and loyalists of the Presidential Task Force headed by General Services Agency Director General Madam Mary Broh to demolish misshift -shape structures across Monrovia and beautify the capital have protested outside the fence of the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill just few hours before the Supreme Court of Liberia could hear a scheduled conference into a petition filed against the task force’s operations.
The controversial Madam Broh, who calls herself “Hurricane” Mary Broh, is being vehemently resisted here by residents whose homes and business centers were broken down by the task force and have sought an injunction from the highest court.
Justice in Chambers Kabineh M. Ja’neh, issued a stay order against the Task Force’s Monrovia cleanup exercise after lawyers representing residents of various communities, including Central Monrovia, Sinkor, New Georgia and Barnersville filed a complaint that the team had allegedly been destroying properties illegally in the discharge of its duty.
The conference could not be heard as scheduled yesterday because at about 10 A. M. on Monday, the petitioners amended their complaint before the Supreme Court, and lawyers from the Justice Ministry representing the Task Force said they had no copy of the amended version served against them to peruse and appropriately respond.
But the Supreme Court turned down request by lawyers representing the Task Force to lift the stay order and allow it to continue its cleanup and demolition exercises since the original complaint filed had been withdrawn by the petitioners.
Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh and Liberia’s Solicitor General Cllr. Betty LaminBlamo argued that the amendment of the petition meant that the original complaint that resulted to the stay order had be withdrawn, which suggests that the Task Force should continue working until the process of amendment is fully completed.
The Task Force, which allegedly has an operational budget of US$400,000 to clean up Monrovia, has been in the midst of controversies as residents here hold diverse views about the execution of the cleanup campaign, particularly regarding the alleged destruction of properties which government considers to be in alleyways.
The petitioners contend that Madam Broh and her Task Force should have taken them to court if they saw structures in alleys and places being kept in filth, opposed to the destruction of such properties over claims of violating city ordinance and blocking alleys.
Prior to Monday’s conference, Madam Broh and members of her team guarded by officers of the Liberia National Police and the Monrovia City Police stood outside the court, chanting slogans, much of which were directed against “politicians.”
They carried placards with various inscriptions written on them along with their working tools, including brooms and wheelbarrows, among others as they lined up on the sidewalk across the street that lies between the Executive Mansion and the Temple of Justice during the protest.
Some of the placards read: “Politics, Politics, where are the politicians for dirt?” “Politicians please help us save our environment from dirt.” “To be clean is to be healthy.”
Others read: “Ma Mary says clean the place.” “If you love Liberia keep it clean!!!” “It is time for justice for cleanliness and not for politics.”
Meanwhile, the highest court has rescheduled the conference for Wednesday, December 9th.
By Winston W. Parley -Edited by Jonathan Browne