Infrastructure Ignored—Collapse of the Jackson, Mississippi Municipal Water System

The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi is named Chokwe Antar Lumumba, after his father, Chokwe Lumumba, who was born in Detroit, Michigan as Edwin Finley Taliaferro.

The elder Lumumba changed his name in 1969 after joining the Republic of New Afrika, of which he later became second vice president. He was elected mayor of Jackson, Mississippi in 2013 and died in office in 2014. His son, Chokwe Antar, was elected to the same office in June, 2017 with 93% of the vote. A self-described socialist, progressive, and “political revolutionary”, shortly after election he vowed at the People’s Summit 2017 in Chicago to make Jackson “the most radical city on the planet”.

Lumumba père presumably chose his new surname in homage to Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Republic of the Congo after its independence from Belgium in 1960. During his brief time in office, before being executed by firing squad by opposition forces, he aligned the Congo with the Soviet Union which, in 1961, renamed its indoctrination university for third world leaders the “Patrice Lumumba Peoples’ Friendship University”. Today, the Congo, which styles itself the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has the largest supply of fresh water of any country in Africa, is experiencing a drinking water supply crisis, with only 46% percent of the population having access to safe drinking water as of 2012.


A glimpse into the future across the US. One would think that the mismanagement bums would get thrown out as problems become increasingly larger. But they don’t. When the problem get’s big enough, then maybe the Federal Government will fix it for you or give you enough money to try to fix it.

Back in the Obama years the little town of my birth got several million dollars to fix their water issues. Not one citizen that I talked to thought it was a problem that the town could not maintain basic infrastructure. All were super duper happy that they got the free money from the US government.

I bet Jackson is just like the town of my birth. No money for the infrastructure, but money for entertainment. Swimming pools, sports facilities and government offices all shiny and new.


Maybe these communities with governance problems shouldn’t provide basic infrastructure at all, just as most do not provide electricity or telecommunication service to their residents. American Water (NYSE: AWK), for example, is a private water and wastewater utility which serves 1700 communities in 14 U.S. states, with 3.4 million customer connections. The company was founded in 1886 and had revenue of US$ 3.93 billion in 2021 with net income of US$ 1.26 billion. When a private company owns the infrastructure, they have an incentive to keep it from deteriorating and hitting their bottom line.