Will Liberia Ever Fix Its Drainage Problems?

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This is a question not for the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) only, but for the entire government of Liberia (GOL). When are we going to fix our drainage problems, especially in the City of Monrovia, our capital?

The world knows that the Almighty has richly blessed Liberia with everything, including one of His most precious blessings–water.

He or she who does not understand this last statement should visit or read about the Sahel and see how they crave for what we in Liberia take for granted–water.

So God has given us lots of water. So what do we do with it? The first thing we do is drink it. Unfortunately, just as Vice President Boakai reminded us recently, we are spending millions of dollars importing drinking water! We consider this nothing but a slap in the
face of the good Lord who, for reasons best known to Himself, has given us all this water, coming not only from our streams, creeks, rivers
and ocean, but also through abundant rainfall. So what in the world is Liberia doing importing water?

We call on the government, through the Executive Mansion and the Commerce Ministry, to ban immediately the importation of drinking water.

But the main purpose of this Editorial is to address the issue of drainages in Liberia, most especially in Monrovia. From time immemorial we have experienced, during the Rainy Season every year,
the incessant gushing of water through our neighborhoods, our streets, our swamps and our highways. This plentiful, incessant downpour–sometimes it rains for several days straight–is one of the challenges to our highways, especially those which are poorly constructed.

We’re speaking of Powerful water that can wash away anything except our sins. We pray that those constructing our roads today–the Chinese in particular and also the Liberian contractors who have been fortunate to win contracts, to perform their tasks meticulously (carefully, thoroughly), knowing the serious threat of Liberian rainfall. If contractors cut corners and build poor roads, they will soon be washed away by heavy rainfall and erosion.

We call on the Ministry of Public Works to assign competent and patriotic engineers–the likes of Gabriel Johnson Tucker–to INSPECT daily the road building contractors, to ensure that they DO THE RIGHT THING and give us excellent, not substandard roads.

Why Gabriel Tucker? Remember in one of our Editorials when he died a few years ago we retold the story narrated at his funeral by his niece, Counselor Yvette Chesson Wureh? Tucker was Resident Engineer in Harper, Cape Palmas when a European company won the contract to pave Harper’s streets. During Tucker’s family emergency visit to Monrovia at one point, the contractors seized the opportunity to cut corners
and rush with construction. When he returned, this highly competent and patriotic engineer quickly saw the mistakes and ordered the contractors to redo the work immediately. They returned the following morning with a brown envelopment filled with money–brand new US$100 bills. This infuriated Tucker, who immediately opened his drawer, pulled out a pistol and chased the contractors out of his office.

They ran and he ran down the street behind them to prove that he was serious. He told them, “No amount of money will cause me to betray my own country!”
We pray fervently and daily to God for more Gabriel Tuckers, to give Liberia better and longer lasting roads, streets and buildings, just like the paved streets in Harper that are still there after over 50 years.

We urge Public Works to ensure that all the highways being built have drainages on both sides to keep the water from undermining the
superstructures and pavements.

But what about our towns and cities? Water and Sewer and Public Works in particular, guided by the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, which is the GOL’s coordinating office, should ensure that our drainages are fixed, to save our people from flooding disasters, such as we saw in Clara Town on last week Wednesday Observer’s front page.

“The Waters saw Thee, the waters saw Thee, O God, and were afraid. The depths were also troubled!” cried David in one of his Psalms. The gushing water afflicted not Clara Town only but all of Monrovia’s sprawling
slums.

Here, let’s remember the water and other engineers who built the Suez and Panama Canals, or the Dutch who have mastered water management in waterlogged
Amsterdam. If these people can fix their water problems, why can’t we?

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