Claim: “Soniwein Community lacked electricity until I drafted legislation for the community to have electricity. No District in this country can match District 8 in terms of electricity.”

Verdict: Misleading and Unproven on the claims by Representative Acarous Gray

Full Text: Montserrado District 8 representative Acarous Gray stated at an event, according to FrontPage Africa that “The SoniWein Community lacked electricity until he drafted legislation, ultimately leading to the provision of electricity to its residents. No district in the country matched District Eight in terms of access to electricity, road infrastructure, and safe drinking water.”

Gray is contesting the district for the third time with the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC); he assumed the position in 2011.

Verification: Gray was contacted via WhatsApp to support the claim, but he read the comment and didn’t respond.

But Lofa Senator Steve Zargo said electricity is a basic social service that is the government’s responsibility, adding that no legislator has to craft legislation for essential services.

Rufus Neufville, who served before Gray in District 8 and is a current candidate in the same district, said there was no electricity when he served because the country had returned from the Civil War.

“I was a representative after the Liberian Civil War. There was no electricity anywhere, but later it started going around,” said Neufville.

He accepts Zargo’s point that no legislator needs to draft legislation for basic services,” You don’t need legislation for electricity. LEC is already established to do that.”

On the second claim that District Eight has more access to electricity than other districts in the Country, we contacted the Liberia Electricity Corporation, but the Corporation ( LEC) has not responded to our inquiries.

When they respond, we will update this article.

The USAID Off-Grid Solar Market Assessment, Liberia states that the current LEC grid reaches limited locales in Liberia.

Within Monrovia, grid infrastructure is more widespread, though most Liberians are still unconnected. In 2014, only 4.5%  of Liberians used LEC power.  As of 2020, electricity access overall is estimated to be 12 per cent (16 per cent in urban communities; 3 per cent in rural communities).

Conclusion: The claim by Gray that he drafted legislation for Soniwein to get electricity is misleading, and the claim that District 8 has more electricity as compared to other districts in Liberia is unproven.

This story was produced with the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)’s support.


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