EFLA: Inaugural speech of new president

EFLA’s New President Francis Mensah speaks at Liberia’s Independence Day celebrations in Holland
Photo: facebook.com/ursaliana

I will firstly like for us to observe a few moments of Silence, in memory of our fallen founding members Mr. Emmanuel Lincoln , former Vice President and Mr. Germaine Verdier, former Secretary General of EFLA.

I will like to give God the glory for giving me the opportunity to see this day and giving me the strength to serve my Liberian community in Europe over the last 17 years at the local level and now internationally.

I will like to pay homage to my wife and kids for granting me the green light, to assume this position as President of EFLA , after intense consultations.

I will like at this auspicious moment to pay homage to Mr. John Nimley Brownell, former President of EFLA who ushered me into the leadership of EFLA, to serve as Secretary General in 2011 and that position which I have served diligently up to this date, under these two distinguished and fine brothers, close confidants President Kingston P. Wleh and President Mayango C. Arku respectively.

Please allow me to give you a brief history of the European Federation of Liberian Associations (EFLA).

EFLA was founded in 2005 in Antwerp, Belgium by concerned and patriotic Liberians who mostly fled their beloved homeland, as a result of the senseless civil conflict that destroyed our country. Their primary aims and vision were to unite ALL Liberians in the bailiwick of Europe, and to maintain our Liberian identity and culture, which our children born in Europe could appreciate and espouse.

Since the founding of EFLA, the organization has been challenged by operating under acute financial drought, wherein ALL of its past leaders have been personally underwriting their official travels to
represent the interest of EFLA, the costs of the organization’s initiatives in Liberia and Europe to name a few.

It’s very disheartening and discouraging for such an umbrella organization for all Liberians in Europe to be operated like this.

The personal sacrifices are very overwhelming financially and mentally. Liberians are very good at criticizing those people who volunteer their time to serve their communities without providing any financial assistance in the form of due payments, for the uplifting of their organizations.

In fact, those who don’t contribute financially for the upkeep of these organizations, are the ones who are quick to ask for financial audits and spread misinformation about their perceived financial balance of the organizations.

Under my leadership as president, I want all Liberians residing in Europe to take responsibility and purchase shares in EFLA through dues payments or whatever financial assistance; to ensure that EFLA is financially strengthened to enable us function smoothly, so that we can ably represent your concerns and adequately engage our requisite government institutions in Europe and Liberia.

Under this leadership, we will strive to €10,000 under our first year in office through project implementations in partnership with our Liberian European based NGOs.

A Project Task Force is hereby setup and headed by our former chairlady of EFLA Board of Directors, Madam Emily Erskine. Madam Erskine will constitute her team and will duly inform us about the construct of her team.

Under this leadership, a mediation committee will be setup to mediate in reconciling the Liberian community conflict in Norway and fast track ULAN’s membership into EFLA.

We will also endeavor to mediate in other communities where there are communal conflicts and bring back inactive national associations on board.

Holding government and its officials accountable for their misconduct of public resources and office.

We will constructively engage our government back home in Liberia on good governance practices, the rule of law and critiquing where it befits.

The conduct of a free and fair elections is very paramount for the sustenance of our hard earned peace. Let it be known that EFLA will not sit supinely and lightly accept any form of electioneering
chicanery. In the event of such an occurrence, we will lead a campaign for sanctions and the forestalling of financial assistance from our development partners, specifically the European Union
in Brussels. I will directly champion the efforts to make the case for the halting of aid from the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) from Sweden, a country in which I reside permanently.

Special recognition to my eldest sister Mrs. Irene Jennijue Johnson Horace who is here today, thanks for being my mother since our mother passed away, a friend, my support line and always telling me as it is when I go wrong. Madam Liana Ursa, you’re such a gem. Thanks for your selfless support to the Liberian community
which you have no direct linage. Patience Barway, thanks for your support and EFLA appreciate you. Madam Hajah Sesay, my friend and brother Mr. Barry Karmoh, Mr. David Ford (President of The
Liberian Swedish Association), Marilyn Juah Roberts, Nicholas Doe, Roland King, Mike Mueller, our Chairman of the Board of EFLA and those who have supported and continue to support EFLA’s development.

Rev. Dr. Henry Peabody is hereby officially appointed as EFLA’s representative to the United States of America.

Finally, I want to express in this public manner my thanks and appreciation to my predecessors for paving the way for this new leadership and I will be seeking your counsel along the way. To you all present here today, I (we) will not be able to succeed without your support morally and financially.

Be stakeholders in your own community activities and help it blossom. I don’t want to be called Preso or Mr. President because I’m your humble servant . I will prefer to be called Francis or Mr. Mensah.

I thank you all and may God continue to give us the fortitude to keep serving our country through our communities.

In Union Strong, Success is Assured!