YARPAH TOWN, River Cess – As the campaigning season has gotten underway, commuters traveling between Grand Bassa and River Cess are weighing how the lack of attention to the region will affect their vote.
From Buchanan, Grand Bassa to Yarpah Town, River Cess, the distance is about 61 kilometers. Under normal road conditions, the journey takes about an hour and a half when driving. Now, at the midpoint of the rainy season, it takes commuters two to four days to make that same journey.
Several travelers who spoke to The Bush Chicken expressed their disappointment with government officials for what they say is a neglect of the roads in southeastern Liberia.
“All my goods [I’m] carrying to Sinoe finished spoiling because no house around here and the rain continues to fall since we got here day before yesterday,” Mary Nagbe, a passenger said. “If the government had time for us from this side, they could have fixed this road ever since.”
In Grand Bassa’s fourth district, about 33 kilometers from Buchanan, a deep hole filled with muddy water is in the middle of the road causing a major traffic jam with more than 20 cars stuck in the muddy queue daily.
A tour by The Bush Chicken saw several cars including trucks, jeeps, and other smaller vehicles carrying several passengers to the southeast stuck in the mud.
The drivers and passengers had cut palm logs to support their cars across the mud when a yellow machine arrived to help remove the cars from the mud.
A truck driver only identified as Saygbay said he had spent three days in the mud along with his passengers.
“This same machine came here yesterday and could not help us, that is why we have to cut these palm trees to fix the road ourselves,” Saygbay said. `
During the rainy season, between June and December of every year, the southeastern counties are cut off from the rest of Liberia due to the condition of the roads.
Residents here are not only frustrated with the executive branch of government. They also direct their anger toward members of the National Legislature, who earn around US$15,000 a month including benefits and allowances.
One driver who chose to remain unnamed spoke of what he considered deception by lawmakers.
“Before electing them, they presented platforms that motivated us,” he said. “We saw all our needs in their platforms, but they were only using us for their own benefits.”
“Election is coming again, but we have learned our lessons.”
Featured photo by Eric Doue