2022 National Convention Communique
Day One: Traditional Hour
The tradition hour began with an opening pryayer by Imam Muslim Jubree. President Mohammed B. Fofana welcomed delegates from the various chapter states; VPO, Alhadji Morris Kromah spoke in recognizing special guests; and President Tuma Fofana summed up the remarks by welcoming and thank community members for gracing the occasion.
In this year’s convention, the cochair for Social and Cultural Committee, Mohammed Toure of New Jersey gave a brief history of Mande.
The narration of Mande history was followed by islamic lecture by Imam Mohammed Dukuly of Minnesota. Imam Dukuly thanked the community for holding onto the cultural and Islamic heritage. He urged the attendees to do the following:
1. Respect for the elders
2. Uniting the Ummah
3. Supporting the hospital project in Liberia
The MC, Mr. Amara S Kamara announced the tragedy that has befallen the city of NJ relative to increase in gun violence where our kids get shot. Imam Alieu Kamara [rayed got the city and urged thr Federation to go betond the currently scope and speak against violence. He urged the community to be more viable.
Remarks from Sam Mohammed Kromah
He made reference to the narrator of Mande History. He asserted that the Mande history is not complete without refencing the Keita, and Fakoly. He provided some historicity about the name Konia. The name Konia derived from the Kpelleh language which means ‘over the mountain’, said Mr. Kromah. He made another direct reference to the Jewish community as a contrast to the prejudice Mandingo faced. He asserted that it is okay to disagree, but the disagreement should not tear us apart.
Mr. Kromah argued that a Mandingo unity is needed for the greater emancipation. Unity of common purpose is lacking among us, said Mr. Kromah. He further argued that the word ‘destiny’ is being misconstrued in our community. Allah will not change our ways until we can change ourselves. He talked about one of the boiling issues in the community: accountability. He asserted that every dime should be accounted for when entrusted with common resources. Mr. Kromah further talked about miracle of the Quran where scientific evidence such as quantum physics, Newton Third Law of Motion, etc are mentioned. He urged the community to understand the contextual meaning of the Quran not the peripheral meanings.
Minister Varney Sirleaf
Mr. Sirleaf’s message was centered around governance through the locals. He gave a little background about his high school days by recognizing his colleagues. “What the government is doing in decentralizing government” asked Mr. Sirleaf. He talked about the settlers in Liberia and their slave mentality that affected the natives. He urged the Federation to get involved in the governing and decentralizing process of government. He believes that decentralization reduces marginalization. “The county council, a quasi-legislative body, is where I want everyone’s participation. Equalization fund will bring everyone at equilibrium where no one will remain idle”, argued Mn. Sirleaf. He further explained that boundary harmonization will seek to bring cohesion between towns, villages, and counties. He said that his aim for this remark is to enlighten the minds to join and buttress the effort of the Liberian government. He urged the community to scrutinize his works as well for he is the servant of the people.
Elder Randolph Jabateh
He outlined challenges founding founders of various emancipated groups faced. He expressed his disappointment over the Federation not recognizing some critical voices in the Mnadingo community. He recognized an array of people and urged the community not to forget the old folks. He made an emotional and passionate appeal to Mn. Sirleaf that the land issues in Nimba must be settled now and once and for all.
Culture embassador, Sekou Jenna Toure
In Mandingo verbatim, he agreed with Elder Randolph Jabateh that we need unity. He urged everyone to come and join and move FELMAUSA forward. Mr. Toure claimed that the problem in FELMAUSA was created by men. He made referrence to his functions-counselling people, advising, and outlining truths. He asked that the community support the Federation and be part of the history in constructing the hospital in Liberia. He thanked Allah and gave testimony about his liver transplant. In his final remark, he optimistically asserted that FELMAUSA must succeed regardless.
Imam Vakaba Swaray
He gave advice that for any organization to succeed, there will always be a disagreement.
Day Two: General Assembly
The program began with registration of chapters. Out of 15 chapters, 9 chapters fully registered at the event: Arizona, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York(ONYMA), Dallas ,Wisconsin, North Carolina, Washington(WALIMA), Minnesota and North Dakota. The absentee chapter states were Atlanta, Chicago, Syracuse, Iowa, Houston ( a communication was received regarding its absence), Michigan, .
The program began with some thought-provoking talks among chapter representatives and presidents invoked by the question: what makes it easy to govern? The VP of Arizona said that governance by listening to people. She explained that this made it easy to govern and it worked best for her community.
Dr. Brima Sylla, an erudite professor and a ranking member of NAG buttressed Mr. Jabateh about disagreement. He argued that his coming to FELMAUSA convention is to enlighten people about having our own educational institution. He asked a rhetorical question about why we are not having our institution. He told the community about that there are various teaching opportunities at the institution he teaches.
Remarks on gains made in chapter States
The state of Wisconsin was reprented in session by Chairman Manyou Bility. Mr. Bility outlined challenges in Wisconsin relative to lack of interest in running the organization by community members. He made a specific reference to the just ended electoral process of WIMAM as an example. He however informed the Generl Assembly of the WIMAM community in advocacy for the community. Mr. Bility closed his remarks by urging the Federation in prioritizing youth participation in all FELMAUSA activities especially those activities leading to leadership.
The state of Minnesota was represented by the MMA Secretary, Mohammed Kenneh. In his speech, he informed the audience about the following gains: restoration of 501(c) status of MMA; acquisition of a Masjid for the community; food distribution to the community memerbs for two consecutive years; and paid over $30,000 cost of legal fees in protecting MMA.
c. Washington, WALIMA
President Abraham Bility vividly explained the challenges his community faced relative to COVID19. He informed the audience that through his community’s effort burial funds have been set aside to help community members. He praised the leadership of President Tuma Fofana for the progress made thus far. In his closing
remark, he made a passionate appeal to President Tuma Fofana in considering running for the second term in office.
President Noah Sheriff thanked the Board leadership under the stewardship of Madam Bijou Sanoh-Sesay. In his zealous remark, he informed the General Assembly that his community has produced two good kids; created employment opportunities ; acquired a center for Arabic and Quranic learning ; acquired a community center; and assisted several mosques in West Africa with fuel for power.
President Abu Sackor, in his emphatic voice, said that LIMAP has elected the first female president in the organization’s history. He asserted that this is remarkable achievement for the community. He further mentioned the administration’s efforts in assisting its members in immigration related services. In closing, in pleaded with the Federation to consider having a community center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Guest Speaker: Mr. Mohammed M. Sheriff
Bio Summary of the Guest Speaker
Mr. Mohammed Mulibah Sherif (born 16 April 1975) is an economist and project management specialist with vast working experience in the Liberian government as well as many other regional corporations. He hails from Lofa County. In his early childhood, he moved to Yekepa, Nimba County where he did his primary education at St. Francis Elementary School and subsequently at United Muslim Junior High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the Uthman Danfodio University and a master’s degree in Economic Policy and Management from the UN Institute for Economic Development and Planning in Nigeria and Senegal respectively.
Working as the Chief Economist for the Republic of Liberia, he was given the credit for coordinating several project activities that yielded dividends for implementing Liberia’s foremost development agenda - Agenda for Transformation. He successfully coordinated the actions of the Macro Fiscal Unit at the Ministry of Finance, Republic of Liberia. Mr. Sherif also provided leadership at several high-level meetings for the Government of Liberia, including the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), the spring and annual meetings of the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He traveled extensively on behalf of the Government of
Liberia at several high-level conferences/meetings, bringing financial resources to boost development in the post-conflict country.
Currently, Mr. Sheriff is the General Manager of regional transmission company TRANSCO CLSG (Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinee) based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. His vision for the future of TRANSCO CLSG is in line with the growing aspirations of the African continent. He plans to build on the successes of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and commit it to inclusive growth that boosts prosperity in the region, a support that will engender developing industries and increase employment as the route to poverty reduction.
Guest Speaker’s Speech
“August 27, 2022
Madame Board Chair,
Distinguished Chapter heads,
Friends, Families, visiting guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am indeed honored to serve as the keynote speaker for the 15th Annual Convention of FELMAUSA. When I was invited to serve as the keynote speaker, I never hesitated to accept as I do believe that this is a call to duty and a chance to give back to my community.
We are witnessing a transformation in the structure, vision, and the activities of FELMUAUSA. And we should all be proud to associate ourselves with the noble ideals championed by FELMAUSA over the years, and to contribute in whatever way possible, towards the advancement of the common goals and aspirations that bind us all together as a people. FELMAUSA's incredible role in advancing the cause of our people both at home and abroad cannot be overemphasized. We must therefore acknowledge and commend them for their tireless efforts.
When Madam President was elected, as any effective leader would do, she reached across the entire spectrum of our mandingo community both in the diaspora and back home – met with the elders, Imans, our students, etc. As a servant leader, she wanted the community to determine their needs, that way, she believed the community will take ownership. As a result of those productive engagements, the
need for a community clinic became a top priority. Why? Because many of our people are dying daily from curable diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera , etc, that
require just drip for rehydration.
Liberia is grappling with a defenseless healthcare system, a remnant of the country's decades of civil war. The bulk of the population, including folks from our community, is compelled to pay out-of-pocket upfront before accessing health care, regardless of