From time immemorial, regional cooperation specifically in the Mano River Union (MRU) basin has been almost entirely focused on political leadership from the echelon of member states officialdom with little results due to minimal availability of grassroots’ involvement in a bottom top approach.
Given the significance of approaching governance from a people driven perspective, the Mayor of the City of Monrovia, Jefferson Tamba Koijee is advancing that regional cooperation among member states in the MRU including Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone take interest in local governments’ approach that would allow the people to take ownership of sustaining peace, sharing mutual economic benefits and looking out for one another.
“I have said to the Mayor of Conakry, Guinea: why don’t we take regional cooperation from a mayoral perspective- local government approach that the people would take ownership of whatever decision that is taken at top,” he indicated.
According to him, the Conakry Mayor Aminata Toure welcomed the idea and pledged her willingness to work with he and other mayors within the sub-region in this regard.
The Youthful Mayor of Monrovia remarks were contained in his brief statement delivered at the cultural extravaganza: A Night of Cultural Renaissance held on the night of February 15, 2021 as part of activities marking the observance of the 45th Monrovia Day in Monrovia.
“When I go to these countries, I tell people that we are one people whose countries are only separated by imaginary lines to say: this is Guinea, this is Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. We share a lot in common and working together would be the surest way to help one another,” Mayor Koijee mentioned.
He disclosed that the Mayor of Conakry had to cancel her trip to Monrovia in the wake of the resurgence of the virulent Ebola Virus disease that has taken some lives already but sent her message to be delivered on her behalf at the official ceremony as a testament of her commitment to new idea of cooperation from mayors’ perspective.
Mayor Koijee nudged his compatriots to the fact that staying true to the commitment of “Keeping Monrovia Clean and Green” requires all hands on deck; stressing “it is not a one-man thing. It should be a collective approach. That’s why we say to you, whether publicly or privately or anywhere we go, we are proud of the work of Madam Mary Broh” especially considering the fact that despite I enjoy the confidence of the President, she is a fantastic job and always keeps her doors open to share her experience with me. “She keeps advising me. I am proud to acknowledge that I keep drinking from her fountain of knowledge,” averred.
He lauded the exceptional role played by the head of the Crusader for Peace, Julie Endee in putting Covid-19 under control through working with the City Government of Monrovia.
Speaking, the Mayor of the City of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE said her visit to Monrovia for 45th Monrovia Day events has far exceeded the Sierra Leonean delegation’s expectation.
“I want to congratulate Mayor Koijee for kicking the ball off and we are determined to start deepening, strengthening and building relationship among our cities in the Mano River Union basin and also in the sub-region,” Mayor Aki-Sawyerr indicated
According to her, in the short time she has been in Monrovia, it has been so clear that “we have so much that we can give to each other; there’s lesson we can share; there’s information we can share and we believe that this going to yield monumental results for the people of Freetown, Monrovia and beyond.”
For his part, the Ambassador of Ghana accredited to Liberia Ernest-Burke Asare Asiedu stated that the only point at which “we can build nations is to make sacrifices; the only way we can build nations is to carry the people along and the only way we can build a nation is for the people to believe and trust in us, their leaders and to be able to give their support.”
He encouraged Mayor Koijee to keep his arms opened to the needy and remain humble and he would go very far.
In remarks, former Monrovia City Mayor, now Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), Madam Mary Broh said she is glad to be able to help her successor to succeed as much as she can.
She mentioned that she is glad that her dream to see sister cities within the region are looking to work together and they would be the beacon of West Africa.
“I keep working with Jefferson and his city. You will not see me in the streets because am finished with that. We are going to make sure that Jefferson gets the results. I may not get there with you but you will make it,” she added.
Madam Broh indicated “he will make because people think he is a young boy; play boy but he is willing to listen with humility and he follows advice. Many people say Jefferson Koijee is not good but see how far he has come and the kind of people he hangs out with.”
The Night was Cultural Renaissance was preceded by a street parade from the historic Ducor Hotel to the Monrovia City Hall with the participation of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA), the National Fire Service of Liberia, the Monrovia City Police and other security apparatuses as well as students.
The late Monday evening’s event brought together dignitaries and members of the Diplomatic Corps, the Dean and members of the Louis Arthur Grimes School, Cllr. Negbalee Warner, the traditional leaders.