Liberians in the Diaspora, like their people back home crave democracy, prosperity and the rule of law.
Unlike their people at home who live on crumbs, in fear daily of their lives, and are at the mercy of a bad government, Liberians in the Diaspora – in metro Atlanta have taken democracy to another level by engaging in the electoral process.
The Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA) hasn’t forgotten its founding progressive roots of the 70’s and 80’s when it was the then-Liberian Community Association of Georgia (LCAG), a fiery bastion of political engagements, humanitarian advocacy and civic pride that held the community together for nearly four decades.
Even though the usual sentiments have been to bedevil and downplay the monumental achievements of former LAMA leaders (holding the community association together this long is one), the coming of the 1990s and 2000s brought back the passion that once made the Liberian Community Association of Georgia a formidable player here and at home.
The past few years have seen an upswing in community activities – from the positives to the negatives, which include the acquisition of a community center, a van to transport kids and the elderly to their various activities, an after school learning and computer center, and a fragmented community whose woes has overshadowed the community leadership’s groundbreaking accomplishments.
I have seen firsthand in recent months or years what the self-flagellation has done to LAMA’s image, and how the bitter infighting has divided the community into many camps.
What came out of this mess is the community-wide passion for change and continued progress that engulfed the Liberian community in Georgia, and the individuals who obviously believe they too can effect positive change to make things even better.
The October 25th LAMA debate (see photo of crowd above) between the presidential candidates (Yahsyndi Mollie Martin-Kpeyei, Somo Hawa Hubbard- Barsir and Nathaniel Tamba, and VP candidates (Jerry Yekeh and Thomas Awadjie, and Board Members, etc, broke the record for attendance and mass participation.
Liberians in the metro Atlanta region came out in record number to support their candidates, the democratic process, and also showed up to support the survival of LAMA and their community center.
LAMA President Leo Mulbah and Vice President Yahsyndi Mollie Martin-Kpeyei are to be commended for their hard work, their accomplishments, and their vision for the community they sacrificed it all for over the years.
As much as the Mulbah-Kpeyei administration was able to move with such dedication and speed to accomplish so much over the years, that fearlessness – some would say ‘boldness’ spelled trouble that led to Mr. Mulbah’s daily condemnation and unceremonious departure from the community association he loved so dearly.
How can Leo Mulbah, a guy with such promising political future on the national level on the home front, see it withered away by an uncontrollable and uncompromising thirst to go toe-to-toe with his perceived political enemies?
Mr. Mulbah’s unapologetic and bombastic, larger than life personality and combative and condescending nature did not serve him well.
His progressive vision and big ideas for community growth and prosperity (which I admired and led me to support him) increased membership, increased dues and community involvement, and brought new people to LAMA’s monthly meetings.
However, just as Liberians were able to join the association in droves and became high-spirited due-paying members, they were also driven away by Leo Mulbah’s no nonsense, non-collaborative leadership style, which fragmented the community into two camps and made him a polarizing figure in the Liberian Association of Metropolitan Georgia (LAMA).
The November 8 community elections will usher in new leaders. Leo Mulbah, the usual punching bag will no longer be in the presidential seat to be punched and pushed around. He will no longer be President of our community association to insult us and push us around either.
The various candidates are talking tough, and are also talking about unity and effecting meaningful change. We desperately need all and everything that will bring sanity and unity to our community.
Let’s learn to respect the electoral process and the verdict and whoever is elected LAMA President and Vice President on November 8.
Passion is way too high in our Liberian community in Georgia.
The explanation for such high passion is the upcoming November 8 community elections between the three accomplished and incredibly talented individuals of our time; Yahsyndi Mollie Martin-Kpeyei, an administrator, Somo Hawa Hubbard- Barsir, a registered nurse, and accountant Nathaniel Tamba.
The candidates discussed accountability, unity and progress.
It is election season in metro Atlanta, folks.
Come out and vote on November 8, 2015.