Public Works Minister Gyude Moore, A Call to Rescue Nimba, River Cess and the Southeast

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It is a geographical fact that no one can reach southeastern Liberia with anything—food, fuel, whatever—by land without passing through Nimba or River Cess counties.

The Ganta-Tappita corridor is the gateway to Grand Gedeh and the other four southeastern counties. So is the River Cess-Sinoe thoroughfare leading to Grand Kru County and other southeastern territories.

Alas! both of these routes, critical to southeastern Liberia’s survival, are currently impassible. The River Cess Bridge has been down for several weeks now, making transit to Sinoe impossible. So no one can get to either Sinoe or Grand Kru through River Cess.

This incredible transport conundrum (challenge, problem) that leads to a painful humanitarian crisis in the southeast, is compounded by the absolutely impassible Ganta-Tappita highway, where trucks, SUVs, pickups and taxies are stuck in the crippling mud. This has made it impossible to reach even Tappita, a must-pass before entering the southeast.

The Minister of Public Works is himself a southeasterner, who hails from Maryland County. His name, Gyude, is the Grebo name for “warrior.” His namesake was Gyude Bryant, son of the former Commissioner of Customs, C. Gyude Bryant. Gyude Bryant II was a warrior for peace who, after participating in the Accra Peace Talks in 2003, was catapulted into the Chairmanship of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL).

Now the other Gyude has another very serious war on his hands. Everyone knows that the Grebos are no strangers to war. Indeed, one of their most important cultural celebrations is “The Grebo War Dance.”

So what will Public Minister Gyude do about this muddy Ganta to Tappita road and the transport war that has made it impossible for his fellow southeasterners – the Krus and Grebos – to reach home, even with food, fuel and medicines?

We suggest that Minister Moore immediately pay an emergency visit to his Cabinet colleague, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, and solicit his help to engage the Engineering Battalion of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).

They, more than anyone else, can intervene, as they did in June – July 2015 to help fix the road through River Cess, Sinoe and Grand Kru, in time for the 168th Independence Celebrations in Greenville, the Sinoe capital, and Barclayville, the Grand Kru capital.

The Engineering Battalion can most surely help to fix the River Cess Bridge. The battalion can also deploy men and equipment to the Ganta-Tappita highway and help clear the swathes of thick mud that imperil transport to the southeast.

This is a war, Gyude, that MUST be won because the very lives of our southeastern people are at risk. For who can survive without food or fuel? And given the serious challenges impeding food production in that part of the country, warrior Moore has got to come forward expeditiously and act.

Meanwhile, as we approach the Dry Season, we trust that Public Works, working with the road contractors, are planning to accelerate the pace of work on the Ganta-Harper Highway. We need to know how long it will take to complete this all important paved highway through
Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland counties. This corridor will encourage southeasterners, too, to follow the entrepreneurial example of their fellow Liberians in Nimba County.

The last time the Daily Observer took note, there was a lot of hope in Grand Gedeh and River Gee, especially Zwedru and Karweaken. In these two southeastern cities we saw young entrepreneurs manning their commerce.

With Putu Mountain’s operations, Grand Gedeh’s leading industrial enterprise, suspended because of the slump in the price of iron ore, our people in Grand Gedeh need ALL the encouragement they can get to keep their businesses going. But what will they sell, what can they manufacture without inputs from Monrovia and Nimba? With the highway to Tappita and beyond impassible, they are stuck.

So this war for better roads, Gyude, MUST be won. We and all southeasterners are looking up to you and Brownie Samukai to come to our aid.

This Editorial may well be a day late, for yesterday was Cabinet, where both the Defense and Public Works Ministers were present. We are positive that they, the President and others, must have seen our Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor’s Tuesday front page story on the deplorable road situation through the southeast. We, therefore, pray and trust that help is already on the way.

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