Liberia: Executive Mansion Backyard Turns Into Dumping Ground

Monrovia — As the nation eagerly awaits its historic transition in for the first time in 73 years on January 22, once the most powerful and well-protected building in Liberia, the structure hosting the official office of the President of Liberia - the Executive Mansion - is heavily engulfed by pollution at the rear of the building.

The building is supposed to be the official home of the incoming President George Weah but renovation works which commenced some 12 years ago is yet to be completed.

Weah takes office but where he will base his office remains unknown to the public.

In 2006 when President Sirleaf was hosting her counterparts from other West African nations during the country's Independence Celebration, when fire, caused by the electrical shock, gutted the President's floor.

The Executive Mansion has been out of use since then.

The Mansion, the once upon a time pride of the land, now lays in filth; its rare is a defecation field for the impoverished community that lies behind it.

During the regime of former President Charles Taylor and other regimes pedestrians were prevented from using the back of the building as security guards were mounted to prevent loitering around the office of the President.

Agents of President Taylor's Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) manhandled civilians on numerous occasions for walking along the backside of the Mansion when the former Liberian leader occupied the Mansion.

But when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took power in 2006, she briefly occupied the Mansion but abandoned it after the fire incident.

Not only has President Sirleaf's decision to abandon the Mansion made the vicinity idle and vulnerable to intruders, security presence there has also been minimized.

A FrontPageAfrica tour has established that passersby and residents of nearby communities are using the abandoned backside of the Executive Mansion as a place for defecation.

FrontPageAfrica has learned that the three communities around the Executive Ground, including Buzzy Quarter, Capitol Hill and the Budget Bureau are all without proper toilet facilities with Buzzy Quarter community suffering the most.

Communities along the beaches and other ways often use either the beach of the water way for defecation.

The back of the Mansion faces the Atlantic Ocean, its beach is now the grounds for some members of the communities to attend to nature's call.

The Liberia Maritime Authority embarked on a program to employ young people to clean the beaches.

Though the program has been fairing well, it seems it's not extended to the back of the executive grounds.

"We were not told to clean behind the Executive Mansion", Sarah Wilson, a beach cleaner said.

As she is aware of the pollution at the back of the Executive Mansion, Wilson said if only they (beach cleaners) can get a mandate from the government to clean behind the building they will.

The Executive Mansion was constructed over a three -year period, from 1960 to 1963.

The entire project was designed and supervised by Stanley Engineering Company of Africa; and the Construction Contractor was Liberian Construction Corporation (LCC).

The project was officially dedicated on January 3, 1964, the seat of the Executive branch of the Government of the Republic of Liberia.

The building is an eight-storey horizontal arch-like (semicircular) structure, constructed primarily of reinforced concrete post and lintel system, covering a total area of approximately 26,500 sq. ft.

The Executive Mansion was designed and is being used for four basic functions; the official residence of the President of Liberia, Offices of the President and Staff of the Ministry of State, reception and living accommodations for guest/dignitaries and maintenance/technical sections.

The focal point of the building is an elaborate northern and centralized entrance/reception hall of the second floor, which connects the executive parlor, located in the eastern section of the building along with relevant supporting facilities; and to that of other administrative offices, located in the western section.

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