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‘Paint Your Houses,’ Monrovians Ordered

Friday, December 21, 2012

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For some mayors, civic improvement comes from cheerleading and warm appeals to personal pride.

Then there's Madam Mary T. Broh—"The General"—who walks loudly and carries a big, expensive stick.

How big? Broh, the mayor of Monrovia, Liberia, has told residents of the West African capital city to clean up their businesses and neighborhoods and paint their houses.

Mary T. Broh

Liberian newspapers call Madam Mary T. Broh a "vigorous" enforcer of beautification efforts.

The fine for noncompliance: $150 US. That's in a country whose average annual income in about $500, according to the CIA Fact Book.

'The General'

Broh, 61, has been an unflinching enforcer of city ordinances since she was appointed (not elected) to her position in 2009, earning her the nickname "The General."

Just months into office, she implemented the revised City Ordinance No. 1, originally established by the Monrovia City Corporation in 1975 to address public health, sanitation, and street vendors.

The goal was to eradicate the backlog of overflowing trash, makeshift structures and unregulated street vendors that had flourished in the capital over two decades.

As Africa's InProfile Daily reported several months after her appointment:

"The enthusiasm to make Monrovia a green and clean city can be visibly expressed through the physical demeanor and goings-on of the Mayor designate Madam Mary Broh as she continues to vigorously discharge her duties in keeping with city ordinances.

"Madam Broh, who was [seen] on McDonald Street demolishing make-shift structures along the road, threatened to destroy all of the structures within the Chief Compound."

Paint Orders

Last weekend, Broh lowered the boom on house painting, telling reporters that the effort was important to keeping the city surroundings clean and attractive.

"The 'General' furthered that authorities and staff of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) would carry out a vigorous campaign in order to ensure that business centers and dwelling places, including government ministries and agencies within the capital are clean," reported the Liberian newspaper Heritage.

Monrovia, Liberia
Jonathan Harrison / Wikimedia Commons

With nearly one million residents, Liberia's capital city of Monrovia contains about 30 percent of the country's population. The average per-capita income is $500.

Like most generals, Broh is a divisive figure. Many in the Greater Monrovia District of about a million people applaud her uncompromising efforts to remove squatters and destroy makeshift dwellings. Others call her approach harsh, ill informed and unrealistic.

Broh, who built her political reputation on civic beautification, is undeterred.

"The Monrovia acting city mayor, who strongly underscored the need for the cleanliness of the city and its environs, encouraged Liberians and foreign residents in the country to always keep their surroundings clean," reported Heritage.

"Among other things, she added that the city would be properly clean if citizens promote and practice good sanitation."



Tagged categories: Government; Maintenance programs; Paint application; Renovation; Residential

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