Liberia: Former Grand Gedeh Senatorial Candidate Backs the County’s Senior Citizens Grievance Committee against Supt. Kai Farley

In early March 2022, a group of Grand Gedeh County citizens, the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee,” submitted a petition to the County’s superintendent, Hon. Kai Farley, requesting him to meet with them to address their concerns.

The committee is headed by Mr. Charles Gaye Breeze and includes the leaders of the 15 different sections that constitute the county residing in Zwedru. Their petition contained ten specific issues that they wanted the superintendent to address, including, among other things, the lack of reliable power supply in Zwedru; presence of foreignersin Grand Gedeh County’s forests engaging in farming and gold mining operations; benefits accruing to the county from the gold mining operations; reporting on the management and investment of county development funds; and management of the county’s road construction equipment.  Not being able to meet with the superintendent, the group reportedly submitted its grievances to the President of Liberia, asking him to relieve the superintendent of his commission.  

Two press statements were issued recently reacting to the Committee’s petition to the President: one by the group “United Grand Gedeans for Sustainable Peace and Development condemning the petition, and the other by the group “Concerned Grand Gedeh Citizens in the Diasporasupporting the petition. 

I am issuing this press statement today to indicate my unqualified support for the issues raised in the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee’s petition. As a former Grand Gedeh County senatorial candidate, I feel it is important that our people know at all times where I stand on issues that affect the welfare of the county and its people. 

The issues raised in the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee’s petition are some of the issues that I have been raising now for quite some, including during my 2020senatorial campaign.  I, therefore, welcome the partnership of the Committee in this effort calling attention to the unacceptable management of our county.  The county needs all of its sons and daughters of genuine patriotic sentiments to join in this effort.  That is why I am today calling on all those who aspire to lead our people, including those who contested for legislative positions during past elections, including in particular the 2020 mid-term senatorial election, as well as those who are now planning to contest in 2023, to let their voices be heard on the very critical issues that the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee raised in its petition.  The county’s aspiring leaders cannot pontificate about advancing theCounty’s interests only at election times and then go into hibernation when the election seasons end or wait for their opinions to be sought before speaking out on issues critical to the county’s development.  

I am also calling on the county’s Legislative Caucus, under its new leadership, to let our people know where it stands on the issues the Committee raised.  Under its past leaderships, the Caucus did not always serve the best interests of the county, often paying deaf ear and blind eye to critical issues that hampered the development of the county.  Some members of the Caucus have even been privately accused of being the hidden hands behind some of the mismanagement issues in the county.  There is no better way for the new leadership to demonstrate itspreparedness to bring light and positive energy to the work of the Caucus than to let our people know now where it stands on the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee’s petition, which simply formally catalogued long standing grievances.  

Grand Gedeh County’s true patriots must work together to usher in the county a new day of accountability.  The county’s current leadership, headed by the superintendent as the President of Liberia’s Vice-gerent, must expeditiously and formally address the issues raised by the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee and others, including me.  These issues are critical to the development and wellbeing of the county, and include, in particular:1. The presence of foreigners in Grand Gedeh County’s forests who are engaged in gold mining and agricultural activities;2. The benefits that accrue to the county from the many gold mining operations scattered around the county, as well as the environmental damage mitigations that the county is promoting/advocating;3. Public disclosure of all funds that accrue to the county from the several logging companies operating in the county as part of their social responsibility obligations;4. Why, shamefully, reliable power supply is not available in Zwedru, the county capital, and why towns along the route of the power transmission line from Toe Town to Zwedru do not have access to power supply, when the county’s neighbor to the north, Nimba County, with which Grand Gedeh County shares the same source of power supply, is able to provide power 24/7 to its cities and towns along the route of thecounty’s power transmission line;5. Why there is no pipe borne water in Zwedru for several years now when the government, through the African Development Bank, invested almost one million United States Dollars not long ago to rehabilitate the Zwedru water supply system;6. Why Zwedru is in such a neglected state, with many of its streets eroded and impassable, herds of livestock roaming its streets and neighborhoods, and the city center so unsightly;7. Full disclosures on all issues surrounding the county’s road construction equipment, including in particular why it was leased to a private firm working in Sinoe County; proceeds from the lease; and documentary confirmation of the conditions of the equipment at the time of procurement—whether used or new;8. Efforts being exerted, either through the use of the county’s road construction equipment or through lobbying with the national government, to rehabilitate the section of the Monrovia-Zwedru Highway from the Cestos River to Zwedru.

To be clear, some of the above problems predate the currentcounty administration. However, the administration has been in power now long enough to have addressed even those issues, or at least provided information that would have facilitated their resolution. My standing in the county today compels me to make this call for action on the current county leadership.  

The raising of issues concerning the proper management of Grand Gedeh County often irritates the relevant authoritiesbecause they view the exercise of this vital civic duty as a personal affront.  This view of things frequently leads to shouting matches between those, like the “Grand Gedeh County Senior Citizens Grievance Committee in this instance, who are seeking answers, and those in authority to whom the questions are addressed.  This posture only “muddles” the water and causes the real issues to get lost in the noise. I am, therefore, calling on all those who, like me, are calling on our leaders to account for their stewardship of the offices they hold, to remain resolute and persistent in their calls for answers and actions, but civil in their engagements.  We must, at all times, resist the temptation to reduce our discourses to personal attacks and name-calling which only create unnecessary factions and divert attention and energies from the real issues.

William G. Nyanue

Former Senatorial Candidate

Grand Gedeh County

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