By Lincoln G Peters
Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee is considering proposing to the Liberian Legislature to declare as an elected position, the office of the mayor of all city councils throughout Liberia to help enhance their workings and functions.
The suggestion by the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Youth League Chair comes ahead of the conduct of the 2023 general and presidential elections in which his party, headed by incumbent President George Manneh Weah, is seeking a second six-year term.
Mr. Koijee told journalists during a press conference Thursday, 21 October that he is currently working on a proposal to be presented to the Legislature, praying for its indulgence to declare as an elected position, the office of the mayor of all other city councils in the country.
“Like Sierra Leone, Ghana, and many other countries in Africa and around the world, mayors, and city councils are [elected] and they collect their own taxes and control their operating budget. But for Liberia it’s unfortunate and so our operations budget is controlled by the Government of Liberia,” said Mayor Koijee.
Koijee who has just returned from neighboring Sierra Leone said when the city council is elected, it will be given the means to control its operating budget and collect taxes, adding that whatever they get from partners is being transferred to the consolidated account of the central government here.
He expressed hope that under the leadership of President Weah, he can ensure that mayors and city councils can be elected.
“… Because of that, we are working with the Legislature so that [the] mayor’s office and city councils become an elected office before the expiration of President George Manneh Weah’s tenure,” Koijee said.
He suggested that if electing mayors and city councils cannot be done in the entire country, the country’s capital and some other cities should be given the opportunity to decide who the true administrators become.
He noted that local government is cardinal and drives the economy of the country and any city.
“We want operation funds from international partners to come directly to us, direct budgetary support from our partners where the mayor has the authority to preside and implement the function,” said Koijee.
At the same time, Mayor Koijee said the city councils have organized a “citizens engagement board” which is a collective working of 14 professionals from the civil society, religious community, youth, and student community to provide their ideas on how they can have a clean, green and safe city.
He noted that those 14 professionals will be chaired by Madam Mary Broh, General Services Agency Director-General; and co-chaired by Liberia Crusader for Peace Executive Director Queen Julie Endee.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/ellen-shares-freetown-experience-with-koijee/–Edited by Winston W. Parley