‘The Greatest Honor’: Liberian-born Habib Tejan Becomes First Black Mayor of UK’s Medway
London – Liberian-born Habib Tejan entered the record books of Medway Council, a conurbation and unitary authority in Kent in the region of South East England, becoming the first Black person to be elected as Mayor Wednesday.
Medway, was formed in 1998 when the City of Rochester-upon-Medway amalgamated with Gillingham Borough Council and part of Kent County Council to form Medway Council. “The greatest honour our community can bestow upon you, is to serve as Mayor. And I am very proud, excited and humbled to be to be elevated from Deputy Mayor to Mayor tonight,” Mr. Tejan told a gathering of supporters, friends, family and dignitaries.
“It is a special moment in Medway’s history, and I am delighted to be the first Mayor of African heritage. I am excited and looking forward to my year as First Citizen of our towns. In my mayoralty, I would like to commit and dedicate my time in promoting Medway in the positive way that it deserves, recognition for.”Mayor Habib Tejan, Medway Council, England
Mr. Tejan, a conservative, succeeds another conservative, the Retiring Mayor Cllr Iles, who led the council for the past twelve months.
“Medway is only 20yrs old, but it is one of the fastest growing area(s) in the country. Over the next 10yrs Medway will become one of the top locations in the UK offering great opportunities to live, work, learn and visit, Mr. Tejan averred.
He paid homage to Cllr Iles who presided over the office of Mayor in an exemplary manner. “Over the course of the last 12 months he has met countless numbers of people, from every facet of Medway- and, I’m sure each one he met have loved their interactions him,” Mr. Tejan said of his predecessor.
Mr. Tejan described his election as mayor as a great privilege and said he was honored to have the support of his fellow Councilors. “I am aware that other Councilors may have decided to forgo their ambitions to enable this to happen. and I thank them for an uncontested vote. As well as a great privilege and honor the mayoralty is also a great responsibility – I thank my fellow Councilors for entrusting me with this role.”
Mr. Tejan committed himself to serving the people of Medway to the best of his ability with energy, pride, commitment, and above all, with integrity and said he looks forward to working together to serve the best interests of the Medway Council community.
Mr. Tejan who was first elected to Medway Council in 2015, says he remains steadfast in his commitment to bringing more opportunities to the area. “As I start my second term as a Councilor, I remain passionate about the opportunities that the position of Councilor presents – it presents an opportunity to do good, an opportunity to make life better for our residence and future generations. I don’t take those opportunities for granted.”
Mr. Tejan added: “This year is going to be a very special year in my life as Mayor Medway. It is a special moment in Medway’s history, and I am delighted to be the first Mayor of African heritage. I am excited and looking forward to my year as First Citizen of our towns. In my mayoralty, I would like to commit and dedicate my time in promoting Medway in the positive way that it deserves, recognition for.”
Mr. Tejan is the first of five children from the marriage of a Medical Doctor (Dr Habib Tejan) and Bookkeeper (Laura Miller). From a tender age, he recalled his father hosting political meetings at their home. It was from these early years that his belief in democracy, social justice and the rule of law was cultivated.
His early years were spent in Monrovia before moving to Nimba County, where his father provided private medical service to the local and wider communities. He was a 3rd year BSc Chemistry student, at Cuttington University College when the civil war started in Liberia and spilled over to Sierra Leone forcibly separating his family to avoid the danger.
He moved to the UK in 1993 and settled in Medway with families before meeting his wife and relocating to London for a period. However, his love for Medway (his new home) moved him to convinced his wife (Bridget) to returned to Medway in 2004 with their children (Habib III and Precious).
Tejan, his wife Bridget, and two children (Habib III and Precious) have lived in Medway since 2004.
Mr. Tejan has a postgraduate qualification in management and prior to becoming a Company Director, he worked in the consumer finance industry and achieved several Managerial Awards. His private businesses operate in the consumer finance and medical procurement sectors.
Politically, he has served as Deputy Chairman Political, for Rochester and Strood Constituency Conservative Association. As elected member, he is currently serving on several Committees and outside bodies within Medway Council, including; The Audit Committee, Business Support Overview and Scrutiny, Regeneration Culture & Environment, Planning, Kent & Essex Inshore Fishing & Conservation Authority, Kent & Medway Police & Crime Panel, Chatham Regeneration Board, Medway Sea Cadets, Chatham Charities Trustees and Medway NHS Foundation Trust amongst others. He has a passion for sustainable, efficient and effective service delivery and has facilitated and encouraged investment opportunities into Medway He said that he is committed to working diligently, to ensure that Medway remains a Vibrant and Safe Place.
According to the UK office on National Statistics, 13.6% of the UK population is non-white. However, only 8% of elected Members in the House of Parliament are from an ethnic minority background. Also, out of 52 non-white MP in the UK, 32 are Labour and 19 are Conservatives. The inclusion of ethnic minorities in the Conservative Party is on the rise…Tejan said “that the conservative does not only tolerate diversity but rather embraces diversity”. He said that “the Conservative Party is the first party in the United Kingdom to appoint an ethnic minority Secretary of State for the Home Department (Home Office), and also the only party to ever have a female prime minister. He stated that “the conservatives were enjoying their second female prime minister which is a testament of diversity and long may that continue!”.