River Cess Residents Worry About Condition of Palm Bush-Cestos Road Ahead of Rainy Season

PALM BUSH, River Cess – With only about two months left in the dry season, River Cess citizens are calling on their leaders to rehabilitate a 17-mile stretch of road leading from Palm Bush Junction to Cestos, the county capital.

Since 2017, the road has not seen any maintenance, even as cycles of heavy rains have left the road littered with chunks of hardened mud and large craters. The road became impassable during the 2019 rainy season. Currently, it takes a skilled driver who is familiar with the road to travel along it.

Residents say they want their local leaders to engage the national government to improve the road’s conditions.

Alice Joe, a trader and resident of Palm Bush, has consistently been calling on local radio stations in the county raising concerns about the road.

“If nothing is done about this road, it means we will suffer during this coming rainy season,” he said. “We elected the people to seek our interest in situations like these, but when they get the position, all they do is to stay in Monrovia and we are left here to suffer.”

“Even if they were to come to the county, they will sit in their big, big jeeps so they can’t feel the pinch we are feeling,” Joe added.

Another person who wants the government to pay attention to the road is Lincoln Togar, a businessman in Cestos. During each trip to Cestos, Togar has to offload his truck several times due to the present condition of the road.

On a trip to Cestos, Lincoln Togar has to offload his goods from the truck. Photo: Eric Opa Doue.

Joseph Tue, the principal of the Government Central Elementary and Junior High School in Cestos, used his Facebook page to call on the county to pay attention to the road.

He said River Cess should follow the example of Grand Bassa and convince concession companies operating within the county to rehabilitate stretches of the road, as was done in Grand Bassa’s Big Joe Town.

“In the first year of operation, they [Grand Bassa] did all through their concessions to recondition the Monrovia to Big Joe Town Road,” Tue wrote. “Let’s use our concessions to condition the Cestos-Palm Bush Road.”

Speaking in more detail to The Bush Chicken via phone on February 20, Tue expressed disappointment in the leadership of the county for “turning their backs on the masses.”

Tue, like many other residents of the county, blames the poor maintenance of infrastructure in the county on the frequent absence of local leaders from the county.

“It is not that we all can’t stay in Monrovia, but we want to contribute to the growth of the county,” Tue said. “Let’s agree the superintendent is sick, but his deputies are not sick but he still receives his salary so let him do the work for which he is being paid for.”

Superintendent Bismark Karbiah, assistant superintendent for development Amos Somah, and assistant superintendent for fiscal affairs Elijah C. Kassaynee are seldom seen in the county. The fiscal superintendent has denied being absent from the county, instead insisting that he sometimes visits Monrovia for “administrative issues.”

River Cess’ superintendent Bismark Karbiah has been ill since September 2018, four months following his appointment by Pres. George M. Weah. Before his appointment, Ruth Sawmadal had been appointed as superintendent, but her appointment was resisted by protesting youths who said she was corrupt. President Weah then appointed Karbiah to the position.

However, due to his illness, Karbiah has not spent more than a week in River Cess at a time, as he has to seek medical treatment out of the county.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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