Tearful President Weah Bids Rep. Youngblood Final Goodbye

Saturday, 8th August 2020

Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

(Monrovia, Liberia): Since July 8 this year when it was announced that District Number#9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood passed away in Ghana, President George Manneh Weah has not been short of fond memories and hypnotizing words and phrases in her honor, not only depicting strong bond of cultural, professional and political relationships he had had with lawmaker but also his adoring affection for her. 


Less than 24 hours when the sad news of Representative Youngblood hit Liberia, the President was under the hail of morning rains driving to the family home of the lawmaker, where he consoled the throngs of family members and sympathizers he had met upon arrival, leaving a detailed account of his relationship with, and admiration of, her.  


Then when the deceased was flown into the country, the Liberian Leader was one of the very first few groups of mourners at the Roberts International Airport to receive the body of the lawmaker, before the airport later in hours got submerged into seas of relatives and friends. There, the President saluted the coffin bearing the mortal remains of the lawmaker, reflected on his interactions with her and praised her for her gallantry and commitment to the political revolution that brought the Coalition for Democratic Change government to power.


On Thursday, August 7, the President, visibly tears-choked, mustered the courage to tell hundreds of mourners who had gathered at the Rotunda of the Capitol Building for the lawmaker’s state funeral about the critical role she played and how his government and the country would miss a diligent, meek and forceful public servant and stateswoman.


Then finally on Friday, August 8, 2020, the Liberian Leader summed up his eulogies in honor of the Montserrado lawmaker in a moving, poetic tribute delivered at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex while thousands of Liberians and other residents of Monrovia congregated to give her their final respect.


“Munah! Munah Pelham!! Munah Pelham-Youngblood!!! My daughter.  My friend. My confidant.  My striker.  My only Number 9.   CDC Baby!   Sheroe!” the President exclaimed in grief, having forewarned the audience seconds ago that he might not control his tears on this occasion.


“One of our best players! On occasions such as this one, when we gathered on a national stage, I was always introduced by you, Munah.  So, it is a sad day for me today, to come and speak and not be introduced by you.”


Visibly groggy with grief, he forewarned: “Please allow me to excuse myself, as I speak to you today over the mortal remains of my dear daughter.  I am your President, but today I speak as a grieving father.  My conduct today may not be what you expect, because I am overwhelmed with sadness at my irreplaceable loss.  My emotions are in control of me right now.  I may weep, but then I may not.  Please forgive me if I do.”


Then he continued: “The cold hands of death have snatched you away from us. She was always a strong and courageous fighter, and she fought with all her strength. But as strong as she was, our Creator, the Almighty, decided to call her from labor to rest. Now that she has gone to the great beyond, we are assured that she is in the bosom of the God that she loved and served.”


Still emotionally driven, the Liberian Leader lamented: “Munah, my Daughter, my Striker, my Sheroe, my CDC Representative, God endowed you with unusual qualities, skills and virtues that would enable you, in your brief sojourn on this earth, to have an indelible impact on the lives of all those who crossed your path, from the young to the old, from rich to the poor, from the healthy to the sick, and from the hungry to the fed.”


“My 18-yard striker! My dependable #9! Gbaku! Mannehaju! The good that you did will NOT be buried with your bones, but will live on forever in the lives that you touched and changed and made better,” President Weah said before maturing his temper with some words of consolation for the deceased’s mother and close relatives.


“Sarkpah, Family, Friends, and Well-wishers, I believe that no one dies before their time. So God, in his wisdom, has decided to call Munah home at this time; and we cannot question God. Instead, we must thank Him for Munah’s life, and for sharing her with us.”


He said Munah Evangeline Pelham-Youngblood was an outspoken and frank person, courageous, determined, and fearless. She never backed down from anyone who would try to take advantage of her.


“She was a beautiful woman, and that beauty was acknowledged and recognized in her pre-political career as a beauty queen and runway model. She was self-confident, and had her own unique sense of style and swag,” the President, recalling that her personality was characterized by intelligence, diligence, and eloquence. She was persistent, consistent, resilient, and resistant to defeat.


“But, over and above her beauty, Munah was an astute and articulate political trailblazer, and displayed an amazing talent as a generational leader at a very early age, becoming the youngest female from CDC to be elected to the Liberian Legislature when she was only twenty-seven (27) years old,” the President said further. “In the ten (10) years that she served her constituents of Montserrado County District 9 and the people of Liberia in that august body, she left a lasting legacy of leadership.”


The President said when he played for the Liberia National team, Munah’s late father, Col. Walter Maxwell Pelham Sr., served as his team’s coach and he took care of all of us and that Munah was always around him when he lived on 9th street in Sinkor and was blessed to have her livewith me briefly in his home after her father died.


“And that is why I am forever grateful to Sarkpah, her dear mother, for entrusting Munah to my care,” he further recalled. “She was my daughter and she considered me as her father. We had the best relationship ever. I was a good deputy parent for her, and she received the same level of discipline that I gave to all my children, without exception.”


The Chief Executive said the fallen CDC lawmaker was willing to take up any new challenge that he would place before her, whether it was to enter politics or to learn to play basketball.


“For example, because of her height, I suggested that she should learn to play basketball, which she had never played before.  So she went to the basketball court and applied herself diligently to raise her game,” he recollected. “So one day I returned to Liberia for a visit, and she excitedly asked me to come and watch her team, the K-Delta, play.  And so I did.  At some point during the game, she had an opportunity to make a run down the court, and when she got to the basket, she tried to dunk the ball.  And with all that height, she missed it.  She turned and looked at me anxiously, and I looked at her and smiled.


“After the game, she came to me and asked me what I thought about her playing.  I told her that she did well.  Then she told me: ‘You really know how to laugh at people.  All the way I made so many mistakes during the game, you still tell me that I did well’. And I told her that I was sincere about that compliment, because she had done well to rise to the challenge I had placed before her, and that if she continued to apply herself in that way, one day she would become a good player.  Munah listened, and applied effort, and became a good player. Solomon George, who was her coach of the K-Delta female basketball team, can attest to that. That was the same attitude that she took to politics, and to everything else that she did in her brief life.”


He continued: “Let me share another Munah story with you: Munah was also very bold.  She could even intimidate people sometimes, because she was so outspoken.  If you were lazy, you would get strong.  She did not bow down for anyone, nor back down from anything. For example, during her campaign for the Montserrado County District 9 seat, I accompanied her to an area where the opposing candidate had blocked the road.  My supporters wanted to call the police.  In the interest of peace, I decided to turn around and go back. But Munah would not allow it.  She said to me, in a soft tone: ‘Excuse me, Mr. Standard Bearer.  This man will not intimidate me.  This is my ground.   This is my 18-yard box.  I am a striker.  I am THE number 9.  So if that man doesn’t move from the road, I will teach him a lesson.  I must pass here.  So please get out of my way.’ I said Chey, Munah!  Enh your hear the woman.  Your please get out of her way.’  And they did, and we passed.”


“That was MY Munah,” the President yelled at the top of his grief-struck voice. “She was a true Sheroe of her time, and was acknowledged as such by her peers and all who knew her.  Her life was short, but meaningful. We will miss you Munah!”