The Dialogue on the transfer of Marketers from Red light to Omega

The woman led leadership of the Liberia MarketingAssociation (LMA) and the thousands of market women and girls being transferred from the Monrovia-Paynesville outskirt Red-light District to the new market at the former Voice of America (VOA) navigation station have blamed marketers’ refusal to move to the OMGA market on several welfare concerns.

Marketers of Red light at the forum

Led by national marketing president, Mrs. Elizabeth Sambola, the market women told the latest edition of the Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI) People To People media and community outreach blended platform, THE DIALOGUE that the  lack of access roads, warehousing, toilet facilities, denial of LMA role in the control  and distribution of the OMEGA land,  proper market commodity arrangement and  double standards by government operatives in the transfer of the Red-light marketers to OMEGA  are to blame for the resistance to government’s plan for the full removal of the Red-Light market to OMEGA.

The latest edition of THE DIALOGUE in partnership with Mercy Corps Liberia and Kvinna Till Kvinna,  funded by the European Union Supporting Effective Advocacy in Liberia (SEAL) heard from the market women leaders at the weekend that the Government of Liberia has yet failed to open the needed access roads into and out of the OMEGA market place in keeping with the promise by president George Weah when they moved them to OMEGA in July 2021.

Market president Elizabeth Sambola flanked by dozens of market women  said at the interactive forum on Sunday that OMEGA has barely one way into and out of the market with no car parking lot for several external commodity source locations as required for the proper market running as has happened in the Red-Light area even in the shanty,  it is.

Several marketers in support of the claims of their leadership also spoke of the lack of access entry and exit at OMEGA as seriously problematic and hindering the full transfer of the Red-Light market to OMEGA.

They averred that the lack of a parking lot for vehicles supplying goods to OMEGA is another serious reason for marketers refusing to heed to their transfer, contending that because of the parking lot situation, delivering goods to OMEGA is difficult and expensive.

Warehousing is another concern raised at the Sunday DIALOGUE forum held at the George Weah market hall of the OMEGA market place. On this,  the women  marketer leaders alarmed that there are no warehouses for the storage of marketers’ goods, hence making it difficult to keep marketers at OMEGA.  “No market place exists anywhere in the World with no warehouses as done yet at OMEGA.” The women marketers said.

The market women also alarmed about the lack of adequate toilet facilities for the thousands of marketers especially women who are being forced to move OMEGA, condemning the situation as insensitive to the natural needs of the market people of Liberia.

The market women alleged double standards by the government regarding the enforcement of the full removal of Red-light marketers, saying the government through the Liberia National Police has allowed the reconstruction of market stalls through a new style of makeshift containers for retailing in the name of wholesale dealing at Red-Light in sheer violation of the Red-Light transfer plan.

The last issue talked about at the OMEGA Sunday gathering was the arrangement of market commodities. On this one the market leadership was under scrutiny by the audience at the forum. The marketers accused their leadership of allowing the disorganization of market commodities. One woman said what used to be called GORBACHOP marketing  has now turned into full-fledged marketing, thereby  posing serious stress on the only access road into and out of the OMEGA Market Place.

As a suggestion for resolution to all the concerns, the women marketers and their leaders appealed for quick action to enable their smooth transfer to the OMEGA market place, averring that the confusion over all the issues of concern is making life unbearably hard for they and their children.

For the government, Cllr. Lusenee Bility, the legal counsel to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the government Ministry that coordinates the relations between they and the marketers called for calm, patience and willingness on the part of the marketers, revealing that the government is working to ensure the concerns raised are being addressed gradually.

He told the marketers that their refusal to move too OMEGA will be a rejection of what he calls the proper use of their own tax dollars. Bility called on the markets who have moved to OMEGA to occupy the market halls already constructed rather staying in the streets and leaving the halls empty as they are.

This DIALOGUE forum at OMEGA was organized and conducted to give voice to the lingering unheard concerns of the thousands of market people especially women being forced to move to OMEGA in the face of the absence of the required facilities and the conducive space for marketing especially by suffering  women in search of livelihood.

The forum at OMEGA was part of a general advocacy intervention in governance and accountability isssues in Liberia. Mercy Corps, Kvinna Till Kvinna Foundation (KTK), the Government of Liberia and the European Union launched a four-year project named and styled, Supporting Effective Advocacy in Liberia (SEAL) aimed at promoting good governance and a vibrant civic sector during a critical moment in the country’s development.

Financed by the European Union under the 11th European Development Fund, the goal of the project is to strengthen the individual capacities and collective efforts of Liberian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to promote good governance and a vibrant civic sector during a critical moment in the country’s development.

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