The return of Madam Mary Broh to clean up Montserrado County as head of the Presidential Cleanup Taskforce has sparked mixed reactions.
The former acting mayor of Monrovia resigned in the wake of numerous controversies surrounding her duties at the Monrovia City Corporation and her encounter with the National Legislature.
Following her appointment as head of the cleanup taskforce, Madam Broh said she and her team will move in various communities “like a hurricane, sweeping and cleaning up all and everything that looks like debris.” She dubbed herself “Hurricane Mary Broh.”
Over the weekend, our reporter witnessed the arrest of three persons who were badly handled on orders of Madam Broh for unruly behavior against her, as well as the breaking down of filthy, unauthorized warehouses and market stalls in Central Monrovia.
Madam Broh also claimed that the building housing the Ministry of Gender is dirty.
Mohammed Bah of the Mohammed A. Sall Foreign Exchange Bureau, located on Gurley Street, said the destruction of their warehouse was improper and Madam Broh should have warned them instead of tearing it down.
He stated that the “manhandling” of one of their customers for speaking up against Broh for breaking down their store was wrong.
Martha Diggs, a street peddler said, though Monrovia needs someone like Mary Broh to clean up the city, her approach in destroying things and ordering assaults on persons should not be tolerated.
Another street peddler, Saah Tamba argued: “I think it is a positive decision by our President to bring Madam Broh back in the system and we really want to see some transformation, but she must act respectfully.”
Other onlookers who our reporter spoke to mostly welcomed the return of hard worker Broh, popularly known as General Broh for the initiative, but said they were afraid of her attitude towards people.
They argued that Madam Broh should control her emotion as she goes about dealing with Liberian citizens, while “destroying” their properties.
Meanwhile, an employee of the Gender Ministry who begged for anonymity said the “threats and insults of Madam Broh against the Gender Ministry is unwelcome” and as a government institution and a friend to Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell she should have civilly expressed her dissatisfaction with the Ministry ‘s appearance.
“To be frank, Mary Broh was missed by everyone in the county because when Monrovia was clean all of us felt good. So Mary Broh was actually missed and if she’s coming back it’s going to be a good one. People will admire the government for that especially the president, but she must act like a professional worker along with her colleagues. The government is one so must be the people who work for it,” the employee said.
Known as Mary Break It by many residents of Monrovia, Madam Broh, upon getting the appointment from the President, began operation in Fiamah, where she ordered makeshift structures near the street broken down.
She extended her charge to Old Road, where people selling near the road were forced out and structures broken down for being near the road.
In Central Monrovia on October 30, 2015, residents of McDonald and Benson Streets were seen moving helter-skelter upon hearing that Madam Broh was somewhere along the Camp Johnson Road heading to their end.
Having made the surroundings filthy with empty water plastics and other trash, the residents were seen sweeping the streets, while food sellers were packing their wares in order to avoid arrest or being fined.
Although they were doing it in a rush and out of fear, residents spoken to in the wake of the event said they were pleased with Mary Broh’s approach to cleaning Monrovia.
“For me, I like the way she is doing it. If you don’t hold the Liberian man with a hard hand, he won’t do anything. See how the appointment of the woman in recent days has made Monrovia clean again? I like her for her hard work,” a woman said.
“Go see Fiamah, how she’s broke down all the makeshift structures that were along the road. The whole area is clean, and people don’t have difficulty walking on the side of the road again,” a man eating at a restaurant said.
“The only thing I want her to do now is to get to my community, so the landlord I rent from can build a septic tank, as throwing feces in the bush has made the entire place nasty,” another woman said.
“The President did well to bring Mary Broh back. The only thing I want her to do now is to get those street sellers who sit right near the road with their goods out of the way. People cannot find their way to pass, and the sellers will be cussing people whereby they sit right on the places we are supposed to pass,” another woman complained.
It may be recalled that when Mary Broh was acting City Mayor, she restricted street vendors from occupying Front Street and areas extending to Waterside, leaving Ashmun, Broad and the rest of the streets free of marketing activities.
“Our so-called lawmakers are the ones who caused the woman to be sent to GSA. Just go and see GSA how it looks. It is clean and everybody there enjoys working with her. It is the same she did while at the Passport Division at Foreign Affairs. Everything there is straight and it takes you less time to get your passport. The government needs to give three agencies to this woman because she is competent,” a man passing by contributed to the talk.
“Monrovia, while Mary Broh was a Mayor could not see dirt. Even if you buy banana or peanut you will wrap the peelings in paper and carry it with you. But see how dirty Monrovia looks now,” a food seller said.
The Monrovia City Corporation under Clara Doe-Mvogo is working daily to clean the city; however, she unlike Mary Broh, is quiet and seems not to be educating the public on littering and other ordinances that are to be observed.
As a result, the custom of throwing dirt in the street has become a way of life even as sanitation workers are seen cleaning the streets.
The duration of the taskforce Madam Broh is heading is not known; however, regardless of the time it will exist, residents are hopeful that Monrovia will be clean for the time she will be in charge of City Beautification