Liberia: Speaker Diverts Hand Pumps

Maryland County — Speaker Bhofal Chambers has redirected 18 pieces of hand pumps intended for communities in his constituent, Pleebo, Sodokan in Maryland County to nine (9) high schools, evoking citizens' reaction.

Speaker Chambers had secured the hand-pumps for distribution in 18 zones in his district, but on condition that each zone is required to dig its own well and install curvet.

But latest pronouncement by the Speaker's office to redirect the pumps has been greeted with misconceptions amongst residents, with some claiming that the cost of digging wells with curvets is capital intensive.

However, following few months, some zonal heads agreed to the criteria set by the speaker's office, and convened several meetings to convinced villagers, since the lack of safe drinking water is a serious challenge in the district.

Some zones leaders admitted that they had started digging their wells, while others said they have pumps, which have not been operational for some time due to pipes of tubes and other appliances. Others willingly donated their wells to be transformed into hand pumps, as promised by the Speaker.

These mechanisms, according to the various zonal heads, have been instituted already, when they suddenly heard the Speaker's pronouncement to divert the hand-pumps to nine secondary schools in the district.

They described the decision as unfair and a waste of community resources because they were asked to dig holes in order for the pumps to be installed.

Residents of other communities in the district made numerous appeals to local government and political candidates during the 2017 and 2020 elections to provide their communities safe drinking water.

But those appeals fell on deaf ears until Speaker Chambers provided the hand-pumps during a recent visit there to be installed in various communities of his district.

The Speaker's hand-pumps donation is the first of its kind in Pleebo Sodoken District since his ascendency to the district's seat in 2005.

Chambers, who's proudly serving his third term as Representative of Pleebo Sodoken district, noted during radio talk shows that building bridges, community market halls, rehabilitation of community roads, provision of safe drinking water, electricity, good health delivery system, and other services is not the responsibility of a lawmaker, but rather central government.

Meanwhile, residents said the decision to divert the hand pumps is unfair, noting that students spend longer time in their communities rather than on school campuses.

"So why is he diverting the pumps instead of giving it to the community that can accommodate more people during the day?" They asked.

When this paper contacted the Speaker's district constituent coordinator, he promised to comment later.

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