Everyone in Monrovia from the ordinary pedestrian to the minister of government, from the street-side peddler to the journalist, from the Penh-Penh rider to the legislator on Capitol-Hill have one thing in common: a strong opinion about Mary Broh that border on the terrible; even sometimes nasty, that can generate great controversies. Everyone in Monrovia has an issue to discuss with Mary Broh, the reasons are as varied as they are many, yet they all emanate from one source; Madam Broh’s obsessive desire to keep Monrovia City clean.
Since she took on the job of the city mayor, Mary Broh has so filled the consciousness of Monrovians that she seems to have been the only city mayor. In the early days of her mayoralty, of which we must give her credit, Monrovia: Liberia’s capital city was anything but clean, defaced and extremely dirty. Madam Broh went to work clearing out zinc shacks and dilapidated structures that littered the landscape. Fours year later she earned the alias: Mary break It.
She did not only stop at clearing out bad and nasty structures from the city; she attacks dirt with an intensity that inspires. It is because of Mary Broh that downtown Monrovia and its outlaying surroundings are wearing presentable looks. The intensity of her desire to bring Monrovia to par with other capital cities of the world could only be matched by the blazing sun. For her enthusiastic commitment to the duty of keeping Monrovia and its outlying districts clean at all times, agencies such as the World Bank and companies like Chevron Liberia supported her good works.
Now to the question; why do Monrovians love to hate Madam Broh? I will answer it like this: Mary Broh is like Liberia’s mirror. When we look at her the way we look at a mirror, what we are is thrown back at us. Our bad habits as it relates to hygiene, intolerance, pride, and rudeness. You name it. We, not liking what we see, go on to accuse her of everything but the cleanliness she brought to Monrovia.
Can the mirror be wrong? No, it only reveals the form of whoever stands before it. Madam Broh is like a mirror. When the ordinary person throws dirt on the street, he or she sees what he or she is. When the legislators see her, they know what they are. She has so filled our consciousness that we are so embarrassed about who we are.
Monrovians don’t like being told what to do, and Mary Broh tells us not to keep the city dirty, not to build in an alley; that the waterfront on water street must be cleared. We do not like her for this reason.
We must know development is painful. The beautiful cities of other nations Liberians like talking about with admiration followed the same painful process and order.
By Ovie Gbashomiren
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