Friday, July 30, 2010

Fixed But Flooded: Monrovia’s Streets Still Impassable On Rainy Days

Source: FrontPage Africa

07/30/2010 - Nat Nyuan Bayjay,

SOAKY ROADS: While critics continue to blame the Chinese firm for poor drainage system resulting into such situations, both the Ministry of Public Works and their Chinese partner continually cite the issue of the rehab works being just the first phase with full rehab works expected to resume as soon as the rainy reason ends.

Commuters and probably pedestrians’ previous thoughts of having their worries of Monrovia’s streets that were in terrible and bad shapes being remedied seem far from over.

Despite the first phase of the rehabilitation works done on the principal streets of the capital by the Chinese Construction Company (CICO) after winning the bid to do so, every downfall of rain renders most of the city’s streets either heavily flooded or impassable, remaining so until after several minutes even after the rain stops.

The situation is increasingly becoming worrisome for the public for the busy and commercial streets in Central Monrovia that underwent CICO’s first phase of rehabilitation. The floods are mainly concentrated at the intersections of major streets, making most vehicles that are low and not built-up to most often dodge the affected areas which they do with little success due to the situations being the same almost in every location in the city center.

Among the regularly affected areas are the intersection of Broad and Lynch Streets which extends further to the DHL Office and the National Headquarters of the ruling Unity Party, the intersection of Randall and Broad Streets which results into the formation of deposited body of water at the corner of the two commercial streets as the water tries to force its way down Randall and Carey Streets, and the Carey Street portion where the famous Atai shop is located, among others.

While critics continue to blame the Chinese firm for poor drainage system resulting into such situations, both the Ministry of Public Works and their Chinese partner continually cite the issue of the rehab works being just the first phase with full rehab works expected to resume as soon as the rainy reason ends.

But critics have refused the excuse of the poor drainage being the result of the first phase as they say that the first phase of the rehab work in no way should mean the streets being flooded.

“Yes, thank you, man for taking the picture. Put it in the media so that they can know that they have not done a good job here and they should not continue to tell us that because there is a second phase of the work remaining that we should always be walking in water in the city whenever it rains”, said an angry pedestrian to the FrontPageAfrica’s reporter as he tip-toed in maneuvering his way of the flooded corner of Randall and Broad Streets while passing vehicles struggled to make their left and right-turns.

Rehabilitation of the pothole-ridden city streets of Monrovia is part of the World Bank's 10-year infrastructure projects for the post-conflict economy as the country faces the enormous challenges of reconstructing and constructing roads.

CICO is undertaking the rehabilitation of the streets of Monrovia under an agreement signed between the Government of Liberia and the Bank, as part of the country’s Infrastructure Fund being managed by the Bank.

While President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s inspection tour in April of this year of then ongoing rehabilitation work of the streets made her to express satisfaction over the pace of the work, it remains challenging on the Chinese construction firm’s part which also won the contract to re-construct the collapsed Via Town Bridge to curb Monrovia’s flood-prone city-center streets.

President Sirleaf during the tour commended the Public Works Ministry and Chinese engineers for working together to ensure the successful completion of the rehabilitation works.

The Chinese firm has also been rocked with workers’ complaints of low wages which prompted Public Works Minister, Samuel Kofi Woods, to give them assurance that his ministry was going to work with the relevant government agencies including the Ministry of Labor and the National Police to address some of their concerns.

Rehab works on Monrovia’s streets have over the months been greeted with mixed public views of both condemnations and delays on one hand and commendations on the other hand.

The project came to a standstill earlier this year in which government cited the slow pace of cash flow to the contractors, CICO, and its competing Chinese firm, the China Henan International Company (CHICCO) while the delay was further heightened by the country’s downpour of heavy rain.

The intensive rehab works have seen the removal and replacement of old ‘kotas’ and repairing and construction of drainages but much still desires to be done as Monrovia’s 1.3 million inhabitants, like the rest of the country’s population, still have about four or more months of rainfall and probably beyond, given the change in the country’s climatic conditions.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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