Will Monrovia Get Electricity For X-MAS?
As MIC Intensifies Advocacy


By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia



The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

December 24, 2004

As formal celebrations to mark Christmas 2004 get closer, the biggest question on the lips of the residents of Monrovia and its environs is, will Chairman C. Gyude Bryant, head of the two-year power-sharing government fulfill his promise to restore electricity to the streets of the capital before the Christmas?

Currently, Monrovia is the only capital around the world without electricity for a prolonged period, thus making it the darkest capital in the world. The Liberian capital has been without electricity for the past 14 years despite the utilization of the nation’s natural resources.

The lack of electricity to the capital and its environs continues to be a subject evaded by government officials, though the lack of it is seriously and adversely affecting the lives of the people and development of the city.

This situation, to a degree, reduces the ability of mass or adequate production at a given level of consumption and increases the suffering of the war-weary people and business establishments. By any elementary knowledge, electricity is a buoyant force for national development and progress.

However, the absence of the supply of electricity to the capital and the leeward counties is due to the 14 years of devastating and bloody civil war which left hundreds of thousands of persons killed and millions of dollars worth of properties destroyed not to think about the thousands of persons internally displaced and others spread around the sub-region and parts of the world as refugees.

The past Taylor regime on several occasions talked of restoring electricity to the capital as streets lights that were switched on later disappeared from the streets, something which prompted several residents to turn to operating private generators to keep their homes and business centers running.

However, the incumbent Liberian leader, National Transitional Government of Liberia’s Chairman Bryant, recently announced his commitment to restoring electricity to the various streets of Monrovia at major destination sites before this year’s Christmas which is ironically a day away.

Speaking at his last new conference held at the parlors of the Executive Mansion, Chairman Bryant told the nation that the transitional government has entered into an agreement with a local electricity firm for the restoration of street lights to the capital, while another agreement has been entered into with another company to conduct flexibility study for the supply of electricity.

The exercise, according to Chairman Bryant, is being done in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and other institutions to ensure that electricity return to the capital.

Meanwhile, the Movement of Ideas for Change (MIC), a civil society organization, has intensified its advocacy campaign to ensure that electricity returns to the capital and its environs. The group’s two-month initial media advocacy campaign has so far gained momentum showing some positive signs.

The Movement of Ideas for Change feels that prioritizing electricity is prudent because it is required by current standard of living in the face of modern civilization, and equally represents the beauty of security both in the day and night.

The believe that the need for electricity cannot be over-emphasized, especially at a time when the nation is moving away from the darkness of war to the light of peace, adding that electricity builds hope of a shinning face of peace even in the face of night.

The MIC’s two-month advocacy campaign under the theme: “Electricity for the Nation”, hopes to make maximum use of various media outlets and channels as well as the holding of town hall meetings, public debates, panel discussions and radio talk shows among other strategies.

According to MIC, it is a recognized fact that electricity is the number one priority for all, saying that the 1.4 million residents of Monrovia have been without reliable supply of electricity for 14 years.

MIC revealed that, presently, there are several proposals before the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) to provide power through a public grid, but the decision process has been stalled for months.

On the other hand, the provision of electricity would encourage economic development, increase public safety with street lights provision and give a strong signal to all that peace is here.

“We urge you to join the debate, make a point, and ensure the restoration of electricity to Liberia”, MIC noted.