Harper-Maryland County-Hundreds of rural dwellers have found their voices during face-to-face interactions with President George Weah telling him in the face their challenges and the kind of developments they need in their local communities.
Liberia, one of the poorest countries on the continent is extremely underdeveloped with most of its rural communities lying in backwardness despite its rich mineral resources.
President Weah and officials are currently on a nationwide county tour in the southeast. Though delayed by a year due to the corona virus, the tour began on 12 of February in Bong County through Nimba and has so far combed three additional counties in the southeast-Grand Gedeh, River Gee, and Maryland Counties.
At various town hall meetings in each of these counties, traditional leaders, market women, farmers, youths, local civil society groups, students among others have been vociferous telling the President the challenges that they face in their local communities and demands for solution from the central government.
The rural dwellers named farm to market roads, health care facilities, schools, and electricity, micro –loan for farming, vocational schools and other assistance programs to help lift their communities from the shadows of backwardness and extreme underdevelopments.
In Kokoya, Bong County for instance, market women complained of deplorable road networks and the lack of basic social services. The complaints and requests were repeated in every county visited so far-from Bong to Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, the same requests.
Addressing a Town Hall meeting in Harper on Wednesday February 24, President Weah told the citizens saying, “We have come to you to know what your development priorities are.”
But was quick to point out that some of the things they are requesting for, his administration has already begun work to address them.
“When you voted us, we knew we could stand up to the challenges.” He told the citizens at the Harper City Hall.
Mr. Weah said the seeds of development has been planted and that the stacks are green. He informed the citizens that the cries have been the same throughout and that his administration is bend on addressing them.
He recounted the initiative taken so far by his administration, naming the upgrading of existing health facilities, breaking of grounds in several counties for the construction of hospitals, vocational schools, technical colleges, US16 million World Bank loan for farmers, US2million micro-loan for rural women, and free University education.
The president also named the construction of housing units throughout the 15 counties, the breaking of ground for the construction of 21.3 megawatts dam valued at US$18m to supply electricity to Maryland and River Gee Counties, the provision of scholarships for medical doctors and the constructions of road network to link farms to market as some of the steps being taken to address the gap in development between rural Liberia and Monrovia.
He reminded the people that he is one of them and has gone through similar situation growing up in rural Liberia and so he understands their plights.
In Harper for example, the EU is set to construct a technical college in the area, why another is being considered by the government in Pleebo, Soloken District.
The President and delegation will head for Grand Kru on Thursday where he is expected to dedicated local housing units and other projects and perhaps break grounds for others. By Othello B. Garblah