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Politics News

Discontent greets food distribution

Thousands of residents across Montserrado County and parts adjacent are bitter with the government here for the selection of most vulnerable citizens to benefit food distribution under a COVID-19 stimulus package approved by the 54th Legislature.

The chairman of the COVID-19 food distribution steering committee Professor Wilson Tarpeh disclosed that a total of US$30 million has been secured to distribute assorted food among most vulnerable Liberians, targeting 2.5 million people from an entire population of 4.5 million.

But disenchanted citizens say everyone is vulnerable, particularly in the wake of the novel coronavirus that has brought the economy on its knees, so no one should be left out of the food distribution.

“We all are vulnerable; 90 percent of Liberia’s population lives vulnerable life;” one angry resident expressed in a live broadcast on Joy FM in Monrovia.The food distribution which began here over the weekend, is targeting orphanages, health centers and physically-challenged Liberians.

But some angry citizens are issuing threats to the government for plan to leave them out, vowing to react at the ballot box. “We will pay them come 2023”, a male caller said.

President George Manneh grew up in a slum community in Monrovia and drew his support from slum communities across Montserrado County and impoverished citizens across Liberia to get to the presidency.Now these impoverished electorate are asking, who among them is considered most vulnerable and should therefore, qualify to benefit from the stimulus package.

“The government is trying to tell us that they are ready for business; President Weah is playing fun with himself”, another angry male caller expressed.“All of us are vulnerable; we have to hustle each day before we eat. The government has put us in lockdown for over a month; how do they expect us to get food?”

The government, in collaboration with the IMF and the World Bank is spending US$30 million on the food distribution to most vulnerable citizens, but some Liberians note that if this amount were to be distributed in cash among the entire 4.5 million population, each citizen would benefit at least US$100, so there should no reason for anyone to be left out under the pretext of not being most vulnerable. Story by Jonathan Browne

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