The newly elected leaders of the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRC) have vowed to rebuild the image of the society, tarnished during the administration of Emmanuel Kparh and Fayia Tamba as president and secretary general, respectively, due to reported financial malpractices.
Mr. Jerome Clarke and four others were elected to steer the affairs of the organization for the next four years during the LNRCS’ 48th General Assembly over the weekend.
“We all know that our beloved institution was brought to its knees with that corruption scandal, but we will do our best to live up to the trust reposed in us at this conference,” he said.
He assured partners, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) that the new leadership will strive to live up to their expectation.
Others elected were Florence Nepay, First vice president; D. Mongar Grigsby, 2nd vice president; Joseph Nagbe, 3rd vice president; Arthur Glikley, treasurer and Zoway Zubah, youth representative.
The secretary general will be recruited through a subsequent competitive process.
Clarke said as a result of that scandal, the partners believe their trust has been trampled upon, their resources depleted, not for the intended purposes, and their confidence broken.
This situation erupted after LNRCS had received praise for its role in the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak. Beneath those success stories, however, was a disgraceful corruption scandal that evoked immediate action from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Clarke pledged the commitment of the new leadership to make amends. “We will do our best,” he said.
Before the elections, the ICRC head of delegation, Julien Lerisson, said that the need for a trustworthy leadership at the LNRCS is crucial. He called on people who were aspiring to head the institution to be more honest and sincere about helping humanity.
“What the past leaders did drove most of the national society’s partners out of the country and as such should not be repeated. We want to call you who are going to head this noble and vibrant institution to be more honest and sincere about helping humanity,” he said.
“We want a new leadership that will show honesty and sincerity. With the actions of the past leadership, the institution is broke or in other words now suffers bankruptcy,” said LNRCS Interim head, Joseph Muyambo.
The previous leadership under Theresa Leigh Sherman was also accused of corruption, which prompted key partners to cast a vote of ‘no confidence’ in that administration, which led to its removal.
The Kparh and Tamba leadership was ushered in to bring about change, but unfortunately, they found themselves facing and succumbing to similar temptations, and had to be booted out by President Sirleaf.
The LNRCS is an affiliate of the IFRC, and like many of the other partners, has since suspended its funding to the national branch.