Friday, February 22, 2008

U.S. Presidend, George Bush Visits Monrovia, Lauds MCC

The President of the United States of America, George W. Bush and his wife yesterday (Thursday, Feburary 21) paid a one day visit to Liberia.

During his visit, as a tradition of our country detates, a key of the City of Monrovia was presented to the American President as a sign of welcome.

During the ceremony, President Johnson-Sirleraf said, "Let me say how pleased we are to welcome President Bush, Mrs. Bush, Secretary Rice and all the members of this delegation. It is a great honor for Liberia to receive them. And they've received a very warm welcome from the Liberian people, from our young people, from our students, who lined the route and waved and showed flags. We're just so pleased and honored. Thank you, President Bush, for making this trip".

For his part, President Bush in response noted, "President, thanks. I've been looking forward to coming here ever since you extended the kind invitation to me. I do want to thank the people of Liberia for the warm welcome that we have received. I loved all the smiles and enthusiasm along the route.

Most importantly, I want the people of Liberia to know, Madam President, the United States stands with you. We want to help you recover from a terrible period. We want you to build lives of hope and peace. And under your leadership, that's exactly what's happening. It's my honor to have presented you with the National Medal of Freedom; it's the highest civilian award a President can give, and I did so because of your courage and your leadership. And we are so excited to be with you.
The presentation of the Key of the City was made by the Lord Mayor of the City, Madam Ophelia Hoff-Saytumah.

While in the city, President Bush and his entourage visited several places, including Ministry of Foreitgn Affairs; the current seat of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the University of Liberia main campus, the burnt Executive Mansion and the Barclay Training Center.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Several applauds MCC for Website

Several persons residing and and outside Liberia have lauded the leadership of the Monrovia City Corporation for its initiative of launching an information blog (website) with the sole purpose of informing the browsing public.

According to series of letters emailed to the webmaster of the MCC’s information on line, the browsers said they were animated when they found on the internet a blog of the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), given detail of the City of Monrovia and its importance.

One of the emails sent by one Patrick Norris, a Liberian who is residing in the State of Boston in the United States of America said, “I am delighted to expressed my thanks and appreciation to the leadership of the Monrovia City Corporation for being farsighted in bring to us by the way of the magic of Bill Gates’ dream, the internet what the city of Monrovia needs are, and what the management team is doing,” Mr. Patrick Norris in his email of commendation said.

Another Liberian, Nana Gibson currently in Ghana, Accra also thanked the MCC of this initiative, adding, “I am proud of aunty Ophelia for her level of developmental initiative to putting the Corporation of the map of internet. I hope she inform us more on what we Liberians in the diasporas must do to her keeping our city live”, the Liberian in her letter to the MCC’s Webmaster stressed.

Locally, Liberians who have browsed the new blog of the MCC are also expressing happiness for the launching of the MCC website. Meanwhile, the MCC is contemplating to update its information weekly on this site for the benefit of all Liberians and our foreign residents.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CITY OF MONROVIA - By: Madam Ophelia Hoff Saytumah City Mayor of Monrovia

The City of Monrovia, our historic City, founded in 1822, 25 years before the Declaration of Independence in 1847. Monrovia was founded during the administration of President James Monroe for whom it was named.

On February 8, 1922 the City of Monrovia, a Commonwealth District was enacted. Records show that Mr. James A. Brown governed Monrovia in 1835 and carried the title of President. Daniel B. Warner was the first to have the title conferred on him as Mayor in 1855.

In 1922 the first Commissioner of the Commonwealth District of Monrovia was J. Samuel Dennis and the reign of Commissioners ended with Mrs. Ellen A. Sandimanie with Edward A. David becoming the First Mayor of the City of Monrovia under the new Act of July 19, 1973 with Monrovia once more coming a Municipal Government. The metes and bounds of Monrovia were extended in the late 70’s during the tenure of President William. R. Tolbert.

The Monrovia City Police-a constabulary force was the beginning of policing in the 1900’s, which was later nationalized to become the Police Force of Liberia. In 1973 when Monrovia was again granted a Municipal Government Status and once more the right to have a Charter, it created the Monrovia City Police as one of its Departments in the late 70s. On March 20, 1978, 25 Police Officers graduated from the National Police Safety Institute now the National Police Training Academy and they formed the first group of City Police men and were turned over the MCC by the Government of Liberia to enforce City Laws and Ordinances and to Protect Lives and Properties.

The corporate status of the City of Monrovia (MCC) as it is now was established by an act of the National Legislature in 1973 creating the City Government comprising of The Mayor, who represents the Executive, The Common Council representing the Legislative Branch and the City Court representing the Judicial Branch. The City was once more granted a Charter that enabled it to create various Departments for the management of the City of Monrovia. In addition to this several ordinances were signed into law by the Presidents of Liberia mandating the City to undertake programs and levy taxes and other fees for the sustainability of the City. Sadly to state the City authorities have had a difficult time in fully creating and implementing its Charter due to the many changes that have taken place in the National Government since the 80’s.

The explosive growth of Monrovia can be measured using almost any indicator of urban change by the scale and pace of demographic growth between the 50’s and the 80s, with the population reaching approximately 500,000 by 1989, by the concurrent rise in solid waste generation, given the success of the City’s economy, notably between the 60s and the late 70s and by the attendant attraction of labor into the City.
Since the crisis of 1989 up to present, the population has increased to about 1.5 million. This rapid and unprecedented increase of the city population has wide-spread and severe effects on the environment and on the aged or virtually non-existent basic social services and utilities which now surpasses the capacity of the City Government to adequately cope. The City Government was further incapacitated during the renewal of hostilities in Monrovia in 2003 when all of its basic sanitation equipment and implements were looted. Monrovia now lags behind in the pursuit of environmental management programs.
Executive Mansion
Our beloved city was originally built as the seat of our national government and to accommodate not more than 10,000 inhabitants. Today, the City of Monrovia has been transformed from a predominately residential and administrative seat of Government to the major commercial and industrial city in the country, not withstanding the devastation of the 14 year civil war. The growth of the city

provides even greater opportunities for trade and investment.
Prior to and during the early 80’s, Monrovia was a strong, confident city, providing solid waste collection and disposal services. These services and facilities were continuously upgraded and/or expanded in an attempt to cope with the population growth of the Greater Monrovia Area during the 60s and 70s. To the right are pictures from the 1970s that depict the vibrancy of the city of Monrovia. They include Waterside, Ducor, & The Executive Mansion. Waterside

Since the incipiency of Monrovia as a municipality, the City has experienced one of the most devastating and depraved circumstances of environmental degradation ever. This rapid and un-precedented increase in the City population during the 90s and 2000s has widespread and severe effects on the environment and on the aged and virtually non-existent of basic social services and utilities which now surpasses the capacity of the City Government to adequately cope. Lynch Street

Associated with this period is the threat of epidemic outbreak and the spread of diseases resulting from overload carrying capacities, broken-down facilities and created conditions of over-crowding congestion of the City’s residents.

The weather in Monrovia is humid. It is characterized by fresh air in evergreen surroundings and long stretches of undeveloped beaches. There are two seasons: Dry and Rainy with an annual rainfall around 170 inches.

Apart from being the nation’s capital, Monrovia plays a pivotal role in national development. It is the principal and propelling engine of economic development. Monrovia is described as the “melting pot” incorporating Liberians of all ethnic groupings, citizens and other nationals of diverse origins and culture from Africans and non-Africans to include Asian, European and American backgrounds. The people of Monrovia are very warm and hospitable.

City of Monrovia 2006/2007 Action Plan Presented by Ophelia Hoff Saytumah Mayor City of Monrovia January 11, 2006


While we are proud of our very long history, we have lagged behind in development and no longer enjoy the amenities of a modern city because of the 23 years of instability we have experienced.

Associated with this is the threat of epidemic outbreak and the spread of diseases resulting from the overloaded carrying capacities, outstretched facilities and created conditions of over-crowding and congestion of city’s residents.

We lost our Electricity and Water supply some 14 years ago. Our Sewage System is clogged and
When ever it rains, our City is unsanitary, unhealthy and unlivable. Furthermore, the streets of the City of Monrovia have crumbled due to lack of maintenance and accidents are commonplace because there are no or very few safety signs posted throughout the City to regulate automobile traffic. We are faced with critical urban environmental development issues including:

Pollution of the rivers mainly due to sewage discharge and garbage disposal
Inadequate housing, sanitation and latrine facilities for over 1 million residents living in squatter settlements and tenements
Proliferation of the informal sector retail trade in every open space and streets of Monrovia
Increased environmental health risks of the most vulnerable such as childhood diarrhea, malaria, cholera, etc.

One of our most vexing problems is our inability to cope with the humongous garbage problem. It is well documented that despite the Monrovia City Corporation’s best efforts during my administration, we have been unable to completely solve the garbage collection and disposal problem to our satisfaction due to lack of resources, capacity building and lack of cooperation and serious input from the Government of Liberia and the residents of Monrovia. We are faced with inadequate collection and transportation of solid waste, outdated method of disposal and lack of transit dumping sites in the city due to its over- crowdedness.

Is this the Monrovia you want! We all say a resounding NO.

It is a known fact by now that every one of us desires a clean city but hardly wants to pay to have a clean city. The collection and disposal of solid waste is very capital intensive and taxing on those of us engaged in it. It is time that we all began to make some contributions to keep us living a long and productive or healthy life. Our environment deserves much of us and will give back to us what we gave to it.

Although we are grateful to UNICEF, UNMIL, USAID, THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA and some individuals who have helped us to keep our heads just above the heaps of garbage on short term interventions, the city is in dire need of a sustainable garbage collection and disposal system. w Therefore, the Residents, Businesses and Institutions of Monrovia, must take immediate action to clean and maintain the sanitation of our City on a sustainable basis not only for ourselves but for our children and those wishing to visit and invest in our country as Monrovia is the gateway to Liberia. The collection and disposal of garbage is not an event but a daily process. To that end, the City of Monrovia has taken the following steps:

The Monrovia City Corporation in 2004 completed the WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR MONROVIA and the REPORT ON LANDFILL SITE SELECTION AND CONCEPTUAL DESIGN developed with technical assistance from UNICEF with funding from DFID. The World Bank sent us consultants and additional work was done to ensure that Monrovia and its Environs have a modern collection and disposal solid waste system that will cost around (US) $10 Million Dollars with the participation of MCC, Donors, and Liberians home and abroad, and the Government of Liberia.

It was against this background that we invited Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf President of the Republic of Liberia on October 13, 2006 to launch the City of Monrovia 2006/2007 SUSTAINABLE Action Plan that included the Monrovia Trust Fund.

· To immediately address the garbage problems and clean our City by involving all our community and international organizations.
· To beautify our communities, streets and public places and identify play areas for children.
· To purchase 2 skip trucks and place a minimum of 20 skip buckets in various communities for the collection and disposal of garbage to stop the dumping in the streets and rivers.
· To augment the capacity and empower The City Police for the enforcement of City Ordinances.
· To engage in mass public awareness environmental program.
· To help build decent communities latrines connected to the Sewer System or that are eco- friendly.
· To clean and beautify our beaches, rivers, lakes lagoons and make them tourist-friendly.
· To commission the Monrovia Trust Fund here and abroad for the Recovery Program of the City.
· To celebrate “Monrovia Day” as contained in Ordinance number 4.
· To increase the revenue base of the city and the improvement of the methods of its collection and to collect 30% of all real property taxes as decreed in PRC Decree #61 signed into law in 1982 by President Doe.
· To privatize (wholly or partially) the garbage collection and disposal program
· To relocate streets market stalls to suitable locations
· To have markets associations enter into memorandum of understanding for the occupancy of market buildings and the collection and disposal of garbage with the necessary fees and its beautification
· To introduce the annual “Taste of Monrovia” at Christmas

In April 2007 the World Bank came in with a grant in the amount of USD16.5 million dollars to finance some of the most urgent infrastructure and basic services rehabilitation. USD 7 million was allocated to Works in Monrovia.

MCC collaborates with Water & Sewer and The Ministry of Public Works,

The Urban Works include among others:

Rehabilitation of 20 selected public toilets.
Solid Waste Management activities which included haulage of accumulated waste by private contractors-that has now exceeded the estimated waste with additional contracts put in place.
a. The up grade of Fiamah Dump Site
b . The purchasing of 8 skip trucks/120 skip buckets, the identification of 120 solid waste disposal sites as the beginning of putting in place a solid waste management system for Monrovia and its environs.
3. The cleaning -up of communities, Beaches and the identifications of play grounds
4. Community sensitization-organized extensive community outreach events and media campaigns
Fencing in of the Palm Grove Cemetery
Rehabilitation of Market Buildings

Other Urban Works are also been carried on to rehabilitate selected surface drains and underground pipes

Cleaning and rehabilitation of selected sewer lines and community beautification.

The Government of Liberia/The City Government of Monrovia and The World Bank have structured all of these ongoing works to include the Private Sector, NGOs and Community Based Organizations.

The Monrovia Trust Fund launched in 2006 was put on hold with the coming in of the grant from the World Bank but there is a need to re-activate this Trust Fund and put in place methods of recovery fees for the sustainability of these works and others as the World Bank funding is only temporary.


The City of Monrovia 2006/2007 Action Plan requires minimum sacrifices from each and every resident of the City of Monrovia including businesses & institutions located within the City and motorists. In addition, the plan calls upon all Liberians living abroad to contribute to the Recovery Program of the City of Monrovia.

We extend our appeal to all friends of Monrovia living aboard and out of the city to join us in cleaning the City of Monrovia and help this Grand Old City to regain its glorious status and rise to heights unknown by making a monthly or yearly contribution.Garbage CollectionThe current garbage collection system in Monrovia is grossly inadequate; therefore, the City needs to purchase two new (2) skip trucks (20) metal portable dumpsters, 4 pick-ups and ship to Monrovia the 2 garbage trucks donated by the City of Chicago, to be added to our current fleet for use with this program. The skip trucks will be used with the portable dumpsters, a few we have on the streets now for the residents to dump in at various locations in the city for daily pickup.Business houses will have to use garbage disposal bins to keep their garbage for disposal and residents will have to contain their garbage for disposable in affordable containers or bags.

All market places will now be required to contain their garbage and pay the necessary garbage fees for the delivery of garbage service.One of the objectives of the plan is to conduct massive education for our citizens both in the print and the electronic media. The goal is to help our citizens to understand that our health and safety is directly linked to the sanitary condition of our surroundings and the City of Monrovia as a whole.

Train and Empower the City Police for Enforcement of City Ordinances and other Police DutiesThe Monrovia City Police has not been left out of all the hard ships and difficulties faced by the City Government of Monrovia, not withstanding the City Police’s indispensable role in enforcing City Ordinances and other police duties cannot now be overemphasized.Training and logistics for the Monrovia City Police will greatly enhance the work of the Monrovia City Cooperation and restore law and order to the metropolitan Monrovia area.The City of Monrovia needs a well-trained Metropolitan Police Force.

It is imperative that this program begins immediately. Every major city in the world has its police force and Monrovia is no exception. The Liberian National Police needs to give space in our city to our City Police and theLiberian Government needs to recognize this and help to provide the necessary training and logistics for the city police to perform as intended.Cllr. Lawrence Morgan has been so kind and gracious for so many years allowing the City Police to use his premises on Broad Street as a Depot. He is now in urgent need of his premises compelling us to construct a depot on Broad Street near the Trinity Cathedral.

In addition to this all other depots need to be renovated and refurbished.The City Police Headquarters behind the Monrovia City Hall needs to be completed to provide office spaces and restore the dignity and uplift the moral of The Monrovia City Police.The Monrovia City CourtThe Monrovia City Court was created as a Judicial Arm of the City Government by an Act of Legislature in 1973 to be manned by a Magistrate and two Clerks.

The officers of this court including the Judge need to be appointed by the City Government of Monrovia. This matter will shortly be brought before the Chief Justice.The Monrovia Transit AuthorityThe Transportation System in Monrovia is in a chaotic state and The Monrovia Transit Authority was established in 1979 as a business entity created by the City Government of Monrovia to mainly institute and operate a public transport system for Monrovia and the Greater Monrovia Area.

We now call on the Monrovia Transit Authority to rise up to this great challenge and help meet the transportation needs of our people. The Monrovia Transit Authority needs to recognize that it is a business entity and must operate as such. The National Government and the City Government are cognizant of the fact that MTA has been badly managed and afflicted by the many years of national crisis.

It is now time that the National and City Governments give MTA the necessary support to jump start it and give it the opportunity to attract financing from banking institutions and others to enable it meet the growing transportation needs and become a viable and sustainable business entity.City and Communities BeautificationWith the natural landscape and other beautiful physical features of Monrovia, it should not take long before one who has an eye for natural beauty to appreciate this place.

We are grateful to the Almighty God. Nonetheless, we have a god-given responsibility to maintain the beauty He has given us. It is in this vain that the MCC in collaboration with communities will be involved in all of its programs. We will embark on a program to encourage our community dwellers and business owners to adopt surrounding blocks and areas to ensure their environment remains clean and clear of garbage and makeshift buildings. The President of Liberia is being requested to ensure that ministries and agencies of Government participate in these programs with the hope of keeping their surroundings and public buildings clean.

The Government cannot do it along.Relocation of Market Stalls to Suitable LocationsIt has become commonplace for people to build market stalls at any place in the city. We can understand why at this time but it has to stop. We are vigorously in search of suitable places to relocate marketers who have crowded the streets and sidewalks and other unsuitable public places.

Making our Beaches and Rivers in and around Monrovia Tourist FriendlyMonrovia’s golden sandy beaches are among the most beautiful ocean front beaches in the world. Our beaches and rivers could be sources of tremendous income and provide employment for many of Monrovia’s residents who are currently unemployed.Sewer System & Community ToiletsThe sewer system in Monrovia is a disaster, and it has put our health in great peril.

On Broad Street, Monrovia’s prime business street, has had open sewer for decades. When it rains, Center Street and other low lying areas in Monrovia become impassible, uninhabitable and outright dangerous. Waterside, the nerve center of Monrovia’s commercial life, has sewer rolling down the hill on Mechlin Street. Plastics bags of human feces are openly disposed off in the streets, yards, sidewalks, rooftops or just anywhere. Adults and children openly defecate.

How long can this go on!In light of these problems, the City of Monrovia will work with other government agencies to address this problem and build community toilets. In addition, the City of Monrovia will embark upon an education campaign to improve sanitation in Monrovia.Street Repairs & Traffic SignsMonrovia has become very dangerous for all because of crumbling streets and car accidents.

We congratulate the Ministry of Public Works for the actions now being taken which will also decrease the damage to our vehicles and improve our transportation system. I propose that we also work with Liberian National Police to have safety signs installed at all intersections to assist motorist. This will improve and enhance the quality of our lives.