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GeneralLiberia news

UP Chairman Tarpeh writes VP Koung

-rejects restriction of commercial motorcyclists

President Joseph Boakai’s ruling Unity Party kicks against plan to restrict taxi cyclists in Monrovia.

By Lincoln G. Peters 

Monrovia, Liberia, May 7, 2024—The Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh, has written to Vice President Jeremiah Koung to intervene in easing growing tension between the Liberia National Police and commercial motorcyclists nationwide.

Chairman Tarpeh, in a communication to VP Koung, appeals to the government to relinquish its plan to ban motorcyclists and tricyclists from plying the principal streets of Monrovia.

According to him timeliness of the action is worrisome and should be revisited to avoid problem. 

He says although the government’s measures are meant to promote safety and orderliness in the capital, its timing could be misconstrued as an act of ungratefulness to young men, who overwhelmingly supported the Rescue Mission during the 2023 election that brought President Joseph Boakai to the Liberian Presidency.

“Mr. Vice President, I write to draw your attention to the growing tension between the Liberian National Police (LNP) and the commercial motorcyclists since the LNP proposed a ban preventing motorcyclists from accessing main streets in Monrovia, beginning May 15, 2024”, the Chairman’s communication reads.

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“Several of them traveled with us everywhere at their own expense on the campaign trail because they wanted better living conditions for themselves and their families. I remain optimistic about our government’s economic deliverable to the people of Liberia very soon.”

However, he cautions that the timing of this mandate is worrisome, as implementation may affect bread-and-butter issues for young people in the sector, the majority of whom are jobless.

Tarpeh maintains that VP Koung’s timely intervention cannot be overemphasized to help ease growing tension on this matter, as opposition politicians are gearing up to capitalize on the police mandate to turn the people against the Boakai-led government.

He, at the same time, proposes to Vice President Jeremiah Koung to convene a roundtable between the Liberia National Police and motorcyclists to find common ground and discuss safety issues in the traffic instead of banning them from plying major roads in the first three months of the administration.

Weeks ago, the government, through the Liberia National Police, signed a symbolic MOU with motorcyclists.

In the MOU, the LNP was restricted from the ELWA junction to Central Monrovia and from Freeport of Monrovia to Central Monrovia as no-go zones for motorcyclists and tricycle (keh-keh) riders beginning May 15, 2024.

However, since the pronouncement, hundreds of motorcyclists have opposed the proposal, threatening to protest nationwide. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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