Taking The People’s Burden

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It is becoming overly burdensome to attend to every potential voter and others who gather on a daily basis at the homes of political aspirants seeking financial and material assistance. Many of these aspirants are mindful not to disappoint their potential voters who call on them to ask for genuine assistance that will substantially impact their lives.

One of the aspirants vying for a representative seat in 2017 in Montserrado District #2 is former police chief, Lt.-Col. Jimmy Smith. Walking outside his gate in Chicken Farm, Jacob Town, on Saturday morning in his pajamas, Col. Smith puts his hands on his head in sympathy with a group of women who stood at his gate with children on their backs, and some youth waiting for him to give each of them some kind of help.

“I feel sorry for all of you here and others who have been coming to see me for some assistance but let me tell you with no intent to hurt you that the good I do does not mean that I have more than enough to share everyday with people. It is because I am in sympathy with your situation that’s why I share what I have,” Col. Smith said.

Col. Smith told the visitors, all of whom are from his district, that regardless of tribe he needs their support so can become their representative come 2017, to have constitutional backing to provide credible oversight and legislate in their interest.

He said since his controversial loss of the representative seat to Rep. Seku Konneh in 2011, he has kept his campaign promises by paying regular school fees for 400 grade-school students and additional 110 students at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC), building bridges and roads and paying for health care for people faced with complex medical conditions.

“Up to present I am still doing these things but let me not be given responsibilities heavier than what I deserve now,” Col. Smith admonished.

Col. Smith meanwhile gave his special assistant Memeh Jones L$3,000 to give each visitor at least L$100 for transportation and promised to closely work with all of them in making sure a good system, good policies and structures are put in place to bring relief to the district.

Engaging the early morning visitors, Aisha Kamara, 40, said her reason for going to Col. Smith early Saturday morning was to get at least L$3,000 in order to do petty business in her neighborhood.

“My husband has died and left me with four children without anything to count on for their upbringing, lest I talk about getting food to eat every day,” Mrs. Kamara said gloomily, adding that her life is so difficult that she washes clothes for people to get food for her children.

Six other women, including Massa Konneh, Bindu Flomo, Fatu Bondo, Ruth T. Flomo, Korwu Gbon and Comfort Nartee were also at the gates begging for money to sell.

Students Ketorah Kerpeh, Pauline M. Darvine and Evelyn Yonkee were waiting for WAEC and school fees as they have been put out of school.

Another pressing case was the presence of Kpanna Vadikor, an 82 year old “pressure” patient who was taken to the Colonel’s by her granddaughter for money to buy medication.

Old lady Vadikor, a Kpelleh woman whose words were interpreted in English by her granddaughter, Bindu Flomo, said her daughter who brought her from Suakoko to Monrovia, was killed by the Ebola virus disease, thereby leaving her with grand children who need serious financial help.

The visitors, nearly 200, received L$100 each for transportation.

Meanwhile, Col. Smith said though he will not stop anyone from coming to him for help, he will respond primarily to those in excruciating circumstances, and deal with them as they arise, without delay.

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