After President George Manneh Weah and hundreds of accompaniers concluded their trip to six counties in the Central, Northern and Southeastern parts of the country—geopolitical sub-regions where the President holds natal roots and much popularity—many pundits had thought venturing into the Western flank would leave much nostalgia for the first tour in terms of the unreserved solidarities and loyalties shown by the people. However, that calculation was found wrong because the three counties in the West–Bomi, Gbarpolu and Grand Mount—went exceedingly afire with riotous celebrations and demonstration of copious affection as the President and entourage visited their villages and towns. The Analyst reflects on what can best be described as stunning welcome and hospitality by the three Western provinces which many pundits had thought would be standoffish to the presidential tours.
Most people, even including members of President Weah’s countryside caravan as well as the general public, have thought the festive and loyalty-studded time spent in Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Maryland and Grand Kru, would not be experienced and seen anywhere else in the country.
And from the look of things, with Bong and Nimba county’s natural populations, coupled with the Southeast’s familial affinity to the President, it was easy for one to concede to that notion. That was when it was not tested, when the President and entourage had not made a move to other places.
But as the presidential caravan crossed Po-River Bridge which separates Montserrado from Bomi, it was a different ball game. All the impression from the clamorous solidarity contest put up in the North and Southeast got diluted, because the Golas and Kpellehs and other residents of the Western parts of the country rose up to the acme of their natural affections for the President and his administration in their display of colorful and jostled ceremonies and loving statements.
Bomi Goes Ablaze
Edwin Melvin Snowe’s Bomi County was a territory to watch, as it pioneered the colorfulness and affectionate welcome ceremonies for the President and his entourage. From the Po-River Bridge, throughout the Dowein District to the capital Tubmanburg, uniformed women and school children, youth and every segment of the local population waived palm branches while others spread lappas and sang songs of praises as the President’s convoy rolled through their towns and villages.
The President’s first intervention with the people took place in Jenneh #3, Dowein District, where he thanked the citizens for the welcome ceremonies and support, and particularly for people for electing him, amongst other qualified Liberians, to lead the country and to listen to them on the way forward to national growth.
While in Bomi alone, the President had five town hall meetings in Jenneh, Klay and Tubmanburg, Julijuah, Tehr District and later on his way from Cape Mount County in Gbai-Jakeh.
The Bomi citizens bathed the Liberian leader with gifts that included domestic animals, country cloths, vegetables amongst other things, as they requested him to help their back conditions.
The citizens hailed the government’s national agriculture development program, providing the President 100 acres of land to bolster his agriculture development program.
Two takeaways, that stand out prominently during the president’s visit to Bomi, included the electrification of the capital city, Tubmanburg and the President’s disappointment over the county’s neglect by its opulent sons and daughters.
Weah, having listened to the rural people on their felt needs and aspirations, said his administration would exert all necessary efforts and seek every available avenue to address their development needs in line with Government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
On the first stop, for instance, the President announced giving chiefs and zoes two vehicles and several bikes, perhaps as many bikes as there may be prominent chiefs.
For the youth in Suehn Mecca, the President promised building a Youth Center, while the First Lady provided a new vehicle to a female nurse who moves around Suehn Mecca on bike to help pregnant mothers. He announced soon-to-commence construction of a modern market and provide pro-poor housing units in the county.
The President also announced immediate works on the Bomi Community College, specifically constructing additional 50 class rooms at the Community College.
The county’s much-talked about Blue Lake, which the President visited, will soon be Number One tourist attraction Center in Liberia; courtesy of the First Lady, Clar Marie Weah who offers to intervene as soon as possible.
The President further pledged to remodel the CH Dewey Basketball Court and to standardize the CH Dewey Field to FIFA level.
Bomi is also expected to see roads in Tubmanburg paved and those connecting outlying villages and towns upgraded.
Also captured from the President’s interaction with the people of Bomi is the patching the Suehn Mecca Road from Moulton Corner to Bopolu.
One of the county’s renowned districts, Suehn Mecca has had difficulty with internet and telephone connectivity. This problem, the President, declared must be considered solved.
Also while in Tubmanburg, the President dedicated the newly built modern office complex of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP). The multipurpose regional office complex will serve NASSCORP’s clients and beneficiaries in Bomi, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount Counties as well as provides banking (SIB) services to the populace.
Gbarpolu Swarms Presidential Convoy
While the euphoria in Bomi was outstanding, where so much citizen solidarity was on displaced, marching if not surpassing counties visited before, Gbarpolu was another stunning moment.
This is county of the President’s Chief of Office Staff, Nathaniel F. McGill, who is noted as one of few in government that wield much influence in the officialdom.
Those who might have thought the sparsely populated province would to sleep on the president’s visit were certainly disappointed because by the time the President and crew passed the last curve to strategic town of Sawmill, thousands of citizens from all walks of life in Gbarpolu had drenched the entire community.
As the President moved to a well-populated community, Gbarma, the swarms of local citizens were chasing the visitors, turning the second biggest city of the county impenetrable due to the outpour of citizens from near and far-away communities.
Celebrations took hold, and the people went into frenzy, jamming Gbarma City Hall before crossing the border with Cape Mount County on the Northeastern flank for Tahn town, Golakonneh District for another huge town hall meeting.
According to sources closed to protocol officers, the reaching out to Tahn, which is a region of Cape Mount, was necessary since it was far and disconnected in terms good road from its Western and Southern regions of the county.
A night in Gbarma was well spent, as residents and their guests tarry under the hails of new power light; the streets of Gbarpolu’s second biggest town were lighted by “Darkness Medicine”, as President Weah is nicknamed for his accelerated distribution of electric and solar powers in the country.
Entering the capital Bopolu was fun. It was clamorous and celebratory. Someone joked that the county’s emerging political godfather, Nathaniel McGill, had emptied villages and towns, including those in the Belleh forest near Lofa County, into Bopolu.
There in Bopolu was one of the most interactive town hall meetings in the Western region, not just because the avalanche of attendees spiced up the forums with splendid traditional dress codes, uniforming various segments of the population, but also giving every group of the local population adequate time and space to voice out their felt needs for the intervention of the president.
In Bopolu, President Weah once again brought legislators to the spotlight, reinforcing his point that the Legislature which makes laws and make budgetary allegation must make good their share of the developmental responsibility and help address the many needs expressed by the people.
“Much of the things you have requested me to do for you could and can be done by your lawmakers if they had you at heart,” President George Manneh Weah said. “As Chief Executive, I depend on the cooperation of people who make budgetary allocation to help. And whenever the think about you, and give allocate money for things you need, I will be glad to deliver them to you, and on time.”
The President also stressed the importance of meeting expectation of the people in time, and frowned on those who lag behind when given responsibility to implement projects meant for ordinary Liberians.
“When you have responsibility to do your work, I urge that you need same and on time,” President Weah told his appointees while addressing a town hall meeting in Bopolu. “Some of you are the problem in delivering social services to the people. You are problem because whenever you are entrusted with a responsibility to deliver, you waste lot of time. And we have no space for delay. We are running with things because we don’t have much time.”
Grand Cape Mount Wakes Up for Weah
There were serial triumphant entries into communities and towns of Grand Cape Mount by President Weah and his entourage. This sparsely populated county surprised many observers, perhaps even their guests, with the huge crowds that came out to greet the President having crossed from Bomi.
Whether it was in Sinjii, or Teini, or Bo Waterside, or Kinjor or the capital Robertsport, Cape Mountaineers were at their best in hostility and particularly in solidarity for the President and his government.
As the people of Cape Mount crowded their villages to welcome the President and his accompaniers, singing, dancing and chanting pro-Weah and pro-government slogans, they also brought to gifts in domestic animals, agriculture produce and gowns for him and the First Lady many call Mother of the Land.
The President was also on point, speaking to divisions amongst politicians in the county and announcing series of development interventions underway for the county.
He said in-fighting amongst citizens of the county would yield rewards and implored the citizens, mainly their leaders to embrace each other, work together, pursue progressive development and seek the general wellbeing of the people, he indicated.
According to him, Liberia should by now be developed juxtaposed to the number of its educated class, stressing “the educated people should march their education with development.’
President Weah noted that wrangling amongst lawmakers is hurting the people and the county, stating that it was high time they focused on improving the wellbeing of t citizens rather than seeking personal interest.
He promised several quick-impact development projects to the people of Grand Cape Mount County, announcing construction of several Pro-poor housing units, resource center for the youths, assistance to disadvantaged citizens of the county and other development packages.
Most significantly to the satisfaction of Cape Mountaineers, the LIberian Chief Executive has announced the pavement of the Madina-Robertsport, the administrative capital of Grand Cape Mount County.
At Bo-Waterside, the President dedicated the Bo-Waterside Health Center designed, financed and built by the ECOWAS Health Organization (WAHO) for use by Sierra and Liberia to aid with the fight against major diseases.