Koijee Accuses Opposition of Blackmail -Says, ‘We Can’t Be Intimidated’ as He Downplays Sanctions Rumors
MONROVIA – The Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Tamba Koijee, has sent out a strong message saying he is not disturbed or worried about any sanctions or designation from anywhere.
He growled: “we are not intimidated and will never be intimidated by sanction or threat of sanction being placed on us because we are not afraid, we are not a violent people”
His assertion comes amid rumors of additional sanctions from the United States Treasury Department to be slammed on a number of high placed government officials.
Already, the Chief of Office Staff of the President George M. George, Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel McGill; Liberia’s Solicitor-General Syma Syrenius Cephus, and National Port Authority Managing Director Mill Tweahway are sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department for what it called their corruption and abuse of public office.
Addressing a large crowd as guest at the popular Center for the Exchange Intellectual Ideas(CEIO) on Carey Street, Monrovia, following his weeks of engagements in Washington DC, Mayor Koijee said it was sad that some Liberians out of what he called “wrong ambition” will do everything within their means to blackmail the country and its people, especially officials of government who they have personal issues with, adding that they should not be deceived that sanction will not help them to take state power.
“We respect our friends, the Americans, and the British people but you have to respect us too,” Koijee said. “For we have no record of violence. Perhaps the only crime our opposition see in us is for making George Manneh Weah President of Liberia. We want to thank the President for taking the right decision and don’t think because you have sanctioned a few government officials we will get intimidated.”
“We want to tell those looking for power by all means that power cannot be given in London or Washington, DC. It is here with the people and you have to take your case to the people. They will decide the 2023 elections not the other people,” the young Mayor said further.
He added: “No one can intimidate us, no matter what you do, we cannot be intimidated by anybody. This government was not transported here; it was made by the people, God made it and there is nothing you can do.”
Crowds of supporters from various parts of Monrovia thunderously hooted cheers and chanted militant slogans as Koijee spoke atop his voice to cover swarms of citizens who converged at the center on Carey Street.
“Liberia has a long history as an independent country that stood for the freedom of others. Let us tell the people that wrong ambition is making some people hate the country and they are talking about placing sanctions on the country. What is our crime? What are our charges? Our only crime is that we made His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah President. But they must know that we are not afraid of their sanction or the threat of the sanction.”
While commending the President for suspending the three top government officials recently designated and sanctioned by the US Government, Koijee said the CDC led government seriously detests and condemns corruption, adding that Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill, the Solicitor General, Cllr. Sayma Syrenius Cephas and Managing Director of the National Port Authority Bill Tweahway will have their chances to exonerate themselves.
Koijee did not have soft words for Cllr. Jerome Verdier, whom he accused of spreading lies about him and others including Miss Josephine Davies, the Inspector General at the Ministry of Commerce, whom he described as “an innocent and peaceful woman”.
He said that Verdier’s continuous criticism of the government has no basis other than attempts to invent stories that are not true with the sole purpose of blackmailing his victims.
The Monrovia Lord Mayor noted: “Let me tell Mr. Jerome Verdier that misinformation and disinformation are all violations of human rights of people. We supported the TRC, we went to jail for TRC but what have you done with it? You manipulated the outcome and now lie to people for no reason. You are aiding and abetting someone who has been involved in the war, who has a history of gross human rights abuses in this country. You said you support Yekeh Kolubah, someone with such records but you are here castigating people like Josephine Davies, an innocent and peaceful woman.”
The young city mayor said repeatedly that he has never been a man of violence but has been a peaceful person who has been “in the trenches for the Liberian people” despite all the difficulties he went through under the past administration and has a history to tell.
“Who are the people? Let us put them under the microscope to know who they are. What have they done in the country besides spreading lies about others just to blackmail them? But truth suppressed to the ground will still rise.”
He lamented further: “The truth is Jefferson Koijee came from West Point. The truth is President George Manneh Weah is from Gibraltar. Those they see and castigate have a history of where they come from and where they are going. The people know their leaders and the leaders know them. As I look in the crowd, I see you and know your names and you know me but the people do not know them.”
He allayed fear about the ensuing 2023 general elections, insisting repeatedly that the elections will be violent free and those who think that there will be violence will be put to shame.
He boasted that CDC will win convincingly in 2023 because the party is rooted in the struggle of the Liberian people, cautioning the opposition against seeking power “behind the backdoor because if they did, they will be thrown out of the window”.
Koijee continued: “You cannot be president by the friends you know. You cannot be President for those you know and by the biggest checkbooks; not by intimidation. No one can lie their way to power; you have to make your case to the Liberian people. We are going to take the debate to the people that already know us and we know them too.
“You don’t need to introduce Ambassador George Manneh Weah to the people. They know him, they know what he has done and what he can do,” he said.
Mayor Koijee defended the human rights records of the government and said despite some of those in government going through rough time under the past administration to advocate for the rights of the people, the Weah led government will not be vindictive but will accord anyone or group of people be it members of the past government or not the rights to every freedom guaranteed under the constitution of Liberia.
“We will not do what you did to us. You beat us, you put us in jail but we will not do it to you. It is only the government of President George Manneh Weah that can feed protesters, give them food. During the June 7 protest, the government provided water to the people and during the recent SUP rally, the government gave the students food.
“That is why we will recommend for the government to increase budgetary support to the Police so that Inspector General Patrick Sudue will feed protesters. He is a good man and has set a good record in the country”, he said.
As his engagement with the organizers and participants was coming to an end, the whole scenario turned to a sort of political carnival as more and more partisans and supporters made their way to the venue making it impossible for vehicles and people to gain access to the space between Randall and Carey Junction and Carey and Mechlin Street junction.
After entertaining a few questions far below as was expected, Koijee led hundreds of the partisans and supporters, matching through from Carey street, downtown Monrovia straight to the National Headquarters of the CDC in Congo Town where another mammoth crowd had gathered awaiting the arrival of Koijee and his entourage.
At the Headquarters, he reiterated what he had earlier stated at the previous event, boasting of a resounding victory in 2023 and not being intimidated by sanction or the threat of sanction as is being rumored from some quarters of the public.