By Togba-Nah Tipoteh
On Saturday, May 22nd, I was on my way to a 10 AM funeral in Monrovia, but i never arrived at the funeral. Why did I not arrive at the funeral? A container trailer broke down at the Monrovia Breweries entrance and blocked over half of the highway to Monrovia. On account of this blockage, it took me five hours to get out of the traffic jam. When I got out of the jam, the funeral had ended and the people at the funeral were coming from the Graveyard. The container trailer had blocked the road from the evening of Friday, May 21st to Sunday afternoon, May 23rd. Why was the container trailer not removed? The container trailer was not removed because of bad management on the part of the Liberia National Police (LNP)!. No wonder, the illiterate but educated Women of West Point, through their Organization called Seven Sisters, say that the main problem in Liberia is not money but management!!.
The Police could have used their communications equipment, on public display in their hands, to call removers to remove the container trailer from the highway within an hour! Not only did the non-removal pose a national security problem but pregnant women in ambulances on their way to the hospital to bring forth children were under life threatening situations. Avoidable accidents took place, injuring persons, damaging vehicles and selling places. The blockage reduced income generation for persons working and selling, not forgetting the millions of dollars worth of taxes that they would pay to the government and funds for attending to problems of health care, feeding and schooling for children.
The oldest trailers are allowed to be in the traffic, posing dangers daily. Often, trailers breakdown on hills, rolling back, injuring and killing many persons. When I was Board Chairperson of the National Port Authority (NPA), the Board decided to construct a Container Park to prevent containers from leaving the Ports. In fact, Maersk and other exporters using containers to export goods were willing to pay fees for the containers to be returned to them. Upon my leaving the NPA, the Container Park Plan was abandoned. Now, Monrovia has become a place where people live in containers and use containers as shops, In fact, there is a supermarket that is made out of containers and it is considered as part of foreign direct investment (FDI).
The same bad management problem can be seen in the operations of the National Fire Service of Liberia. A few years ago, an entire family of eight, comprising of a man, his wife and children, got killed in a fire two blocks from the National Fire Service Station on Ashmun Street at Gurley Street. Then there was the fire in a building opposite the B.W. Harris School, when it took three hours for the Fire Truck to get there because they had a flat tyre and no water. By the time the fire truck arrived, some young persons had put out the fire, using the buckets that were available to get enough water. A year ago, the tyre store at the Clara Town Junction was on fire for 15 hours, from early morning, crossing the road and blocking traffic, while reducing business opportunities. The Broad Street fire was only three blocks away. When there is fire at a far place, the fire truck does not appear!! Adequate zoning is not implemented, as houses are jammed up and when fire gets into one house, the next ones get burned and people die, especially in the slum areas where there are mainly zinc and plank houses.
Who is to be blamed for this bad management? Some people say that the government is to be blamed. This accusation is not correct because the government did not elect the State decision-makers. The voters elected the State decision-makers!! When the voters elect persons with bad records , bad management becomes the order of the day. Good management comes from the election of persons with good records. Let us recall that the immediate past Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mr. Nathaniel Patray, said publicly that he would do whatever the President of Liberia instructed him to do. To make matters worse, the present Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia said publicly that he was appointed not on the basis of competence but on the basis of the votes that the voters of Grand Gedeh, his County of origin, gave the President of Liberia to get him elected. So much for the autonomous status of the Central Bank of Liberia, as required by the Constitution of Liberia.
LET US WORK TOGETHER TO RAISE AWARENESS TO THE POINT WHERE VOTERS ARE MOTIVATED TO TAKE NON-VIOLENT ACTIONS TO CHANGE THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM FROM AN UNFAIR ONE TO A FAIR ONE SO THAT GOOD MANAGEMENT CAN PREVAIL WHEN WE SING ALL HAIL LIBERIA ALL HAIL!!!