‘I Did Plenty of Nothing…’

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President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in a rare response to critics who accuse her of having done ‘nothing’ during her tenure as president, told an audience during the dedication of 35 new units at the ongoing NASSCORP Village housing project in Brewerville last Friday, “Today I did plenty of nothing.”

With an acute measure of sarcasm, the President began: “The first nothing I did is my visit to the LEC to see the new generator that is coming in two weeks to give electricity to Monrovia.”

Amidst cheers, she added, “The second nothing I did was when I went to White Plains to see nothing that was not there before and to break ground for the construction of the new system to bring water to Monrovia.

“The third nothing I did was going to Mount Coffee to see the people building houses – women who have been trained as truck drivers – to make sure that we get our electricity back. I like that nothing,” she said, as the cheering gained momentum.

“Quietly,” President Sirleaf said, “I came here for the other nothing.”

The last “nothing” she was speaking about, was the dedication of 35 additional housing units funded by the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) and implemented by the National Housing Authority, through several Liberian-owned construction firms. The newly dedicated units bring the total to 93 so far.

President Sirleaf commended Liberians who participated in the construction, diligently working day and night to complete the second phase.

“Today, 93 units of ‘nothing’ that we have got, and I want to say thank you,” President Sirleaf told NHA, NASSCORP and the five Liberian-owned construction companies that completed the project.

“We have received support from others, yes; we have gotten funds from others, yes, but most of the job was done by Liberians,” she said.

The President said that while the 93 housing units now have water and light, the community must begin to put in place “good things” that would make their community better.

She said the National Housing Authority (NHA) can only do so much and that village residents should start planting flowers, among others, to beautify the Village.

President Sirleaf warned future residents of NASSCORP Village to watch out for bad people. “Too often we do things and other bad people come and destroy them,” she added, urging them to protect their properties, which would give them the comfort and peace of mind they seek.

In an overview, NHA Project Officer, Mr. Es-Samir Bropleh, detailed his entity’s partnership with NASSCORP – after whom the Village is named – and the acquisition of 50 acres of land for the project.

When completed, according to Bropleh, the NASSCORP Village would comprise 250 housing units, a school, a 3.5 km road, a commercial zone, police depot and a playground.

He said five Liberian owned companies—Arno Construction, Cusmos Construction, Gleenwills, Kasthon and CJ Construction—completed the project on schedule.

Bropleh said 1,018 Liberians received direct and indirect jobs, but regretted that female workers “were next to nothing.”

“In the first phase we had one woman, who was a mason; and in the second phase, we had one female who was a warehouse manager,” Bropleh said.

NASSCORP Board Chair, Miatta Beysolow, commended NHA and NASSCORP for the project and touched on the “dignity and freedom” associated with being a homeowner.

“Owning a home is the best investment,” she said, while expressing gratitude to President Sirleaf for success of the project.

Director General Dewitt von Ballmoos assured NASSCORP’s appreciation and support to complete projects earmarked by the NHA.

NHA Managing Director, Samuel A. Wlue, commended his staff and technicians, particularly DMD Prince A. Wreh “for making things happen at any time at the NHA,” and thanked NASSCORP and President Sirleaf for the units and for providing affordable housing to Liberians.

Prince Wreh awarded certificates of appreciation to the NASSCORP Board and expressed his gratitude for the NHA-NASSCORP partnership. The DMD also commended President Sirleaf “for her viable leadership.”

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