Aaron Kollie, proprietor of Power Radio and Television in Monrovia, has not been the only prominent Lofa citizen to visit the county over the Christmas holidays. Yes, he was in his native Kpademai, in the Wologesi area of Voinjama District.
There he made a major speech blasting the Liberian government for doing little for Lofa, despite the overwhelming support its people gave President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf during the 2011 elections.
Kollie criticized the county’s road system and called the bridges “death traps.” He also frowned upon what he called the primitive agricultural practices of Lofa farmers, still using their hoe and cutlass instead of mechanical devices to grow more food. Yet Lofa is known to be the nation’s chief breadbasket.
Aaron Kollie has not announced it, but some say he may be taking a shot at the House of Representatives. So he decided that his first volley was to talk tough to let the people know he is firmly on their side.
But further up the street from Voinjama, in the Kolahun and Foya Districts, there were some pretty high-powered sons of Lofa, too, visiting during the Season.
The home boys who crossed the Voinjama border to identify with their people during this festive time apparently contented themselves with just that—talking little but enjoying the Season with their people, while at the same time listening to what they had to say.
And who were these? No less a person than Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, a native of Foya, and members of his family and general entourage, who spent over three weeks in the greater Foya area and beyond.
There was also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augustine Ngafuan, who definitely showed his face in the greater Kolahun area, but most especially Fangoda, his birth place, where he spent quality time with relatives and old friends.
James Kollie, Deputy Minister for Revenues in the Finance Ministry, was there in Kolahun, too. In Lofa, too, no doubt, was Galakpai Kortima, former Superintendent, who is now Mary Broh’s Deputy at the General Services Agency (GSA).
All of these top officials of government, sons of Lofa all, must have been wondering what Aaron Kollie’s fuss was all about. He surely could not say, they reckoned, that Ellen had neglected Lofans in her government. One of the Deputies at Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Una Kumba Thompson, is also a daughter of Lofa.
Kollie is absolutely right about the still primitive ways in which Lofans and Liberians in general do farming. This newspaper has constantly and consistently complained that the government has failed to organize agriculture. That is why we still import so much of what we eat and have so little agriculturally to export. Admittedly, it used to be a little better during the Tubman and Tolbert eras, when the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) was in full swing. But that quickly declined following the 1980 coup and has had great difficulty picking itself up again. In LPMC’s heyday, coffee and cocoa farmers flourished; so did those who dealt in palm kernels, palm oil, etc. The problem is that we have not made progress agriculturally. Foya and Grand Cess are natural habitats for cattle; yet we still depend on Guinea and Mali for meat.
Heaven knows what is our problem!
When it comes to roads, however, Aaron Kollie may have forgotten about the Vahun Road, for which former Public Works Minister Kofi Woods was so highly praised and appreciated.
We understand that farm-to-market roads in Lofa are near fully operational; and the airstrip in Foya has been rehabilitated, thanks to Samaritan Purse, the humanitarian organization run by the world evangelist Dr. Billy Graham’s son Franklin. Now people can travel to Foya from Monrovia in only 35 minutes, on Samaritan planes!
Then we understand that the streets of Voinjama are about to be paved.
Our Water Correspondent Edwin Fayia reports that the water system in Lofa is poised for improvement. All of the feasibility studies have been completed, and procurement of equipment is in process.
Perhaps the Vice President and Foreign Minister knew something about all these developments and were able to resign themselves to simply enjoying the Season with their people.
In the next Season, Aaron Kollie may find something else about which he may be able to bark—or boast.