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Mary Broh’s part of the problem

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh           Mary T. Broh


Mary Broh is in the news again.

The discredited Supreme Court of Liberia, not known historically for its neutrality and independence, ruled that the House of Representatives and the Ministry of Justice violated the rights of the acerbic former interim Monrovia City Mayor and presidential friend, Mary Broh, when those institutions ordered her jailed for contempt and obstruction of justice.

The Supreme Court’s long-awaited ruling, which reporter Moses Owen Browne Jr., chronicled in a recent piece, hinted that Ms. Broh’s brand of civil disobedience and obstruction of justice, which led to the contempt charge from the House of Representatives is in no way unlawful, because the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to imprison an individual for contempt, and “can be turned over to the judiciary for punishment.”

In 2013, the House of Representatives ordered then-Montserrado County Superintendent Grace Kpan jailed for her failure to pay a fine, to reinstate the chairman of the project management committee of Montserrado County, and was also ordered to put into one account development funds appropriated for her county.

Ms. Kpan’s failure to comply with the instructions from the House of Representatives led that body to ordered her jailed.

However, as Ms. Kpan was being led to prison by law enforcement, it was reported that Mary Broh took matters into her own hands when she led group of women to attack and prevent law enforcement from taking Ms. Kpan to prison.

At the end of the day, Ms. Kpan was never imprisoned; and was taken away from the scene into the waiting arms of Ms. Broh and her friends.

Mary Broh’s bad behavior led President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her best friend, who was out of the country visiting neighboring Sierra Leone at the time to played conveniently to the cameras and public opinion by having Ms. Broh suspended.

The suspension of Mary Broh did not last long.

Because after the cameras were gone and the public moved on to other equally important things in their lives, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, known for her fierce loyalty to her many friends, reappointed Mary Broh in March 2013 to head the Projects Implementation Unit of the Omega Village Project.

Sirleaf later appointed Mary Broh Director-General of the General Services Agency, in September 2013.

There is this widely held public perception that Mary Taryonnoh Broh is a no-nonsense public servant, and the go-to person who can get the job done when the job really has to get done.

She’s aggressive and defiant, undiplomatic and unapologetic, abrasive and highly offensive; and along the way can get feelings hurt and spirits destroyed to get the job done.

Those qualities, I guess are Mary Broh’s appeal.

According to her supporters, a cold and brutal reputation of that kind is needed to awaken a sleepy and stubborn population that continues to remain lethargic through a period of reformation in a post-war society that gave the nation its first female elected president.

However, in a traumatized post-war society such as Liberia with a large population of poor and uneducated people, and victims still hurting, and some finding it difficult to recover from that 14-year senseless civil war, an offensive and abrasive law breaker such as Mary Broh is not the solution, but part of the problem.

That’s why I find it extremely difficult comprehending the popularity of Mary Broh. Is she popular because she hides behind her highly offensive and abusive behavior to get the job done?

Are we a group of people who enjoys being abused by our tormentor; and in the wake of that abusive relationship continued to hold on to our abuser by justifying the abuse and refusing to escape?

I am not a fan; and I abhor the abusive tactics of “General” Broh for the reasons listed above.

I live in metro Atlanta. As is the case in most major cities in democratic societies worldwide, there are city ordinances that are enforced vigorously.

Those ordinances remained intact for the next generation when the mayor leave office, and are amended when necessary.

Never in my life living in the U. S. have I ever heard or seen my city mayor leave his or her office to harass, intimidate, ridicule, physically assault citizens, and destroy stalls and abandoned homes in the name of cleaning my city.

Again, that’s the purpose of an ordinance – sets of laws and regulations that protect a city from the excesses of its citizens.

Also, there is an organizational structure, with deputy mayor (in some cities) department heads, managers, supervisors and sanitation crews empowered to carry out the various functions in city government.

Why not put in place the same department structure in Liberia? If the structure is there, why not implement and enforce it? And if the city official responsible for his or her section failed to carry out their official duties, the individual ought to be fired, period.

Why put so much power in the hands of one person, in this case, Mary Broh, who has since left and carried her despotic act to the General Services Agency?

Now that Mary Broh is no longer at city hall, what becomes of the city of Monrovia? That’s why we need policies in place so that a city or a ministry will not look up to an individual to enforce the laws of the land.

Had there been in place in the Monrovia City government an enforceable ordinance, zoning laws and code enforcement policies, Mary Broh would not have taken the law into her hands by being so rude and draconian.

That’s why city ordinances are important so that individuals will not take the law into their hands. Government officials are also expected to provide law enforcement (without interference) the power, support and tools to enforce the laws of the land evenly, and without prejudice.

At GSA, some Liberians are once again applauding Ms. Broh’s aggressive tactics of taking government vehicles off the streets from government officials after working hours.

The question now is what is the existing official Liberian government policy regarding the unauthorized use of government vehicles by government officials after working hours?

Is there any organizational structure at GSA? Any Fleet Manager – the individual responsible for the issuance and repair of government vehicles? Why not allow the individual to do his or her job, and let Mary Broh do her job as the administrative political head of the agency?

The Liberian nation cannot grow and prosper when existing laws and policies are not effectively implemented and enforced, and are left to the fancy of an individual to implement policies they way they so desired.

Just as it is on the national level with an unaccountable imperial president, the ministries and various agencies cannot continue to be led by imperial managers.

As a presidential friend, Mary Broh is untouchable, which is bad for Liberia’s fledgling democracy.







Category: Editorial, Featured Articles, News Headlines

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