Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 April 2021:
In a bid for the city of Freetown and Kanifing municipality of the Gambia to explore avenues to formalize and strengthen ties with each other, the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr last Friday 9th April 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lord Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, Ahmed Talib Bensouda.
The signing ceremony took place at the Freetown City Hall in Freetown after four days of in-depth discussions of various issues of common interest to the Mayors.
It could be recalled that the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr on the 5th April 2021 welcomed the Lord Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, Ahmed Talib Bensouda and his delegation to Freetown on a week-long visit which provided opportunities for the team from Kanifing Municipality to see #TransformFreetown at work and experience Freetown as well as share their achievements and challenges.
In her address, Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr said that the historical and cultural connection between the two countries is a strong basis for working together, adding that there are real opportunities for exchange between the two cities.
She noted that at the Freetown City Council, the Transform Freetown priorities are grouped within four clusters – Resilience, Human Development, Healthy Cities and Urban Mobility which she said have over the years taken a global proportion.
In identifying the six areas of collaboration with the city of Kanifing, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr revealed that these include affordable housing, climate change, market infrastructure, public transportation, revenue mobilization and waste management, adding that they are going to be mutually shared between the two countries.
She said that they are excited to share the work they have done and to look across Kanifing in order to see the kind of work they have been doing so as to adopt approaches which are good.
The Mayor of Freetown also pointed out that the collaboration is in two ways; the learning of experiences being shared between the two cities. “When you see your city in the eyes of another city leader you actually learn more,” she said.
“It has been a pleasure to have you here and we look forward to seeing this relationship flourish in the not too distant future on the concrete actions that we take in the areas of our collaboration,” she concluded.
Delivering his statement, the Mayor of Kanifing Municipality, Ahmed Talib Bensouda expressed appreciation to the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr and team for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
He noted that Kanifing Municipality is the largest municipality in The Gambia which happens to be the heartbeat of that nation.
Ahmed Talib Bensouda said it has been a fantastic week-long visit to Freetown, saying during his visit they visited various places which has provided insights for the team from Kanifing Municipality to see #TransformFreetown at work in addition to other experiences gained of which he used the opportunity to commend the Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr and the entire team at the Freetown City Council for their laudable venture in transforming Freetown.
He said his visit has provided the opportunity to have in-depth discussions on various matters of common interests to the cities, furthering that the signing of the MOU between two cities will definitely contribute towards the development of the two nations.
On April 6, 2021, Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr was honored by the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania, for her work in guiding Freetown towards a more sustainable and vibrant future. She was awarded for the #TransformFreetown initiative alongside Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol (England) during the 16th annual Urban Leadership Forum entitled “Mayoral Leadership in Challenging Times.”
The award ceremony was done virtually, and Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was joined by Mayor Talib Bensouda of Kanifing.
Our innovative,pragmatic, no nonsense Mayor of Freetown resembles the “Energizer Bunny” that never gets tired of moving forward in the interest of Progress. She keeps on going and going. I sincerely hope that all those armchair Do Nothing SLPP Professors are jotting down notes that will inspire them to change their old lackadaisical profitless ways.(lol) Folks,here’s an offer I am making the President and I hope he will not refuse it. In the interest of our tiny nation if only the President and his Professors can put maturity on display,embrace humility and put arrogance aside just for a moment,I would advise them to undertake a two weeks evening course on how strategic governance is done under the tutelage of the progressive Mayor of Freetown, Madam Aki Sawyer.(lol)
But Stargazer do you seriously believe that these SLPP dummies will agree to let Mayor Sawyer teach them their ABC’s all over again? (lol) And why not? The Mayor has proven herself to be much smarter and resourceful than all of them put together. See what she’s doing now,striving for excellence by exchanging ideas with our neighbours the Mayor of Kanifing in Gambia. Again,if anyone deserves any kind of awards and recognition in Sierra Leone today, it is the Mayor of Freetown; She is a tireless fighter.
Despite the insufferable insults,harassment and intimidations she is still standing; Yup, she is as authentic and as reliable as an Original Rolex watch. She has been through a whole lot of ups and downs but she just keeps on ticking – Tick tock – tick tock – unstoppable!
Empathy, with a dose of reality,trustworthiness, an inbuilt integrity,a dreamer of big things, with the ability to delegate some of the powers you are meant to exercise over your people, are just some of the attributes we can bestow on our hard working Mayor. And throughout, she likes to carry the people with her. Everyone is informed of what is about to happen. She has the ability of pulling rabbits out of a magic hat. Her self awareness with the ability of learning and moving with the times,and the ingenuity to come up with ideas. And how far to use her self awareness and personality as a leader, to take on the difficult task, or issues many a politician will find rather daunting or too hot to handle,to make a change in ordinary peoples lives is what our Mayor is all about. Public service for her is a way of live.
It comes out natural. This is not taught in a class room, but you are born with it. If anything Mayor Yvonne Aki – Sawyer, has over a period of time proved to her critics that she knows her job. Unlike Bio, She is not the person that is doing her job on the training. Every action, and every move she takes, she is thinking about her constituency, the Freetonians that elected her to look after their welfare. And true to her dedication to her work and service, she has not been a disappointment. The voters of Freetown trust her because she is trustworthy. She exemplifies what the rest of the country is missing out on. She has set her goal of transforming Freetown, to make it more habitable for the residents of Freetown, including our own president and some of his corrupt ministers that live in a parallel universe to the rest of us.