The Embarrassing, Painful Gasoline Shortage: The Weah Government Must Never Let This Happen Again


None of our readers could miss our Judicial Correspondent Abednego Davis’ front page lead story yesterday.  It reminded us of the terribly embarrassing gasoline shortage that hit Liberia over the past few weeks.

Yes, the entire country was affected, but not too many people knew that the gasoline crisis shut down the entire Third Branch of Government, the Liberian Judiciary, with courtrooms at the Temple of Justice entirely abandoned.

Reporter Davis also told the readers in yesterday’s lead story that not only were the courtrooms in the entire Temple of Justice abandoned; even the Chief Justice of Liberia, unable to use the elevator due to the lack of fuel to run the Tempe’s generator, had to use the stairs to get to his fourth floor office.

The Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, Madam Marie Urey Coleman, Commerce and Industry Minister Wilson Tarpeh, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah and Mr. President, George Weah, we plead with you all never to let this happen again!

The last time we remember this happening was in the 1980s, when the nation was faced with several major crises: among them no fuel and the nurses’ strike at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center.  That same morning, in a dramatic reaction to the Daily Observer’s triple crisis headline, Head of State Samuel K. Doe paid his first visit to the Daily Observer office on Broad Street, Crown Hill.

During his visit, Head of State Doe profusely apologized for the triple crisis, especially the gasoline crisis.  He blamed several parts of the Executive Branch for the crisis and pledged that it would never happen again.

The newspaper staff breathed a sigh of relief, for none of us knew what to expect when someone spied the presidential motorcade approaching the office.

Head of State Doe kept his promise.  That was indeed the last time we had a fuel crisis like that.  That was in 1982.

The time has come for us to tell President George Weah something he most probably does not know.  Or has anyone told him the history of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company?  He needs to invite former Senator Cletus Wotorson for a conversation.  Wotorson, a former Managing Director of LPRC, can tell him all about LPRC, including the time when the company was actually refining petroleum, during which period the company was located in the Liberian Industrial Park, off Somalia Drive.

Wotorson can tell the President how and why the company abandoned its mission to refine petroleum in Liberia.

We hate to recall once again the theme of Time Magazine’s cover story on Africa in 1975.  The magazine stated, “In Africa, things always go backward.”

Most regretfully, we can today point to our own dear country Liberia and say this is one of the tragic evidences of Time’s declaration.  How Liberia has slid backward in so many ways over so many years, so many decades!  And today we are behind most other African countries, including some of our closest neighbors.  Many of us recall the 1970s, even early 1080s when Ghanaians used to come to Liberia shopping for bread and other essential commodities.  Women used to travel by Cameroon Airlines all the way from Zambia to shop in Liberia.  Today Ghana is on the upward swing while Liberia is on the downward spiral.

But being the eternal optimists we at the Daily Observer are, we dare not translate this our temporary circumstance into a permanent situation.  We have a new government and this government needs guidance and direction.  And this is what we are doing in this Editorial.

We propose to President Weah and his government to begin to take steps to transform the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company into what its name says it is—a company that refines petroleum to the extent of exporting it to neighboring countries.  What humans have done, humans can still do.  We have done it before and can still do it.  We call on the Weah government to invite a company like Sun Oil in the USA, which was once engaged with LPRC, and other such companies in China and elsewhere toward helping us to revive the refining capacity of LPRC.

We pray that President Weah will convene another Cabinet retreat to discuss this urgent matter and get moving on it; and not stop until the goal of refining our own petroleum is achieved.


  1. So sweet to read Mr. Davis.
    You have always and continue to prove that the Daily Observer is indeed the 4th Estate in Liberia.
    Some ‘kwee’ and ‘czar’ or ‘don’ country people call us stupid, ass, heathen or country ass for saying these things. Sorry for these offensive terms to our decent readership but that’s how they term us.

    To date, I refuse to accept the deplorable conditions our country is plunged in with unpatriotic rulership only thinking about their stomachs.
    We have young, patriotic and dynamic Liberian petroleum engineers with management skills to effectively and efficiently run the LPRC, but we like to pick on partisan or tribal line to run technical institutions we have no qualifications to manage. The present managerial team of the LPRC depicts the foresight the Weah government has in the petroleum sector.

    Given that we have gone through devastating time in Liberia where record keeping was practically incinerated, Mr. Wotorson could be consulted to provide some key information on the institution, but I personally think he should stay out to do politics now. We need new breed technocrats at our key technical institutions.

    Mr. President, live up to your promise to fix things for the Liberia you love.
    – First and foremost, build a Polytechnique for Liberia;
    – Bad-Road-Medicine-Man, link all counties to Monrovia with paved roads. Yes, it is feasible in 5 years and the budget is there;
    – Darkness-Medicine-Man, let there be stable electricity supply in the entire country to enhance and boost economic activities and tourism dear to you;
    – Dirty-Water-Medicine-Man, nearly all Ivorian and Ghanaian villages have pipe borne water for their citizenry, do the same for the people of Liberia.

    The $94.5 million to be used on the Monrovia-RIA highway at this time is considered a waste of money, Your Excellency. It could have started and virtually complete the road project from Gbarnga to Voinjama to enable our brave women and men in that region to sell their produce at higher prices to educate their children for a better Liberia. Stop wasting resources, Bad-Road-Medicine-Man!

    My prayer is that God touches you to sometimes read our comments on the Daily Observer blog.

    Cummings and ‘apologists’ are eagerly waiting to truly serve the Liberian people come 2023. We pray that Liberians will never give their votes again to poverty, abysmal rulership and dictatorial witch crafty.
    May Liberians learn to detect true patriots with talents, insightfulness, innovative with integrity and resolve to truly serve and transform the country form “Doing Well” to “Sustainable Development”, from “What did the other people do?” to “Real Fixes” for Liberia to once again be considered in the comity of developing nations.

    I pray this in Jesus Mighty and Holy Name, Amen!

    No more war!

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