One of late President Samuel Kanyon Doe’s developmental trademarks, the ministry of national defense complex in Congo Town, is on the verge of being destroyed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a manner seen as an extension of her antagonism against the slain president.
President Sirleaf during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission public hearings on the civil confessed contributing about US10,000 to an organization in the US that was behind the formation of the armed faction.
The Liberian leader still stands accused of facilitating the armed insurrection against the Doe government that left the country destroyed including the death of thousands of Liberians and foreign nationals.
In her political prime, Madam Sirleaf endured unbearable movements under the Doe government including imprisonment in 1985 after the elections reportedly rigged by Doe.
Now, in what many see at payback steps against Doe, the Sirleaf government is set to get rid of what could be of the Doe’s memorable footprints in the sand of time.
The Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Abrahim Banbagida Highway, National Housing Bank Complex, Central Bank of Liberia new offices, Ministry of Health complex, Defense Ministry and few others are some of Doe’s development impacts on the country during his ten-year grip on power.
However, if all goes well, the new defense ministry will not be among the list of Doe’s trails as the government is gearing up to jumpstart the much-heralded Ministerial Complex project to host all government institutions.
Our sources close to the site of the building said the Liberian Government has now concluded the paper works and as such, it is determined to construct the US$60M Ministerial Complex on the site of the unfinished Israelite-built Defense Ministry.
Our sources said a group of Chinese nationals are constantly seen calculating dimensions, indicating that the project will soon kickoff. Members of the Liberian Cabinet, according to the Executive Mansion, were subsequently briefed on the arrival of the contractors in country for the project. The Chinese contractors will demobilize the existing new Defense Ministry structure. The demobilization of the huge structure will pave the way for the construction of the Ministry Ministerial Complex in Congo Town outside Monrovia.
The Agreement for the project was signed four years ago by former Foreign Minister Augustine Kpelle Ngafuan representing Liberia, and former Chinese Ambassador Zhou Yuxao- representing the Chinese Government witnessed by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.
The US$60m- Agreement for the construction of the ministerial complex was reached with the aim of reducing the huge expenditure undertaken by the Liberian Government in rentals for public buildings owned or managed by relatives and friends of some government officials.
But others preferred the money be used to resettle the inhabitants/occupants of Peace Island for the construction of the ministerial complex, with the hope that the presence of the complex would foster a link between Somalia Drive in Jacob Town and Tubman Boulevard in Congo Town. -Rewritten
When slain President Doe ascended to the post as head of the Liberian Government in 1980, he undertook several development projects aimed rekindling the country.
The civilian government of President Samuel Kanyon Doe took some radical actions. Key among them were the cancellation of several questionable rental contracts between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and some high-profiled officials of government for buildings and other properties developed and built with stolen government resources for which rents were being paid to the same officials. That issue is now creeping or has crept into existence.
Planned the building of a new Ministry of Justice, renovate and expand the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy, both on Camp Johnson Road, Capitol Hill, Monrovia; and commenced building/construction of the Ministries of National Defense and Health & Social Welfare in Congo Town, completed and now occupied.
Planned the design and commenced construction of the nation’s central bank at Ashmun and Buchanan streets, Monrovia; completed and now occupied as the pride of the nation, dedicated without mention of his name and the Late Tom Hanson, then Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia among others.
The late Liberian leader constructed the lone biggest stadium in the country, SKD sports complex, the construction of the now unwanted defense ministry in Congo town and several other development projects across the country.
The current government of the country headed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has repeatedly called for the demolition of the new defense ministry, a decision that has been vehemently rejected by Liberians and other foreign nationals in the country.
After the appraisal of the building, it is reported that US$4m dollars will be needed to demolish the building. Many had described the decision as total ‘madness,’ arguing that said amount should be used to complete the building instead.
Political and civil society actors have since criticized the Sirleaf’s Administration, saying she doesn’t want Doe, her one time enemy, to take the glory if she completes the building.
Most Liberians have repeatedly said the building should remain and be renovated to be used as the Ministry of national defense rather destroying it. They also stated that if the sports stadium was not completed like the defense ministry, she would have fought again to destroy it.
Residents of the Peace Island community that plays host to the ministry have repeatedly complained that the decision by the government is wrong because if the decision remains, they will be affected because the government will be calling for their relocation.
It can be recalled the struggle between the government and residents surrounding the proposed Defense Ministry building in Congo Town reached the Chambers of the Supreme Court of Liberia in September 2012, with the latter opposing government’s plans to remove them from the Peace Island Community coupled with a plan by the authorities to spend US$4m to demolish the bullet-proof structure.