This is a follow-up to my critique of the New ULAA administration, titled: “Minister Nathaniel Falo McGill Speaks at the New ULAA’s Inaugural Ceremony: The Diaspora’s Kitchen Cabinet of President Weah”, published in the African Orbit on April 24, 2022.
The once revered Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), which was once held in the highest regard for its advocacy on behalf of the Liberian people at home and in the Diaspora; became a political stooge on March 26, 2022 to the CDC government. Feeling disappointed, here is what one observer on the Critical Thinkers Platform wrote on March 28, 2022: “ULAA is now virtually a dead organization. The county and tribal-based organizations now have more relevance. ULAA used to be [a] very powerful group with chapters throughout the United States and its leaders would speak out on issues of national concern and stage rallies and protests in the interest of the people.”
ULAA was once distinguished from other Liberian organizations due to its advocacy, diversity and longevity. By diversity I mean, ULAA was organized to represent all Liberians, regardless of religion, beliefs or ethnicity. Moreover, it was a unique association because it had track records of being on the side of the ordinary people in Liberia. While other Liberian associations’ goals and objectives were somewhat limited in scope, i.e., education and regional, ULAA was beyond “Special Interest.” Since its inception, until now, it served only as an advocacy group for our people at home and in the Diaspora. Today, I am sad to see our proud and cherished advocacy tradition is being sold by the New ULAA to the government officials that use the wealth and resources of the country as their personal property; while the masses of our people lack the basic necessities to survive.
For example, when we advise the CDC government that quality of engineers are needed, and senior management team cannot have a novice to perform certain job, they say we like to criticize their government. Now, look what is happening; some International Air Lines are leaving the country for poor Airport infrastructure and maintenance. One of the most recent mistakes the Airport maintenance crews made was to supply dirty jet fuel to an Air France Jet.
What message Minister Nathaniel Falo McGill had to offer for which he had to serve as Guest Speaker? At the well sponsored Liberian government event, Minister McGill delivered to the duped crowd promises of providing them with money from the budget of government, for which they were happy and jubilating.
To be naïve and insensitive to local and geopolitical issues that threaten one very existence is a terrible disease that has no medicine or cure. And there are people you interact with for so long, who you thought had common sense, but you later realized they lack the common sense that almost every human being that God created have. This is the case with most of the New ULAA members and leaders of today – young and old.
It is very frustrating for an individual to be against his/her own interest. How can you say: “Stand at the top of a cliff and jump off and build your wings on the way down”? This is a direct quote from the New ULAA’s Official Website. How is this possible? If you follow these leaders, you will land at the bottom of the ditch.
Minister McGill dishing out more money intended for the 2023 Election, will not save the corrupt CDC government of President Weah. If they think the Liberian people are fools, then they and their new partners – the New ULAA are ignorant of history. How can the Liberian people miss individuals who just yesterday were dirt poor, and out of a sudden are earning anywhere from $10 to $15,000.00 a month doing nothing but riding around in brand new cars with traveling allowances that can pay the yearly salaries of fifty or more persons in Liberia? How can the Liberian people miss individuals who yesterday rode “Holy, Holy” (public transportation) with ordinary Liberians? Now, because of their new status, they acquired new-bad attitude; talk down to people as if they are their house boys and girls – with no consideration that the Liberian people deserve respect. How can the people forget such abuse and arrogance that these buggers are displaying among the Liberian people with impunity? How can they; they should wait and see what is in store for them!
Photo: Courtesy of FPA National President Kamara of the New ULAA
On March 27, 2022, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel Falo McGill, representing President George Manneh Weah at ULAA’s 47th Inauguration Ceremony, pledged on behalf of the Liberian Government, US$100K in addition to promising the diasporan Liberian group another US$300K to be placed in the next national budget.
This gesture generated several concerns among Liberians of all walks of life, including presidential hopefuls, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe and former Liberian Ambassador to Washington, Mr. Milton Nathaniel Barnes, who opposed the Weah-led Administration’s move.
Addressing those concerns, ULAA firstly thanked everyone who attended its 47th Inauguration Ceremony and pledged towards the Fund.
ULAA in a press statement issued on April 1st said the Fund is “An initiative aimed at funding economic projects in Liberia.” It gave a special thanks to the government and people of Liberia for what it termed as “a substantial donation of US$100,000 to the Liberia Diaspora Fund, under ULAA Social Services, a 501 (3) C Entity.”
“This donation is the largest of its kind ever in the organization’s history and it also shows the Government of Liberia’s readiness to engage, partner, and collaborate with the diaspora community to move our nation forward. It will also assist in laying the groundwork for advocating for issues affecting Liberians in the United States.”
The Diasporan Liberian group also said, “Furthermore, the accompanying pledged allocation of US$300,000.00, if passed and approved will specifically expand ULAA’s work in Liberia.”
ULAA’s LDIF also aims to promote economic development and reduce poverty for ordinary Liberians.
“LDIF will provide funding assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, sponsorships, in kind donations to Liberian-owned organizations to empower them achieve their mission. LDIF will also provide technical assistance and training resources.”
Nevertheless, ULAA also acknowledged the opinions and concerns being expressed since the pledged donation and proposed budgetary allocation were announced by McGill and promised actions.
Regarding the New ULAA President’s remarks, one observer on Critical Thinkers Platform wrote:
“Liberia: Electioneering (2023) anxiety hits Liberia ruling Party as she dishes out cash to ULAA.”
With all the atrocities in the country, the Weah government is becoming a skinning ship looking for life support from anywhere it can be found. Just the other day, President Weah made a phone call of peace to Henry Pedro Costa to come home. In addition, the government did not only sponsored the New ULAA’s 47th Installation of President Kamara, but it is alleged, the event hall was filled with paid cheerleaders to make it appear the government means well for the Liberian people; yet, the government cannot assist the Zogoes who are begging for assistance to get treatment for mental health and drug problems. This is a heartless hypocrisy to pretend to be Father Christmas to the New ULAA administration!
This brings to mind the profound statement by President Abraham Lincoln. It reads: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the times”. Anybody who thinks the Liberian people are fools should remember the idiom that says: “Nothing last forever”. And to think ULAA will become the government’s new Public Relations or Lobbyist in order to save its sinking ship in 2023 is far from the truth. Because, the truth will always come on top.
The letter bellow serves as a warning to the Kamara Administration:
April 6, 2022
Hon. J. Shiwoh Kamara
National President, ULAA
1629 K St NW #300
Washington, DC 20006
Dear President Kamara:
Greetings and congratulations again on your inauguration as the National
President of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA). As
per our previous discussion, I could not attend the recent inaugural event
due to conflicts in my schedule which prevented me from doing so.
Mr. President, since the event of the inauguration, I have received several
telephone calls and text messages from friends, longtime members of ULAA,
and ordinary Liberians who have expressed concerned about statements and
promises that were made during the event and the image that has now been
created about ULAA and their concerns about the direction in which they
perceive the Union to be headed in. As much as I too was concerned about
what I heard from them and later read in the papers, I told all those who
contacted me that I would not make any statement or form any opinion until I
first had an opportunity to speak with you directly in order to understand
what truly transpired and the details surrounding them. I immediately placed
a telephone call to you on Tuesday, March 29, 2022. While I did not get to
speak with you, you did send me a text message with a promise to return my
call later that evening or sometime thereafter.
It has now been over a week, and I still have not heard back from you.
Considering that you may be very busy, I have decided to submit to you my
concerns in writing particularly regarding the $100,000.00 pledged
contribution from the Government of Liberia (GOL), and the promised
$300,000.00 budgetary allotment for ULAA by the GOL.
First, while I do agree with, and support the idea of a Liberian Diaspora
Initiative Fund (LDIF), I am in total disagreement with the Union accepting
a $100,000.00 donation from the GOL for said fund. I need not waste time
speaking of the continuous suffering of the Liberian people and why such
amount from the GOL could be very helpful in addressing some of the plight
of our people because you are already quite aware of all of that. The LDIF
is an initiative that challenges all of us who are residents in the Diaspora
to pool our resources and to leverage other contacts and sources of funding
in the international community to assist us in contributing to programs,
projects, and initiatives that could directly impact our people in positive
ways. But this should be totally an initiative of the diaspora community
without the direct involvement of the GOL contributing money to the Union.
Once a project or initiative is identified in or outside of Liberia and the
GOL sees such project or initiative as worthwhile and beneficial to the
people of Liberia and decides to partner with the Union (diaspora community)
in funding such project or initiative, that would be acceptable just as
contributions or partnerships with other individuals or entities would be.
But the Union should at no time receive any direct funding from the GOL.
On the issue of the promised $300,000.00 annual budgetary allotment, that is
a non-starter. ULAA must never ever be a budget item of the GOL. As an
advocacy organization, ULAA must always maintain its independence. I need
not remind you of the saying that “he who pays the Piper, calls the tune”.
There are plenty of non-governmental funding sources that ULAA can leverage including direct contributions from private Liberians and non-Liberians in the diaspora and within Liberia proper, but the Union will compromise its long-standing credibility if it ever allows itself to be funded by the GOL. ULAA must instead request of the GOL to direct the pledged $100,000.00 contribution and the promised annual $300,000.00 to urgently needed services for the Liberian people including improved and quality healthcare, better educational facilities, sanitation, and basic quality of life needs for the people.
Certainly, ULAA must always engage the Liberian government and be willing to support and work with the GOL when the government promotes programs and policies that uplift our people. But ULAA must equally always remain vigilant and steadfast in always upholding its founding principles of
advocating for a better Liberia. ULAA must be prepared to applaud the GOL
when the GOL does the right thing, but ULAA must always hold the GOL
accountable. That is precisely why recent past administrations of ULAA,
including my own administration, engaged the GOL on numerous issues.
There are those who have argued that it was wrong for the Union to invite
the GOL in the person of Minister Nathaniel McGill to the recent inaugural
program. But I differ with them. ULAA must maintain its principle of
constructive engagement with the GOL. I am however disappointed that ULAA has not yet told the Liberian people what was discussed with the GOL through Minister McGill during its recent engagement. This is critical in view of the current happenings in the country. I expect that the Union will address
this concern and issue a detail report on this engagement as soon as
Finally, I again assure you of my fullest support as you steer the affairs
of the Union. I am available and look forward to assisting you in any way as
we continue to struggle together for a better Liberia.
ULAA DESERVES BETTER!
LIBERIA DESERVES BETTER!
WE ALL MUST RALLY TO DO MORE FOR THE GOOD OF OUR PEOPLE AND COUNTRY.
Arthur K. Watson
Former National President, ULAA
Former Chairman, ULAA Council of Eminent Persons
Arthur K. Watson
There is still time to save the New ULAA from the corrupt CDC government in Liberia. I believe those of us from the Old ULAA who are still around today, will continue to show the New ULAA leaders how to advocate for Liberians at home and in the Diaspora without compromise. We will not allow our august organization atrophy due to the lack of good leadership. ULAA as a pacesetter started organizing Liberians in the Diaspora, which individuals in certain quarters, who are naive and misinformed about ULAA’s history, would like for the organization not to exist. This is sad because, ULAA cannot be replaced with county, alumni or soccer association because these associations’ goals and objectives cater to a particular interest group, while, ULAA is for all Liberians, regardless of where one hails from in the country.
Advocating for the Liberian people at home is an obligation! Because as people of conscience, we are compelled to expose all injustices, regardless of who commits them. And those of us who professed to be the followers of Christ, it should be within our nature to do GOOD; to treat others as we would have them treat us. We should do GOOD at all times because it is the RIGHT thing to do, not only when it suits our interest. This is why some of us find it hard to overlook or remain neutral in matters that involved the violation of the rights of others, like the officials who took the oath to lead the Liberian people are abusing with impunity every day.
According to the statements from the ‘Critical Thinkers Forum:
“The government wants you [the Liberian People] to believe that they’re strong on sustainable development.
“The challenges are humongous in Liberia and yet people want us to believe that all is well. Let them continue to fool themselves. Thanks be to God Almighty for the technology we have today. Almost everyone has a cellphone, even in the interiors of Liberia. Nothing like back in the days when our people had no such technology, but radio and BBC World News @ 5pm GMT. It’s left with them to open their eyes to reality or continue to suffer in abject poverty”. (Source: Critical Thinkers Forum)
Advice from a Credible Friend
Let’s pay close attention to a close and sincere friend! It reads:
“Liberia has a serious problem right now, and that’s taking on a number of issues, foremost among them is the issue of corruption… And for me, corruption is an act of robbery, plain and simple… It is government stealing from the people of Liberia, from the mouths of children. It takes away access to health care. It denies citizens their right to public safety. It stops young people of Liberia from getting the education they deserve. It takes the future away from them. It prevents the country from having the healthy business environment that it needs to lift Liberians out of poverty. It has denied Liberia its place in history, a successful and prosperous country with so many resources to contribute to its people’s well-being.”
“…Corruption is ‘democracy killer’ which is the most pressing and most forward-looking challenge Liberia faces…Only Liberia’s leaders, with the backing of and pressure from the people of Liberia, can create the environment of transparency and accountability the country needs.”
Finally, it is a VIOLATION and blatant disregard of ULAA’s Constitution and the founding principles Union for the Kamara Administration to accept money Minister McGill promised on behalf of the CDC government. Only one who has lost his moral compos, with utter disregard for the history and tradition of advocating for the Liberian people at home and in the Diaspora will indulge in such a scheme. THE OFFER SHOULD BE REJECTED! The acceptance of the $100,000 by the New ULAA leadership will be looked upon as Corrupt COVID.
Let’s put Liberia’s interest first!
“Together We Struggle For A Better Liberia!”
About The Author: About The Author: Elder Siahyonkron J. K. Nyanseor, Sr. is former Vice Chair & Chair of the ULAA Council of Eminent Persons (UCEP), Inc. Also, he is a founding member & the 11th President of the organization. He is a poet, Griot/Historian, journalist, a cultural and political activist. He is an ordained Minister of the Gospel; Chairman of the Liberian Democratic Future (LDF), publisher of theperspective.org online news magazine and Senior Advisor to the Voice of Liberia newsmagazine. In 2012, he Co-authored Djogbachiachuwa: The Liberian Literature Anthology; a book of poems: Nyanseor can be reached at: [email protected]