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Where There Is No Vision the Country Bleeds and the (Liberian) People Suffers

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

On February 10, 2019, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sherrif passed away at the Korlu-Bu Teaching Hospital in Ghana. Senator Doe-Sherrif who reportedly had cancer traveled to Ghana for medical care.

On March 25, 2019, Montserrado County Représentative Adolph Lawrence, who was returning from celebrating his 50th birthday in Buchanan at the home of his wife, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident on Robertsfield Highway.

The tragic demise of the two lawmakers who are widely loved by their colleagues tells us that death, as an inescapable reality, echoes the fragility of life – that a person can be here today, and gone tomorrow, as their relatives and friends are left with the painful and vivid memories of their lives on earth with them.

The death news of these lawmakers are nothing strange to the Liberian people who have seen their own lawmakers – one lawmaker after another passed away either from an unexplained illness to a preventable one that could have been treated right there in Liberia – at a Liberian hospital or clinic, had lawmakers in both chambers focused on funding, training and staffing the nation’s healthcare systems.

Not so, and a ‘no-no’ for these Liberian lawmakers who are known to neglect their people and their own healthcare systems, and are paid lucratively for doing nothing, only to crisscrossed major cities and countries around the globe seeking medical treatment in countries other than the country that they duly represent.

The Liberian people who have been neglected for too long by their political leaders are aware of the painful facts of living with a disease and not having the money to get any kind of treatment, even as their president, their elected legislators, and appointed cabinet ministers, and their family members can afford to travel to the United States, Ghana, and other countries to see the best doctor that their ill-gotten money can get them.

The deaths of these two lawmakers exposed the sad state of affairs in Liberia – that elected officials or a lone official cannot dare stand out as the one who gets out of the get-rich-quick box to do the unthinkable that makes us proud to be Liberians in these challenging times when the nation needs a statesman (not a selfish, greedy gold digger and serial opportunist) to move the country forward. 

The fatal accident occurred on Robertsfield Highway. According to reports, Representative Adolph Lawrence’s vehicle ran under an 18-wheeler truck that had no brakes and was carrying timber at the time of the accident.

Did the honorable Representative drink at his birthday party? Was he inebriated when his vehicle ran under the 18-wheeler truck on that fatal day? Why did the Liberian Department of Motor Vehicle (Is there one) allow broken and brakeless vehicles and trucks ply the roads and streets of Liberia?

If institutions in the country were working and not broken, and there were genuine law and order, there would be police investigations and an independent autopsy conducted to get the information to the public.

Also, according to press reports and reports from Liberians in and out of the country, Robertsfield Highway, as the gateway to the world, is a ‘deathtrap’ that needs an immediate overhaul to make it safe. 

If Robertsfield Highway is unsafe and dangerous for motorists all these years, why hasn’t the district Representatives and Senators that represent Montserrado County secure the funding needed to renovate the highway and make it safe?

Where is the public works minister? Oh, I forgot, Liberia is run by an unaccountable imperial president, and the minister of public works is awaiting directives from the powerful President of Liberia to think and begin the renovation of Robertsfield Highway.

There is a lack of vision and dogged political will on the part of the Liberian politicians to get things done.

And it seems many of them are not knowledgeable of their elected roles but ran for their respective positions for the wrong reasons, that is to make quick money and live largely – as they are uninterested in genuine oversights, holding the executive branch accountable, legislating and enacting laws and ordinances, to make the Liberian government work for the people.  

For example, like former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who did a whole lot of traveling during her tenure, President Weah is traveling a lot amid suffering and mounting economic problems in the country, as major hospitals such as Phebe in Bong County and other hospitals are reportedly on the brink of closure.

And whenever these presidents travel, they take with them 20-30 people or more. For a struggling country such as Liberia that does not have its own official airplane, it takes a lot of money to lease or charter a plane to transport these people, get hotels, and also pay their per diems for their trips.

Liberians are suffering at home, hospitals are struggling to remain open, and institutions are broken.

Where is legislative oversight? Where is leadership?

Category: Editorial, News Headlines

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