And we ended August 2004 with energy to move on

And so everything was set for us to provide detailed briefings to our colleagues about the meeting with Kofi. This meeting was held on 15 August 2004 at Varney Kennedy’s apartment on 5601 Zealand Ave, Apt # 01, New Hope, Minnesota.

We did the briefing and the group was excited that an established political figure had sort of endorsed our idea and thought we were treading on the right path. For young progressives, this meant a lot. To get your feeling validated by someone who had been to jail in this political struggle meant a lot.

At the end of that meeting, we were energized and ready to do more. By this time, Mayango Arku, a childhood friend of mine who had been visiting the US from Holland and had attended one of our meetings returned to Europe to serve as our coordinator there. In fact, he had started receiving information that Amd. Weah had heard about our cause and indications were that he was receptive to our idea. Mayango would later encounter some issues from folks in Europe who were close friends to Amb. Weah and felt that they should head the operations of the organization in the Europe (more about that later…).

We had also brought on board Patrick Meniboon. Patrick is another thoughtful and pragmatic colleague and we were excited to have benefited from his short stay with us. He was one of the first persons to disembark the vessel (more about that later…).

Once we completed the meeting at Varney’s place, we agreed to meet on the next Sunday, 22 August 2004 at James Nyekan’s apartment at 6310 Medicine Lake Road, Apt # 322, Crystal, Minnesota. This meeting was very important in that this was the time when we elected interim officials to run the affairs of the organization for the next six (6) months. Those elected were:

  •                         Samueal D. Tweah (Chairman)
  •                         James F. Kollie (Secretary General)
  •                         Alexander M Kekula (Financial Secreatary)
  •                         James Nyekan (Membership and Recruitment)

Dtweah ran unchallenged. The young man had clearly established himself as a leader and demonstrated that he was capable and prepared to forcefully articulate the vision and aspiration of the movement. I, on the other hand, was challenged by James Nyekan for the post of Secretary General. The group believed that I had a lot more passion and desire to see this organization move forward and so they elected me.

It was at this meeting that we decided that we needed to start reaching out more and more and begin the process of competing all our organizing documents and the begin to plan the great launch of the movement in Minnesota. By this time, we had about 45 persons on our mailing list and it was growing. James Nyekan had brought in one of his colleagues, Clarence Tweh. This was another thoughtful young man who spend some time with us. In fact, Clarence even got his wife from within the movement. They connected at one of our meetings in Philadelphia.

After this meeting at Nyekan’s place, we decided again, as usual, to meet on the next Sunday, 29 August 2004 at Anthony Swaray’s apartment. At this meeting, the key item for discussion was the brochure. Norris Tweah was again at this meeting and brought some very thoughtful perspectives to the process. Norris Tweah was a keen observer of the process. We were never sure whether he was really on board but he is Dtweah’s brother and so we also felt comfortable with him and solicited his views.

Once the brochure was finalized, we agreed that we continue our fundraising efforts as well as completing our registration process with the Minnesota Secretary of State so that we can acquire an office space and open a bank account in the name of the organization.

So within the month of August we had accomplished a lot including meeting Kofi Woods; establishing contact with Amb. Weah through Patrick Cheah (deceased); electing an interim management team; increasing awareness and visibility of the Liberia National Congress in Minnesota and some other places in the US ; and creating a prototype of a website.

For a new organization that was entering “unchartered territory” and attempting to unravel the prevailing political order, August 2004 was indeed a good start.

… September became extremely interesting as this was the month we should have met Amb. Weah in Minnesota and then it turns out another group in Liberia with the same name (LNC) petitioned Amb. Weah. What do we do at that point? Do we distance ourselves or clarify that we were not the ones who petitioned Weah? I consulted with Kofi Woods on this subject for guidance and …. You want to know what Kofi said? stay tune…

Author: JAMES F. KOLLIE

I am a Liberian professional with passion for pro poor economic development and grassroot political organizing. I have read public policy, corporate finance and accounting at various levels. I have worked in government, private sector and non-profit sector.

2 thoughts on “And we ended August 2004 with energy to move on”

    1. Patrick, it has been a while. How are things at your end? Feel free to jump into the conversation with your perspectives. They were very valuable then and I still believe they are even more valuable today especially as we look back.

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