Capitol Hill, Monrovia – Members of the 54th Legislature were greeted with a rude awakening early Tuesday when the Director General of the General Service Agency, and head of the Citizens Engagement Board, Mary Taryonoh Broh, led a group of women and stormed the main entrance of the Capitol Building and demanded the lawmakers to clean the compound.
Madam Broh, as head of the Citizens Engagement Board (CEB), and her team had been summoned by the House of Representatives for allegedly whipping and handcuffing Residents during her routine Clean-up exercise. However, as the House anticipated her appearance that very morning, she led the group, predominately women, dressed in traditional attires and carrying brooms, trooped to the entrance of the Capitol and began singing and gesturing that the building was filthy and the lawmakers should clean it.
The scene soon turned into a mini festival as the women all pointed towards the Capitol and sang, “Mary Broh will Clean your Building”; while Madam Broh, face painted with what looks like a muddy chalk, danced to the sound of the music and the drum.
Summoned Under Contempt
While Madam Broh and her group may have entertained themselves, and perhaps, harboring the thoughts that they have scored a significant victory over the lawmakers, their actions did not please members of the House. As the lawmakers converged in their chamber, they voted unanimously to re-summoned Madam Broh and her team to show why they should not be held in contempt over their refusal to appear before plenary.
Proffering the motion, Rep. Beyan Howard (District #5, Lofa County) said, “So Hon. Speaker, colleagues, I think the action by the CEB head and team is something that we should not take likely if we are to avoid reoccurrence. And so, it will be prudent that Madam Broh be made to reappear this Thursday along with her lawyers to explain reason behind her action.”
Rep. Howard said Madam Broh and team’s refusal to honor the plenary’s citation was an affront and gross disrespect to the people’s Representatives. The lawmakers also said Madam Broh and her team’s action on Tuesday impeded their work.
What Triggered the Saga
It can be recalled that the Plenary of the House of Representatives, last week, summoned Madam Broh and the CEB members for allegedly overstepping theirs bounds.
Plenary’s decision was triggered by a communication from Rep. Solomon C. George (District #7, Montserrado County), who sought the indulgence of his colleagues to invite the CEB before the full plenary to state its mandate as it was constantly being accused of violating the rights of peaceful residents.
Excerpt of the communication: “We write on behalf of the people who we represent, appealing to this plenary to invite the entire leadership of the Citizens Engagement Board of Liberia to come and explain the mandate given it; if it extends to the destruction of property, and violation of our people’s rights, and whipping or flogging of these people to the extent of handcuffing and imprisoning them.”
Rep. George district is home to West Point, one of the largest slum communities in Liberia, and a large part of Central Monrovia. He accused Madam Broh and her Committee of destroying residents’ properties in the name of cleaning the city. In some instances, he said peaceful citizens and residents are flogged, handcuff and sent to prison on the order of the GSA boss, duped the “The General.”
To intervene into protect his people from the wrath of the Madam Broh, he wants her to appear before the House to clearly define the mandate of the CEB.
He was backed by some of his colleagues including Rep. Francis Nyumalin (District #1, Lofa County) and Rep. Yekeh Kolubah (District #10, Montserrado County).
Rep. Nyumalin said since the CEB began operations, disturbing images of people being manhandled on the orders of the former Mayor have been making rounds on social media.
Seeking ‘General Broh’s Intervention
The CEB was constituted by the Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee at the beginning of October this year to lead what has become the herculean task of making Monrovia clean for the festive season and the 2022 Bicentennial celebration.
The youthful Mayor, who has suffered a barrage of criticisms from the public over his inability to lead the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) in drawing up workable plans to clean the city, appointed Madam Mary Broh, one of his predecessors, to head the 14-member board. The board is co-chaired by Liberia’s Cultural Ambassador and Traditional Queen, Madam Julie Endee.
Madam Broh came to prominence for her no nonsense approach in keeping Monrovia clean when she served as Mayor during the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Speaking to reporters following her appointment back in October, Broh thanked Mayor Koijee for the confidence reposed in her, and vowed to work with the City Government to devise strategies and plans for preparing Monrovia for year-end holidays and the impending 2022 Bicentennial celebrations.
She called for a concerted effort from all major stakeholders including the Montserrado County leadership and Legislative Caucus.