The Liberian Cabinet, under the chairmanship of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, met on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 on Capitol Hill at the Foreign Ministry to conclude a number of key economic stimulus, aimed at boosting economic growth, reducing poverty and creating much needed jobs.
The meeting – the first following the return of the President to the country from her state visits to India and the People’s Republic of China, adopted several measures, including a renewed mandate to the Special City Beautification Task Force chaired by former Monrovia City Mayor and General Service Agency Director General Mary Broh.
President Sirleaf and her official family mandated the Task Force to further execute Monrovia beatification exercise in a coordinated, systematic and adequate notice-sharing manner. The cabinet’s decision is against the backdrop of the alarming public cry against the manner and form of the implementation of the job, especially after its Wednesday, October 28, 2015 mandate by the Liberian cabinet.
Heavily protected by armed officers of the Liberia National Police’s Emergency Response Unit or ERU and Police Support Unit or PSU, Chairman Broh and members of the Special Task Force uncompromisingly demolished makeshift structures and destroyed market stalls along Broad Street in Central Monrovia, United Nations Drive, as well as invaded private homes and businesses, bringing out market tables, money-changing boxes, etc., etc, hidden by street peddlers before the November 15, 2015 official launch of the campaign to clean and beautify the city and its environs.
Other communities aggressively targeted by the Special Presidential Task Force were Jallah Town, Plumkor and a few other areas, leaving many residents frustrated in tears and agony. Not that the entire exercise is not appreciated, especially in the interest of a clean municipal environment, public health and safety, but the lack of prior notice and selective decision in enforcing the mandate were sufficient enough to ‘raise eye-brows’ among the population.
Characterizing the foregoing were public condemnations of the decision as far as the inability of the Broh-led Task Force to notify residents of these communities was concerned. Perhaps realizing the short-coming of the Task Force in the direction, the Liberian Cabinet – under the Chairmanship of the President, thought to further modify Broh’s (Task Force) mandate “ to carry out the exercise in a coordinated, systematic and adequate notice-sharing manner”.
This, of course, would also mean properly informing the communities, either through the local radio and television stations or assessment visits and interactions, before arriving for the clean-up campaign unlike the way the exercise started.
But the President and her cabinet must be commended for such manner of intervention for readjustment of the mandate of the Task Force; such swift intervention will go a long way in diminishing the brewing tensions between Mary Broh and the various communities.
We can only hope that with the renewed mandate, the various communities would now exercise the highest degree of responsibility in vacating areas not to be occupied by them in keeping with the municipal zoning laws of Liberia.