“Leading the way forward for a united and strong Liberia”. A Position Statement by UCEP, Inc.

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“A house divided against itself will not stand”:

Especially when Liberian organizations in the Diaspora are divided on ‘Liberian Pregnant Vexed Palava’

A Position Statement by UCEP, Inc.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

To All Freedom Loving People Around the World:

A house divided against itself will not stand,” was a point Jesus made to the Pharisees, who were set on disproving everything that he did and actually were causing strife among the body of believers. The same understanding applies to believers today, as we are divided as a body over several issues today in Liberia.

ULAA

When it involves national issues that impact all of us be it UCEP, Inc., the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA), Inc., County organizations, Alumni associations, Social clubs, etc., we must present united position’ if not, the leaders in Liberia will use our disagreements to its benefit; and those that will eventually suffer, will be our poor people at home.

It is in this regard, UCEP, Inc. applauds ULAA and Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee regarding the Keynote Address he delivered at the 48th General Assembly in Duluth, Georgia the weekend of September 23rd thru 25th, 2022.

Therefore, in this public manner, we are in agreement with him on many of the points he outlined in his Keynote Address, especially the points listed below:

  • Liberia is a country, not a workplace or goldmine where one goes fetch ill-gotten resources to help you sustain yourself, support your families, relatives and friends to the total disadvantage to the ordinary hardworking residents of the country.
  • Liberia is a country not a host of your liabilities while your assets are secured far away in foreign countries.
  • Liberia is a country and not an entity responsible to pay your student loan, car notes, rents or mortgages in the Diaspora.

We agree ALL governments should serve the interests its citizens; and that government is NOT a place to serve and steal from the citizens; and because of this wrongful practice, there is an urgent need to change the nature of governance in Liberia today, NOT tomorrow or in ANY near future.

Public Relations and Fake Humanitarianism

Stealing public money and shielding it with public relation spending, such as the one made to ULAA by then Minister McGill, is the nature of governance in Liberia. Given the level of ignorance in the country, thieves in government tend to present themselves as humanitarians, especially when election time is approaching.

Our people are so gullible that when thieves in our government pocket our money and build huge private homes for themselves – people make such comments like, “Yes, they stole money, but at least they are spending it in Liberia.” When these thieves make donations to Liberian groups like the one made by the honorable minister to ULAA, some people tend to say, “Well, at least they are giving the money to Liberians.

The only way to change this situation is to vote for a leader who can lead the process of changing the nature of governance in Liberia. However, there are those in Liberia and the Diaspora who see no fault in the present leadership; instead, they shower praises on them, telling them what they want to hear, and care nothing about the poor citizens who cannot afford a cup of rice. These individuals and groups are ‘dishonest hypocrites!’ Good friends are those who tell you the truth because they do not want to see you get hurt or disgrace.

Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee’s Keynote Address should serve as a wake-up call to all Liberian organizations in the Diaspora and at home.

Likewise, in our beloved country we must NOT see critics as enemies; because of this practice, we cannot amicably discuss vexed issues amicably about Liberia in most of our forums. Most often, those who disagree with us tend to resort to name calling–spewing here and there unrelated issues that have nothing to do with the topic under discussion. Those who disagreed with our point of views make excuses for the wrongs their friends and relatives commit because they are in positions of power; as a result, they blamed those who have the guts to raise concerns about vexed issues of national concern.

In other words, they put selfish interests over collective wellbeing, and the common good of the Liberian people who are being abused and stolen from with impunity. These individuals and group; support for these politicians for the most part is based on favors and what they can get from them—not on principles! This is why most elected officials in Liberia grossly violate public trust.

To get the support of these Liberians, corrupt politicians simply give them illegal handouts—jobs they are NOT qualified for, ill-gotten ‘brown envelopes’ in the dark corner at night to buy their support; they do not care where these handouts come from! As long as they keep coming to them regularly for them and their family, friends and relatives, they have no empathy for the rest of the Liberian people.

Consequently, average Liberian who enjoys favors from a government is not only indifferent to the plight of ordinary Liberians, but he/she is also dead scared to disagree with the official or the government publicly. In their selfishness, they rather serve as cheerleaders so not to fall out of favor with government officials and their friends. They rather let these government officials go on misusing the people’s wealth and resources with impunity; and they will go to any length to make ridiculous excuses for their corrupt benefactors.

We Are Our Own Worst Enemies

According to former President Barack Obama, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” As human beings in society, we cannot avoid conflict situations; we must learn from them to resolve the division amongst us in Diaspora; in this way we will be in the position to transfer the experience we gain to solve some of problems in Liberia.

In addition, with the experience acquired we will be in the position to serve as change agents for our native land, Liberia. More importantly, we must refrain from the practice of self-aggrandizement – by individuals posing as the kingmakers in the Diaspora. In doing so, our organizations will avoid conferring useless titles such as: “Iron Lady” of the Diaspora; “Doyen of all Doyens in the Diaspora” upon individuals as well as refrain from the usage of the “I” word when advocating on behalf of Diaspora organizations.

This reminds us of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson’s statement about leadership. It reads:

A true leader sees his work as a selfless service toward a higher purpose…When it comes time to take credit, he makes himself invisible; but he is the first to answer at the time of need, and he will never shrink away in fear…A true leader wants nothing more than to give people pride, to make people stand on their own, as leaders. Instead of trying to blind us with his or her brilliance, a true leader reflects our own light back to us, so that we may see ourselves anew.

Similar point is made by Prof. Alhaji Abdullahi Al-Hassan, which he referred to as: “Difference between Political Thief and Ordinal Thief.”

According to him:

The ordinary thief steals your money, your bag, your watch, and your jewelry… But the political thief steals your future, your career, your education, your health and your business. The hilarious part is that the ordinary thief will choose whom to rob. But you are the one who choose the political thief to rob you. Because we choose them, we vote them! We blindly say we are not blind. Who is deceiving who? The ridiculous part of the whole issue is that we will fight to defend and protect our belongings from the ordinary thief, isn’t not? But we fight each other to defend and protect the political thief. Isn’t it what we do? Thugs will be fighting themselves to protect those that are stealing our career, stealing our joy, stealing our health, stealing our success. What a shame! What a travesty! It calls for us to think and think deep! (Facebook, November 14, 20210)


Based on Prof. Al-Hassan’s Political Thief and Ordinal Thief’s analysis, our house will remain divided and never stand until we do something about it – unite.

Therefore, we call on the international communities such as the ICG, UN; including ECOWAS to become fully engaged with us to find some solutions to our present circumstances in Liberia. Our appeal to them is for them not to pay deaf ears to the deteriorating security situation in Liberia; with the HOPE that it will go away, or believing that calling attention to the problems would indicate failure on their part.

At present, we have come to the realization that the government in power believe only their solutions to these problems can be found within the framework of their policies, which do not need any interference from us in the Diaspora. Therefore, the advocacy we espoused to provide meaningful solutions are too radical, and NOT welcomed.

Today in Liberia, impunity is a major issue that must be tackled and the present government is doing nothing about it. Political parties must be accountable too, in choosing their candidates! For example, letting accused public office holders off the hook, tells a lot about a failing legal system/institution/laws, a power shift from public opinion to the hands of few public office holders, and having representatives lacking the people’s trust. No wonder ordinary Liberians referred to CDC as Corrupt Delinquent Celebrators (of Pro-Poor government of Weah).

Many of us have come to the realization that most of our people have selective memories in putting the blame or the failure of our country that started in 1847 on the Progress, and the 1980 People’s Redemption Council (PRC). These individuals and groups refused to accept the FACT that the only thing that is constant in life is CHANGE. It may delay but CANNOT be prevented.

Instead, they will continue say and preach that we are all Liberians – but this belief has becomes rhetoric and meaningless since NO effort has been made or is being made to make meaningful CHANGE in the country. Yet, the wealth and resources of the country continue to be enjoyed by our leaders, friends and associates. Indeed, A house divided against itself, Cannot Stand— and upon that foundation our enemies build their hopes of destroying us.”

After 5 years of CDC Government, not many things have improved; even if the discussion is limited to what they present as their achievements, we cannot help to notice the deplorable conditions of the environment and the living conditions of ordinary Liberians that have gotten worse. For example, heavy rains have displaced families while dirt and filth continue to pile up in urban area, and corruptions, crimes is on the rise without government intervention to solve them.

No doubt why, our leaders placed individuals into positions that they are not qualified for; which is like putting a round peg in square hole. The idiom, “Round peg in a square hole” refers to a misfit, especially a person unsuited for a position.

This practice should remind us of the statement made by Nelson Aluya:

Africans have become slaves to their situations; first orchestrated by foreign Lords and powers, but now by our own leaders and peoples on every level. Like a mouse trapped in an empty barrel, we must depend on what we are being fed.

There is an urgent need to find solutions to these mounting problems the country is facing by working together to solve our socio-political, cultural, health, economic and educational conditions in the country. This should be the paramount concern of all Liberian organizations in the Diaspora.

Secondly, in the midst of mounting challenges, ranging from unimaginable corruptions, and acute poverty, silence can never be an option for us as advocates. We must NOT put selfish interests over the collective wellbeing, and the common good of our people. We should practice the axiom that says: ‘Charity Begins at Home’ which means, we must first solve our internal problems or disagreements that exist between UCEP, Inc. and ULAA first, in order for unity to exist. With united front, UCEP, Inc. and ULAA will be successful in providing help through advocacy to support the institutional reforms that is badly needed in the country.

Right now, Liberians at home are living in a state of fear and paranoia. Their fears are due to declining economic opportunities that are definitely caused by decreases in the living standards. These factors create economic decline which are exacerbated by fiscal mismanagement, corruption, cronyism and lack of accountability.

Instead, Mr. Wilmot S. Kunney, a former President of ULAA and an opinion leader in the Diaspora, says he has been mandated to form an organization in the Diaspora to reelect President George Manneh Weah. According to him:

Liberians residing in the United States, Europe, Canada, and other parts of the global Diaspora are said to be forming a united front to support President Weah’s second term bid.

The group under the canopy of DIASPORA UNITED FOR WEAH ONE ROUND ELECTION (DUWORE2023), said they will mobilize Liberians across party lines, including independent-minded citizens to combine their efforts in ensuring that President George Manneh Weah is re-elected in the first round of the 2023 elections. (See The New DawnDiaspora mobilizes for Weah’s re-election – Liberia news The New Dawn Liberia, premier resource for latest news)

Enough is enough! When the Liberian people are violated by anyone, a group and government officials, we in the Diaspora must demand that justice be done. If we truly believe Liberia belongs to all of us, we in the Diaspora must unite in our condemnation to expose those that are responsible. We cannot condone the behaviors of those among us who engage in ‘cherry picking’ with their support.

Now it is clear to us that CDC Pro-Poor government is not prepared to address corrupt practices and killings that have taken place throughout the country. Today in our country, to be honest or as an auditor is not an attractive job.  For example, within the space of two weeks, four auditors: Emmanuel Barten Nyeswua, Albert Peters, Gifty Lama, and George Fanbutoe, all died under suspicious circumstances, akin only to what we see in bad gangster movies. Instead, the best answers the government could provide are: “one person fell from the second-floor balcony; another was hit by a car at 2 am in front of his house; two died of carbon monoxide in daylight on Broad Street, in the center of Monrovia. The head of Micro Finance at the Central Bank, Matthew J. Innis died mysteriously amid investigations.”

Liberians are becoming accustomed to these practices – government officials killing their own citizens and no one is speaking or sounding the alarms, as if the country has turned numb.

Our stance is, ‘Enough is enough;’ the points provided below must be addressed by the Pro-Poor CDC Government:

  1. President Weah must stop accusing the Press as “Enemy of the State”
  2. It is a violation for President Weah to support unseating a Supreme Court Justice to favor his voting interest on the Supreme Court
  3. Unqualified persons serving in Weah’s Administration is like peg in square hole
  4. Weah’s Refusal to make public his declared assets as required by law is a Constitutional violation
  5. Monrovia is swamped with garbage and the City Mayor is not being held responsible
  6. Government services continue to be poor
  7. Health Care is not made a priority because government official and their families have the means to travel abroad for medical treatments
  8. Government policies and employees are more responsive to partisanship and friendship than to serve the Liberian people and the country
  9. Liberia’s unlimited resources are used without regards for the citizens
  10. There is an increase in youth violence without Government intervening
  11. There is the lack of economic opportunities for citizens, especially for young people
  12. President Weah and his officials are violating the Constitution and laws of the country with impunity
  13. It has become a common practice by CDC partisans and supporters to attack the opposition and anyone on social media that disagreed with government policies
  14. Large amounts of money were spent during the July 26th celebration when most citizens barely had food to eat
  15. The CDC government has not provided answers to the death of Esther Parker, Robert Philips, Vanjah Richards and the missing Election Magistrate Living Body, who killed R. Tolbert, Jr.
  16. The Government must provide answers to the brutal killings of the three auditors, and the gruesome murder of Ms. Princess Cooper
  17. NEC must not approve corrupt officials to take part in the 2023 elections
  18. Let’s be realistic; if NEC cannot conduct simple run-off elections, why some individuals and groups in the Diaspora are calling for Liberians to vote from abroad; when the technology needed is NOT available, and cannot be put in place in1year?

UCEP, Inc. needs answers, if not to all, some resolutions must be provided to list above! Finally, we must NOT accept the Code of Conduct that the Liberian Legislature amended nicodemusly in order to favor Government officials to have the advantage and remain in power for time indefinite.

Enough is enough! The God we serve has never failed us. He will NOT fail us now!

Conclusions

We, the officers and members of UCEP, Inc., call on ULAA and all Liberian Diaspora organizations, including the Federation of African Law Students (FALAS) that met at a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa from October 3th thru 5th, 2022 under the theme: “Challenging the Status Quo in Africa; Changing Legal Perspectives for a Sustainable Legal Future” at which Mr. Siaffa Bahn Kemokai, II, a senior student at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, University of Liberia was elected President.

We will join FALAS, the Liberian people at home – in the Diaspora, the United States Government, the UN, ECOWAS, African Union and all freedom loving people everywhere to support us in speaking on our behalf regarding these pregnant vexed issues that threaten our national existence; on the ground that the present government and their elected officials are NOT truly representing the Liberian people. Instead, they are stealing the wealth and resources of the country with impunity, to enrich themselves while, the rest of the population continues to remain poor and destitute. We must not stand by to see these practices continue to prevail!

Let’s not underestimate our strengths, and what we are capable of doing when we stand together to speak with one voice. We did it in the past, and with united front, we can do it again. With our successful records of advocacy in the 1970s and 1980s, we are capable of repeating it again; and with GOD on our side, there is NO organized opposition in the Diaspora or in Liberia that is strong enough to stand us when we engage the international community to eradicate these ugly pregnant vexed issues in our native land, LIBERIA.

Therefore, we must ALL unite to have the job done for our people.

Issued in the ultimate interest of Liberia and its people done on this 13th day of October 2022 in the City of Williamstown, New Jersey, USA

Signed: Jesse M. Cooper, Sr.

Eminent Dr. Jesse M. Cooper, Sr.

Chairperson, UCEP, Inc.

About UCEP, Inc.

UCEP, Inc. is a non-profit and non-partisan Diaspora Liberian organization whose goal and objectives are to promote democratic governance and the rule of law in Liberia. In addition, it has been our paramount concern to provide suggestions based on research and through educational forums to help improve governance institutions, law and order, to empower all Liberians to voice their legitimate concern without and intimidation. We have been in existence since Saturday, October 30, 2010.

Eminent Wettee’s Keynote Address can be accessed at The New Dawn:

Eminent Emmanuel S. Wettee Keynote Address To The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) 48th General Assembly in Duluth, GA From September 23rd – 25th, 2022 – Liberia news The New Dawn Liberia, premier resource for latest news

 

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