July, 2022 – Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was elected as Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, in March 2018. Since assuming office, her work to #TransformFreetown has gained international attention for its inclusive and data-driven approach.
She is a valued member of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) and the most recent recipient of the prestigious Dr. Benjamin Barber Global Cities Award, which recognizes mayors for their outstanding contributions to furthering global urban governance and inspiring city leadership. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr was given this award for her contributions to addressing climate migration, gender equality and global governance.
As an organization of, by and for Mayors from all continents, we are concerned about the continued escalation of aggressive tactics used by her opponents against Mayor Aki-Sawyerr, who is currently being investigated simultaneously by the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. The GPM supports fair and legitimate anti-corruption investigations, and hopes that these institutions will not be used as weapons to harass political opponents. The misuse of anti-corruption measures undermines the efforts of those fighting justly against corruption. This abuse can also make international development cooperation projects, which benefit residents, more difficult, if not impossible. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr should be given a fair investigation and the space to carry out her vision and deliver for the residents of Freetown. The GPM stands in solidarity with Mayor Aki-Sawyerr.