Who is Voffee Saye Jabateh and What Has He Done for Liberia?

Voffee Saye Jabateh

Recently one of Liberia’s diasporas citizens returned home to join his fellow compatriots in the just ended Voter Registration exercise in his desire to part take in the upcoming October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections.

Since his arrival on the shore of his home country Liberia, more questions than answers have been propping up as to who is this man call ‘Voffee Saye Jabateh, and what has he been over the years, and further wondered as to what gave rise for his return to his home country at this time?

After days of investigation to actually find out who this Liberian diasporas citizen is, it was finally gathered that the man in question is a Liberian citizen residing in the United States after fleeing his native land during the height of the brutal civil war which led to the demise of 250,000 innocent lives.

‘Voffee’ as he is affectionately called is a Christian who hailed from Kpain in Nimba County, Liberia, Africa’s oldest independence nation, and is also the founder and chief executive officer of the African Cultural Alliance of North America, Inc., an organization that serves clients in west and southwest Philadelphia.

As it was earlier noted, Voffee moved to the United States, specifically in Philadelphia as a result of the Liberian civil war in 1990, prior to his unceremonious departure from Liberia he served in many capacities bringing relief to his people; providing jobs to hundreds of Liberians and also severed as a breadwinner for the less-fortunate.

Prior to the establishment of ACANA in the United States, Voffee served as President of the Jabateh International Trading Corporation, Inc, and also served as President of the Liberian Association of Pennsylvania. In this capacity he advocated for improvements in the quality of life for Liberians and other Africans.

The African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA) was founded in 1999 in the United States in order to bridge the gap between the African immigrant and the American community, and was incorporated in October of the same year (1999) as a response to the overwhelming requests for help by the African refugee, asylee, and immigrant community members in dealing with the stressors associated with adjusting to their new community.

ACANA under the watchful eyes of Voffee, provides helping hands for refugee and immigrant families access health and other social benefits with a special focus on women, children, youth and the elderly in their resettlement process in Pennsylvania; mobilize African cultural artesian, performing and recording artists to create an awareness of the African Culture; promote the preservation of cultural values as well as support artists efforts to promote their own vocations in their new environment.

Human service providers and resettlement workers are increasingly aware that refugees and survivors of violence and war need increased and timely access to culturally appropriate services to help them deal with both the trauma from which they fled and the challenge of adjusting to life in the United States.

ACANA was established because of the felt need identified by the African community leaders to provide services to the larger African community. As an agency providing basic services to the African refugee, asylee and immigrant community, ACANA is in a unique position to provide needed services for the African community.

Working, living and sharing the same history with the members of the community has honed the expertise of ACANA to deliver culturally sensitive services. There exists a trust between ACANA and the members of the community that allows support and feedback to be given and received openly and therefore establishes a better basis for learning and change.

Voffee Saye Jabateh Returns Home

Mr. Voffee Jabateh being received at the Roberts International Airport

On the 14th of March, 2017, Voffee being determined to return home alone with his delegation arrived in Liberia via at Roberts International Airport via the Royal Air Maroc at the preside hour of 6:49am with dozens of his fellow citizens posted to give him a rousing welcome.

Touching the grounds of his homeland, Voffee and his advanced team few hours later proceeded to their home town, Kpain in Nimba County to register for the upcoming October 10, 2017 general and presidential elections at the local Voter Registration center of the National Elections Commission (NEC) in District #8, Kpain,  Nimba County.

Following their registration at the NEC Voter Registration center in Kpain, both visitors used their visit to tour the entire town of Kpain meeting family members and visiting gravesites of their dead relatives and friends who pass off during absence from their home town and county; Kpain and Nimba County in general.

Mr. Jabateh and Madam Gborplay were opportune to have had an acquainted meeting with dozens of their kinsmen headed by the Commissioner of Kpain, Mr. William Whenda exchanging greetings for the safe arrival of their son and daughter (Voffee and Musu).

During their hour-long stay in Kpain, both citizens also paid a visit at the residence of an elder of the town, old man Saye-Yinni  Gartei who expressed excitement of the home coming of his son and daughter after years of their stayed away from their home town.

In Ganta, the fast growing commercial city of Nimba, the delegation also paid a courtesy visit with one of the elders of the Jabateh family, Mr. Vambala Jabateh who expressed happiness for the visit of his children to the County, and prayed for their success in their journey to Liberia.

Voffee Say Jabateh Holds Talks With Nimba County Legislative Caucus

L/R: Senator Prince Johnson and Voffee Saye Jabateh during the acquaintance meeting

Following he and his delegation visit to Kpain, Nimba County immediately upon their arrival from the United States to be a part of the of the ongoing National Elections Commission (NEC) Voter Registration exercise, Mr. Voffee Saye Jabateh and his delegation on March 15, 2017 had an acquaintance meeting with members and the leadership of the Nimba County Legislative Caucus at the residence of Senator Grupee.

Today’s meeting which was held at the residence of Senator Thomas Grupee was chaired by Senator Prince Y. Johnson Chairman of the County Legislative Caucus, with several lawmakers of the County in full attendance pouring praises on the visit of their kinsmen for the United States.

Speaking earlier, the head of the US based delegation, Andrus Wongan noted with seriousness the level of hard work and commitment being made over the years by Liberians in the diasporas for the sustenance of lasting peace in Liberia, making specific reference of Mr. Voffee Saye Jabateh who he described as one of those Liberians in the United States bringing glory to their home Country, Liberia.

For his part, Mr. Voffee Jabateh expressed thanks and appreciation to the members and leadership of the County Legislative Caucus for making themselves available to his delegation, and also called for more meetings with them while they are in the Country. Voffee Jabateh’s six-man delegation included Andrus Wongan, J. Emmanuel Williams and others

The Chairman of the legislative caucus, Senator Prince Y. Johnson thanked the delegation for its visit to Liberia, and assured the delegation of his caucus’ support while in the Country.

In a related development, Mr. Voffee Jabateh and his delegation are expected to pay a courtesy call on the Vice President of Liberia, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai who is also the standard bearer of the ruling Unity Party (UP) on tomorrow, Thursday, March 16, 2017 at Capitol Building office on Capitol Hill.

Meeting With Vice President Joseph N. Boakai

L/R: VP Boakai and Mr. Jabateh during the acquaintance meeting

On March 16, 2017, the visiting US based Liberian delegation in the Country following series of acquaintance meetings with stakeholders, including the Nimba County Legislative Caucus, and making use of the voter registration exercise, on  March 16, 2017 paid a  courtesy call on Liberian Vice President and Standard Bearer of the ruling Unity Party (UP), Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai at his Capitol Hill office.

The delegation headed by Mr. Voffee Saye Jabateh and his 6-man team were greatly opportune to share greetings with the Liberian Vice President, while a moment later, a closed door discussion between the head of the delegation (Jabateh) and Vice President Boakai was later held in the office of the Vice President.

Voffee Saye, A Liberian Citizen

L/R: Voffee Jabateh in a chat with Anthony Kesselly

Nothing is like home, in this drive, Voffee Saye Jabateh has made up his mind to return home and contribute his professional quota to the growth and development of his birth country; just like he has done in the United States melting lives of Liberians and other nationalities in that great Country, the United States of America.

What should be considered by all well meaning Liberians is what their Country’s citizens can do to holistically help in its developmental drive, and bring Last sanity to a country once ravaged by bloody civil war, and threw its largest population to foreign lands.

Liberian must learn to throw behind them hatred that once divided them, and embrace unity and the nationalistic value that will help to bring about unity and development.

Writes: Joel C. Brooks

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About Cholo Brooks 3671 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL), including several other international organizations of journalists.