Monday, October 03, 2005

Voters: there's more to Liberia than Monrovia

One of the common complaints heard around the world is that both the government and the news media ignores what's happening outside the major cities. Liberians outside Monrovia are no different.

"Our would-be presidents think that Monrovia is the whole of Liberia," said Johnny Smith, a shoe repairer in the central town of Gbarnga. "None of them has taken time off to tell us in detail how Liberia or our county will be developed."

Of the 1.35 million Liberians registered to vote in the 11 October polls, more than a third are in Monrovia and the surrounding Montserrado County, partly because thousands of people who flocked to the capital during the 14-year war stayed on when peace arrived in August 2003, reports the UN's IRIN. Another major factor in politicians getting out to all areas of the country is access. Liberia, a heavily-forested nation, has only two paved roads, rains have turned its other dirt tracks into muddy quagmires, bridges are still in ruins and some people are forced to travel by canoe just to reach a doctor.


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