Monrovia – Voters registration began Wednesday in Liberia but several female entrepreneurs are threatening to boycott the process due to the rising costs of commodities, high tariffs and the rocketing exchange rate.
Report by Bettie Johnson Mbayo, [email protected]
Local businesses in the country began a 3 day strike on Tuesday to bring the attention of the government to the bad business climate.
From Re Light to downtown Monrovia, Waterside and Duala, all stores are closed and market stalls are empty as part of the protest.
The protest action by aggrieved marketers led to the closing of various business centers in Montserrado.
Marthaline Boima, a used-clothes seller and a mother of five, wonders.
“I sell used clothes mainly for men and women and you see I have five children. “
“I’m here hoping that the NEC will settle this problem. I know the voters registration starts today but nothing encourage me to go at the polling station because the entire country is so hard for us, things are climbing up like the party UP (Unity Party),” she said.
The protestors were again seeing in their Red Shirt with new placard with inscription: “Human Rights violations are high illegal rights, “No love for citizens, ‘plenty taxes not Development.”
Another businesswoman Princess Kenneth said the increment in the taxes is a ground that she won’t be voting.
“The taxes are too high. We spoke and William Saamoi said if we want the taxes reduced, we should protest, so, they can’t come to our aid then we wouldn’t register to vote, also since Ellen came, the whole rate climbed and the lawmakers here are silent.”
“We are tired and if no answer, we wouldn’t vote, and we wouldn’t do registration.”
“I’m here today like yesterday. These same people will come to us to vote for them and that’s the time we will show them power, these people are wicked,” Maima Hoff said out of exasperation.
“How will the government tell you how to sell and what to sell. Why are we paying taxes, school fees and so many things in USD?
Just a day ago I tried giving my landlord Liberian dollars but he refused. The Government must know we are not enemy to the economy, we know they favor the foreigners, but we need space.”
Josephine Wenapo, a caterer, disclosed that she wouldn’t go to any polling station as the current status of the country is an embarrassment to her and her family.
“For me I’m a caterer and the commodity is so expensive.”
“If you go at the market, you can’t realize the money you carry. Even the bank is not helpful to us.
Access bank came to kill us, and their rate needs to come down. The bank doesn’t give grace period so what is there for me to go register to vote?
I wouldn’t let them decide.”
Adina Garnett sells in red light. She thinks the lawmakers have become mute.
“They will come to us for our vote, but now to speak on our behalf it’s difficult.
Also, registering is not the thing and I made them to be in the house, I voted for them hoping that they could seek our interest.
Look at George Weah – he is a bobo lawmaker, we only put him there to sleep and ride car, not a day has he spoken in our interest.”
“If they don’t say anything soon about our strike, what will encourage us to do registration or go to vote?
I can say these law makers are wicked and we are not going to a polling center because we are not coming to put the same ‘bobo’ lawmakers in power again,” she said.