Do you remember, Finance Minister Amara Konneh, that it was you who, little over a year ago during the closing session of the final National Consultation of Vision 2030, presented to whole nation the Agenda for Transformation?
This was the document that laid out the vision of what Liberia was to look like by the year 2030.
Remember too, Mr. Minister, that Liberia is, after 166 years of existence, still a nation of thatched huts; that the vast majority of the Liberian people, including their representatives assembled in that hall in Gbarnga that day — the Paramount, Clan and Town Chiefs–still live in thatched huts.
Remember, too, Mr. Minister, that when you, the President, any of your Cabinet colleagues–or anyone else–travel by road into the nation's vast interior, all they see, on both sides of the road, are thatched huts, with hardly any sanitation or toilet facilities except the bushes.
But that is far into the interior, as far as one can travel, from Monrovia to Gbarnga in Bong County, to Voinjama, Kolahun and Vahun in Lofa County, to Ganta, Sanniquellie, on to Tappita and beyond in Nimba County, through Zwedru, Zleh Town and Putu in Grand Gedeh, to Kaweaken and Fish Town in River Gee County, on to Gedetarbo and Pleebo in Maryland County; from beyond Brewerville into Gbarpolou, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount countie–the only places where most of our people sleep is in thatched huts. Yet these are the people to whom your "Agenda for Transformation" was directed.
But when last did you visit Buzzi Quarter, right under the Executive Mansion's nose, or West Point, within distinct view of the Ducor Hotel? The identical scenario pertains–right in the nation's capital–no modern toilet or bathroom facilities for our people. The same is true in Clara Town and its surroundings, Point Four and New Kru Town.
We do not know, Mr. Minister, whether you have seen the most recent Press Release of the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the lamentations of its Managing Director, Sam Thompson.
He is saying in that Press Release that the whole government, especially the Ministry of Finance, which is driving this Agenda for Transformation, has not captured the VISION that not much "transformation" can take place without proper housing for our people. How, Mr. Minister, would you feel walking into the towns and villages of your native Gbarpolu County and being compelled to "hold your nose as you pass" because your people's only resort for excretion is the bushes? But that is precisely the case!
Is that the place where we are urging our teachers, nurses, agricultural experts and medical doctors to leave the comforts of Monrovia to go and “serve their people"? Were you a humble teacher or nurse, not the Minister of Finance of the Republic, assigned there to serve your people, would you willingly and cheerfully go there to serve?
This is what we are talking about in this Editorial, Mr. Minister. We pray that it will help you to understand that NO SERIOUS development can take place in Liberia without proper housing for the people.
Our fellow West African nations of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire have caught the vision and are spending millions and billions of United States dollars on housing. What is Liberia waiting for? Why should we always FOLLOW the others? When are we going to take ourselves seriously as the continent's oldest independent Republic?
Our suggestion, Mr. Minister, is that you call your fellow youthful colleague, Sam Jackson, for a chat and hear him out. You will find out that you both have the identical vision: the improvement in the lives of our people, nothing more, nothing less.