Bong County - President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and opposition presidential Candidate George Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change have appeared side-by-side at a groundbreaking program for an 81-kilometer road in Bong County.
However, Sirleaf hailed her vice president Joseph Boakai, for the progress that led to the groundbreaking program for the road project.
She then said, she was grateful that the long-awaited day that Liberians will “begin to dream” has come, pointing to the difficulties travellers on the Gbarnga-Menikoma highway experience especially during the rainy season.
Your days of suffering as the result of this road will be over soon, she said.
She regretted the absence of the vice president at the program, describing the project as “his own”.
“I am so sorry that my vice president Joseph Boakai is not here to dedicate this road along with me but this is his project,” she said.
She also thanked Public Work Minister Gyude Moore for his role in making sure the project starts before the end of her tenure.
The 81-kilometer road, which connects Bong and Lofa Counties, will be implemented by Chinese engineering firm, CHICO – responsible for the construction of the Monrovia-Buchanan highway and portion of the Monrovia-Gbarnga highway.
While the Unity Party standard bearer was absent at the program, the standard bearer and vice standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Senators Geroge Weah and Jewel Howard-Taylor were at the forefront of the event of what may be a major road project connecting two of Liberia’s major agriculture based counties.
Senator Weah didn’t speak at the gathering, but his running mate, Senator Howard-Taylor, a native and lawmaker of the county, lauded the government for the progress, saying, “the government, under a female president has built more roads” in the country.
Residents following the program in the central Liberian city extolled Johnson-Sirleaf for fulfilling her pledge to seeing the pavement of the Gbarnga-Menikoma highway.
Speaking with our correspondent in the county, one resident of Lofa County, preferring anonymity, commended President Sirleaf “for keeping her word” and said when the road is paved it will bring relief to people of the area.
“I just want to commend the government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for this. We will forever miss President Sirleaf when she leaves power,” he said.
Another resident, Theresa Benson who lives along the road, said the ground breaking for the commencement of the road shows the seriousness of the government to truly transform all parts of the county.
She said the government, under president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, deserves to be given a “pat on the back for their tireless efforts in moving the country forward”.
The presence of Mr. Weah at the groundbreaking program also sparked mixed reactions from some residents who witnessed the occasion, especially in the absence of VP Boakai.
Weah Fokos, a member of the ruling Unity Party, said Senator Weah should not have been part of the program because “he is in the opposition party and it is campaign period leading to the crucial runoff.
Fokos said Weah used the event to canvass for votes, though he didn’t speak at the occasion.
Fokos said the presence of Weah along the president at an event of a major development initiative validates rumors that President Sirleaf is backing the CDC in the race for her successor.
But Lydia Flomo, partisan of the CDC, argues that Weah, a senator of Monsterrado County, deserves to attend the ceremony.
“Weah is a Liberian and despite a candidate for the runoff election, he is a senator,” she said.