The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Maintenance! Maintenance & Maintenance! The issue of the Ministerial Complex and Others

By Atty Philip N Wesseh (PNW) Today, I am departing from the usual political issues to bring to focus something which has to do with or behavior and attitude towards government’s properties. Also, this is not a topical or controversial issue which would generate much public debate and discussions, but I feel it is necessary to put into place the necessary checks and design a system to avoid the mistakes of the past. As it is often said, “If we keep making the same mistakes as a people and country, we will not get any different result.”

Over the years, there have been concerns on how people treat government’s facilities, causing some of them, including latrines to be insanitary and in unhygienic conditions. In other words, proper care has not been given to some government’s facilities.

For sometimes now, I have observed and continue to observe the increasing number of vehicles at the
Ministerial Complex in Congo Town. Initially, I though these were vehicles for people attending events at the Complex.

But later, I gathered that those were vehicles of some government officials and employed whose ministries and agencies have relocated to the Complex. The Complex is a gift from the People’s Republic of China, commonly known as “RED CHINA,” which was built during the administration of Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.

The project, valued at millions of United States dollars, was one of those undertaken by the previous government to relocate several government ministries and agencies, especially those rented-homes for which the government over 100 years has been paying huge rental fees. Principally, the project is intended to reduce costs being paid for rented homes as offices.

Let me say that I welcome this initiative by the Liberian Government, as money saved from rented homes would go towards other initiatives in the development programs of the country. But my basic concern borders on how we would take care of this property.

I visited that Complex once during the African Bar Association’s Conference and from what I saw, it’s one of the best architecturally built structures in post-war Liberia that needs proper maintenance and care. Let me say that I also admire some of the new structures on the Tubman Boulevard.

Even those who have not visited there would visibly see from a distance how beautiful the structure is and should not be treated sloppily, as it has been with other government’s ministries and agencies.

Frankly, the issue of maintenance has been a serious problem in this country, coupled with the mentality that it’s government’s property, therefore, that should not be taken care of. This kind of attitude and behavior towards government’s structures has caused some of these properties to be in despicable conditions.

Today, this government is continuing with the construction of community roads, some of which were inspected by President Weah, but if those roads are not maintained, it may affect their lifespan. I do not believe that the President would want these to deteriorate because of the government’s failure to maintain them.

As I was contemplating about the issue of the Complex, I read in the Independent Inquirer Newspaper that the Government of India has donated fire trucks which are to be presented soon to the Liberian
government. Prior to the news of the fire trucks, the Indian Government donated 45 brand new buses, which I believe is the largest donation of buses to the Liberian government.

Additionally, the Indian government is also providing spare parts and is expected to give training to those who would drive the vehicles. This is good news and a serious boost to the public transport industry that has been facing challenges in serving the public because of the lack of vehicles.

For me, this kind of donation of vehicles should be used as income-generating activities that would boost the public sector, in that money generated can be used to augment the fleet of vehicles for the public.

Again, this gesture by the Indian government of the fire trucks is good in the wake of fire incidents that have claimed many lives, including those young Muslim scholars in the Paynesville; howbeit, what matters too is the issue of maintenance.

To maintain something is to keep it in a better form so that it would continue to be usable ; to maintain is to ensure that whenever there is a problem, such should immediately be solved to avoid it becoming too serious beyond repairs.
Over the years, our failure as a government and people in maintaining projects, including roads have cost us to spend more money. Maintenance, I believe, is necessary because it would not cost much if done because rebuilding would cost more.

For example, the road around the Freeport area to Jamaica Road would cost more to rebuild because we failed to maintain it for years. We as a country and people MUST guide against unnecessary waste, as this country at this time cannot afford waste.

As a result of this, it would be like a complete reconstruction of these roads because we failed to maintain them when they began showing pot holes that should have been immodesty repaired to avoid huge amount in rehabilitating them.
Don’t ask me about the pot holes around the Public Works Ministry that has the statutory mandate on such mandate on road construction and maintenance.

Literally, to maintain is “to keep in an existing state, preserve from failure or decline. To sustain against opposition or danger: uphold and defend.”
Today, I speak of maintenance because of the way and manner in which we carelessly handle government’s properties, including buildings and vehicles.

Commonsensically, we should know that if we maintain these donations, the donors would be pleased and encouraged to do more for us.

Conversely if this is not the case, we stand to deprive ourselves of more donations, not only from the Chinese or Indians; as to whom much is given much is expected.

I Rest My Case.

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