Political Crisis Engulfs FEPAY

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Recognized as the killer of youth groups and other associations, a political crisis, which sometimes comes as a result of greed and manipulation by big hands (top politicians), is currently ripping apart the Federation of Paynesville Youth (FEPAY), a vibrant organization recently established in Paynesville City.

The political indifference in the organization reached a boiling point yesterday when a majority of members of the Executive Committee (EC) expelled FEPAY president Onisemus James who, according to them, continues to blatantly violate the laws of the organization, by pretending to own FEPAY, though he serves at the will and pleasure of his colleagues.

The decision to expel James was endorsed by 15 of the organization’s 21 EC members. A ten-count resolution read by FEPAY’s Secretary General (SG) James C. Dennis, Jr. announcing the expulsion, said the majority of EC members finally came out with the decision after thorough consultations with stakeholders, both within the municipality and state.

The resolution said having had wide-ranging consultations, caused by “the exhaustion of our patience by the unwholesome acts of Mr. James, as well as in conformity with our constitution,” the majority EC members of FEPAY had affixed their signatures to the resolution to have
James expelled from their organization.

Among other things, James is accused of violating FEPAY’s constitution by aligning himself with a political party—being the chairman of the Charles Walker Brumskine Youth Movement. “The president, being the foremost senior executive member of the organization, lacks vision, direction, ownership and commitment to FEPAY,” the resolution read.

The majority EC members said they won’t sit and allow FEPAY, an infant organization established as a result of numerous consultations with many stakeholders within the city municipality, to be seen as a political auxiliary group—a move that contravenes the constitution of the organization.

The federation, according to its policy documents, calls for support from all prominent Liberians, public corporations, academic institutions, as well as residents of the city to expand its agenda and cannot therefore identify with a single political organization. Its executive committee members are therefore not to play active roles in any political establishment.

Article 3 section 1.3 of the organization’s constitution states that members of the EC are not to play active political role(s) in national politics, “not even holding political party or auxiliary positions.” This is meant to present FEPAY as an independent youth organization and to keep its image and integrity intact, the SG said.

The majority EC members accused Mr. James of violating the financial management policy of the organization, by allegedly receiving and expending funds without the knowledge of the secretariat and other members of the EC. “We are also taking this decision because of the unwillingness of Mr. James to turn over copies of legal documents of the organization, such as articles of incorporation, bankbook to the secretariat. James has also abandoned EC meetings for close to three months now without prior notice and these actions contravene our laws.”

Dennis added, “In an event that any EC member or group of EC members fall into such acts, the punishment should be expulsion by a simple majority of the EC members, and this is what we have done.”

James has been asked to turn over all the FEPAY’s documents in his possession. “His failure to do this will leave us with no other alternative but to take him to court to face the laws of the land,” the SG said.

Also expelled is the Assistant Secretary for Press and Propaganda, Dean S. Tuolee, who is also being accused of being a collaborator of the axed president.

FEPAY’s political crisis started because James, without consultation with other Executive Committee members, decided to suspend three top members of the organization. Those he suspended include the two vice presidents and the secretary general. With this latest action by
FEPAY, it remains to be seen who emerges as the legitimate head of the organization is.

Paynesville being the nation’s largest municipality in terms of population and land space, FEPAY—many thought—would have become a microcosm of youth development in the municipality. But the eruption of this leadership crisis appears to have placed the future of this once vibrant youth group in limbo; like the national ones before it such as the LINSU and the Federation of Liberia Youth, which could be considered as parent organizations.

FEPAY is just the latest youth group to be embroiled in a leadership crisis of late, signifying that another major and decent vision is slowing being led to the grave.

According to FEPAY’s constitution, the vice president for administration, Vegter P. McGee, assumes the presidency and all rights and privileges that come with the office.

When contacted, the expelled president said he will reply in due course, but insists that he remains the legitimate head of FEPAY.

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