Monrovia — In the wake of huge criticisms from political opponents and critics, President George Manneh Weah has justified and outlined reasons for the move made by his government to engage into the trading and exportation of electricity to neighboring Ivory Coast, despite limited supply to thousands of households in Monrovia and other parts adjacent.
The Liberian leader is the Standard Bearer of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) who is seeking re-election in the ensuing October 10 general elections in Liberia.
Last week, Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel Tweah disclosed that the Liberian government is exporting electricity to Ivory Coast during the rainy season. However, his disclosure didn’t go down well with opposition politicians and some citizens.
They continue to question the rationale behind the move made by the government in the midst of unstable and the lack of electricity supply to thousands of households in Monrovia and its environs.
But speaking on his regular campaign trail in Brewerville City, district # 17, Montserrado County over the week end, President Weah disclosed that the Liberian government and its Ivorian counterparts are starting afresh to guarantee the provision of stable electricity to the country.
He disclosed that the deal has commenced for the supply and exportation of electricity between the two nations due to a decision taken by his government to settle the arrears previously owed the Ivorian government.
He said the trading of power supply between the two nations is a “simple mathematics” that is not being clearly understood by the opposition.
President Weah pointed out that the trade of energy supply to Ivory Coast is also intended to ensure that the neighboring country can aid Liberia when the post-conflict nation is in need of assistance in the future.
By exporting electricity to Ivory Coast, President Weah pointed out that his government is upholding protocols signed with the Mano River Union (MRU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
He, however, failed to state a specific protocol. “What Samuel Tweah explained to you-I remember when I was going to Abidjan on their Independence Day, they told me that the Liberian government was owing on the CLSG. And I said to them I will go and discuss that. Luckily for me, I went to Abidjan , and I said every money we owed, I will wipe it so we can start new. This is why we are starting new and we have to respect the protocols. This is not politics. This is something that they did not do in 12 years. We are doing this so tomorrow when we have issues, our neighboring countries can help us.”
He promised to extend the supply of electricity to other communities in district 17, Montserrado County beginning this week.
Speaking further, President Weah urged citizens to be mindful of the opposition, particularly the former ruling Unity Party (UP) which is seeking for the presidency after serving the nation and its people for 12 years.
He said Liberians should continue to build trust and confidence in his administration because, their challenges are being addressed gradually..
“They want this position (presidency) they left; they want it back. So, they will tell you all kinds of things. But what I can promise you is that, I will work for you. You can trust me. I am doing everything to make sure we have electricity in our communities or solar lights. For 12 years, they didn’t count from 1 or 17. They left it undone. We came and started from 1 to 17. We are doing everything bit by bit.”
He said Liberians should not allow themselves to be carried away by people who failed to develop themselves despite their prolong stay in public service.
President Weah, however, vowed to leave behind a legacy by ensuring that all roads are paved and more institutions are constructed in Liberia.
He stressed that the harmonization of civil servants and other salaries by his government was intended to ensure that those working in offices are pay better wages as compare to others.
He claimed that as a result of the harmonization scheme carried out, “everybody working in the government is now happy.”
President Weah maintained that opposition politicians are only perplexed to replace him because he came from the “street and became President of the Republic of Liberia,”, and providing opportunities for ordinary Liberians to serve in his government.
Also speaking, the National Campaign Manager of the CDC Lenn Eugene Nagbe claimed that some opposition politicians are capitalizing on the suffering of the electorates to spill out lies against the government by using the electricity deal with Ivory Coast.
He attributed the delay in the completion of the World Bank sponsored project for the supply of electricity from the St. Paul Bridge to Po River to slow procurement processes.
Mr. Nagbe disclosed that as a result of the delays, President Weah has already instructed authorities of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to immediately commence works leading to the supply of electricity in the area.
He claimed that the government is not undertaking the project as a result of the elections, but it is part of its responsibilities to Liberians.
“By next week, you will see the current project starting. They threw it at us; we will throw it back to them.”
On the issue of exporting electricity to Ivory Coast, Mr. Nagbe indicated that uneducated members of the opposition are the ones misinforming Liberians about the deal.
“They are saying the President sending current to Ivory Coast while there is no current here-you know there are some people who went to school, they can read and write, but they are literate uneducated. If you are educated, you will try to explain to your people better.”
According to him, Liberia has been fully involved with the CLSG project because, its hydro cannot adequately supply electricity to more customers and households during the dry season.
“These countries agreed and said let’s join all our electricity resources together and Liberia was behind it because, when we have dry season, the hydro cannot perform up to its maximum. And so, when we have dry season and Ivory Coast has more current, Ivory Coast can send some current to us and when we get more current during the rainy season, we send to them. It got nothing to do with district 17.”
“When the power is plenty in Guinea, automatically, it passes through other lines to come to Liberia. The CLSG is a powerpool meaning if you have plenty current, the day my own goes off, you give me small or I give you small too.While the World Bank program that supposed to connect 30,000 households in this district from St. Paul Bridge to Po River is in process, the Government of Liberia itself will finance the provision of electricity to district 17.”
Mr. Nagbe, however, vowed to return “fire for fire” when opposition politicians, including the Standard Bearer of the Unity Party (UP) Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai throw jibes at President Weah during this campaign period.
This, he said is intended to erect a checkpoint, and provide the facts to some of the accusations that would be made by the opposition ahead of the elections.