P e r s p e c t I v e s
Public Policy. Economics. Democratic Politics. Political/Economic Decentralization. Public Dishonesty. Dual Citizenship
With Bai M. Gbala, Sr.
October 22, 2021
EU Ambassador warns Liberians
“No Free (Electric) Current”
This article is in response to continuous, apparently, paid hoopla published on front pages, centerspreads and Headline News of Liberia’s written and electronic Media for months about “Lighting up Monrovia and streets” in the light of the persistent electricity theft, friendly diplomatic warning reported of “No free electric current, ‘no seh pay’” (New Dawn Liberia, October 22, 2021) and official violations of Public Policy laws.
In addition to this, diplomatic analysis and friendly warning, the European Union (EU) Diplomat reminded us, Liberians, of the prevailing devastating, national conditions as follows, that:
- The Nation’s Economy is, now, in serious trouble with foreign exchange rate in pursuit.
- A prevailing crime wave entraps the nation in “fear and trembling” with insecurity.
- There is public dishonesty, massive theft of public funds and related resources; and
- Now electricity has become the victim of this public corruption, disloyalty and absence of patriotism.
Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC)
LEC was established by government in 1973 as public utility with mandate “to produce and sell electricity to the people throughout the country at reasonable rates”. But from the corporation’s founding about 50 years ago and up to late 1989, LEC had been able to provide electricity only to Central Monrovia and some environs, amounted to 35,000 customers, almost 13% of the nation’s population at that time. LEC handled the supply of electricity to some rural areas outside Monrovia through 10 small, isolated power systems with a total capacity of 13 MW.
With international Aid – grants, loan-Financing, etc., the White Plains Hydro Plant was developed with political pride and fanfare. But thehodge-podge of Liberia’s inadequate electricity infrastructure, including the new hydro plant, was destroyed, almost entirely, with major parts looted during the decades of our civil war nightmare. Efforts have been underway since 2006 to restore some semblance of the destroyed service, but against a stone-wall of well-financed and politically-portent corruption agents and lobby.
Indeed concomitantly, before, during and after all of this, proud Liberians marched the International Community of Nations beating Chests that Liberia, their home country founded by deported freed African slaves from the North/South Americas and other slaves-holding nations, was the first sovereign and independent state of the Negro race that governed itself.
But the “proud Liberians” neglected, conveniently, to tell the World Body that Liberia had been, and is, unable to produce food (Rice and other tropical products, Liberia’s staple) to feed itself, but depend on Lebanese Rice Import Cartel, in collusion with a very few members of Liberia’s political ruling class, the Black-on-Black Colonialists on the African Continent, their politically-connected Lawyers and friendly corporate industrial tycoons.
Aggressive, Concerned Modern Diplomats
of Liberia’s “Partners-in-Progress”
The first un-diplomatic outspoken Diplomat was Ambassador of the USA to Liberia, the Honorable Michael McCarthy, who expressed US dis-satisfaction with Liberia’s human rights records, public corruption and, now, theft of about 50% of LEC-produced electricity. Moreover, the emerged phenomenon of un-diplomatic speaking Diplomats included the newly-assigned, The Honorable Laurent Detahousse, Ambassador of European Union (EU) to Liberia.
Ambassador Detahousse told us, Liberians, about the dirty and unsanitary condition of our Nation’s capital City, Monrovia, branding it as “disgusting and the dirtiest of the many places I visited in Africa, based on the belief that I cannot overemphasize that the European Union and its member states are highly committed to the successful performance and development of the electricity sector in Liberia”.
The EU Ambassador to Liberia explained that the “essence or purpose of the EU Heads of Mission Media Briefing on Friday (at the Ministry of Information weekly Press Briefing) was to echo and follow-up on the message issued by the US Ambassador to Liberia, Honorable Michael McCarthy, on August 26, 2021”.
The EU Ambassador explained that US Ambassador noted in August that the “Donor Community had been following the situation of the energy sector with great interest and great concern. From 1990, to Christmas 2016, Liberians experienced a quarter of a century with no electricity, apart from the few who could afford (portable) generators”. As outlined by the US Ambassador:
- Over half or 50% of the electricity produced by LEC is either stolen or unpaid for.
- Adding power lost during transmission for technical reasons, a little less than one-third of the electricity produced by LEC is not paid for.
- The consequence of this is that the tariff for electricity remains high, with many honest Liberians who pay their electric bills pay an even higher price for those engaged in electricity power theft.
- The more of power theft from LEC, the less capacity for LEC to extend the network and bring electricity to more Liberian families.
- Illegal connections, tampering with meters and theft of assets – power, light poles, wires and transformers – must stop immediately.
- This condition is very serious, because it threatens the financial viability of the Liberian nation, with economic hard times on the poor, average citizen.
- Power theft affects, also, the confidence of Liberia’s “Partners-in-Progress”, potential investors and the international financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (ADB), United States AID for International Development (USAID), European Union (EU), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), People’s Republic of China (PRC), Empire of Japan (EJ), Republic of India (RI), etc., etc.