Liberia: Journalists want task force disbanded

ALJA President Moses D. Sandy

ALJA President Moses D. Sandy

The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) is urging the Liberian government to dissolve the Mary Broh Special Task Force recently constituted for the cleaning and beautification of the City of Monrovia.

According to media report, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf set-up the Mary Broh Special Task Force recently with the mandate of keeping the Liberian capital dirt-free for a period of one month beginning November 15th through December 15th. The former Monrovia City Mayor and members of the task force should have started work on November 15th, but they started the tearing down of private properties and market stalls in the city before the November 15th date.

ALJA in a press release issued on Saturday, November 21, 2015, said it wants the task force disbanded because its creation is at variance with the principle of good governance. The association said the setting up of the Broh Special Task Force by the Liberian Leader equates to another redundancy in government because the tasks currently being executed by the task force are the statutory responsibilities of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC).

ALJA says instead of complementing efforts by the MCC in keeping Monrovia and its environs pristine through the regular collection of trash and the enforcement of city ordinances, the Broh Special Task Force’s mandate, usurps and undermines the authority of the Monrovia City government in the performance of its statutory responsibilities. It is reported in the media that the Liberian government gave the task force US$400,000 for its work.

The foreign-based Liberian journalists said while they wholeheartedly appreciate efforts by the Liberian government in maintaining the beauty of Monrovia and its environs, they are however, opposed to the extra-judicial authority President Sirleaf has given the force.

ALJA said former Mayor Broh and members of the Special Presidential Task Force are not better managers than the MCC current mayor, Clara Doe Mvogo and her team in keeping Monrovia clean. ALJA said what the MCC needs most at this time, is logistical, financial, and political support from the Sirleaf government, but not redundancy and the usurpation of its functions.

ALJA noted the cleaning and beautification of the City of Monrovia required sustained monetary and logistical support from the Liberian government and the business community, but not ad hoc arrangements such as the creation of the Broh Special Task Force by President Sirleaf.

Meanwhile, ALJA has condemned Ms. Broh and members of the Special Task Force for their repeated verbal and physical attacks on ordinary Liberians in Monrovia under the guise of cleaning and enforcing city ordinances. ALJA made particular reference to Ms. Broh and members of the Task Force recent arrest, flogging, and shaming of some young Liberian women accused of prostitution in Monrovia.

ALJA said the humiliation those young women suffered at the hands of Ms. Broh and her crew was distasteful and unwarranted. The association noted the mandate of the Special Task Force, which focuses on the beautification of Monrovia does not extend to the arrest, flogging, and denigration of peaceful citizens on flimsy accounts. ALJA said the force is not a law enforcement agency and it cannot arrogate unto itself tasks that are assigned to the Liberia National Police and other security agencies in the country.

The association described the action of Ms. Broh and the Special Task Force as arbitrary and counter-productive to the peace and stability of Liberia.  ALJA said after ten years of political stability under the Sirleaf government, Ms. Broh and her cronies cannot afford to reverse the current peace and tranquility prevailing in the country be engaging in acts that are inimical to the ongoing reconciliation process.

ALJA is a group of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. The Association was founded in 1998 in Washington, D.C., USA. The organization seeks to foster peace and unity among its members. ALJA is also, dedicated to championing the cause of press freedom and good governance in Liberia.


Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas