ULAA’s President Condemns LURD and MODEL

By Winsley S. Nanka

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

January 29, 2004

The president of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas has condemned LURD and MODEL for calling for the removal of Liberian Interim Chairman Gyude Bryant barely four months after his appointment by the two rebel groups and the remnants of the Taylor regime in Accra, Ghana. Charles Gyude Bryant was the choice of the rebels over veteran Liberian politicians Togba Nah Tipoteh and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the conclusion of the Accra Peace conference that ended the Liberian civil war.

Mrs. Roberta Davis Rashid, the president of ULAA made the condemnation in an interview in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania yesterday. The ULAA president’s condemnation is in reaction to the recent position statement by LURD and MODEL that calls for the removal of Chairman Bryant from office for what the two rebel groups called “the lack of transparency in the administration of the affairs of the government” among others.

“The rebels must concern themselves with how they will work with the Liberian people and the international community to bring peace and stability to Liberia… Power struggle at this time will not be in the interest of the Liberian people,” Mrs. Rashid added. The ULAA president believes the real reason why the rebels are calling for the removal of Chairman Bryant is: “they have not been allowed to do whatever they want to do.”

Mrs. Rashid warned, “the rebels will be held personally responsible for any disintegration in the peace process.” Continuing, the ULAA president said, “ The Liberian people and members of the international community will not forgive them if they throw Liberia into chaos again… The rebels must be concerned about how they will help to restore hope to the Liberian people not fear”.

Observers of Liberian politics believe the latest action by the rebels is intended to undermine the planned donors’ conference in New York. If this happens, as one observer noted, “there would be no funds for development and the rebels would use the lack of development as an excuse to further create chaos in Liberia.

Meanwhile, the ULAA president is calling on Liberians in the northeastern United States turn out in large numbers to welcome Chairman Bryant and his party at the Watergate Hotel, 2650 Virginia Avenue, NW Washington, DC on February 1, 2004 at 4 P.M. There are several events planned for Chairman Bryant’s arrival in the United States. According to Mrs. Rashid, they include a dinner in honor of Chairman Bryant and his party hosted by the Sullivan Foundation in New York on February 5, 2004, the donors’ conference hosted by the United Nations on February 6, 2004. The other events planned are a ULAA hosted town hall meeting on Saturday, February 7, 2004 at 3 P.M. at the Staten Island College, Staten Island, New York and a dinner in Chairman Bryant’s honor immediately following the town hall meeting at the Staten Island Hotel. In addition, Chairman Bryant will attend a meeting hosted by the United States Institute of Peace on February 9, 2004 and is also expected to meet with various United States government officials during the trip.