Koijee Ups the Ante, Launches Blistering Attack on Newspaper Editor

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Mayor Koijee is concerned with the uncollected of garbage across the city.

Barely a month after President George M. Weah branded British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stringer Jonathan Paye-Layleh as “one of those who were against” his peace advocacy, Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, has upped the ante, with a blistering attack on the  Managing Editor of the FrontPage Africa newspaper in Monrovia.

Mr. Koijee is one of the staunch (loyal) members of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and also Youth League chair of CDC.

Mayor Koijee lambasted Rodney D. Sieh for what he termed as unprofessional attacks on the presidency and the denigration of initiatives by the government, including negotiations of about US$536 million needed for a proposed coastal highway, among others.

Mayor Koijee said it was unfortunate for Mr. Sieh to present himself as a champion of the cause, adding, “Do not use the media to launch your selfish, cruel agenda, because Liberia needs to be developed and this is the best moment.”

According to the Monrovia City Mayor, the media and the government remain strong partners and will continue to support President Weah in the development of Liberia, noting, “The media and civil society, including the religious community, are a vital force in building Liberia.”

Mayor Koijee said the Weah-led administration is not against the press and cannot be against the media. However he said it was unfortunate for few “redheads” within the media to continue to send negative statements or messages against the President of Liberia.

“We have great media practitioners in Liberia, including journalists Frank Sainworla, Dr. Kenneth Y. Best, the late Tom Kamara and many others who we continue to respect. You have a man, Rodney D. Sieh, who is currently presiding over or is owner of a residence that costs close to US$600,000, which requires investigation,” Mayor Koijee said.

“But there are people beginning to launch senseless attacks on President Weah’s reign. For instance, since President Weah talked about the building of a new Monrovia, fake media practitioners, who are pretending to be serious people, continue to give a negative information about the initiative,” Mayor Koijee said.

He indicated that there are polluted and contaminated elements within the media, who pretend to be media practitioners, and called on the media not to fall prey to such situations.

He said the real enemies against the media are those trying to use the media to propagate ugly or bad messages. However, he said they will not be tolerated by the people of Liberia, including the government.

Mayor Koijee said the CDC-led administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past government. But at the same time, media practitioners must continue to be very cool and sensitive, in order to raid themselves of those “bad elements,” among which, he said, is FrontPage Africa.

“We intend to bring forth a popular government, a government that cares for the people, and the government that will secure the survival of the people, looking at the 62 percent mandate given to President Weah by the people of Liberia,” he said.

According to him, the Weah-led government is prepared to change the living conditions of the people and give them the opportunity for a better hope.

But against this backdrop of scathing attacks on journalists and the media, beginning with President Weah’s recent attack on journalist and BBC stringer Jonathan Paye Layleh, there appears to be a growing sense of apprehension among journalists and the public at large. Many now wonder what lies ahead for the media, as well as for Liberia, under a George Weah’s presidency.

And this latest outburst from Monrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee against journalist Rodney Sieh, appears to signal what some have described as growing intolerance on the part of this government in regard to freedom of expression and all its ramifications (results). Moreover, the appointment to high positions of trust of key figures closely linked to war criminal and convicted ex-President Charles Taylor, in the eyes of observers signals a bad omen for the country and its future, particularly with regard to freedom of expression.

According to a longtime observer of Liberian politics and former professor of economics at the University of Liberia, Dr. Fred Vanderkraiij, President George Weah is either naive or calculated, judging by the appointments he has made in Government. Professor Vanderkraiij made particular reference to Charles Bright, whose appointment made him virtually a super minister, raising eyebrows far and wide.

Dr. Vanderkraiij fears that the rule of law under President Weah may be undermined by individuals whose records do not inspire confidence in attaining the goals of fighting corruption, ending impunity and promoting national reconciliation, as well as transparency, in public management.

He further opines that with the very weak separation of powers, weak rule of law and wrong people appointed, the country risks going down a slippery path, which may lead to a plunge into the abyss. Given such a disposition, and judging from experience, journalists and the media, first in the line of fire, may be in for a very rough ride, given the torrent of vitriolic attacks against media practitioners.

Rodney D. Sieh, Managing Editor, FrontPage Africa newspaper

But journalist and managing editor of the FrontPage Africa newspaper, Rodney Sieh, appears unperturbed by Mayor Koijee’s outbursts. When asked by the Daily Observer why he did not prod Mayor Koijee to produce evidence of his wild claims against him, the Frontpage Africa editor said, “I am not going to say a word to Koijee and we will continue to do more investigative reporting,” which suggests, in other words, that Koijee’s outbursts is but a storm in a teacup.

Meanwhile, Mayor Koijee also lauded the World Bank and other partners for the level of support to the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) since he took over as Mayor.

Mayor Koijee said the World Bank and partners have been instrumental in ensuring that the waste management is successful.

He said despite the enormous challenges faced by the City of Monrovia, the World Bank and partners have been ensuring that those challenges are addressed.

“This coming first Saturday of April, we will be launching the second phase of the Weah for Clean City. We want to appreciate all of those who have been helping to ensure that this city does not remain like this,” he said.

According to him, the Armed Forces of Liberia has also committed itself in helping to carry on the cleanup campaign on Saturday.

“This phase will begin at the Freeport of Monrovia to Duala and to New Kru Town. We want to call on all business people and partners to give their cooperation as the campaign will commence at 7 a.m.,” he said.

According to him, the cleanup team will also visit Clara Town and its environs as a way of inspiring residents of the area and ensuring they form part of the process.

“We want them to take ownership of the ongoing initiative. We will also be collaborating with Paynesville City due to huge challenges in terms of cleaning the area,” he said.

Authors

26 COMMENTS

  1. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” The crown is now on CDC head.

    How did Mayor Koijee gain prominence in the CDC political party? Wasn’t he the same person who very critical of President Sirleaf’s Government? Now, he is talking rubbish about the media, particularly Frontpage Africa’s Editor, Rodney Sieh, who is doing all the investigative reporting on President Weah’s Government.

    Doesn’t he realize it is the job of an investigative reporter to investigate or deep deeper into issues, deep deeper into crimes committed, deep deeper into political corruption, through researching and reporting on the outcome of the investigations? That is exactly what Frontpage Africa does unlike other newspapers in Liberia that pacifies public officials.

    Mr. City Mayor, if the functions of Administering the affairs of Monrovia are too much for you, why not ask the President to reassign you as mayor of a smaller city where you could learn on the job before becoming Mayor of a big Capital City like Monrovia.

    There are more complicated Administrative functions of being a Mayor of a Metropolitan City like Monrovia than only keeping Monrovia Clean. Mayor Koijee, please spend your time studying how other city mayors around the world carry out their administrative functions that make their cities function efficiently and transparently instead of wasting precious time (tax-payers money) being a political mouthpiece of the president. The President already has a press secretary to execute that function.

    Mr. Mayor, please stop trying to suppress press freedom in Liberia. You were the same person preaching loudly against irregularities during President Sirleaf’s Administration. The press is obligated to investigate everything that pertains to the duty of everyone who works for the people of Liberia….or who serves in any public capacity….. including you, and the president.

    Keeping the press silent is tantamount to denial of press freedom in Liberia under this CDC Regime. You cannot put the old genie (country devil…spirit) back in the bottle as the old people would say. We fought too hard for our freedom in Liberia!

    It is too late to turn back the clock of freedom, peace and security we enjoyed over the last twelve years!

    May God bless the Republic of Liberia and guide our leaders to make wise decisions!!!

  2. People born in the City will better serve the city; Since what they can see, no others can.
    Do not reply. Tell Liberians.
    Gone to 57% in silence.

  3. Just try and clean the city. That is what you were handpicked to do. That is your work. You are not information minister . Clean the poopoo and peepee and dirt from the streets. can you do that and just shut up? dressing for work everyday like you going to senior prom.

    • Thank you Peter, for expressing my view just as you put it so bluntly. Let me add that the PUL should not let this government divide them by these calculated ploys to destroy them one by one. And this is the exact pattern with tyrannical regimes. They pluck out their enemies one at a time from the group, while the others continue to believe they are liked, not until that fateful night, remember I said night, and their number is up.
      The danger in what is unfolding in Liberia for journalists now, is that as these CDC executives, including the president express their dislike or hatred for any individual or entity in the country, that person or entity now becomes a target for fringe elements of the party to show their loyalty by carrying out any degree of reprisal on that person. The catch in that is that most often the decision does not have to emanate from the boss himself, as long as the perceived enemy is erased.
      So whether journalists, politicians, human rights advocates, civil society organizations, professional organizations, law enforcement people, teachers, student, clergy people, market women, workers’ organizations, and everybody else should not allow this kind of authoritarianism to develop in Liberia any more.
      We have been through a whole lot of pain and agony as a people and for the peace and tranquility we now enjoy today, in order to allow any group of people or individual to subvert that blessing again. If we allow it once, twice and on and on it becomes the norm, setting the stage for any possible eventuality. We have ourselves to blame if we should ever allow such a tendency to develop amongst us again.

  4. This government is heading for trouble it is too early for officials of government to be attacking the media it is not four months yet and the war between the media and officials of government to start.Before careful trouble ahead.

  5. Mayor Koijee,
    Please listen carefully. I would like you to be cognizant of two important things:

    (1) You will be unable to defeat the men and women who work in the media business. The media people will not be cowed. The media people get stronger and cooperative when you fight back ferociously. They do that because that’s how they gain popularity and make money and

    (2) You have a right to defend yourself against attackers. No one wants to be bullied. But when you defend yourself, show your critics what your accomplishments are. I will give you an example. Our market houses are dirty. Go with a crew of men and women in order to clean a market house….especially the one that’s located on UN drive. Once that market house is cleaned and painted, get on the air to say that a market house has been properly cleaned. You may say that cleaning up all market houses in Monrovia is a top priority. Guess what? The media people will respect you. That’s because you’ve done a great job.

    Do not attack the media people. Be media friendly.

  6. Mayor Koijee said the World Bank and partners have been instrumental in ensuring that the waste management is successful?

    • Mr. Peabody, instead of disgust about this looming threat over the media in general in Liberia, your gripe is with this so-called mayor’s gaffe in presentation? Remember that famous German priest’s poem on something to the effect, “They came for me and nobody talked…” Remember that.

  7. So you guys are saying that the media people are untouchable, so even if they are doing the wrong things they should not be question? In as much as the media people should be free to do their job, does not give them the right to carry on unnecessary reporting against the government. Let them stop attacking the government for no reason. I do follow Rodney D. Sieh he has been very negative of this government. You can check his past report on Ellen government as compare to this current government.

  8. Rodney was very harsh on Ellen’s Administration. Rodney Sieh even went to jail about talking shit about her Administration. Rodney Sieh, is a media power house in Liberia and we’ll respected and recognized in Africa. Rodney Sieh is all about making money, by spoon-feeding the public with all kinds of disruptive information to gained headlines and attention. Rodney Sieh is the “Fox News” part in Liberia. What a shame!

  9. Rodney was very harsh on Ellen’s Administration. Rodney Sieh even went to jail about talking shit about her Administration. Rodney Sieh, is a media power house in Liberia and well respected and recognized in Africa. Rodney Sieh is all about making money, by spoon-feeding the public with all kinds of disruptive information to gained headlines and attention. Rodney Sieh is the “Fox News” part in Liberia. What a shame!

    • Wouldn’t you say therefore that the man is fair and even-handed in that regard? You say the man has been a truth defender from Ellen’s time to now, and yet you denounce him for that consistency? What could possibly be your standard for truth and justice then? Wow! Typical earthling. We complain when it rains; when it shines; when it snows; when it’s cold; hot, no condition is ever perfect or acceptable! Maybe a good reason why God continues to “hide” from us. Think about it.

  10. I’m not swearing this young man, but he reminds of the early days of PRC when young soldiers were elevated to positions of responsibilities, but perform with indignant. Koijee will have a short life spand if he doesn’t change what he’s doing. He’s over zealous!

  11. My Dear Mayor,
    It’s the work of the press to speak on behalf of the citizens, especially those who cannot speak for themselves. As a city mayor, plans should be in progress to move the city from where you took over, to the next level. Mandates to improve the commuting and buildings zoning systems. Government missed revenues if businesses cannot get goods and services on time. If inhabitants cannot move in and out of the city on time.

    I visited Monrovia 3 weeks ago, and found out that it’s very much frustrating to go around the city. For example, a distance of 16 miles will take an individual almost whole day to complete. From St. Paul Bridge to Broad Street is 15.6 miles. On a normal uncongested freeway it will take about 20 minutes to complete. In Monrovia, if one lived at St. Paul Bridge and want to do business in downtown Monrovia, he/she will have to wake up at 4:30 am to beat the traffic. Same are on Tubman Blvd. ( Capital hill to Red light), and Somalia Drive (Free port to Red light). The traffic gets really slow around 6am to 11am and 5 pm to 9:45pm.

    The city Mayor should be planning how to solve this traffic problem, instead picking up fight with the press. Monrovia roads were built back in the 50s, 60s and perhaps the early 70s. At that time the entire population of Monrovia and its environs was just a little over 100,000 people. Today, the city has 1.65 million people. Mr. Mayor, our people are living in a city that was built to host just 200,000(two hundred thousands people). Monrovians are spending their entire day to run an errand that could take only 45 minutes to 1.5 hours of their daily schedule.

    Forwarding a plan to the President for evaluation, and calling the ministry of planning along with ministry of public works to expand Monrovia roads, will be the best way forward for our people. Repaving roads, is not bad. But our people need to get in and out of places on time. Let their tax money work.

  12. I want to commend all of you who have commented on this Koijee rubbish. I enjoyed all the comments. However, I feel you have missed the point and the bigger picture. And the big picture is the thin skin of the president. This president has thin skin and appears to be vindictive. He is behaving no different from Samuel Doe. If you follow Liberian politics and the power of the presidency, you will soon come to realize the similarity between George Weah and Samuel Doe. Samuel Doe had a very thin skin and did not like the media and could not tolerate the media at all. His disgust for the press led to the burning of Daily Observer’s headquarters by his kings men and followers. I said before in some of my writings that this president and his followers behavior like thug or have thuggish behaviors. His followers are no different. This is exactly what Koijee is doing. This behavior by his spokespeople should send chill down the spine of all Liberians.

  13. This man is a idiot , a school drop out .The senate wasted tax dollars on sending him to city hall .I would never call this fool mayor .

  14. Jeff Koijee or whatever he calls himself is nothing but another empty drum who should focus on his career development instead of living a dead dream . Koijee knows for fact hes nothing but a political stooge who would soon find himself under the bucket like other failed political activates of the 80s, 90s and 20th century. This boy will need guidance to be able to deliver and as such, will need to entertain tolerance of the Medea.

    my advice to Jeff is to first think of going back to school to qualify for the challenge ahead of him assisted talking trash against folks above his peers. We have had people like the late Willie Jones, Maxwell Kabbah of the NDPL, Allison Barco , Stanley Kpakillen , Emmanuel Lomax of the failed NPP, The Sirleaf of the UP, and now Koijee of CDC. Just a hint!

  15. Jeff is a complete idiot just like his boss, bunch of empty headed folks parading our corridors of power dead dreaming. Where will this kid land after here, dont he know the history of our country, this free town kissi kid who came to hustle and finally got integrated into our Liberian society has now become mouth piece of a weak system. So sorry for my dear country.

  16. All has been said, but for me I will like for this government to actually put out a document on the propoor government that is talked about around here. I am very worry about the future of this government to lead our people. I want to make some suggestions if put in place the propoor government could make our people relieve from the frustration that they go through. 1. This government need find some private sector to help identify those evils that ridicule the performance of our national institutions. 2. The borrowing of funds should critically be analyzed, in that this context can leave our children’s future in jeopardy. I believed this country potential and capacity initiate financial system structures that bring more money to manage some of our development agenda. 3. We need to be able spell out exactly what can done, how to do it, for what it is at all to be done so, 4. Put in place legal instruments that all stake holders will know, that is our laws be explicit in that spell out exactly how our people to be treated. In short division of labour and last but not the least 5. I am in this public manner recommending that our higher institutions of learning be structure in a way that each colleges be given their location, that will gave our learning process a better comprehensive structure.

  17. Mayor Koijee,
    Again, I have a word of wisdom and caution for you.
    Please, please do not pick fights with the media people. Don’t do that.

    Mayor Koijee, the media people have defenders. The defenders are the readers of News Papers that are printed and read everyday in Liberia and on the ‘net.

    Mayor Koijee, the city of Monrovia must live up to its image. That difference starts from you. If Monrovia is not the oldest city on the horn of West Africa, for sure it is one of the oldest. But yet, as old as it is, younger cities of West Africa seem to be doing better. Don’t get me wrong, young guy. Every country has its own squabbles in the cities.

    Be perceptive. Be chivalrous. Try by all means to extricate yourself from petty stuff. Don’t allow yourself to be entangled in the daily jazz or blues of your constituents. The downside (if you don’t pay attention to my advice) could cause your termination. You’ve got my drift?

    Mayor Koijee, it would be preposterous to blame the city’s problems on you or your boss. Oh no! But your party won with a mandate. When the votes were tallied, a whopping 60-plus percent of the electorate went to your party, the CDC. So, don’t complain or get into fights with the media or the very people that you represent.

    Most of the commenters on this blog seem not to be your enemies. They express themselves in different ways. Some seem upset or ashamed because of discretion. Perhaps they are discouraged in you. Personally, I’d like to see you on top. And I am sure that most of the respondents would like to see you on top. Maybe. Maybe not. If I can be of help to you, get in touch. Okay?
    Be good.

  18. Koijee, the Freetown kissi kid who came to Liberia via Koindu, Kalahun District in Freetown has gained prominence in a place call Liberia. This is a hustler from the 9th street community who refused to go to school ( High School drop out), jump the CDC train like MULBAH MORLU, ANOTHER CRIMINAL FROM Boi , Town, Konia, Zorzor District, who ate the poor refugees money when he pretended to be one pastor in Ghanan. How dare you challenge my information and I expose you to your very weak leader flying all around the region. I dare him to venture to the United States right now lets see what happens upon his arrival in New York airport.

    • Haha! Interesting! If you have more evidence, please make it available for the sake of the Liberian people yaah. Don’t wait for them to challenge you first.

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