Liberia Halts Appointment of Official Accused of Harassment

By Reuben Sei Waylaun

The Foreign Relations Committee of the Liberian Senate Monday, September 21, 2020, halted the confirmation hearing of Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah for the position of Foreign Minister.

Ambassador Kemayah was nominated by President George Weah as Minister of Foreign Affairs on September 3, 2020, after spending two consecutive years as Liberia’s Permanent Representative and Plenipotentiary to the United Nations.

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Immediately following his nomination by the Liberian leader, sexual harassment allegation was levied against him by Madam Whynee Cummings Wilson.

The government and other stakeholders are yet to establish any fact linking Ambassador Kemayah to the sexual harassment allegation levied against him recently by an employee of the Liberian Permanent Mission to the United Nation

Since the news of the sex allegations, some Liberians at home and abroad have called for the withdrawal of his nomination by President Weah until he is investigated properly as he will be carrying the seal of the Republic of Liberia.

However, Ambassador Kemayah appeared on Monday, September 21, 2020, and took an oath on the witness stand.

Prior to the halting of the confirmation by the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Liberian Senate, Ambassador assured Liberians of his expertise and exuberance he was bringing to the foreign service of the country.

In two years, Ambassador Kemayah outlined a series of achievements that raised Liberia’s image high at the international level.

“We served diligently in all of the sectors yielding maximum productivity. This is my third appearance before this honourable body and we are quite cognizant that this is not common. We take this nomination and the tasks very seriously. We were once confirmed by you for the position of Deputy Minister and we performed with effectiveness and efficiency,” he said.

He further said “At the UN, we embarked on a progress to add value to the image of Liberia outside there. To ensure the flag of Liberia flies higher than we met it, we overcome lots of hurdles at the UN.”

“We have come to provide support to the chief architect of the foreign service as Minister of Foreign Affairs. We have come with years of international and integrated approach, ranging from CSO, NGO, private and public sectors,” he added.

What do the Senators say?

For Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence of Grand Bassa, she commended Ambassador Kemayah for his experience, qualifications and interpersonal skills, but was quick to distance herself from the allegations levied against him.

“I voted for you on two occasions you came here. I have no doubts, because you have the experience, qualification and interpersonal skills. But this is an integrity position. I have a concern. We want these allegations against you to be investigated properly before you can go out there to represent Liberia,” she said.

At the same time, Senator Conmany Wesseh of RiverGee County said “This position is a serious business. Senators Morias and I have had experience at the Ministry. I want to thank the public for the interest that has been shown in this confirmation. The interest is correct and legitimate. It goes with special scrutiny. I supported you on two occasions. A thorough job was done and now more thorough job needs to be done.”

“Some nominations have been withdrawn and we thanked the President for listening to us. Some people went back and took their positions. I want us to do due diligence to this confirmation and we shouldn’t allow sentiment to take centre stage. We must not accuse falsely, and I stand for justice in this particular case. We will pursue justice without sentiment,” he said.

Following the two major concerns, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Liberian Senate, Senator Dan Morias adjourned the hearing by urging the nominee that he remains under oath.

As it stands, no one knows when the confirmation will restart as investigations in the allegation get underway.

Source: New Republic

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