The New Dawn (Monrovia)

20 December 2012

Liberia: Marketers Defy Mary Broh

Petty traders at the bustling commercial center Water Side in Monrovia have defied instructions from City Mayor Mary Broh to leave the streets.

The marketers took the decision after police reportedly demolished their stalls and tables in front of stores on Tuesday night.

At about 10 Pm on Tuesday, Mayor Broh accompanied by officers of the Liberia National Police reportedly drove down Water Side and broke down stalls and tables erected on the edge of the sidewalks.

The standoff between the marketers and the Monrovia City Corporation usually intensifies during the Christmas and New Year holidays when shopping are at its highest peak, with hawkers obstructing traffic by selling their wares in the main streets.

But speaking with the New Dawn on Wednesday upon discovery, several marketers vowed they will continue selling where they are being driven from until government provides a bigger market building to host them.

Musu Kollie, an angry seller of children clothes and shoes claimed Mayor Broh "and her ERU and PSU broke my LD$1,500 market table down last night at 10pm," and defiantly added, "We will not leave from here!"

Musu and several others, who spoke to this paper, alleged that store owners, predominantly Fulanis and Lebanese businessmen down Water Side had influenced Broh's action which is denying them an opportunity to earn a living.

Musu told this paper that "Since day, I have no customer. My buyers cannot locate me because my table is broken down. The Aliens don't want us to sell here; why is Broh also being so wicked to us while we sell to send our children to school?"

Seller Jackie Jackson also claimed that their tables were broken without prior notice. "We have nowhere to go and some of us can't take hand bags under our arms to look for money from one office to the other. All we do here is to sell our goods to send our children to school," said Jackie.

Doris Nyemah, also affected by the cleanup measure on Tuesday night said her customers were not forthcoming to plat their hair since it was reported that Broh had broken tables.

"Broh knows we are in season times and all over the world you find people selling like we are doing here. If she wants to clear the streets, why can't she do so after the season celebrations? She wants to spoil the government. All of us are looking for survival, but she keeps destroying our business places. How are we going to send our children to school?" she said in anger.

But Doris insisted that "I will stay here because Broh or the government doesn't have any place now to relocate us. This place has been a business place before President Sirleaf took power; she met people selling down Water Side but there has been no general market place to house all of us. How can we leave from here?"

Doris and her colleagues claimed as a result of the police ERU and PSU accompanying Mayor Broh in trucks to frighten them; their customers too were frightened, thus making it difficult to sell.

"I travel to Guinea, Ghana and around the stores, you will see tables there. Even at the general market in Ghana, you have tables around the stores. But she has been so wicked to her own Liberians," lamented Doris.

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