ALJA Leadership Crumbles -As Officials Chase Jobs In Liberia

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The Association Of Liberian Journalists in The Americas (ALJA), may be in leadership vacuum as key officials are chasing jobs in the Unity Party- led government. The organization has been in recent years deemed the most critical Diaspora Liberian voice based on its critical stance on national issues during the administrations of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and George Mannah Weah, it may have fallen asleep since the inception of the Joseph N. Boakai’s government. Months ago, the National Vice President of ALJA, KaiyaTu V. Conteh, announced her resignation, after her nomination as Deputy Minister for Cultural and Tourism at the Ministry of Information by President Boakai.  However, the National President of ALJA, Pewee K. Baysah, surprisingly to many members on Sunday, May 12, announced that he will be stepping down from his position. The shocking pronouncement was made during an emergency teleconference.  Mr. Baysah informed members during the meeting that he has accepted a position at the National Port Authority (NPA); as such, he will be stepping down on 30th May. According to a source closed to the Association, while members congratulated Mr. Baysah on his preferment, they equally expressed disappointment in him and other leaders who have in recent times used the organization as “a springboard to getting government jobs.”  In justification, the source said Mr.  Baysah boasted of his double master degrees and his qualification to work in any position in Liberia, a statement which took the teleconference into disarray.  Constitutional Violation: The Constitution of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) calls for the appointment of a new Vice President within 30 days of resignation, but the National President failed to appoint a Vice President since the resignation of Mrs. Conteh months ago.  Members during the meeting reportedly struggled to interpret the constitution as to who takes charge of the Association in the wake of the double resignations, thereby making one member (not named) threatening to take the Association to court if nothing is done to settle the leadership crisis promptly. Some are pushing for the Board of ALJA to take charge, until by- elections are held, but the inside source said there are reports that the current Board Chair, Seboe Maparyan, has been tipped for another government position.  Meanwhile, fingers have been pointed at Information Minister Jerolinmek Matthew Piah as being behind the dismantling and weakening of the ALJA’s leadership, as he still remains active in all of the Association’s chat rooms, despite not living in the United States.

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