Executive Mansion Not Prepared for Weah

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The Executive Mansion, which was gutted by fire in 2006 has been under renovation since then

Since the executive mansion was gutted by fire during President Sirleaf’s first term of office 11 years ago, it is yet to be prepared as offices and habitable living quarters for the new president-elect, George Weah, sources have told the Daily Observer.

The Executive Mansion was gutted by fire during Liberia’s 159th Independence Anniversary celebration on July 26, 2006. President Sirleaf was at the time feting foreign guests and dignitaries in the gardens of the Executive Mansion.

When contacted, Jerolinmek Matthew Piah, Presidential Press Secretary said the renovation of the Executive Mansion is in progress, but however failed to state the expected completion date or time frame of the project.

President-elect and vice President-elect, George Manneh Weah and Jewel Howard-Taylor, will be inaugurated on Monday, January 22, 2018 as the 24th elected president of Liberia and there is mounting public concern that President Weah will not occupy the official seat of the Presidency not anytime soon.

Observers say that the Executive Mansion has been deserted and abandoned mainly due to President Sirleaf’s alleged fears about ghosts and evil spirits haunting the building. It can be recalled that ex-fighter, now Reverend Joshua Milton Blahyi, told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission during its public hearings that blood ritual and other sacrifices were performed at the Executive Mansion during the tenure of late President Samuel K. Doe to render him as well as the Executive Mansion impregnable. Hundreds of people especially men are also said to have been killed on the grounds of the Executive Mansion in the wake of the 1985 failed Quiwonkpa invasion.

But it remains unclear whether President Sirleaf’s failure to complete the renovation of the Executive Mansion before the end of her tenure is deliberate, can be attributed to her alleged fear of lurking ghosts and evil spirits or whether it can be attributed to wanton corruption or gross mismanagement of resources allocated to its renovation.

What is however clear is that Government officials are maintaining sealed lips and reacting angrily in typical knee-jerk fashion to queries about progress on the ongoing renovation exercise at the Executive Mansion.

When questioned, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolimek Piah failed to state how much has been used in the renovation of the official residence and offices of the Liberian leader. But sources say over U.S$10 million has since been spent on the renovation project, most of which has been squandered by top officials.

Further according to sources, brass fittings and every other useful piece of equipment was scrapped and sold for a pittance — a price far below the value of the scrapped materials.

“I cannot speak to the completion of the project, because the renovation is ongoing,” Piah told the Daily Observer in an angry tone.

He told the Observer that the Ministry of Finance and Development (MFDP) was the appropriate institution to provide financial information regarding the renovation process.

Mr. Sylvester Grigsby, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs said the project was turned over to the Ministry of Public Works four months ago.

“Based on the General Auditing Commission (GAC) recommendation from the last audit conducted, the project was given to them to continue. As we speak, the work is ongoing,” Minister Grigsby said.

Claude Langley, Deputy Minister for Technical services at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) said the renovation work was far from completion.

“I had discussions with the President-Elect Weah yesterday providing update on the current ongoing renovation of the Executive Mansion. This project was turned over to me in September of last year,” Minister Langley said.

A highly placed source within the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) told the Daily Observer yesterday it was unfortunate that the Executive Mansion is yet to be completed since July, 2006.

“We will speak to the renovation of the Executive Mansion after the inauguration of the President-Elect. We are also concerned about the long delay in the renovation process, but want to remain focused on what is on hand,” a source who preferred anonymity told the Observer.

The third floor Executive Mansion went up in flames on the afternoon of July 26, 2006, Liberia’s 159th Independence Day

There has been growing public  concern and debate over the delay in the renovation process with continued silence from Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs.

Following the fire outbreak on the third floor of the Executive Mansion on Liberia’s 159th Independence Day, July 26, 2006, the government of Liberia announced its closure pending, renovation work. President Sirleaf relocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she has since been performing official State functions.

Construction of the eight-storey building which began in 1961, was completed in 1964 during the tenure of Liberia’s 18th President, William V. S. Tubman, Sr.

The Executive Mansion is the official seat of the President of the Republic of Liberia, but since the fire incident, it has remained virtually abandoned.

8 COMMENTS

  1. It is unthinkable that the president of the Unites States of America will run the affairs of the country from the United States Department of State instead of the White House or the president of Ghana from a Ministry instead of the Flagstaff House. I am hoping that the president elect will commission an audit into the executive mansion project and if possible based on the findings of the report,prosecute all those involved into holding that project still. This could send a strong message to everyone out there that we are ready for business.

    • It is a pity for the nation vast financial resources to be pumped into the renovation work of the Executive Mansion and nothing is going on in terms of progress report on the status of the renovation work. It is my understanding that there has been budget line item in the Liberian National Budget since 2006 for the renovation work and yet, there is no progress report.
      Liberian people hope that the CDC-Led government will bring to book and persecute in court all those connected with the financial distribution activities of the Executive Mansion Renovation work project.

  2. Nagbe,
    Destroyers can be builders. If the Executive Mansion cannot be repaired, it must be demolished. The destroyers, who will definitely be the Weah-Taylor team could end up being the builders. I certainly hope that the decision to demolish the EM (if repair work will cost millions) will be made sooner or later.

    Mr. Alexander Shelton,
    You are spot on from east to west! No president on earth could do such a dumb thing that Johnson-Sirleaf did. All she could have done was to demolish the EM and have a new presidential residence put up. While she operated from the Foreign Ministry building, no serious plans were made to re-model the EM.

    Johnson-Sirleaf’s moral fortitude was challenged throughout her presidency. A case in point is the fact that throughout her presidency, no coins were minted. As a consequence of not having coins, Liberia has a rediculus dubious distinction in a world of nations. There’s no civilized nation that transact business without coins.

    K. Doe,
    You have a valid point as well. I applaud your stance on the issue of bringing the old hands of Johnson-Sirleaf to court. Without doubt, a lot of things went on that need to be brought to the attention of the public. It shouldn’t be seen as a witch hunt, but rather an act of clearing the smoke of corruption that took hold throughout Johnson-Sirleaf’s presidency. Yeah, she did a few good things, but still there are serious issues that need to be exposed for the good of the country. We don’t want to continuously pile dirt on top of dirt.

  3. Built a new Executive Mansion if this is filled with human blood sacrifices and use the old one for other governmental operations. Probably this has out lives it purpose. Remember, a President (Tolbert)was killed in here, according to the information if true, other eminent citizens were also killed there because of power fights during President Doe tenure.
    The Ellen Johnson leadership should have thought on that instead of wasting tax payers money on building that is yet to be completed, those monies could have gone to a new Executive Mansion while squatting at the Foreign Ministry for eleven years, since this one was contaminated with humans blood. Giving the history of what ready happened in that Mansion, I myself will be skeptical to live there not to talk about sleeping. This building was built by the late President Tubman. It about time we build a new Executive Mansion.

  4. Yap Mambu Momo, a new presidential palace is needed.

    We definitely need a new building for our presidents. The mansion has a lot of issues.

  5. let’s invite Holy men of God to do Exorcism in that mansion. we have already placed lot of money into that project to abandoned or demolish it. it could be used as museum since we do not have one fitting one in our country.

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