LNOC Executives Must Not Ignore LNHA’s Claim

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It was the late President Samuel Kanyon Doe who reechoed the well-known wise Liberian saying that a trap that is set in town, may not be for rats alone. You get the meaning?

At the time, his enemies were scheming to overthrow him; and instead of supporting his position, those that used to adore him cheered for his enemies, and in a large demonstration told him to step down.

In their own words, they sang, “monkey come down.” But what was really the point?

It was about how and who to govern Liberia. This brief introduction to events that led Liberia’s descent to anarchy is happening in several organizations, notably in the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL), and the Liberia National Olympic Committee being accused of ‘meddling’ in the affairs of the Liberia National Handball Association (LNHA).

While some efforts are being made to handle the SWAL leadership crisis (though Inquirer’s Managing Editor Phillip N. Wesseh’s attempt was ignored by the opposing group last weekend), this write up is about the silence that surrounds handball president Mason Saweler’s claim that the LNOC, under President Phillibert Brown, has outlived its usefulness and therefore there should be a new leadership.

Saweler has issued a catalogue of issues against the current administration and added that for 12 years the LNOC has not had a credible election, and the last he could remember was held in Mr. Brown’s bedroom. Though Saweler did not raise any issue after that election, he has launched a campaign for change in the LNOC when President Brown issued a belated statement declaring LNHA elections not free and fair. The funny thing is that the election in question took place six months after the LNOC’s statement.

And Saweler has shown no signs of backing down. The LNOC, planning for 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil recently made a budget for US$151,000. Though the Ministry of Finance has rejected the budget claiming there is no money, as well as the recent Zika virus epidemic in Brazil, the real reason could be that the LNOC has not been able to show over the last 12 years that it can prove anything by participating in the Olympic Games to justify such a colossal amount against the backdrop of hard economic realities in Liberia.

LNOC VP for technical affairs Malcolm Joseph has described the Brazil Olympics as ‘Political Olympics’ to indicate that all nations must be there just for the name, which is not enough reason for Liberia, if even the government can afford the money, to go to the Olympics.

What has been the drawback to the LNOC’s argument is its failure to develop any of the sporting codes that are admitted at the Olympic Games to develop athletes worthy of their name to be able to represent Liberia abroad.

It is sad that an LNOC official told Youth & Sports Minister Charles N’tow recently at a single building described without shame as ‘Olympic Village’ that Liberia will depend on athletes abroad for the Brazil Olympic Games.

It is also regrettable that in 2012, the LNOC approved the selection of a ‘money changer’ whose presence was as hopeless as his selection to the London Olympics Games under Brown’s administration. Today, Liberian boxing is dead, while many great boxers from around the world made remarkable success at the Olympic Games.

It is therefore important that the Executive Committee of the LNOC, which comprises presidents of all sports federations and associations, get their act together to demonstrate responsible leadership as members of the LNOC so that decisions by the LNOC are done with everyone’s input, for the benefit of all.

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