Lofa Citizens Not Happy With Disarmament
...Want Heads of Factions to honor the process

By Sidiki Trawally

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
May 31, 2005


The Citizens of Lofa County are deeply saddened by the level of destructions done to their county due to successive armed conflicts in the area and have urged the county leaders and other citizens home and abroad to redouble their efforts in ensuring that the reconstruction of the county becomes a priority.

In the resolution adopted at the end of the 15th annual convention of the Federation of Lofa Associations in the Americas (FLAA) held in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania Saturday, Lofans strongly frowned on reports that disarmament of former fighters remains less than desirable in the county as compared to other areas in Liberia.

"We are troubled by these reports," said FLAA national president, Francis Zayzay minutes after the resolution was read and unanimously adopted. The Lofans called on their leaders to encourage heads of rebel factions, including the LURD which is headquartered in Voinjama, the capital city, to fully honor the programs of disarmament and demobilization.

In the two-page resolution read by the Chairman of the Resolution Committee, Francis Duwana, at the Tropical Hall, Lofans blasted their past and current aspiring leaders for remaining "conspicuously silentâ" on burning issues affecting the county. They called on the leaders to immediately begin to address the plight of citizens of the county.

They lamented the lack of unity among them, especially members of FLAA, blaming it on the Federation's inability to reach out. The resolution pointed out that Lofans, irrespective of creed, religion, tribe or economic status have the constitutional right to fully participate in the affairs of the county and "must address the issue of unity with high degree of sincerity."

They also realized that the inactiveness and weakness of some FLAA chapters across the country has contributed less in uniting the citizens. Lofans strongly agreed to uphold sound accountability and transparency as a key issue in the Federation. They are also disappointed that FLAA is yet to adequately meet the challenge of addressing the needs and aspirations of its members and concerned that the Federation has not put itself in the position of fund raising and capacity building.

"Each chapter of FLAA must honor and enforce the Federation’s constitution by ensuring that inactive and ineffective leaders are held accountable", the resolution said.

FLAA First Queen Contest:

Ms. Benneta Gayflor of the Minnesota chapter was crowned as Ms. FLAA 2005 by ULAA's chairman of the Board, Anthony V. Kesselly. Ms. Gayflor finished strong as the winner when she defeated Ms. Sao Duwana of Pennsylvania in a tight competition held at the Tropical hall on 48 Garret Road in Upper Darby. The New Jersey contestant, Ms. Younger Kehleay finished poorly in the third place.

Acording to Zayzay, the overall goal of the contest was to mobilize Lofa women into community building initiatives and reconstruction of the war ravished county. He appealed to all Liberians to help in the reconstruction of Liberia's largest county.

The event captured some thrilling moments, including live performances by famous Liberian folk songs singer, Princess Fatu Gayflor, who was also presented the Federation's appreciation award. The singer thrilled her audience with some of her melodies and folk songs. Other Liberian artists, including Zay Tee Tee, Sangai and Francis Varney Kanneh also graced the night.

In the audience was Mr. Jallah K.K Kamara, former director of the Liberian culture troops at Kendeja. The artists paid homage to him as they performed. Mr. Kamara was in the country to attend the convention and the graduation of his daughter, Ms. Garmai Kamara in Newark, New Jersey,.