Liberia: Lawmaker Boycotts Official Independence Anniversary Programs Over Flooding In His Constituency

Map of Margibi County, Liberia.

Monrovia, 23 Jul 2018: Hard-line representative Tarponwe Tarparosa of the sub political division of Margibi County in the West African nation of Liberia says he is boycotting all programs and activities being held in his constituency to mark the 171st independence anniversary of the small African country, blaming government’s insensitivity toward thousands of flood victims in his county.

Flooded homes in Margibi County, Liberia from Facebook

Rep. Tarponwe told the state broadcaster ELBC radio that he prefers spending the independence anniversary with his constituents “to help them mitigate their plight rather than engaging in festive celebrations while inhabitants of his district remained uprooted and homeless due to flooding.”

A weeklong downpour last week inundated many coastal areas of Liberia but Margibi county was hardest hit and victims have received no assistance from the largely unprepared national disaster relief program.

Bus Disabled by flood in Margibi County posted on Facebook.

The Liberian Government has remained largely acquiescent in the wake of the flood disaster, thus infuriating the Margibi lawmaker to take the unprecedented action.

Flooding inundated much of the only highway leading to the country’s international airport and forcing commuters to use the gate-15- Harbel route in order to access the Roberts International Airport (RIA) or the southeastern port city of Buchanan, national radio advised motorists.

Flooding inMargibi County, Liberia posted on Facebook

Representative Tarponwe ordered his chief of office staff to return invitations and program brochures sent him by the country’s chief protocol officer.

According to the website Reliefweb, “Continuous rainfall since 13 July has caused heavy floods in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia. As of 19 July, 51 648 people were affected by floods across seven counties, according to the National Disaster Management Agency, which is leading on the response and coordination.

At least 15 000 people have been displaced, with some in temporary shelters such as schools and other public buildings. A rapid needs assessment is on-going to evaluate the impact. Emergency needs of the affected population include food, safe-drinking water, shelter and non-food items. In the event the rainfall continues, the situation is likely to worsen, beyond the 50,000-people affected by floods expected in the National Contingency Plan.”

Meanwhile, our correspondent in the Liberian capital says economic hardship is making life in Monrovia so lacklustre even during the happy time for Liberians of all walks of life.

Redlight Business District in Liberia- photo courtesy of YouTube

Economic activities have been minimal at the major trading centers of Water side and Red light shopping districts while most streets have been fairly empty.

Some social media posts are criticizing the Liberian government over its insensitivity to consequences of the flooding and economic hardships.

By Tepitapia Sannah in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine