A renowned Liberian media practitioner, and eminent son of Lofa County, has described the condition of his county and living status of his people as shameful and a big disgrace.
Veteran journalist Aaron Kollie said the situation is unbelievable, despite the support the people of Lofa overwhelmingly gave President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Speaking at a re-union of citizens of Kpademai Town in Lofa County on Christmas Day, Mr. Kollie said that Lofa is being deserted by this government, evidenced by the terrible state of infrastructure in the county.
Mr. Kollie made specific reference to roads, which he noted are in a deplorable condition during both the dry and rainy seasons.
He said bridges throughout the region are death traps and the government is making no effort to renovate them or have them reconstructed.
Addressing the audience at the reunion, Mr. Kollie, who is the owner of Power Radio and Television station, with the latter having a branch in the county capital Voinjama, asked rhetorically “Are you satisfied with the general condition of Lofa County?” The audience roared back a unanimous “no,” He then said that our county is a disgrace in terms of development and facilities.
This county has produced three vice presidents, but has no significant infrastructure or development to boast of as compared to other counties.
He said that the people of Lofa have been silent for long and that now is the right time for them to speak the truth to government so that they can begin to benefit from the country’s wealth.
“It is a shame and disgrace that we once called Lofa the ‘breadbasket of Liberia,’ yet our people still use traditional methods of farming and our government is not even thinking about providing these people with machines to help them become more productive,” he said.
He noted further “In this 21st century it is unacceptable to use manual labor to process rice and other products. Our mothers are still pounding rice with their bare hands while our fathers and brothers are still brushing the bush without the aid of machines.”
Mr. Kollie said Lofa has been very loyal to the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by overwhelmingly voting for her in both 2005 and 2011, but the county has nothing to show for its loyalty to the Liberian leader and it is now time that the people of Lofa rise up to demand their share of development.
Mr. Kollie said that it is unacceptable that Lofians are still traveling on life threatening bridges after their resources have been extracted from the forest. “I say this without envy, but unlike Lofa the people of the South-Eastern and Central regions can now boast of major road construction like the Fishtown-Harper and the Gbarnga-Ganta roads.”
“The Harbel-Buchannan road is already completed, but what do we have to boast of here when our people are travelling through dust, mud, and poorly maintained infrastructure on a daily basis.
Look at that magnificent Jackson F. Doe hospital that was constructed in Tappita, in Nimba; don’t we have the right to get some of these facilities?” he asked.
“We deserve our fair share of revenue being generated from companies that are taking our resources in order to improve the living conditions of our people,” Mr. Kollie asserted.
He noted that government decentralization policy would be a fiasco until the people start to fully enjoy the benefit of the resources.
In response to Mr. Kollie’s claims, the Development Superintendent of Lofa County, Madam Krubo Jones Janka, said that government has not abandoned Lofa and its people, as is being said; it is just that the government faces financial constraints.
“The pavement of the streets of Voinjama by the government—with assistance from the Swedish International Development Agency—is a clear indication that government has Lofa and its people at heart,” she said.
She disclosed that the government is about to undertake major development initiatives in the county this new year.