Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Fifth General Assembly of FLY
--Constitutionalists Versus. Pseudo-Realists--
May 2007
Ibrahim Al-bakri Nyei

Let me give a bird’s eye analysis of the gathering of young people from all over the country that ended in a brouhaha and tragic illusions for the delegates. They actually assembled to decide the fate of what seems to be a consoling and vibrant canopy for their collective welfare- the Federation of Liberian Youth. Those that attended the Assembly may expect me to narrate the sorrows that engulfed the delegates when they impatiently waited to be transported back as they fed on mangoes and water. I do not intend to venture into that, neither do I desire to delve into the monkey-business drama of the division amongst the sitting Executives. There actions only reminded me of the fray between a man and his wife on their fifth wedding anniversary where celebrants saw them ranging insults and allegations of extramarital affairs against each other.

My intend to hold a pen about this Assembly is to narrate what I observed as a battle between constitutionalists, delegates whose arguments were based on the constitution of the Federation, and pseudo-realists, delegates who appealed to the emotions and sentiments of non-members for their participation in order to clothe their favors. The sitting Executives were also divided in that line. The Secretary and his allies on one hand while the President and his allies on another side of the divide. For them, I can not categorize them directly, though some took side with the constitutionalists and others sided with the pseudo-realist. But it is their immaturity and avarices that ridiculed the national efforts of the young people of Liberia. They all operated a criminal syndicate in FLY that was compelled to come to light due to marginal tendencies. They were clog into a crimeberg that could not allow them to actively advocate for the empowerment of the young people all over the country, but rather chasing donors’ fund and muscling each other rapaciously. This limited their role as an advocacy group, and even their vibrancy and essence amongst the youth were lacking. They bathed in errors for two years and finally, they had been dragged into a drainage of distrust, and listed among those that can no longer enjoy the fruits of human confidence. Conclusively, they have lost the confidence of this generation.

It was so elated and exciting as more than one hundred young men and women from all over Liberia met on the night of May 22, 2007 at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Gbarnga. Delegates from the counties were united with their native brothers and sisters who had come to Monrovia in search of education. Little did they know that those who assembled them were mere hustlers and icons of failures, and that the essence of their gathering would end fruitlessly. What first became a sign of achievement was the successful elections of members of the Liberian Chapter of the Mano River Union Youth Parliament. All other events following that could not succeed due to numerous attempts to slaughter the Constitution of FLY in cold blood. The Fly Constitution states that only Full and Associate Members have the right to participate in all activities of the Assembly with at most four and two delegates respectively. And each Organization has one vote in the elections of officers. Contrary to this, were the pseudo-realists who were bent on having non member organizations as voters. The non-members referred to here are delegates from the counties that were primarily invited for the MRU Youth Parliament elections.

Those groups came to the Assembly in respond to invitations from the FLY Secretariat asking County Coordinators to come along with five organizations from each county excluding Montserrado that has more Full and Associate members. FLY was responsible for a single delegate per organization. Any organization wishing to carry the required number will do so at her own expense. But the suspicion of a fraudulent attempt came in when the constitutionalists began to inquire why their must be a specific number from the counties. What happens when a county has more or less than five Full and Associate members? Interestingly, pundits were smart to identify the scheme of unscrupulous vote-making.

At the Assembly hall, delegates succeeded identifying Full and Associate members, and all other participants were asked out of the hall. This was the first major achievement for the constitutionalists. Considering their numerical limitation in the hall, the pseudo-realists began to appeal to the sentiments of those non-members that were asked out by referring to the constitutionalists as people against the participation of the rural groups. But they fell short to recognize that there were Full and Associate members from the counties that were highly participating. There were groups from Gbarpolu, Rivercess, Nimba, Cape Mount, Margibi, Grand Bassa, etc, that were legitimate. They did not relent because they had fewer votes amongst the legitimate members who know their inefficacy. Their only hope was in their self-made groups; therefore, their participation was a must, if they (Pseudo-realist) must remain in leadership. Among the ousted groups also were some that went for memberships either as Full or Associate. The constitutionalists welcomed their desire but requested for their file of records. That could also not be found.

Another interesting part of the clashes between the two groups was the part of the agenda that has to do with the Secretariat’s Report. The President mandated an administrative officer to read the Report while the Secretary General was lively seated at bar. This began another fray. But the Assembly, in line with the constitution, mandated the Secretary General to present his biannual report. The President protested that he had no input to that Report; it therefore does not represent the Executives of FLY that he heads. He relinquished his post as presiding officer. The Secretary presented his Report and a motion for discussion was tested in his favor. In the heat of that discussion, a subsidiary motion requesting the thrashing of the SG’s Report was defeated. That motion was based on two reasons: it was half verbal and half written; no distributed copies to delegates. But the SG had a defense. Here the guys finally recognized their limitations, and the myopic argument about rural participation resurfaced with emotions overriding persuasions. The person expected to draw the line and interpret the constitution to everyone for the sake of progress did not do so, but suspended the leadership and postponed the Assembly to a deferred time.

The ousted group on the other side, squarely supervised by the pseudo-realists, regrouped themselves into a Federation of Rural Youth (FRY) and drafted a resolution dissociating themselves from FLY.

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