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Mayor Koijee replies U.S. Ambassador McCarthy

By Lewis S. Teh

Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee sharply responds to criticism from United States Ambassador accredited to Monrovia Michael McCarthy that a lot still needs to be done to fight corruption amid huge donors’ contribution to Liberia.

Ambassador McCarthy in an O-PED to mark the birth of Liberia’s first President Joseph Jenkins Roberts on Tuesday, March 15, expressed frustration over the state of governance in the country and lack of political will to fight corruption, wondering if Liberia today is what the founding father, President Roberts had envisaged.

 Amb. McCarthy asked, “What Joseph Jenkins Roberts would say about Liberia today?”

The U.S. Envoy lamented that despite America’s enormous foreign service assistance to Liberia, the country is stagnant, while corruption remains high at the detriment of poor Liberian citizens and the American taxpayers.

“Sixty years after the arrival of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Liberia, 19 years after the end of the civil war crisis, and seven years after the eradication of Ebola, the taxpayers of the United States contribute to this country over $110 million per year of foreign assistance. This includes over $79 million per year donated to the health sector”, he said.

The Ambassador explained that approximately US$9 million is specifically for purchasing medications and commodities for the Liberian people and improving the Ministry of Health’s effective distribution and warehousing of pharmaceuticals, but notes that despite this extra support, there are reports regularly about places like Kolahun in Lofa County and Sanniquellie in Nimba County, where clinics and hospitals must make do without even the most basic drugs.

“Troublingly, Embassy investigations indicate that not only are some citizens diverting public medical resources and low-cost drugs for personal gain, but that babies, young children, and birthing mothers are dying needlessly as a result”, he added.

However, it seems the portion of Ambassador McCarthy’s O-PED that hit the Government of Liberia hard is when he expressed the absurdity of the Monrovia City Corporation lamenting that waste collection in the country’s capital has been left as the sole responsibility of the City Government – no donor support.

The Ambassador reflected that he has seen in a West African country where villages poorer than Monrovia and without electricity coordinating with government to dispose garbage at designated landfill, noting that “The state of cleanliness in the city of Monrovia, which is more developed and a far wealthier community, sadly does not compare.”

But responding to the U.S. Ambassador’s statement, Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee in a press statement Wednesday, March 16, 2022, said the City Government of Monrovia welcomes constructive criticism and remains receptive to helpful recommendations from everyone, including global experts and professionals, on issues of municipal cooperation and development, especially sustainable integrated solid waste management as part of his firm commitment to keeping Monrovia green.

“This administration doesn’t rely on donors’ contribution to clean this city, it is resolved that it did not come to power to make excuses, but to solve problems whether inherited or not”, Mayor Koijee reacts.

He rallies citizens’ support around waste management, saying “our city is a national duty and should not be misconstrued as holding foreign partners responsible for cleaning our city.”

Mayor Koijee narrates that the City Government has designed means to mobilize domestic resources to sync with the national government’s revenue strategy. 

He notes that in spite of the size of the MCC revenue envelope, the city government has managed some of its toughest challenges through meager resources generated domestically. 

“This does not mean that assistance by international partners is not appreciated.”

He reveals that seeking international assistance from the United States does not mean that the Government and people of Liberia are relinquishing their responsibilities, noting that if the United States with all the supremacy, had answers to everything, its external debt portfolio would be at zero.

“We can’t shy away neither will we blame others for the garbage which has overwhelmed the country. We find comfort in the damning report by our partners regarding the huge garbage or waste.”

Bu Ambassador McCarthy is not the first foreign envoy here to criticize the untidiness of the Liberian capital, Monrovia.

Last year, the Head of the EU Mission to Monrovia, described Monrovia as the “dirtiest city ever” he has seen in Africa. Editing by Jonathan Browne 


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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