Monrovia on the Move to Cleanliness

Sunday, 3rd May 2009
President Sirleaf confers with the head of the Special Presidential Task Force, Mary Broh, during the Monrovia clean-up launch.
President Sirleaf confers with the head of the Special Presidential Task Force, Mary Broh, during the Monrovia clean-up launch.
Photo Credit: James M. Garresen, II/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - A campaign to give Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, a face lift, kicked off May 2 with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joining hundreds of citizens and other residents to clean the city. The President joined hundreds of volunteers and other members of the Special Presidential Task Force as they disposed of garbage and other waste materials around the city and its environs.

In an interview with reporters, the President said the exercise was intended to get people in the habit of cleaning their neighborhoods and surroundings to ensure that the city is kept clean. The President said she was encouraged by the response of the citizens, and noted that it will take a while for all residents to grasp the true essence of the exercise considering its newness.

“It will be resisted for a while; change always brings resistance, but you just have to keep trying until people are sensitized and see the benefits, where  their children will be in better health; the environment will look better; their city, they will be proud of; so we just have to keep at it,” said the President.

Saturday’s clean up exercise marked the beginning of a campaign to clean Monrovia on the first Saturday of each month, in keeping with a Presidential Proclamation issued last week.

All private and public businesses in and around Monrovia, excluding hospitals and other life saving institutions, were ordered closed for four hours from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., as residents joined in the clean-up exercise.

Meanwhile, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has directed a survey on the premises housing the Ducor Palace Hotel in Monrovia.  The survey, the Liberian leader said, must be conducted no later than Saturday, May 9, 2009.  In a meeting on May 2 with residents of the Ducor community, the President said Government believes in dialogue and compromise, but will not allow a few people to stand in the way of development. The President spoke of employment and other economic benefits the rehabilitation of the facility will bring to the people of the area, and urged residents to cooperate with Government. “If you cooperate, everything will be fine,” the Liberian leader assured residents.

The President’s meeting with the Ducor residents followed media reports that the residents had planned to resist any attempt by Government to evict them from their premises.

A spokesman for the residents, Andrew Ngolle, denied the reports and assured the President that they have no intention of impeding Government's development efforts. “We support your Government and stand with you,” Mr. Ngolle said, promising that the residents will cooperate with Government as it undertakes the re-survey of the area.

Libya has agreed to undertake the renovation and rehabilitation of the Ducor Palace Hotel.