Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Owns This

Front page news! While sitting at the clinic yesterday waiting for the training to start, a guy came around selling newspapers. Newspapers! I haven't seen one since I got here. Granted, they were all a week old, it was still a nice treat. I looked through the different editions and came across this one from August 18th:

( Multimillion-Dollar or Multi-million Dollar? Potayto or Potahto?)

Maybe you recognize this building from a previous post? This is Doe's Zwedru palace (and that is the deck we enjoy drinks on!). This article actually answered a lot of questions I had about the place. Rather than bore you with the whole article, Im just going to pick a few interesting parts:

"Controversy has emerged over the ownership of a luxurious multi-million dollar mansion on the outskirts of Zwedru in Grand Gedeh County. Currently abandoned and in ruins, the construction of the mansion was undertaken during the regime of the late Samuel Kanyon Doe, 20th president of Liberia.... Uncompleted up till now, the mansion is being over taken by thick bushes while local dwellers are using it as a place of convenience [that would be me].... the wife of the late President Doe, Madam Nancy B. Doe, said the building is one of the properties left behind by her husband....dwellers around the property hinted Insight [the paper publishing this article] that the former first lady had recently visited and sponsored the brushing of the yard...Depsite the claim, an investigation conducted by this paper proved the contrary. What has been gathered is that the property is actually owned by either the citizens of Grand Gedeh or the Liberian Government. According to some Grand Gedians who begged for anonymity, the structure was constructed out of the sweat of Grand Gedeians as a local presidential palace for the observance of the late Doe's birthday in 1990....They claimed that two years prior to the hosting of "B'day 1990", the county's birthday committee [?!] imposed a taxation including a four month salary deduction from each gainfully employed Gedian as contributions towards the implementation of infrastructural development in the county..... According to them, the architectural drawing and design of the building came from a Moroccan royal palace which the late President Doe admired...."

And continued on page 13, opposite "Kenyan Arretsed by Tanzania Police Over Albino Sale" ["The arrest was made in a sting operation as police pretended to be business men buying albino body parts.... Albino body parts are prized in parts of Africa, with witchdoctors claiming they have special powers...Over the last 3 years more than 50 albino adults have been killed.
The Tanzanian goverment promised to take action, but justice is slow"]....

"...Concerned citizens indicated that while most Grand Gedians are in sympathy with the Doe family for his untimely death, they should not use such sympathy and solidarity among Grand Gedians to falsely claim what rightly belongs to the entire county for their personal aggrandizement...They are appealing to the Doe family to relinquish their claim over the mansion...Efforts by this paper to get a word from the General Services Agency proved futile. However, a source hinted that the ruined presidential palace in Zwedru is not on the list of public properties being catered for by the agency. Investigation continues."

So, stay tuned!

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