8 May 2014

Liberia: 'Buchanan's Mary Broh' - Mayor Bondo Transforming the Port City

Buchanan, Grand Bassa County — The port city of Buchanan could experience massive transformation in the next couple of years if on-going reforms by the Buchanan City Corporation (BCC) remain consistent. Residents of the city have already started applauding the city corporation for a number of significant improvements.

Right now the BCC boss is optimistic about transforming the city despite the limited resources at her disposal. Highlighting the importance of allotting money in the 2014/2015 national budget for Buchanan City, Mayor Bondo said the BCC has to justify how much it deserves the funds.

"We have to prove ourselves and people will see our work, because we have to work to make our city look presentable and we cannot do it on our own. We also need the strength of the government behind us," Mayor Bondo said.

She continues: "I think national government has seen it (our work); we have graduated from one stage here in less than two years. The government sees that we have a brand new face-lift and other things are going on here so they definitely know the city needs its own budget."

In an FPA exclusive interview with Mayor Bondo, she boasted of better sanitation in the city with the presence of Zoom Lion Sanitation Company and the effectiveness of the Buchanan City Police. The City Corporation says it solicits its own resources with the support of the county administration.

Despite the BCC consistency in recent months, many are concerned about how the public will comprehend the expedient objective of the BCC. Some residents have criticized the BCC for its impromptus approach to implementing the city ordinance. But Mayor Bondo told FPA that residents are gradually cooperating with guidelines that the BCC is instituting. 'They are beginning to understand that the beauty of the city is nothing but cleanliness," the Mayor said.

Radical Remedy

The Buchanan City Mayor has frowned on landowners who have reneged on cleaning their properties something she said has led to unoccupied land being abandoned and bushy. She said the majority of the land in the city belong to individuals in the Americas, Great Britain, and Europe or in Liberia. She said it is almost impossible to see the owner of these lands, though the BCC has tried inquiring facts about the landowner, all to no avail.

>"We can't allow our city to remain dirty, so for now we're going in and cleaning up and we will put a sign board up that says 'BCC, KEEP UP' - definitely somebody will come to claim it than that owner will have to pay us for the time that we took care of their property," Mayor Bondo said.

The City Mayor whose approach is akin to the former Monrovia City Mayor, Mary Broh, has received commendations from many residents since she assumed responsibilities at the BCC.

Unlike Broh, Mayor Bondo is a former militant who has over 30 years experience of serving with the Arm Forces of Liberia (AFL). Having served as aid-de-camp for President Charles Taylor, Interim Leader Gerude Bryant and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf; she was deactivated during the restructured of the AFL. In late 2012 President Sirleaf appointed her as the acting City Mayor.

Mayor Bondo says before taki8ng over as mayor, the city has no laws on the table and it took almost five months to get the city ordinance to its current status. She believes that once Buchanan Port starts to operate to its full potential, the National Port Authority (NPA) will have to pay royalty to the city corporation.

A lot of Buchanan City residents expect the city to boom economy, considering the numerous business houses and companies operating in the city. With the exception of Arcelor-Mittel who provided some wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes almost a year ago, a Liberian business, Fair Deal Construction, has also helped the BCC over the year.

The City mayor is optimistic that the Buchanan residents will realize its full potential in the coming years once locals continue to venture into business investment.

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