By Bill K. Jarkloh from Lofa
Although the recent cabinet retreat of the Liberian Cabinet chaired by President Ellen Johnson paraded several development projects, the most memorable feature of the President’s official visit in mid March was the petition by the seven districts of Lofa County requesting the President to run for the Presidency for a second term.
Unlike the rather mute spirit exhibited in Grand Gedeh when the Gedeans asked her to run for a second term, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf this time made a statement which was evaluated amongst journalists that traveled on the presidential tour to Voinjama in Lofa County saw as her consent to contest the President in 2011.
“The President in response to the Lofans said she is a woman, and there is an intriguing feature of silence in a woman which, except God, man will not understand. “So You’ll leave that one yea.”
During that evening meeting at the Voinjama City Hall, the Chiefs and elders of the county representing the seven district – Zorzor, Voinjama, Foya, Belle, Quandi Boni, and two other districts met with the President and praised her for her development initiatives and for her leadership of taking the government to the people. The in essence said they can reciprocate this articulate and sound leadership of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf only through their votes if she should accept their petition.
This followed the inspection of several developments projects initiated by the government through partners. For example, the Administration of President through the Government of Switzerland reconstructed, expanded, modernized and dedicated the Tellewoyan Hospital in Voinjama.
To main building of Tellewoyan Hospital which was ruined down to dust fighters during the civil war added a Hospital complex that could be used for referral hospital, a doctors residential quarter, an Administrative Building for the hospital, and residential quarters for nurses and staff amongst others.
Besides, the Swiss Government announced at the dedication of the Hospital that it will fund the operation of the hospital thorough a Liberian government selected NGO. That was not all, the visit to Voinjama of the president was reason for the reconstruction and upgrading of the roads in the county; the refurbishing of the Voinjama City Hall and the ground breaking for the construction a post office and the reconstruction of the Voinjama Administrative Building that id the Seat of the local government in Voinjama. President Sirleaf also dedicated a modern market in Gangolata, a town along the Gbarnga – Salayea highway inside Lofa.
Apparently all of these projects and others unnamed fascinated the Lofans who have petition the President for a second round. The petition and the reason for it is no different from same which moved the people of Grand Gedeh when the petition the President to run for a second term.
For the Grand Gedeans, the President dedicated a Commissioners’ residence and Administrative offices in one of the districts, dedicated a water mineral company and executed several others development projects that moved the to have called for her second term. But the response was not as positive as it was in Lofa, maybe because it was too soon during her Southeastern cabinet retreat.
Interestingly, the Grand Gedean petition was done on a tour of her first cabinet retreat while the Lofa petition is the second done during her second cabinet meeting outside Monrovia.
During her campaign, however, President Sirleaf appealed to the Liberian people to vote her in office for only one term. It is not know by the petitions coming forth, there will be a change of minds.