BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – The mayor of Grand Bassa’s newest established city wants to give his city a facelift and has been holding a series of meetings with stakeholders to sensitize them about upcoming moves.
Wayzohn was established as a result of a bill proffered by former Representative Byron Browne. The bill was subsequently passed under the administration of President George Weah.
Mayor Edwin Wehjay, who says his city has 30,000 residents, held meetings with religious communities, the youth, marketers, women’s groups, and traditional leaders to sensitize them about the creation of the city and their role in its upkeep.
He told residents that although the city council is still developing the city’s ordinances, the cleanliness of the city should be the paramount concern of everyone. He noted that the city ordinance would include provisions for the monthly city-wide cleaning to be done every first Saturday, in line with other cities across Liberia. He also said the city would ban selling on Sundays to allow volunteer cleaners to more efficiently clean the streets and markets.
“We told them things we don’t want to see in the city like plantain, banana, and cassava – keeping your area bad off and some makeshift structures in the street,” he said, noting that he wanted to ensure that those crops were not growing uncontrolled across the city. “We need to make the place beautiful because people that come from outside want to see what makes the area a city, so the beautification of this city lies in the hands of every one of us.”
Wehjay said his appointment as mayor was timely because in 2011, he had established a sanitation group called the Progressive Citizen Union for Development, which was tasked with cleaning up what is now known as Wayzohn. However, he said he had little support to continue.
“Later on, we again awakened the dream by establishing another group called Rapid Development Committee, which is still surviving under this leadership,” he added. “We went to the Liberia Agricultural Company, the Dehyeatee Foundation, and some eminent citizens that contributed to the organization and we continued to work in the interest of our people.”
The new mayor said his biggest challenge is convincing residents to avoid making gardens and dumping trash anywhere on the streets. Wehjay also told The Bush Chicken that another issue the new city faces is that houses are not built according to standards. Some lack bathrooms while others are in uninhabitable conditions. He said he has also been urging residents to recondition their homes and build bathrooms for their own safety.
He expressed optimism that the continuous public awareness campaign he is conducting will appeal to residents to cooperate.
For now, the mayor and his staff operate from a small, unassuming structure. He lamented the lack of a city hall, in addition to other equipment that could help him do his work better, like trucks and other materials to assist in moving trash from the streets.
Wehjay called for support from the government, well-meaning Liberians, and international partners to help maintain the city. He also encouraged businessmen and women to invest in the city by building guest houses, gas stations, restaurants, and stores to provide basic services and needs to residents.
With the creation of Wayzohn, Grand Bassa now has four cities. The other three are Buchanan, Edina, and St. John River City.
Featured photo courtesy of Edwin Wehjay