New ULAA Leadership Takes Office

By Nat Galarea Gbessagee

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

October 30, 2002

The newly elected national officers of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) were installed into office last Saturday for a two-year term by Maryland State General Assembly Delegate Michael Dobson, at an elaborate inauguration dinner and dance program held at a local hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

The officers installed included Mr. Mohammed S. Kromah, National President; Mrs. Roberta Davies-Rashid, National Vice President; Mr. Wilmot Kunney, National Secretary General, and Ms. Hawa Kpakah, National Treasurer. The new ULAA National Leadership was elected last August at a ULAA General Assembly Conference in Columbus, Ohio, to succeed the then outgoing ULAA Administration of Mrs. Mydea Reeves-Karpeh.

Administering the Oath of Office, Delegate Dobson admonished members of the new ULAA national leadership team to perform their duties with diligence and dedication in fulfillment of goals and aspirations of the Association. (Scheduled keynote speaker, U.S. Congressman John Conyers of Michigan cancelled in the last minute due to death emergency, the master of ceremony announced during the program).

In his inaugural address, Mr. Kromah extended thanks and appreciation to his supporters and all other persons who were instrumental in his election, and said he would continue to count on the full support and engagement of all Liberians in the U.S. in the activities of the Union, now that the elections are over.

Mr. Kromah said his Administration will thrive on inclusiveness, accountability and transparency, and will welcome suggestions from any Liberian on how best to improve the Union. He however said the immediate priorities of his Administration would be to seek the active participation of youth and women's groups in Union activities, to expand membership of the Union to Liberian organizations in major American cities that are not presently members of the Union, and to actively engage in the 2003 Liberian General Elections. He did not elaborate on how the Union plans to engage in the 2003 Elections, but said a committee will be set up to work out the modalities.

Kromah said his Administration will also work to ensure the transformation of Liberia into a "democratic society", and to undertake efforts to counter the environment problems associated he said are with the alleged dumping of nuclear wastes in the Liberia and the growing incidence rate of cancer in country. He stated no sources.

Kromah said the economic development of any country is "impossible without political freedom", and appealed to Liberians to utilize their diversity to the advantage and development of Liberia by learning to tolerate and respect one another even where they disagreed on particular issues or priorities.

Earlier, ULAA founding member and former national president, Mr. Siahyonkron Nyanseor gave a brief history of ULAA, and said the goals of ULAA were, and still remain, the unification of Liberians and Liberian organizations in the U.S. to bring about democratic change and development in Liberia, though he regretted that many people continue to mischaracterize members of the Association as "trouble makers."

Nyanseor hailed the democratic nature of the election of the new ULAA national leadership at Ohio, and hoped that the Ohio example would be emulated and duplicated in Liberia, an apparent reference to the scheduled 2003 legislative and presidential elections in Liberia.

ULAA National Board Chairman, Mr. Ranney Jackson, Sr. said the ULAA board looks forward to working with the Kromah Administration in charting a new course of leadership and progress in the Union. He appealed to all Liberians and Liberian social and religious organizations in the U.S. to unite behind the new ULAA leadership in bringing about meaningful change both in Liberia and among Liberians here in the U.S.

Highlights of the program included two citations from the City of Baltimore recognizing the good works of Mr. Kromah and ULAA to the city respectively, and a special musical appearance by Gebah Swaray of the former popular Liberian pop group, Zack & Gebah.

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