Koijee Outlines Achievement, Challenges In 2020 – As MCC Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Monrovia Day

Mr. Jefferson Tamba Koijee Monrovia City Major

Monrovia City Major Mr.Jefferson Tamba Koijee has outline his achievement and challenges in 2020 which he described as milestones for the city government of Monrovia.

He said Monrovia City Government revisited her 2020 programs with topmost focus on collaborating with the National Government in the fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic which became a global emergency in March. At the onset of the outbreak in Liberia, we commissioned the Monrovia City Taskforce on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response which rallied the cooperation of sister cities, townships, and other local government authorities and redirected our resources toward a massive clearance of garbage, with emphasis on removal of backlogs, cleaning and disinfecting drainages, markets, public toilets and other facilities. We were also appointed as lead on Hygiene and Sanitation Pillar on the National COVID-19 Incident Management System.

Speaking Tuesday at the program marking the 45th Anniversary of Monrovia Day at the Monrovia City Hall Koijee said that with support from the National Public Health Institute and the Ministry of Health, Republic of Liberia, the MCC taskforce partnered with the Crusaders for Peace and engaged into social mobilization, active case findings, specimen collections and sites preparation within Montserrado County. We launched a two-thousand (2,000) person vigorous community, radio and social media awareness campaign, recruited six thousand(6,000) persons trained by NPHIL and MoH as Active Case Finders to work with COVID-19 Contact Tracers, and established five centers for testing and specimen collection. Moreover, approximately 2 million inhabitants in Monrovia and Montserrado were reached by our mobilizers and active case finders, which activities explain the low number of deaths in the city and county.

According to him, due their effective COVID-19 resilience mechanisms as a city and country, they made significant strides to restore economic life. The Coronavirus has become complex with variety of mutations in other parts of the world. It is not only real but deadly. We want to urge our citizens, residents and visitors to remain vigilant and continue to implement the health protocols vigorously. We want to extend special thanks and appreciations to our international and local partners for their generous contributions and cooperation during this period of dire life-saving needs.

“Our COVID-19 Task Force is prepared to work with relevant health authorities to implement the President’s mandate which calls for increasing EPI Surveillance due to the Ebola outbreak in neighboring Guinea” He said .

Speaking further, He said were able to establish an Economic Policy Management (EPM) unit that is spearheading the development of a five year strategic plan of the Monrovia City Government.

We commenced the reviewing of our city ordinance in order to bring them up to speed with current realities. We also started coordination for the revision of the City Charter.

He added that these institutional reforms are on-going as they involve intensive and extensive levels of consultations and processes.

“We experienced a significant decrease in the tonnage of garbage disposed in 2020 from 79,375.77 tons in 2019 to 60,156.96 tons in 2020. While we anticipated an increase in garbage generation, there was a decrease in the garbage disposed due to general economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, thus reducing waste generation. We however remain grateful to the World Bank for the continued assistance to this sector under the Cheesemanburg Landfill Urban Sanitation (CLUS) Project which is supporting the City’s solid waste management system through logistical and financial support toward secondary waste collection and disposal, closure of the Whein Town Landfill and graduation to the new Cheesemanburg Landfill under construction” Koijee said.

He stated that that Cities Alliance in the same vein will shortly provide and roll out grant and loan facility in the amount of $1.5 million dollars to Community Based Enterprises and Small Medium Enterprises in the solid waste management sector. This initiative which started last year, when completed, will accelerate our drive toward effective primary solid waste collections at the household’s level.

Due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, He noted the city experienced a decrease in construction works by 47% between 2019 and 2020. However, we are presently experiencing an increase in the pace of new constructions.

He said the MCC under his leadership launched several signature interventions to build their capacities, provide opportunities and enhance peaceful coexistence and unity amongst them. Accordingly, our Youth Affairs Unit has been engaged into the following activities owning to the fact that Youth constitute about 65% of our population in Liberia.

Koijee indicated that in the year under review MCC organized Annual national universities debate competition, national spelling bee competition, and National youth Entrepreneurship summit

And National scrabble competition; and

as well as Annual Monrovia Communities quizzing competition

“We are very proud to announce that the winners of the “Monrovia Communities Quizzing Tournament” which commenced October 30th of last year and ended February 15, 2021 with District #15 emerging a winner. Congratulations to the champions He noted

He stressed that traditionally, these competitions are done among schools in various parts of Monrovia and its environs. This time around, we have changed the mode to a community-based approach with the aim of scouting the Crème de la Crème within those communities. During the tournament, best players were captured and recognized in the categories of Mathematics, Language Arts, General Science and Social Studies.

“They are now incorporated into our “Monrovia Scholars” fellowship program as the pioneering cohort one, with the aim of serving as ambassadors to promote Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals, and provide peer mentorship and tutorial for sitters of the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). “Monrovia Scholars” will also be a platform to provide local and international scholarships to its fellows as a way of promoting their career development” Koijee indicated.

Koijee also said that the City Government of Monrovia  transformed its patio to the beautiful Monrovia City Garden (Bar and Restaurant).

He disclosed that In mid-2020, Monrovia was among thirty cities around the world invited by the Carter Center to apply for the implementation of its gender mainstreaming “Inform Women, Transform Lives” project, which seek to demonstrate women access to information and the corresponding change it will produce. I am happy to state that we are among the thirteen winners, the only three from Africa and the only West African city.

Koijee noted that Preliminaries have been ongoing and the project will officially begin by March 3 and ends September 12 this year. As a city, we will focus on informing women in two selected slum communities on our solid waste management services, particularly primary collection, in order to promote the health of themselves, their families and communities.

The Monrovia City Government he emphasized   initiated a local and international scholarship program. Last year, over 50 staff obtained several certificates in Public Management Services (PMS) courses at the Liberia Institute for Public Administration (LIPA). Two staff left for foreign studies. Mr. Amara B. Kanneh of the Environmental Health and Safety Department is doing Masters in Development Studies at the Kigali Independent University, Kigali, Rwanda.  Recently, our Director for Public Affairs, Mr. Pekeleh Gbuapaye, left for Cyprus to study International Relations at the Near East University. Others will be leaving over the course of this year.

Torching on challenges He said, He said that the  COVID-19 impacted negatively  their  revenue collection and overall operations. However, we shall continue to explore new avenues of opportunities and seek to increase existing ones like revenue generation and support from our long standing international partners and the Government of Liberia.

Rapid growth and expansion of the city due to the following demographic factors continued to exert and demand the need for a paradigm shift of the city status:

He stressed that In addition to  their  tree planting efforts across the city, sea coastal erosion defense structures constructed to ward off erosion of the coast line and the cleaning of our rivers and waterways, we want to urge our citizens to contribute by keeping the grass in their yards and open spaces cut low to maintain the green cover as stipulated in city ordinance #1 to keep our city clan and green.

“As a demonstration of our commitment to the global and national fight against climate change, we recently recruited a City Resilience Officer to lead our climate change activities, with emphasis on promoting slum upgrades and other resilience related activities .He said

Koijee noted that Monrovia is the central focus of economic life of Liberia as such It is a rapidly growing city with an approximate population of 1.5 million inhabitants. The City Government of Monrovia acknowledges the pressing need to meet up with the increasing urban needs of the city in such areas as hygiene and sanitation, access to safe drinking water, electricity, urban transport, traffic lights and housing, support to marketers, including street vendors, strengthening local government cooperation and service capacity, youth development, and security. The City is committed to working on these and other indicators which will accelerate her getting on par with sisters cities in the West African sub-region and beyond.

“We have therefore endeavored to tailor our programs for 2021 under the theme “Sustaining Smart Actions for Smart City.” Continuing on the legacy of the previous year, we have embarked on creating and implementing a city ecosystem that is based on smart actions which will create value addition and transformation of Monrovia in the areas of institutional, physical, social and economic infrastructures” He intimated .

He pointed out that the MCC shall seek to finalize the revision of our City Charter and ordinances to enable us expand our capacity as necessary for demands of present realities. The City will work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Governance Commission, the National Legislature and local government actors to adequately address jurisdictional challenges and strengthen relations between Monrovia and other local government structures. We also shall introduce innovative means to increase citizens’ participation in city decision making and development initiatives.

According to him,  they  shall also continue to develop smart actions to enhance the quality and scale of our sanitation services, particularly in Solid Waste Management. We pledge to work with both local and international actors to strengthen our resilience to COVID-19 as well as other health-related threats.

“The Monrovia City Government shall source support to preserve and develop open spaces such as parks, playgrounds and recreational spaces to promote a child-friendly environment and improve citizens’ quality of life and shall work with partners to enhance modalities for city beautification and create tourist attractions” He noted .

The Monrovia City Mayor then called on residents to promote sanitation to keep their surrounding clean and green something he says will prevent them sicknesses.

This year, the event happened to be the third-celebration since the ascendency of Mayor Koijee. The theme of the 45th Monrovia Day was “Smart actions for a smart city”.

Addressing the gathering, the Mayor of Freetown Madam Sawyerr disclosed that her presence at the 45th Monrovia Day Celebration signifies a good partnership.

“I’m so happy to be here today because it really marks the beginning of a much deeper and closer relationship between the City of Freetown and the City of Monrovia. Why it is matters is because you learn from people who are experiencing the same challenges as you are facing,” Madam Sawyerr noted.

“We are going to work together in the area of sanitation and other things,” the City Mayor of Freetown Madam Sawyerr added.

Serving as key note The City Mayor of Freetown, the Capital of Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, promised to join hands with the Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee to foster plans to develop both the City of Freetown and the City of Monrovia.

Mayor Sawyerr made the statement Tuesday at the program marking the 45th Anniversary of Monrovia Day at the Monrovia City Hall.

Madam Sawyerr furthers named many developed cities which she says are in partnership. She added that the issue of partnership is good for developed cities in the Sub-region.

Madam Sawyerr added: “This, I believe will open a new chapter. A new chapter not only for the City  of Freetown  and the City of Monrovia but a new chapter for our cities in the Sub-region.”

Upon her arrival, Madam Sawyer was given a symbolic key to the city of Monrovia and in response she called on the Monrovia City Mayor to pay the same visit to the City of Freetown to strengthen the relationship of the two cities.

Also, at  the 45th celebration of Monrovia Day, the Monrovia City Mayor, however, presented his annual message to the City Council and that of the residents of Monrovia.

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