Liberia: Jefferson T. Koijee – The Young Man Who Has Faced Multiple Unsubstantiated Attacks; But Why?
Politics aside, you will never know the man Jefferson Tamba Koijee is until you’ve had a personal encounter with him. Koijee, the Mayor of Monrovia, has been one of the few young, but very influential youths in the country that has survived both political, social, and academic persecution, but he has triumphed in all.
Mayor Koijee who also serves as chairman of the Youth League of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change remains a strong anchor for the party among the youth, especially, those considered downtrodden.
His appointment as Mayor of Monrovia left many baffled and questioning his ability to manage the city. However, the unanswered question is, what different did the previous City Mayors achieve during their tenure that is not being achieved under Koijee’s Mayorship, even in the face of economic meltdown, and limited or no donor fund. Admittedly, the Monrovia City Government has been striving on limited revenues generated and limited budget from the central government.
The Child Solider Allegation
From the onset, Mayor Koijee was accused of being a child soldier by the man who was expected to know best – the chairman of the defunct Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Cllr. James Verdier. His accusation was very unthinkable, especially so when young Koijee, was a volunteer during the period of the TRC galvanizing young people and witnesses to come before the TRC to testify.
But Cllr. Verdier soon came under condemnation by his fellow commissioners who served the TRC.
The former Commissioners who made the clarification on the war crime allegation against Koijee include Massa Washington, John Stewart, Rev. Gerald Coleman and Rev. Dr. Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull.
They recalled that, for the entirety of the work on the Commission which spanned five years, the TRC engaged in a massive and extensive consultative outreach process, some of which include the collection of more than 22,000 statements, the conduct of dozens of personal interviews and over 500 live public testimonies from witnesses, perpetrators, direct victims, persons of interest and also several dozens of in-camera hearings.
They stated, “Former TRC Commissioners would like to inform the public that at no time during these engagements did the TRC receive a statement, whether written or verbal or a complaint from any of our witnesses, perpetrators, persons of interests, etc, suggesting that the Mayor of Monrovia, Hon. Jefferson T. Koijee, was a part of any waring faction, perpetrating groups, or individuals, linked to gross human rights violations, war crimes, or crimes against humanity. Even in our individual capacities, we did not hear or receive any information in this regard.”
There is a litany of these kinds of unproven allegations against Jeff Koijee. For the purpose of this article, a few of the most recent ones would be looked into.
For some unexplained reasons, Mayor Koijee has been a constant target of talk-show host Henry Costa who has over the years spewed a litany of unproven allegations against the Mayor.
District 13 Riot
During the District 13 by-election in 2018, Costa accused Koijee of shooting three people to death during what turned out to be a clash between supporters of the CDC and the Unity Party supporters. A picture of him was photoshopped with a gun placed in his hand. He further alleged that the bodies were secretly buried.
However, Koijee challenged Costa to bring the relatives of the alleged deceased to confirm the killing of their loved ones during the clash. To date, no one has shown up to validate Costa’s claim.
Costa as part of his malicious approach lied that Mayor Koijee’s vehicle a Toyota 4Runner which he still drives was attacked and damaged by angry residents of District 13, media persons did investigate and it turned out to be lies. In fact, that investigation also showed that since the June 16 tragic accident while the Mayor was traveling to an African Child Day function in Gbarnga, he continues to use the 4Runner given to him by his friend, Edwin Tisdell.
Unproven Allegation on Property Acquisition
Some accuse Costa of being gullible with Koijee as his ex-wife was seen with the Mayor in public a few times after she divorced him in 2018. Koijee has since not commented on the allegations of him dating Costa’s ex-wife.
In July 2018 Costa lied that Mayor Jefferson Koijee had bought a property worth US$250K in Sinkor. In his asset declaration which was also published, Mayor Koijee rents the 18th Street property. The owner of the property Rep. Jeremiah Koung then refuted the allegation that he owns the property to date. In a BBC interview in October 2018, Mayor Koijee put out an open challenge that anyone who had facts that he had bought the property, he would resign from the position of Mayor.
Costa again accused Koijee of killing a man in Caldwell over a land dispute – a land that Costa claimed Koijee was forcibly taken from the owner. Again, Koijee challenged Costa to produce documents that he owned any land in Caldwell and the relatives of the man alleged to have been killed. To date, none of those evidence has been produced.
In August 20, 2020, Henry P. Costa lied that Mr. Bartica Williams, a former resident of Logan Town tried to kidnap a baby of a lady on the instructions of Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee; while Costa sent people to protest at the Resident of Mr. Williams on the 2nd Street of Sinkor, the child’s mother, Musu Allison went on OK FM and informed the public that Costa lied and that her daughter was not kidnapped.
While in Washington D.C. serving as one of the panelists at the 5th Annual Global Development Forum Costa lied that the City Government funded the Mayor’s trip. The forum, according to a statement from the Monrovia City Government, provided the city with a great opportunity not only to seek international assistance to help overcome the daunting challenges facing Monrovia but also an opportunity to attract investors to the city.
In a statement, the institution clarified that the mayor’s trip was fully funded by both the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the World Economic Forum to attend the prestigious gathering of change-makers around the globe at the MIT Campus in Washington D.C.
It was the same Costa who alleged that Koijee paid men to kidnap, rape, and drug Jestina Taylor and yet failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the claim.
However, in 2020 Madam Taylor took to social media to clarify she was being used by top opposition leaders to defame Mayor Koijee for political reasons.
Still looking for a straw to hold on to, Costa comes up with another bizarre allegation over the weekend claiming that Koijee locked up one of his domestic workers (name not provided) in his generator house and was made to stay there for three days without food. To this allegation, Koijee asked, “We all know how dangerous the smoke of generators is to human health. Who can survive in generator smoke for an hour, least to say someone who has not been fed for three days?”
He added, “It is comical that an alleged victim who is in danger would choose to hide his face and sleep on a mattress with pillows believed to be in a generator room. I need not say that it is unthinkable for someone to make a generator room his sleeping place. The generator would be toxic at least to the best of any reasonable mind”.
However, according to Koijee, he is never deterred by these hilarious allegations against him because they are all geared to making him unfocused on his work at the MCC and his strategic role in the ruling CDC.
“They are aware of my strategic role in making George Weah President of Liberia. They are envious and they think distracting me or getting me off the way will make it easy for them to achieve their selfish political ambition,” he said.