Despite unwavering commitment to regulate or put a stop to street selling by kids, especially during school hours, the situation remains unabatedly rampant:
Efforts by the Liberian government to quell or control the pace of street selling by school going kids seem too feeble as the situation has reached an astronomically unprecedented height. It appears the government has gone into coma on the issue as more and more kids (children) fill the streets plying their wares, meandering through moving vehicles in the glare of law enforcement agents.
According to reporter who was out on the field, street selling by kids in Monrovia is once again getting rampant.
On many occasions, the government through the Ministry of Education issue stern warnings to parents to stop sending their kids in the streets, mainly during the school hours.
Besides, the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) alongside the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), was some time last year, allegedly mandated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to buttress efforts of the Liberia National Police and that of the Ministry of Gender, Children Social Protection with aim at eradicating kid’s streets selling.
On January 12, 2017, the MCC and PCC warned the public not to buy from kids or people selling on the streets as violators will be penalized, but since the latest decision by the corporations, people are still witnessing the presence of kids.
Some three months back, the PCC Mayor Cyvette Gibson said “we got involved as a result of the President`s interest and seriousness to get kids off the streets”, a statement many critics termed as deception by the corporation towards the President.
“The President called all the mayors to a meeting and she asked us to help the police and the Ministry of Gender so as to ensure that we address the issue; based upon that we decided to come up with something constructive to get them off the streets and this is where we are now; she further added during the ELBC super morning phone-in program.
There seemed to be no progress made since the pronouncement by the two institutions as parents, unfortunately still send their kids out to sell and people are still seeing buying from these kids in the streets which is in violation of MCC and PCC mandate or warming to the public.
Sending children in the streets to sell is an abuse and a violation of their rights and it compromises their lives as well.
Accordingly for her part, the MCC Mayor Clarice Doe Mvongo has advised public not to buy from kids or anyone selling on the streets as doing so is not only illegal but it is aiding and abetting the presence of kids in the streets and if anyone is caught these individuals will be reprimanded.
“We have decided to use this method because if there are no buyers there wouldn’t be a seller, so, against this we are also working closely with the Ministry of Gender and the police to ensure this happened”, she said.
The city mayor further affirmed that there will be an incineration place for adults as well as in penalizing any citizens found in the act of buying from kids on the streets.
Since the decision was reached by MCC and PCC, which was considered favorable in successfully targeting or battling the situation, both corporations cannot point at any violator that has been penalized for breaching the law, let alone any achievement made as these children continue to resurface in various streets corners in the name of making ends meet.
Speaking to some parents following the resurfacing of kids to sell in the streets, Kurbo Sumo, a mother of three said the MCC, PCC agenda cannot be achieved as they have no plan for the kids apart from taking them off the streets.
According to her, these kids are staying with single or forester parents, and are made to help with the demands of their homes due to the harsh economic.
“Not that those parents are happy to see their kids selling in the streets, but it is because they have nothing doing. If there were jobs created, no parent would send his or her child in the streets to make money,” she stated.
“I for one, I am against the issue of kids selling in the streets, but again this is an old age problem that needs to be carefully be addressed and with enough time and attention. You cannot jump up one morning and think you can do it”, Peterson Jallah noted.
He further that “I do not think the both corporations were prepared for this as they just wanted to make up or the needed favor from the President.”
He cited that the Liberian government is noted for crafting or passing laws but lacks the implementing powers to ensure that said laws are effective.
When contacted to comment on the resurfacing of kids once again selling in the streets in Monrovia, Mayor Clarice Doe Mvongo said she could not speak to the issue as it is highly political.
“The mayor does not want to respond to the issue because it is highly political”, MCC public relations officer Jacobs stated at the ground of the corporation.
Also in relations, the head of the public affairs department at the Paynesville City Corporation, Jani Jallah stated that the mayor will not respond to the issue as they are only an implementer of the order.
“The MCC and PCC are only implementers of the mandate; and anything relating to providing programs or penalizing violators is the responsibility of the Ministry of Gender because she is the focus person”, Jallah indicated in a telephone conversation.
The MGCSP Minister Julia Duncan Cassell has since failed to respond to the issue despite numerous attempts by the reporter.
“Go to the public relations office and book an appointment”, Duncan cited in a telephone conversation later in February of this year.
However, the appointment was booked but till date, there has been no further notice from Minister Cassell and her public relations officer up to press time.
Meanwhile, investigation continues.