads in the Southeast as an initiative intended to end the travelling difficulties usually experienced by people in that part of the country.

Speaking further, Mr. Paye said the recent visit in Asia for the negotiation of a US$536 million loan agreement for the Coastal Highway, and plans to connect Bali Island and 12th street with Kesselley Boulevard are among many reasons why they think Minister Nyenpan and his team should be honored.   “Your role in the negotiation of US$536 million dollars agreement for the Coastal Highway, and your plans to connect Bali Island and overhead bridge to connect 12th Street with Kesselley Boulevard are the motivational factors behind our decision to honor you, Mr. Minister”, said Group Chairman Jeremiah E. Paye.

Accordingly, the group noted that, these activities speak volume of Minister Nyenpan’s commitment and willingness to serve the Liberian people. The group maintained that people should be criticized, but at the same time they should be giving their flowers for doing good work. “It is in the spirt of recognizing hard working government officials that we have come to honor you”, Paye conclude.

Accepting the award, the former Sinoe County Senator thanked the African Media Network of Liberia for the honor bestowed on him, adding, he was delighted that, haven served as minister for only 2 months, a pro-democracy group has recognized his work and has decided to honor him and his team.

“We are delighted that haven served as Minister for precisely 2 months, you have recognized our efforts and have decided to honor us”, Minister Nyenpan told the group.  He further asserted that ‘Liberia’s infrastructure challenges are enormous, and that he sees his calling as Public Works Minister as a herculean task’.  He termed the award as not only public recognition, but a motivation and challenge to work harder and bring relief to the people of Liberia to promote trade and commerce. “What you have done today is a clear demonstration that there are people in society that are watching, and it is this type of watch dog activities that keep our feet to the fire to do more”, he emphasized.

Now that an urgent task has been given the Ministry of Public Works to pave the road to Doe Community, other communities with bad roads could begin mounting pressure on the Ministry to equally get a share of the pro-poor government. Although resources are limited to meet the infrastructural needs of all communities and counties, a smart usage of resources to strategically impact the poor would do well for a government that is battling economic challenges.

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