A member of the Organization of Liberians in Minnesota has pointed out, that Minnesota Mandingoes attend OLM functions only when they have vested interest in electing someone to an OLM position.
Minerva Grant in a public statement said, Mandingoes attend OLM functions “When they want to elect someone.”
She made the statement during a question and answer period at a well attended Year in Review program held by the OLM at its headquarters on Kentucky and Brooklyn Boulevard in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
Ms. Grant singled out Mohamed Dukuly, the lone OLM Board member who is a member of the Mandingo ethnic group, as a perfect example. “See how this room is packed tonight, your need to always come, we are all Liberians” she added.
Even though the tone of her voice sounded like a friendly way of bridging the tribal divide usually seen among Liberians, it was analyzed from a different perspective by others.
Ms. Grant’s statement according to some attendees was a way of hinting the audience that the gathering was dominated by members of the Mandingo ethnic group. Their analysis is based on the fact that the incoming Acting Executive Director of OLM, Mamadee Bangali Sesay, is a Mandingo.
Minerva Grant immediately left the meeting after making the statement. Her departure from the meeting was also examined as a way of avoiding a swift response from members of the Mandingo ethnic group.
Baba Turay, a Mandingo attending the meeting, could not let go the statement without a response; he said he was sorry that Ms. Grant left the meeting.
Despite Ms. Grant’s departure from the meeting, Baba said, Mandingoes are mostly absent from OLM functions because “They fail to engage us, if you engage us, we will vote for you.”
Mr. Turay who seemed goaded by Ms. Grant’s statement also singled out Angelique Liberty, the only female OLM Board member at the meeting. “You see the lady sitting over there, I voted for her because she engaged my community president, so all you need to do is engage us”
Amara Kamara, who once failed to win a seat on the OLM Board, said “If you took all the Mandingoes out of the hall tonight, the hall would be empty.” Mr. Kamara’s statement was an indicator that Executive Director Mamadee Bangali Sesay was well supported by his community.
Whether Minerva Grant’s statement was positive or negative, the statement in itself is a wakeup call for Mandingoes to truly practice the engagement Baba Turay is preaching.
It can be recalled, that during past OLM board elections where a Mandingo candidate is vying for a board membership, Mandingoes have always come in their hundreds to support their candidates.
Besides Sita Kaba and Amara Kamara, no Mandingo candidate has failed to win an OLM board membership election.
Whatever strategies ethnic Mandingoes might have used to push their candidate forward, those strategies might have only been discovered by Martha Sanoe, and Karpe Dweyan.
They have so far enjoyed fractions of Mandingo votes that brought them to the presidency of OLM. At the time they were elected, the organization did not have the leadership structure it now enjoys.