By Patrick C.M. Kollie
Kakata City was on the brink of chaos over the weekend when commercial drivers rattled with authorities of the City Corporation (KCC) in reaction to the corporation’s alleged order to deflate tires of vehicles that were parked along the sidewalk of the city’s streets.
Commercial drivers, who had gone home Friday night after their daily routines, met their tires deflated the following morning on alleged orders of KCC.
The corporation’s latest action follows series of meetings with transport officials and warnings to motorists, especially commercial drivers, not to use the main streets of Kakata as parking lots.
Over 100 car tires were deflated by the Kakata City Police during the melee that ensued on Saturday in the wake of the order.
Many of the affected drivers resorted to blocking the free passage of other vehicles and even the pedestrians, throwing objects in the city center.
The situation was later calmed following the prompt intervention of officers of the Liberia National Police, who aborted the melee between the KCC and disgruntled drivers.
Richard Kolleh, a commercial driver, described the KCC’s action as “arbitrary and illegal.” Kollie said KCC was wrong to puncture their car tires, especially during the night hours when owners of the vehicles were not present.
Another driver, one Solomon, said Kakata City Mayor Emmanuel Goll’s action to order city police to deflate their car tires without prior notice, clearly indicates that he’s not qualified to manage the affairs of the city, and that his behavior is totally against President George Weah Pro-poor agenda.
Solomon said he therefore wants the President remove Mayor Goll if the government wants to achieve its pro-poor development agenda in Margibi County.
However, Mayor Goll defended his position and promised that any driver that dares to violate, will feel the weight of the corporation.
The chairman of the National Civil Society Movement of Liberia Margibi County Branch, Edward L. Travis, described the Kakata City Corporation action as illegal and said the corporation overacted, stressing that if the affected drivers were not mature people, the situation would have degenerated into uncontrollable fist fight that could greatly undermine the hard earned peace of the city.
He condemned the act and called on both the city corporation and transport unions including the county administration to resolve the matter through dialogue with the affected parties.
However, the city mayor said he gave the directive in collaboration with local administration, including the police, therefore, therefore he does not regret his actions.