Nimba Citizens in US Reject Claim of Push for Running Mate

Nimba citizens based in the United States have rejected claims that they have recommended Voffee Saye Jabateh to be a possible running mate or vice presidential candidate to Unity Party’s Standard Bearer, Joseph Boakai.

The clarification followed a Feb. 17 FrontPage Africa publication claiming that Jabateh had been recommended as Boakai’s VP by the US-based Nimbaians.

According to the news report, an eight-member delegation met with Boakai at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. and presented a petition recommending Jabateh, the current CEO of the African Cultural Alliance of North America, to be considered as a possible running mate in the upcoming October elections.

According to the report, the former president of the United Nimba Citizens Council, Andrew Wongeh, who also presented the petition on behalf of the delegation, led the delegation.

Musa V. Trawally, a member of the delegation, read the recommendations.

UNICCO National Chairman for Board of Directors, Nathan W. Biah, Sr. Photo: UNICCO

UNICCO National Chairman for Board of Directors, Nathan W. Biah, Sr. Photo: UNICCO

“We request that you kindly accept on behalf of the citizens of Nimba County and other prominent Liberians, residing here in the United States of America, and in the Republic of Liberia, to recommend to you, our son, Mr. Voffee Saye Jabateh, who was born in Kpain Town, Nimba County, for a possible vice presidential running mate in the upcoming presidential and general elections,” the petition read.

The US-based Nimba citizens’ organization has distanced itself from the petition.

A release signed by UNICCO’s national chairman for the Board of Directors, Nathan W. Biah, Sr., said Wongeh’s statement was misleading and unauthorized.

“Wongeh has no legal authority to make any statement as a former president of UNICCO, or to write on behalf of the citizens of Nimba County in the diaspora or in particular, the United States of America,” the release read.  “According to our approved and adopted Constitution of UNICCO of 2011, the President of UNICCO, in this case, Mr. Nya A. Dokie, is the only duly qualified official spokesperson of our organization as well as Mr. Nathan Biah, National Chairman of the Board of Directors.”

The release said there is no provision in the organization’s constitution that empowers its past leaders to make such representations or statements. It added that the statement from its former president is fake and misleading.

Additionally, it said that UNICCO’s status as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in the US meant the organization could not endorse political candidates.

“As citizens of Nimba County, one is free to make political endorsements or statements if they so desire.  However, in making these statements one should be careful to not impersonate a UNICCO representative. Anyone impersonating as a UNICCO representative will be prosecuted,” it concluded.

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is currently a senior student at the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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