Calls for increased budgetary allotment, as President and Mrs. Weah, Mary Broh, others take shovels
Central Monrovia resounded with hard work and excitement over the weekend as President George Weah, along with First Lady Clar Weah, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee, Defense Minister Daniel Ziankahn and others were witnessed shoveling stockpiles of dirt into wheelbarrows and onto trucks, for disposal.
The initiative witnessed hundreds of supporters parading with Mayor Koijee, the President and First Lady, as well as former City Mayor Mary Broh, before reaching the jam-packed Rally Time Market, the center of the cleanup campaign.
Many who witnessed the initiative, including older women who joined the parade at Rally Time Market, described it as a new day for Liberia and its people.
"We have a Mayor and President that are ready to make Liberia a clean place. We just need to give these people the chance to work and we will get the best out of them. I trust the ability of this new government," a lady said.
Mayor Koijee indicated that this was a remodel of the inaugural edition of a monthly cleanup initiative in Monrovia, lauding President and Mrs. Weah for their participation in the waste disposal.
Monrovia City Corporation Mayor Koijee in action over the weekend in central town
Others at the cleaning up campaign included Minister of State Nathaniel Mcgill, Representative Moses Acarous Gray of District #8, and Madam Broh, who announced a turnover of the "first Saturday cleanup" to the new City administration, which led to the immediate removal of stockpiles of dirt by President Weah and his officials.
According to President Weah, the cleaning initiative reminds him of his days as a kid when he picked up trash from the dumpsite.
He encouraged residents of Monrovia to regularly clean their environments and help the MCC to ensure the city is clean, green and safe for everyone.
"I want to thank you Mayor Koijee, because you made me to retrospect about my days as a kid. I was always at a garbage looking for empty bottles, empty cans and others. For so long I have not picked up dirt but today I am honored and I am proud to do such for my country, to clean the city," Weah asserted.
For her part, First Lady Clar Marie Weah said she was delighted to be a part of the event as the new government was setting an example that it cares for the people.
Liberia's first lady Weah in conversations with Mayor Koijee and GSA Director Mary Broh
After the official launch, Mayor Koijee and others toured the streets of Monrovia and made several stops at garbage disposal sites. The mayor also set up community teams to coordinate with the MCC authorities to ensure proper disposal of wastes.
Koijee however called on all cities in the fifteen counties to emulate the good example set in Monrovia.
He said the "Weah for Clean City" is not just intended for cleanliness but is a vision aimed at empowering hundreds of youths through job creation.
According to him, over 1600 youths are already being recruited from Monrovia and parts adjacent to form part of the mass cleanup campaign with focus on communities ravaged by filth.
"Today I walked down the streets; tears nearly came down my eyes." Our People have been subjected to this inhumane condition for over twelve years; we don't have good hospitals so we cannot further encourage them to live in filthy environments that could further worsen their condition," he said.
He dispelled perceptions that renaming the regular first Saturday cleanup was an attempt to destroy Mary Broh's legacy. Koijee noted "We brought in Mary Broh, we didn't change the day, we have improved the day and added more flavor to it, but we owe no explanation to our critics".
He concluded that the City Corporation is hugely challenged with logistics and capacity. The mayor said there is an urgent need for the government to increase budgetary allotment to the MCC to enable it put scores of young people to work and achieve its optimal goal of keeping Monrovia safe, clean and green.