Report By: Fatu Boley
Gbarnga, Bong County – Concerns continue to heighten amongst commercial drivers and motorcyclists about the delays in completing the pavement of streets in Gbarnga city, Bong County.
The road pavement project was awarded to East International by the county legislative caucus in 2015 to do 23.3 kilometers of road. It was later reduce to 10.6 kilometers, however; the project is yet to be completed. The project had earlier targeted two major streets.
Since the start of the project, residents have flagged several concerns about the company’s inability to execute the work. Some said that East International does not have materials to complete the job on time.
Several drivers, who usually ply the incomplete paved streets, said the delay is a serious embarrassment to residents of the city.
There are often misunderstandings among car drivers and motorcyclists when plying these incomplete paved streets, sometimes leading to fist fight. The issue of who’s right or wrong sparks because of the narrowness of the main street.
At the same time, street vendors are occupying portion of the paved roads – a situation that often causes accident.
Aaron Kollie, a motorcyclist, said the frequent accidents on Gbarnga Board Street are caused by the potholes. The condition of the road also leaves major damages on their motorcycles, he added.
“Look how the holes on the road; every day that accident, they don’t even care. They really have to reason and try to fix this one street,” he said.
Mary Akoi Gizzie, a business woman, is worried that the condition of the road and the affect it has on her flow of customers.
“We want the road to be fixed; the number of accidents that can take place a day I can’t even check it,” she explains.
“The road is bad; we want the county authority to help us, when the rain falls the erosion can stop customer from coming to my business center.”
At the same time, Jutomue Daikai Mulbah, president of Bong County youth caucus, claims that disunity amongst members of the county officials is the main issue stalling the completion of the road projects.
“Our county authority only care about politics they don’t care about the development of this county. The slow pavement of the road is a serious embarrassment to the citizens of this county. It leads to accidents on a daily basis,” Mulbah said.
Bong county assistant Superintendent for development Anthony Boakai Sheriff attributes the delays in completing the concrete road project to the failure of the Ministries of Public Works and Finance to pay contractors through the county Authority.
Sheriff said the contract was awarded to East international by the Ministries of Public Works through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Bu, he stated that if the MFDP would have paid the contractor through the county administration, they would have fully the monitor the work.
According to the Bong County Development Superintendent, the county administration has limited rights to continuously question East international about reasons leading to the halt of the project because the company is not directly answerable to them.
Mr. Sheriff said the county has, on several occasion, asked the construction company about the status of the project but were told that there is no money to continue the project.
Many residents of the central Liberian city haven widely speculated that members of the county Legislative caucus hired East International to implement the project because of the kickbacks the firm offered, but denied the allegation.