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Mary Broh’s back – the second time? Now what?

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh        Mayor Mary Broh


Mary Broh is back! Thanks to her good friend Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

To Ellen’s supporters, the controversial Broh is qualified to be mayor, and perhaps the only person in Liberia (in Sirleaf’s mind) who can handily carry out the tasks of cleaning Monrovia.

Now that she’s back we are supposed to celebrate her second coming, and also be reminded of her first tenure, which was marred by one controversy after another leading some to believe that she was gone for good after Sirleaf took her from city hall.

As we know now, Sirleaf did not really fire Mary Broh in the first place; but transferred her to a another job that requires little scrutiny and the attention she had in her previous job that had her clashing at times physically and verbally with the public.

The truth is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is not about firing her friends. That we know, because the insular Sirleaf cares more about loyalty and little about integrity and governance.

Perhaps putting friends first, which is at the center of her leadership style is the Sirleaf doctrine: “Loyalty, nepotism and friendship trumps doing the right thing for the Liberian people.” That may be her legacy as well.

That attitude was evident in the president’s eagerness to bring Mary Broh back amid the public outcries her reappointment engendered, days or weeks after Madame Sirleaf told the nation that her friend was back.

Liberians from both ends of the political spectrum weighed in on Madame Sirleaf’s decision to reappoint Ms. Broh to this very sensitive position.

As expected, the public is divided. Some sees Madame Sirleaf’s decision as bordering on friendship, while others see Mary Broh as an uncultured ‘general’ whose management style is brutal, condescending and uncivil.

It is unclear whether Mary Broh will be confirmed by the Liberian legislature. If confirmed, however, she once again will be the public face of Monrovia, a city that needs both good public relations and good public manners coming from the top of the most populous and influential city in Liberia’s centralized political system.

From what I have read so far about Mary Broh management style, I have not heard anything about her competence. All I have heard or read so far about this lady is her friendship with Madame Sirleaf, and her in your face rudeness and bullying tactics to get the job done.

However, good governance is not and should not be defined by friendship with a president, tyranny, blustering and a bully behavior.

Mary Broh shouldn’t be applauded for her ‘drill sergeant’ mentality – meaning; she does not have to go in the streets to bully people into cleaning Monrovia, and destroying market stalls. That’s not her job, period!

As an appointed mayor in that centralized government system with no elected city council man and city council woman, Miss. Broh’s job is to lobby her friend, Madame Sirleaf for funds, and work with and convince the imperial president Sirleaf into purchasing equipment and hiring sanitation workers to get the job done.

Who says the city mayor, Mary Broh, supposed to be in the street destroying stalls and humiliating Monrovia residents?

Part of Mary Broh’s or any future mayor’s job is not to patrol the streets to intimidate, insult and physically assault people, but to work with the president to formulate city ordinance policies, code enforcement policies, and write and enforce zoning laws to improve Monrovia.

However, for some Liberians to applaud Mary Broh’s bullying tactics and see her as a ‘general’ who is the only person who can clean Monrovia,” and not see the broader picture in terms of advocating sound policies, enforcing existing laws, and respecting her fellow citizens, is nauseating.

So Liberians, do we really admire and respect tyrants who pull us by our ears and nose, and tear us apart in the name of being benevolent leaders, as it has been in the past?

Mary Broh’s reappointment certainly revealed Madame Sirleaf’s penchant for being friend first and leader second, which is an unfortunate recipe for national uneasiness and ambivalence.

The president’s decision also revealed that she enjoys being defiant, tone deaf to public sentiments, does not believe in accountability, and is not really serious about genuine reconciliation.

That is not leadership.


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