It can be recalled that several months ago, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) under the leadership of now embattled MayorBroh, who was recently suspended by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf following vote of no confidence the Liberian Senate cast, ordered street vendors and sellers to leave major streets including Broad Street, Ashmun, Randall and Mechlin Streets with their goods to allow the free flow of traffic and passage of pedestrians.
All sellers and vendors, according to the order, were asked to relocate to Front Street where vehicles were restricted from plying because of the vendors’ presence there.
Now, with the suspension of Mayor Broh, the enforcer of the order, which has reportedly resulted in weak enforcement of the order, vendors are taking advantage of the prevailing situation to bring their goods in back the streets again obstructing the free flow of vehicular and pedestrians.
When the Daily Observer visited the area over the weekend, several vendors who have been absent from these locations for months were seen with their goods placed alongside the restricted streets where vehicles ought to park to enable passengers disembark.
A motorcyclist who always plies the area told the Daily Observer that few weeks ago, vendors returned to sell their goods in the restricted areas on Front Street.
“You know Liberian people. When they are told not to do something, they always find other solutions to bypass what they are told not to do. Old man that’s the country,” the cyclist told our reporter with laughter.
As our reporter stood and observed the movements of objects and people for some time, traffic was congested at the Mechlin and Ashmun Streets intersection with people forcing their ways between goods and vehicles to get from one point to the other.
At the same time, motorcycles with their reckless riders drove by speedily, cutting between vehicles, while pedestrians and vendors themselves moved along with care and by the mercy of God.
There are thousands of Liberians and foreigners involved in making business in central Monrovia, and the only market ground in the old commercial district of Waterside cannot accommodate them.
Besides the free flow of traffic and the creation of pathways for pedestrians to move, the enforcement of the law is also applicable to the safety of vendors from danger of accident. In addition, it creates the means to control waste on the sidewalks of the streets.
Similar to the case of central Monrovia, the main road in the commercial district of Red-Light in Paynesville around the Police visible demarcation is gradually being taken over by vendors.
Although officers of the Liberian National Police are assigned there, unlike March and April, when vendors observed the demarcation and obeyed the police authority, they have overtaken the roadside with traffic and pedestrians finding it difficult to move.
Three female vendors whom the Daily Observer chatted with on June 28 said they were aware of the risk associated with coming close to the main road as Police watch them, one of them noting, “As you see them there, time will come when they will surprisingly make arrest and we lose our goods in the process. We know they will get at us, but in life you must take risk.”
Red-Light is one busiest trading ground in Monrovia. There you find several parking stations leading to other parts of the country from the capital, Monrovia.
Container carriers, trucks, other vehicles, motorcycles, and humans flood together in this area. As a result, there is always traffic congestion that even emergency mobile can hardly move when there is a case.
Both Central Monrovia and Red-Light marketing activity has been a contentious issue between government and vendors over the years.
When Mayor Broh took over the City Government following the removal of Ophelia Hoff Saytumah, she began removing market stalls at Waterside which caused outcry from many people that she was creating economic setback for them.
Even though the vigorous enforcement of the order has made some impact in controlling vendors on the restricted streets, it has been challenging because vendors always find means to return in the absence of city police.
With the suspension of Mayor Broh who was the brain and enforcer behind the removal of the vendors, it now seems that their prayer to be free of restrictions so that they can have the freedom to sell anywhere, regardless of whether they block the flow of traffic or pedestrians has finally been answered.