Pres. Weah’s First Five Years: A Success Story

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The first five years of President George M. Weah’s first six-year term can be described as a success story, especially with the hurdles, badmouthing and political challenges his Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) administration had to face and the denigration from some international actors.

   President Weah was voted on the platform of “Change for Hope”, and a flagship development program coined “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development”.

   Compared to his predecessor, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, an acclaimed international personality and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, many were of the candid view that Weah would not wheel international support as Madam Sirleaf, whose administration saw the signing of approximately 66 concession agreements and attracted billions of dollars from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other partners.

    Additionally, the presence of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) kept the economy floating, with the “yana boy” down Waterside feeling the impact of the cash-flow.

   True to the opinion, five years are gone and the Weah administration can only boast of a non-active Western Cluster and a controversial Solway concessions. Big salaries are no more being paid public workers by international partners, and the Weah administration can barely fund elections, census and on-going projects.

   But in the midst of all these adversaries, the Weah administration has arguably left more physical tangibles in the little space of time than the acclaimed Sirleaf administration, and fair to say that the CDC government has achieved more, domestically, than its predecessor.

   For instance, in just five years, all county capitals can boast of street light, city halls, modern markets and paved streets. During President Weah’s nationwide county tour, he ventured to provide solar lights and pro-poor housing units for many of the counties he toured, making them to feel the economic impact of his administration. Counties like River Gee, Rivercess, Gbarpolu, for the first, saw such kinds of modernity.

   Traditional elders were given pick-ups and motorbikes to necessitate their local movements, women were provided with loans to upgrade their businesses and the youths were given scholarships to further their education.

   In President Weah’s words, this was what he meant by “power to the people”, which is the first pillar of his “Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development”.

   In addition to these interventions, the Weah administration has made tremendous effort in connecting Liberia with paved roads, beginning with important roads in Monrovia such as the Pipeline-Johnsonville, Dixville-Barnesville, Freeport-St. Paul Bridge (recently broken ground for), ELWA-Redlight, Bali Island Access Road, etc.

   Information accessed from the Ministry of Public Works is that the ministry has opened a bid for many urban community roads’ pavement: ELWA community road, Gbengbar Town Road, Bernard Beach Road, Christian Community Road (VOA), Thinker’s Village (Kpelleh Town to Du-Port Road Turning Point), White House community road, 1108 Bassa Town community road, Rehab Rock Hill road, Ben’s Town community road, Boye’s Town Avenue, Duazon-Riverview community road, Holy City road, R2 community road, Wawuzu road, Brewerville community, Point Four Junction-New Kru Town-Tweh Farm junction, Ministerial Complex back road, Old Road junction (Kailondo side), Ministerial Complex bypass road, Shoe’s Factory road, Topoe Village road, Chocolate City junction-Snow Hill-Supermarket, LOIC road, Gaye Town, New Matadi drivers and Lakpazee Zoo road, etc.

   Construction of major bridges across the country captured Greenville Port bridge, JJW Johns Bridge, Gabriel Tucker Bridge, Kpayakoh Bridge and Foe River bridge, Koquiken bridge, Galayah/Mano River and Bonowalahun bridge, Nyedah River bridge Dweyee and Gbonh River bridge and Kpaweakwelleh bridge.

   All these connections are in addition to pavements of major corridors connecting Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Maryland, Grand Kru and Sinoe.

   There are some who have argued that Liberia has seen more asphalt pavement under President Weah than any previous administration.

   The Weah administration has also been successful in hugely impacting the health sector. During the five years, the administration constructed the Emirates Hospital in Western Liberia (Gbapolu County); constructed the 14 Military Hospital and eight hospitals in southeast Liberia; constructing the Redemption Hospital in Caldwell; increased doctors’ monthly salary; added 2,500 health workers to the government payroll after the Donors Health Pool dried up; provided specialist training for more than fifty (50) doctors; regularized and increased salaries of over 500 supplementary health workers; vaccinated over 80% of Liberians against COVID-19, which the third best performance in containing COVID-19 in West Africa and 7th best in Africa; and provided advanced home-based specialist training for over 101 doctors.

   For education, the administration has provided free  public universities/college education, benefiting over 30,000 students yearly; paid for WASSCE exams, which also benefits more than 80,000 students yearly (Grades 9 & 12); commenced the construction of 28 high schools and 18 early childhood schools; gave 3,500 supplementary teachers permanent status on the government payroll; increased the salary of 3,500 supplementary teachers from L$8,000 to US$125; added 1,300 teachers and guidance counselors to the government payroll; and digitized the University of Liberia.

   These achievements were made possible by the little donor funding and the effort of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to collect domestic revenue.

   In his last state-of-the-nation address on Monday, President Weah could argue that giving him another six years could yield more development for the country, which could be difficult to counter-argue amidst the huge development package with less funds in his first tenure.

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