Home Economy House Speaker ‘Dodges’ Bad Roads To Southeast …Uses Ivorian Route

House Speaker ‘Dodges’ Bad Roads To Southeast …Uses Ivorian Route

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By: Frank P Martin

PUTUKEN, RIVER GEE: The bad road conditions which affect the Southeastern counties in Liberia have exacerbated in that region, poising serious economic hardship on citizens and residents.

“Southeasterners have been denied proper roads for decades, and this sickens us. Every year we grumble about the roads, but the folks in Monrovia do not care,” commuters who were stuck in the mud on the Zwedru-Fish Town highway told The Independent newspapers over the weekend in the area.

“They simply don’t care. We pay taxes but receive no benefits. The sad thing is, we generate a large amount of agricultural produce yearly, yet we lose money owing to poor road conditions,” one of the aggrieved citizens said.

“The amount of time we spend on the roads is intolerable, and the conditions we are subjected to are demoralizing,” said some of the travelers who had been on the road for several days.

They complained that the expenses incurred from the spoilage of their goods, as well as vehicle wear and tear, are immeasurable.

“The awful state of the roads is significantly contributing to the soaring costs of agro-products and services, to the detriment of ordinary Liberians. It causes us to get poorer and poorer. We are in pain,” they added.

“We have spent four days around here because of the heavy mud,” said Mohamed Dukuly, a truck driver whose final destination is Monrovia.

Dukuly’s vehicle was stuck between Putuken and Killipo Kanweaken with vegetables and other farm products.

“The plantain, peppers, and bitter balls on my truck are getting spoiled and we pray that a caterpillar will come to clear the mud,” he said.

Every year, on the stretch of the southeastern road corridor, dozens of lorries carrying goods were stranded in the mud for days, leaving many to transfer to motorcycles to continue their trips.

The Southeast, which comprises Maryland, Grand Kru, River Gee, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, and River Cess counties, has for many decades suffered from terrible road conditions.

Yet, these counties have given birth to some of Liberia’s brightest human minds.

They have also produced three presidents — namely President William V.S Tubman, who hails from Maryland; Samuel K. Doe (1985) from Grand Gedeh; currently President George M. Weah (2018) from Grand Kru County, as well as former interim President, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer (1990), from Sinoe County.

But very little has changed for these counties in terms of infrastructure and road connectivity. And with President Weah having proclaimed himself “Bad Road Medicine,” many Southeasterners long for the day when their bad road disease will be permanently alleviated.

Currently, the Southeastern Road network is among the country’s major highways that are in the most deplorable state. It then forces commercial vehicles which in normal time would manage to squeeze at least two round-trips in a week, to just one which takes almost a week to make; sometimes more – cutting drivers’ projected incomes.

Awkwardly, it is not just the drivers that are losing time, but the passengers who have to spend countless sleepless nights and days on the road before reaching their respective destinations. And there is another problem: the issue of hikes in transportation fares at any given point in time — creating difficulties for travellers. The costs add up depending on the amount of load a person may be carrying and the cost of petroleum.

As a result of the bad road conditions, House Speaker Dr. Bhofal Chambers, River Gee District 3 Representative Francis Dopoe were among few southeasterners that reportedly used the Ivory coast route, while Senator Conmany B. Wesseh is reported to have used a local flight round-trip ticket to the region. Both Senator Wesseh and Speaker Chambers could not be immediately reached yesterday for comment on their recent travel to the region.

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