Liberia: MCC Risks Lawsuit for Demolishing Business Center in Duala
Monrovia – Victims of a recent demolition exercise in one of Liberia’s densely populated market have lambasted the Monrovia City Corporation, threatening to take legal action if they are not compensated.
Report By: Willie N. Tokpah /0777039231([email protected])
The marketers, through the Liberia Marketing Association, said the MCC failed to give them prior notice before demolishing their business centers.
Over 50 shops were demolished by MCC for what it termed as creating alternative garbage disposal site to avoid embarrassment for commuters within the market territory.
The structures include charcoal warehouses and provisional shops among others, which marketers said had served as sources of income for them.
The alternative dumpsite is expected to be repositioned behind the Duala Market Building.
Huge stockpile of garbage had been along the main road in Duala, thus creating a nuisance for commuters. The garbage was removed on Saturday, July 6, by Miss Liberia Wokie Dolo and her team.
But MCC began demolishing shops and makeshift structures on the night of July 7 as part of its mandate under the directive of Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee.
Major Koijee has come under fire for poorly managing waste in the city as mountains of garbage remain present across Monrovia and its suburb.
Meanwhile, some marketers affected by the demolition told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday, July 10, that the decision was “sinister and has created a setback for them”.
Massa Massalay was shock to see her shop destroyed because the Marketing Association did not alert her.
“If the MCC has informed the LMA about this, it was not to my knowledge. I came to my business center on Morning and saw that it was already demolished.
“This is frustrating. How does Mayor Koijee expect my family to survive under this hard time in Liberia?”
Peter Dupelay charcoal warehouse was also demolished. He says the goods he had in his business house were taken on a credit and he has no means to repay his creditors.
“This coal business we are doing is through sell-pay and the Mayor Koijee has instructed city police to do this kind of thing to us; where will we get money to pay for the people goods we took,” Dupelay lamented.
Another marketer Farsu Dukuly said marketers did not intend to ignore government’s mandate to use the area for its intended purpose, but they should have been notified before the exercise.
Mr. Dukuly, who owns a provisional shop in Duala, said his shops and warehouse were affected by the demolition exercise. He is calling for reimbursement of the marketers.
“If this is not done along with reimbursement of losses due to damages caused to our goods, we will take several actions to demand justice,” Mr. Dukuly warned.
Liberia Marketing Association Director for Technical Affairs, Gbaylee P. Wah said the association is not in the know of any demolition exercise in Duala Market.
Mr. Wah is calling for the intervention of President George Weah and relevant authority.
Wah: “The action of the MCC was surprising. If MCC is taking such an action, I think they should be liaising with the Liberia Marketing Association; so that it can be discussed before taking action, but instead of that, people were calling us on Sunday evening for this issue and we told them that it needed to be discussed, because these marketers are supporting their families in schools and other things. But to come overnight and damage their business center is unacceptable by us.
“We believe the only thing that can solve this problem is by going to court or if they force us, we might do a roadblock and close down our market places in Monrovia.”
Mr. Wah said most of those who are affected are widows, single parents and underprivileged, who are struggling under a tough economic condition.
Meanwhile, Whroway Bryant, MCC Public Relation Officer, said marketers were previously informed about the demolition exercise.
He claims the MCC Community Mobilizers made the announcement on Saturday – the same day of the demolition – during a cleaning up exercise at Duala.
“We did carry out an exercise creating an alternative dumpsite in Duala, while that process was ongoing, we got several complaints from some marketers from Duala,” he said.
“We have launched an investigation today to find out if they are real marketers from Duala and what are the real issues. That investigation is ongoing, and we will talk with you tomorrow (Thursday) when the investigation is concluded on findings.”
He said the MCC has not received an official complaint from the LMA, but were engaged in the public by those who claimed that their businesses were affected by the demolition.