Liberia: House Summons Broh for ‘Whipping and Handcuffing’ Residents in Clean-up Campaign

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Capitol Hill, Monrovia – The Plenary of the House of Representatives has summoned the Citizens Engagement Board (CEB) of Liberia, along with its head, Madam Mary Broh for allegedly overstepping its bound.

Plenary’s decision was triggered by a communication from Rep. Solomon C. George (District #7, Montserrado County), asking the House to invite the CEB before the full plenary to state its mandate following allegations of residents’ rights violations. 

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.”

Following a brief discussion on the floor, plenary voted to invite Madam Broh next Tuesday.

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 giving Monrovia a facelift for the festive season, and the 2022 Bicentennial celebration.

The youthful Mayor then appointed Madam Mary Broh, one of his predecessors, to head the 14-member committee. Madam Broh, currently the Director General of the General Service Agency, 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 journalists at the Monrovia City Hall following her appointment back in October, Broh praised Mayor Koijee for the confidence he reposed in her, and vowed that, “The Citizens’ Engagement Board will work with the City Government of Monrovia to devise strategies and plans for preparing Monrovia for year-end holidays and the impending 2022 Bicentennial Commemoration and provide advice for the Urban Renewal Initiatives.

The Urban Renewal Initiatives (URI) is a road map of 35 deliverables for the city. She added that the Citizens’ Engagement Board will report to the Mayor of the City of Monrovia on the day-to-day happenings about the initiative.

She called for the full participation of the Montserrado County Superintendent, Madam Florence Brandy, as well as Chairman and members of the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus, township commissioners and tribal governors, and community leaders, as well as other service delivery ministries and agencies including the Ministry of Public Works, the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, the Liberia Electricity Corporation, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Disaster Management Agency to join the campaign.

She disclosed back in October that using existing community structures, the CEB will work through task teams and community leaders to implement an accelerated action plan to carry out massive cleaning up of the streets, neighborhoods, public places, beaches, waterfronts, cemeteries and drainages in Monrovia.

She also announced that over 1000 community residents will benefit from short term hire services; promising that, “Monrovia City will be beautified and decorated with an effective community-based mechanism coordinated for sustained long term sanitation and urban planning. Disorganized street-selling and makeshift structures that deface the outlook of the city will be addressed.”

Two months in to the campaign, the taskforce mark is becoming visible day by day as major streets and communities in Monrovia are been cleared of filth and garbage that once appeared not removable few months ago.  

While Madam Broh is being praised for effectively doing the job, she is often criticized for “overstepping her bound.”

Rep. George, whose district is home to West Point, one of the largest slum communities in Liberia, and a large part of Central Monrovia, 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 is 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 order of the former major have been making rounds on social media.

Rep. Kolubah welcome the call to invite the CEB, and also called on the House to invite Police Inspector General, Patrick Sudue over the alleged manhandling of protesting students of the University of Liberia.

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