It can take more than three weeks just to obtain an invoice to get a meter at LEC. Every day it is, “Go come tomorrow.”
The problem may be malfunctioning computers, the failure of Lonestar’s Internet services, or the lackadaisical (lazy, careless) attitude of the employees—or all of the above. But it matters not who is sent to do the transaction, whether a managerial expediter (one employed to ensure efficient movement of goods or supplies in a business) or a most senior executive. It is the same difference—every day, “Go come tomorrow.”
The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) seems so badly run that they do not even have a cafeteria. Its well-dressed female employees are seen eating lunch on abandoned desks in dusty hallways.
But that is a minor observation. What about the failure of management to minimize or stop the power theft, which LEC says it always experiences, costing the corporation thousands of United States dollars daily. The latest series of power thefts occur daily on Somalia Drive and the thieves do so with impunity. How will LEC ever be able to meet the demands of the public, the passionate expectations of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who promised since 2006 – every bit of a decade ago – to restore electricity to Monrovia and other parts of Liberia?
The problem of power theft has gone as far as Nimba County, where a few years ago the people were found stealing the very bulbs from the street lights, and even the aluminum poles. This frustrated the efforts of our neighboring partners, notably La Cote d’Ivoire, a key member of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) that was supposed to bring electrical installations to southeastern, central and western Liberia.
If you ask the ordinary LEC employee, or even some in senior management, they will say “Well, the Liberian government has given to a Canadian firm the management contract to straighten out and run LEC. So it is not we, the Liberians, who are responsible for anything.”
The contract was given to the Canadians in order to improve the delivery of this vital energy sector. But has it? There are many who feel that a lot more could have been accomplished under this contract.
Now it seems as though the President, in exasperation, is seriously thinking of deploying Madam Fix It, the indefatigable, no-nonsense General Mary Broh to go and rescue LEC. Why?
Because this woman, everywhere she has been assigned, has made a decisive and positive difference.
She helped beautify—as much as she could—Broad Street and the UL-Executive Mansion intersection in 2006-7. She magnificently improved the Monrovia City Hall, including its once notorious toilets. Beyond that, while at City Hall she made the cleanliness of Monrovia, the nation’s capital, priority number one. Because of her, every first Saturday of the month has become “Mary Broh Day” because during her tenure at City Hall she demanded that on that day people clean their yards and neighborhoods, market stalls and other business places. Nothing was to take place before that was done. So to this day, every store, every business, every bank remains closed until the cleaning is done by 10 a.m.
She forcibly introduced paid parking on Monrovia’s streets, bringing considerable revenues to the Monrovia City Corporation. It also brought some order to parking in the city.
She cleaned up the Foreign Ministry’s Passport Division, transforming it from a corrupt and ineffective agency into one in which it became possible to obtain a passport within a day or few days.
In her latest assignment as Director General of the General Services Agency, she has been so meticulous that people who have visited the Agency’s toilets have come away so impressed that they are saying you can even eat in GSA’s lavatories. They are that clean.
There were numerous comments on the Daily Observer online in reaction to last Friday’s lead story, “Mary Broh Tipped for LEC?” The comments were overwhelmingly in favor of General Broh taking over this vital corporation. People felt convinced that she would, given the opportunity, make a very serious difference in this critically important sector, and help actualize Ellen’s vision and passionate desire to restore electricity to most parts of Liberia before the end of her term.
Should this speculation materialize and General Broh is able to go fix LEC, the next question that will be on many people’s minds is, what next for Mary Broh? Could she be the one to be assigned the task of ending the foreign control of the Liberian economy?
It is the considered opinion of this newspaper that deploying Mary Broh to LEC would be a good idea, which many of the corporation’s own employees would welcome. For who would not embrace an opportunity to experience a good shakeup that would bring more discipline, more confidence, more efficiency, more productivity and more achievement to this most vital corporation in Liberia?