Gbarnga, Bong County - Development in Gbarnga, Bong County is said to be put on hold as the City Mayor, Marvin Cole, recently received the boot from President Ellen Johnsonn Sirleaf.
Mr. Cole was dismissed as a result of a recent demolition exercise he launched in the central Liberian city.
The dismissed city mayor who assumed the job for just four months prior to his dismissal, embarked on a Mary Broh style of demolition campaign. Cole said demolishing makeshift structures along the main street would have given the city a face-lift.
Former Monrovia City Mayor, Mary Broh, experienced a bitter-sweet relationship with residents of Monrovia when she embarked on similar demolition campaign.
But with controversy dogging the exercise in Gbarnga City, what seemed to be face lift campaign turned complicated due to the dissatisfaction expressed by residents of the city.
Speaking to a team of journalists over the weekend, the dismissed City Mayor reaffirmed that Gbarnga will never be undermined by anyone.
According to Cole, before officially receiving his dismissal letter on the December 21, 2016 he first saw his dismissal letter posted by one Mohamed Lusinu Kromah on social media (face book) on the 14 of December.
After encountering the letter on the social media he was able to contact the Ministry of Internal Affair, the superintendent and other relevant authority of the county all of whom were not in the know of the existence of the letter which purportedly came from the office of President.
Cole said he was officially informed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs about his dismissal as Mayor of Gbarnga City when President Sirleaf returned from an international trip on December 19.
“We tried to peruse the letter because we taught that it was very irresponsible for anybody to believe that a communication from the office of our dear president claiming that this mayor was dismissed,” Cole said.
“I am calling on her Excellency; the President of the Republic of Liberia to ensure that investigation is launch into this post, and how the letter from the office of the president got in the contact of Mohamed Lusina kromah”.
The dismissed city mayor then welcomed the constitutional authority of the president, but expressed disappointed that the government could allowed an official dismissal letter to get on social media.
“This is a bad example for our nation and I am asking her Excellency to launch an investigation into the matter,” Cole said.
Report gathered from states that some officials of the county had questioned the timing of the demolition of structures in the city; they reportedly complained that the exercise took place in 21 days.
But the dismissed city Mayor termed the revelation or allegations as untrue.
“When we took over the 23rd of August, communications were served over 60 days, where these demolitions should have taken place and those individuals who have been affected were properly notified. And we implemented what we said we were going to do”, he said.
“I want to assure our citizens I am committed in doing that. If we are reinstated, we will not change our strategy we will remain determine to make Gbarnga number one in the republic of Liberia.”
Residents of the city of Gbarnga are blaming some of the county lawmakers of masterminding the dismissal of Cole.
One resident, Laywon Quapourlee, said he is disappointed with the manner in which the Mayor was dismissed.
“Over the years most of the national meeting had been held in the city, but if you come in Gbarnga the place has become like a ghost town, so for us we are in support of the demolition,” Quapourlee said.
He said before the demolition started, the dismissed city Mayor met with lawmakers of the county and inform them about the exercise.
“For us we are very much discouraged about the big politics in the county. The divisive politics in the county must come to an end,” he warned.
Unlike other residents who support the demolition exercise, Abass Fofana, who got affected by the demolition exercise complained about the lack of time given for the demolition exercise.
He added that the demolition was done contrary to the city plan, adding that after the demolition many people decided to recondition their homes, but the dismissed Mayor went back to carry on more demolition. Fofana described the exercise as selective.
“You should always carry on your demolition according to your city plan but the city Mayor left it and went into people private homes”.