ULAA, Isn’t it Too Late For Your Press Release?

Posted August 23, 2022

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

I once referred to ULAA as a “paper tiger.”

Others have too.

I still stand by those remarks, the phrase that defines modern-day ULAA, the once influential and powerful organization that now resorts to radio silence, a meaningless, self-absorbed (‘Eminent’) title, and a toothless press release to show that ULAA is working in the interest of diaspora Liberians.

Not so!

As an organization that wants to lead but is held back by the harmful influence of a slew of bad, corrupt, opportunistic, and selfish actors with far-reaching sway on the decisions that ULAA makes, ULAA has shown over and over that leading from behind can at times be self-flagellating.

Leading from behind means a tit-for-tat response to the life-changing sanctions from the United States government on the three corrupt Liberian government officials, which means a hollow press release that is as shallow in convictions as the instrument it is written on.

The lead paragraph from ULAA’s press release reads:

“The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas, (ULAA) calls on President Dr. George Manneh Weah to immediately dismiss three sanctioned officials by the United States government. ULAA believes the officials’ action undermines democracy in Liberia, as stated by Liberia’s leading partner, the United States.”

This so-called ULAA press release would have had a spine and sent a clear and powerful message to the Weah administration had ULAA listened to, joined, and followed the lead of diaspora Liberian activists who have for years called on ULAA to have a spine and lead, and not use its little spine to sleep in bed with mindboggling corruption, tone-deaf insensitivity and the lack of leadership in the Weah government and previous governments.

ULAA failed to lead the way but parsed the tearful sentiments of a bruised and weary Liberian public in a press release after a foreign government, the United States government, sanctioned Nathaniel McGill, Bill Twehway, and Cyrenius Cephas, key officials in the Weah administration.

What the United States government did to the Weah administration publicly – in his own backyard, the embarrassing act – that public reprimand is like another person, a friend admonishing me publicly about how I should run my house, the house that I live in with my wife and my children and pay my mortgage, and intrusively disciplined my kids for me, before my eyes because I failed as a dad to discipline them when my kids got out of control and are in trouble.
President George Manneh Weah’s response to this public shame was the suspension, not the dismissal of the criminals who in this modern era arguably helped to plunge Liberia and the Liberian people into underdevelopment and poverty.
George Weah’s feeble response of suspension rather than immediate dismissal of these corrupt guys shows that Mr. Weah is unable to effectively run his own house, let alone run Liberia, a country of 5 million people who look up to him daily for leadership.

Like Weah’s feeble response, however, ULAA’s press release is too little, too late!

Because before the sanction of these Liberian government officials by the United States, ULAA colluded with the Weah administration shamelessly, and even invited their chief patron Nathaniel McGill, the guy who legitimized corruption as a necessary evil for development; the guy who lavishly and without any guilt donated $100,000 to ULAA and promised to include ULAA in its 2023 annual budgetary allocations, was untouchable.

How much is this guy, McGill, worth and makes monthly in salary in Liberia as Minister of State to have access to this kind of money to build that over-the-top mausoleum for his deceased mother, at a time when most Liberians are beggars in their own country?

Modern-day ULAA did not only sleep comfortably with the inept and corruption-plagued George Manneh Weah administration, but ULAA also found its way into the blood-soaked beds of the devils - Charles Taylor and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the two individuals who brought pains, deaths, and destruction to our families and our dear Liberia through their 14-year personal civil war.

So when ULAA dwells on nostalgia, when ULAA’s self-absorbed, meaningless pictorials flood our personal space as accomplishments; when Liberians die mysteriously and there is silence and no justice, when in-your-face corruption is normal and sinks the spirit of Liberians, when irreverent government officials are above the law; when poverty, unemployment, and underdevelopment are seen as business as usual, and when ULAA remains silent and dances with the wolves, gives us reasons to question ULAA’s commitment to Liberians and their issues.

ULAA as a diaspora organization lost its relevance decades ago.

It is time for ULAA to go away.



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