In the June 30th Edition of the Daily Observer, residents of the Samuel K. Doe Community on Bushrod Island made an appeal to the Ministry of Public Works to repair the road leading to this swampy slum community.
The appeal is just one of many appeals in the past with some assurance from the government to address the issue since some huge portion of the population is concentrated on the outskirts of central Monrovia.
The residents, who must leave the confines of their community to transact business or work in their respective areas of employment, complained that the only road leading to the area has become impassible for vehicles or even motorbikes.
According to our reporter David Yates, the residents, seeing the unbearable constraint, predicted imminent health dangers that may occur as a result of the road condition, noting that if the situation remains unaddressed, it’s highly probable that sick people including pregnant women in emergency could die or encounter disgraceful condition without urgent medical attention.
There are a couple of factors to consider why this plea from residents of the Doe Community should claim the immediate attention of the Ministry of Public Works. Firstly, the Ministry of Public Works under the watch of former Minister Samuel Kofi Woods promised and was reported in the Daily Observer over four years ago that it would pave the road leading into the community. This happened at the time when heavy rains had caused the same road to become inaccessible by vehicles. We believe that since former Minister Woods made this promise, and he is not there now, the current Minister, Gyude Moore, should implement this plan coupled with others in accordance with the theory of “continuity of Government,” which implies that what one administration began, especially basic social services, the next administration should continue to drive the national development agenda, irrespective of which party is running the government.
Secondly, Doe Community, like any other slum community hosting a huge number of Liberians in and outside Monrovia, needs some basic social services because Liberians are there. Some of the people there are business-people who pay taxes to government while others work in public and private places contributing their quota to the economy one way or the other. They are also voters whose ballots lead to the triumph of any leader including the current President, whose administration allows Minister Moore and his predecessor to work.
There is no need to doubt that we have some good Liberians in this community who are striving to get an education to meaningfully contribute to the growth and development of the Liberian society. Jesse and his sons in the biblical account of Samuel did not know the least they had would become the chosen one of God, and having kept David in the field to look after the sheep, realized in the end that he was the one Samuel had gone to anoint as a king of Israel. Following the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), there were some Liberians celebrated for their impacts during that time of public health disaster, and some of them are Dr. Fallah and Representative Saah Joseph. These people, having carefully followed their profiles, are Liberians who lived in slums and were very identical to the rest of the impoverished people living there. But because of their resilience to make a change and set good examples, they learned and found themselves places of esteem and honor, where they impacted the lives of others. Who knows, same people could be in Doe Community either making an impact or striving to acquire an education to make positive impacts.
Lastly for the purpose of this editorial, Doe Community opened in the 1980s not in the absence of the Liberian Government, but with its consent that opening it would help to accommodate the people that were flooding into Monrovia as a result of urban migration for opportunities, including education, at the time. This urban migration was backed by the fact that higher education and job opportunities were centralized in Monrovia and other parts of Montserrado County. This urban migration became overwhelming during and after the civil war when a lot of people lost their homes in the rural areas. When they arrived in Monrovia, they had no option but to either find lodging with some relatives and friends, or build shanty structures in poor communities such as Doe Community, where they could afford to dwell. Therefore, people in this community among others by virtue of their human and constitutional rights, are entitled to basic social services including good roads that will enable them to move about.
Although the need for government’s intervention is important, it is also incumbent upon residents of a community to initiate self-help projects for their well-being. As residents of Doe Community wait on government to intervene, they must also be exerting some efforts to minimize the effect of the situation and to register that they are serious. Let us remember the parable of the Lord Jesus about the man who gave three men separate amounts of talents to manage until his return from a planned journey. Depending on the effort each man made in producing additional talents to what he was entrusted him with, the master added it up. Furthermore, the master had to take the one talent given to the man that did nothing to multiply it.
Therefore, let this be an encouragement to the Doe Community to continue the initiatives you have begun in order to convince the Ministry of Public Works that you are serious and need an improved road. Community leaders must also be proactive to constructively organize and write the Ministry of Public Works, reminding it of its promise and the need for good roads in the community. People of Doe Community need social services; let the Ministry of Public Works put smiles on their faces so they too will feel inclusive of government’s deliverables.