ULAA Members Question Former Officials
By: J. Wesley Washington
Posted November 28, 2003
Members of the US-based organization, ‘Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas’ (ULAA) are questioning the presence of two of its officials in the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL).
The two former ULAA officials are Mr. Ranney B. Jackson, former Chairman of the ULAA Board, but now a member of the National Transitional Legislative Assembly representing Liberians in the Diaspora; and Mr. Mohammed S. Kromah, ULAA’s former national president, but now Managing Director-designate of the Liberia Free Zone Authority (LIFZA).
In a telephone interview with The INQUIRER, the sitting officials of the association said they were shocked to learn that two of their officials are now in the NTGL.
They questioned how they were selected at the expense of ULAA, and noted that it was a betrayal of the confidence and trust reposed in them to represent the association at the Accra peace talks.
What was also shocking, according to the ULAA officials, is that these two former officials had not made a report to the Association as yet but were only seeking their own selfish interests during the conference.
But speaking to this paper yesterday at his Capitol Building office, NTLA member Ranney Jackson confirmed that at the time of the Accra peace talks, he was part of the ULAA delegation that included Milen King and Morris Koffa, who were members as well as Mr. Mohammed S. Kromah, who headed the delegation.
He said that at the close of that marathon meeting, Liberians in the Diaspora were given a slot in the NTLA. The ULAA administration posted the information on the Internet as well as got in contact with Liberians in Europe and Canada that a position was available within the NTGL.
"Nobody seemed to be willing to take the offer," he said, adding in a relaxed mood, "by attending the Accra peace talks and getting involved with the peace process, I later developed the urge to come back to work for the country. So I applied," Mr. Jackson stressed.
He narrated that based on his qualifications and his interaction with parties to the conflict, the leadership of the ULAA felt that he was best-suited for the position and recommended him to the NTLA. "Maybe the leaders of Liberians in Europe and Canada decided that here is a man who has been working for peace there in Accra," he said.
Assemblyman Jackson said to see peace return to this country, he thought it wise to take the risk, put his family and job aside and return home.
About not making a report to the ULAA following the conclusion of the Accra talks, Mr. Jackson said the head of the ULAA delegation(Mr. Kromah) was supposed to have made the report at the General Conference on the weekend of October 24,2003 in Lynn, Massachusetts.
"Unfortunately," he said, "there were flight problems in Ghana at the time. However, at a call meeting last Saturday in Philadelphia, he delivered his annual report and officially resigned his position in the ULAA".
Mr. Jackson, commenting on his alleged unceremonious resignation, said for six years he served in the leadership as Vice Chairman of the Board and for two years, served as Chairman of the ULAA Board.
"These are the same people who have said I’ve been there too long," he wondered, quizzing, "what’s wrong with resigning?"
He said before he took over as ULAA board chairman, there had always been friction between ULAA president and its Board Chairman, noting, "when I took over, we worked well together, moving ULAA forward."
Mr. Jackson used the occasion to tell his compatriots that there are many Liberians from the US participating in this government to ensure that peace is achieved.
Representative Jackson said, what those in the ULAA need to do is "to give us the support and advice so that this country does not make the same mistakes of the past."
The TLA member said he has no regrets of joining the NTGL. "I have served Liberians in the US for eight years in various capacities. I offered myself. I was not paid. I spent my time and money for its upliftment," he said, concluding,"instead of them showing gratitude, they want to criticize me over nothing."