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Citizens threaten to boycott elections in Maryland

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Over 700 residents of Maryland County, specifically Yuokudi community, along the Liberian-Ivorian border are threatening to boycott the October elections and stop politicians from going to them to campaign due to failure of local leaders to electrify their area.

Speaking in an interview with the New Dawn over the weekend, the chairman for the community, Mr. Wah Dickson, explains that their decision to boycott the elections is due to the failure of the county authorities to enable them benefit electricity being provided by the West African Power Poll or WAPP.

WAPP is a regional firm that is providing electricity for rural communities across the subregion, benefiting Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone. He laments that on several occasions, they have engaged the local authorities, including representatives of the Liberia Electricity Corporation on the lack of power in their community, but all efforts proved fruitless.

He says the community, situated near the international border lacks electricity, but yet current from Ghana through Ivory Coast passes over them to other areas, something he notes, poses serious security threat to the entire country.

Mr. Dickson further explains that they risk their lives on a daily basis, riding in canoes over the Cavalla River into neighboring Ivory Coast to charge mobile phones, purchase ice and other basic commodities.

He says as a result of the lack of electricity, the entire community is unsafe, and they live in fear due to alleged ritualistic killings. Citizens of Maryland County particularly Harper City and surroundings have benefitted from the cross border electricity for nearly two years now.

The spokesperson for a local firm expected to take over the power supply, Mr. Patrick Nugba, discloses that Cheway Power Energy and Associate or CEPA is aware of the lack of electricity but attributes the situation to lack of transformer to stand the load, considering the number of homes and business centers that are in dire need of power.

Mr. Nugba continues that CEPA is still negotiating with the Government of Liberia to take full control from the WAPP and appeals to citizens to remain calm as they will receive priority once a contract is signed with the government here.

The Government of Liberia with support from partners has constructed a new dam at the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant in White Plain, outside Monrovia. The hydro was completely destroyed during the country’s 14 years civil war that devastated every facet of lives across Liberia.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf officially inaugurated the dam on December 15, 2016 with a maximum generating capacity of 64 MW.

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