28 May 2012

Liberia: 'General Broh Hires Ghetto Criminals to Seize Our Goods' Aggrieved Vendors Allege

Several aggrieved vendors have alleged that acting Monrovia City Mayor, Madam Mary T. Broh, hired "ghetto criminals" to seize their goods under the canopy of implementing the city ordinances. Amongst other things, the city ordinances call for the cleanliness of the streets and other places.

According to the aggrieved vendors, Madam Broh, who is popularly referred to as "General" Broh, on Saturday, May 26, 2012 hired "ghetto criminals" to seize their goods, while they were carrying on their normal business transaction on Mechlin Street, Monrovia.

Mechlin Street is one of the busy streets in Monrovia when it comes to trade.

Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved vendors over the weekend, Mr. Anthony Bedell, asserted that the alleged action of acting Mayor Broh is in no way different from the late feared former President Charles G. Taylor, averring that "General" Broh is acting out of her scope as a city mayor. "General Broh hired ghetto criminals to seize our goods," he stated, while emphasizing their(aggrieved vendors) allegation against her.

He alleged that "General" Broh recruited several individuals from the ghettoes to ' seize their markets.'

Mr. Bedell claimed that a 'fierce notorious general' during the regime of ex-Liberian leader Charles Taylor was intimidating vendors with a pistol.

While describing the alleged act by the acting Monrovia City mayor as unacceptable, Mr. Bedell further claimed that vendors were intimidated and terrorized by those 'recruited' by the acting city mayor.

Averred the spokesman of the aggrieved vendors: "The acting city mayor is now going beyond her mandate. We are not in the state of militarism and we are calling on President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to look at the appointment of Madam Broh very critically. To intimidate peaceful and unarmed civilians with a pistol is totally unacceptable. Madam Broh recruited those guys from the ghettoes around here."

He said the 'intimidation' of peaceful and law abiding citizens, including vendors by "General" Broh is not healthy for the country's emerging democracy.

He also alleged that the acting mayor has been carrying on "extra judicial" activities since her appointment by the president.

The spokesperson of the aggrieved vendors recalled that recently, Madam Broh allegedly slapped a female vendor on Mechlin Street, Monrovia and made the lady to 'pump tyre' for over 20 minutes. To be made to "pump tyre" is a manual form of punishment in which the person undergoing the chastisement is made to involuntarily exercise while standing on his or her feet to make continuous painful upward and downward movement.

But this yet to be independently verified.

The aggrieved vendors then called on the Legislature to summon Madam Broh to give reasons for exhibiting what they called 'extra judicial power.'

But in a telephone chat with this paper, Madam Broh vowed to continue her task without any fear or favor.

She denied the allegations levied against her by the aggrieved vendors, describing the allegations as false and baseless.

"General" Broh said she has an obligation to keep the city clean, and as such, no kind of intimidation or backlash can stop her.

When quizzed whether those that carried on the exercise on Mechlin Street, Saturday are all employees of the MCC, the acting city mayor responded: "They are all Liberian citizens."

Meanwhile, this writer, who visited the scene on Mechlin Street, observed that one "General Power" had in his possession pistol, giving directives to the MCC workers.

According to him, some of the 'hired workers' were seen in yellow and blue t-shirts clearing vendors from the streets.

He added that he was prevented from photographing 'General Power' along with some individuals that were identified by some vendors as 'notorious criminals' from West Point. West Point is a populated slum community in Monrovia.

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