ULAA Election: How fair to allLiberians?

By Patrick Nimely Tuon

Special to

By the weekend of August 21, 1999, delegates to the upcoming Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) conference could elect a new leadership through a process many are describing as "too restrictive, pro-corruption and has the potential of being fraudulent. The process in question is the so-called "Delegate System" which was imposed on ULAA electoral process by its Board of Directors through the Election Commission. The new system allows only 10 delegates from ULAA chapters to vote in the upcoming elections, and the delegates are appointed by each chapter president.

Supporters for this new system believed it will prevent candidates from bringing bus loads of supporters of people who know nothing about ULAA but are there to vote for whosoever drove them to the elections. They also said it remove the unfair advantage that will be gain by a candidate who is living in the area of the conference. The opponents to this system are saying that not only does this process invites corruption, but its imposition is illegal. This idea constitutes a constitutional amendment, and a constitutional amendment is presented to the board by a chapter in the form of a resolution. The board then send the resolution to the other chapters for debate.

The resolution is then voted upon at a subsequent Board meeting with each chapter's representatives voting according to their chapter's position. The process described above was not following, according to information we got. The ULAA Board initiated the action and approved it to take effect immediately.

This system limits the debate on the issues, and prevents the candidates to Demonstrate one of the skills leaders of ULAA must have, and that is, his or her ability to mobilize Liberians to rally to a cause. Using this system, what a candidate needs is a good relationship with at least 4 chapters presidents. These presidents will then choose as delegates those individuals who are inclined to vote the way their president wants, for his favorite candidate, his friend or buddy. The other candidate or candidates have no chance whatsoever to win the support of these chapters.

We find this very disappointing that on the eve of a new century, certain individuals are afraid to relinquish the ugly policies of the past that have failed us. We called on all those appointed as delegates not to allow themselves to be use as tools to undermine the dignity of the electoral process of ULAA.

We hope that these delegates we use their positions to abort this illegal process by not voting for any of the remaining candidates, but vote to indict the crooked ways that have kept ULAA down for so long. We want the delegates to use this opportunity as a referendum on the ULAA Board leadership. I'll suggest that you write 'No' on your ballot.
Tuon is a former President Liberian Community Association in Washington, D.C.

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