21 August 2013

Liberia: LEC to Face Lawmakers - to Explain Why Monrovia Not Electrified

Photo: Boakai M.Fofana
A damaged power plant of the Liberian Electricity Corporation.

The absence of electricity in some communities across Monrovia has claimed the attention of members of the House of Representatives as they have summoned before their altar the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to state reasons why electricity is yet to reach every home and street eight years into administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who promised to light up Monrovia in six months of her presidency.

The lawmakers took the decision of summoning the LEC management on the strength of a communication from District # 8 Representative Acarous Moses Gray who complained that LEC has refused to electrify major streets and densely populated communities in and outside Monrovia, an action that provides opportunity to criminals to torment community residents especially at nights.

At Tuesday regular session, Gray, a vocal critic of the Ellen-led regime, also noted that request to electrify the whole of Monrovia was in keeping with presidential commitment made by President Sirleaf during the UP-led government first term in office.

During the campaign for the presidency in 2005, Madam Sirleaf, then candidate of the Unity Party, told jubilant supporters and well-wishers at the Monrovia City Hall that she would electrify Monrovia in the space of six months. Even-though, her government has succeeded in getting electricity in homes and on streets, most parts of the city remain in thick darkness.

Defending his communication seeking the summoning of the LEC management, Rep. Gray said the absence of light has become dreadful with criminals desperately terrifying peaceful citizens, while homes are being burnt by the constant use of candle lights and generators, adding "there have been poles planted in some areas for over eight months now without electrical lines, while streets lights are unavailable on many streets."

The CDC lawmaker was not alone in the debate as his campaign was joined by Unity Party lawmaker Saywah Dunah of Nimba County who said he has gathered report that the LEC was selling the electricity at a high rate and therefore needed to be summoned to give reasons.

For her part, Representative Munah P. Youngblood also of the CDC and District #9, Montserado County said since she took over her district, there have been 48 cases of fire damage.

She said she has been holding meetings with the management of the LEC to see reason in extending electricity to her district but such is far from reality.

Representative Ben Fofana also pointed out that while it is true that the Corporation enjoys support from the international and donor community, the LEC has been selective in electrifying the city.

He said the management needed to appear before their altar to give reasons why there has not been electricity eight years into the presidency of Madam Sirleaf and in spite of the budgetary allotment.

In keeping with the huge support Gray's communication received, a motion to summon the management was carried, meaning that the management of LEC will appear before powerful Plenary of the House of Representatives on Thursday 22 August 2013 to give reasons why the electrification of Monrovia has not been completed.

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