The restoration of electricity to Gbarnga City, Bong County seems not to be far away as the testing of street lights has begun. Our Bong County correspondent, who toured the streets of Gbarnga confirms that the lights are effective in some streets, but noted that most of the bulbs are damaged and need replacement.
The test transmission of power to the city is being done by Geontia Inc.- a private company. Maintenance of power source has been a controversial issue for over a year now with authorities of the county expressing lack of capacity to keep the lights on.
our correspondent also gathered a formal contract has been signed with Geontia Incorporated, costing more than US$135,000 to provide electricity to Gbarnga and its environs for a period of five years. Sources in the county said part of the agreement include planting 100 light poles in the city, including installation of additional nine transformers to boost the electricity.
Bong County purchased two generators in 2009 when it hosted the July 26 celebration, but the county's leadership has been unable to maintain constant supply of power after the independence celebration.
Although Bong County administration has always argued that the cost of running the generators was too high, but some lawmakers, including former Deputy Speaker Tokpah Mulbah have vowed that there will be no light in Gbarnga if county authorities cannot ensure lights are in every district headquarters.
Amidst this argument and the huge cost of running the generators, county authorities said they were privatizing power as a way of giving the city consistent and dependable electricity. Some citizens of the county noted that there increased criminal activities in the city due to the lack of electricity, describing the situation as threat to public security.
Rural Women Confer in Gbarnga
Women from Lofa, Nimba and Bong Counties have concluded a one-day regional conference in Gbarnga, Bong County to speak on the governance process of the country and how to constructively engage their leaders in the decision making process.
In a conversation with reporters at the program, the Gender Coordinator of Nimba County, Madam Yah Bellah Suah, said based on the trainings women have had and continue to have, they are now speaking of ills and finding way to national leadership.
She said for too long women have been backbenchers so it was time to get involved in national leadership. Madam Suah believes Liberian women can no more afford to sit at the back and leave decision making with the men only, when they have important opinions in shaping the destiny of the country.
The Nimba County Gender coordinator said women, who are not aware of the progress their colleagues are making in the struggle for equal treatment need to be trained and informed to enable them join the struggle for gender equality.
Also speaking at the program, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) Country Officer Massa Craton, wondered while the National Legislature will delay the passage of the local government act that will ensure the election of clan and paramount chiefs, commissioners and other local leaders.
She said when the act is passed, it will give ordinary citizens a chance to elect their superintendents, city majors and others as well will have voice easily in engaging and questioning their leaders if they go wrong.
The OSIWA Country officer wondered why lawmakers will be procrastinating the passage of such crucial bill that is in the public interest. She said if the bill is passed, lot of women will have the chance to contest local government positions in their respective places. She called on women to continuously engage their leaders always, not only during the elections, but after they get in power.