Liberia: Kemayah Confirmation Backfires

(file photo).
22 September 2020

-women group demands investigation

Barley days after President George Manneh Weah declared rape as a national emergency, an advocacy group, Women Rights Platform for Justice has protested at the Capitol, demanding a halt to confirmation hearing for Foreign Minister- designate, Ambassador Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah.

Ambassador Kemayah, also former Permanent Representative to the United Nations, faces a sexual harassment allegation here from an ex-female staff, while serving at Liberia's Permanent Mission to New York.

"We call for a halt to all confirmation hearing for Ambassador Dee Maxwell Kemayah, until the Foreign Ministry investigation is conducted, and a legal redress and response to accusation made against Ms. Wynee Commings Wilson by lawyers of Amb. Kemayah," the women group demands.

President George Manneh Weah nominated Amb. Kemayah as Minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing Gbehzongar Milton Findley, who resigned the post to contest the December 8 senatorial election in Grand Bassa County.

Reading a short statement on the grounds of the Capitol on Monday, a representative of the Women Rights Platform for Justice, Ms. Aretha K. Togbah called on the Government of Liberia to conduct thorough investigation into the rape allegation involving the Foreign Minister-designate before proceeding with his confirmation.

"We reject and stand against any action that rewards an accuse perpetrator of SGBV, dismiss claims and punish the accuser before appropriate process".

She said sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse must end at various places of work, including public and private places, adding that such act by perpetrator silence women's voices, so it must not be tolerated in society.

For her part, Lead Campaigner Una Kumba Thompson said, their gathering at the Capitol is to seek the Senate's attention to halt Kemayah's confirmation hearing which was scheduled Monday, 21 September, pending full investigation into rape allegation surrounding him.

"We have come here to say every rape or SGBV allegation warrants immediate judicial fair actions with steps for appropriate punitive deterrent, and healing measures;We strongly believe in the wisdom of the Liberian Senate that they will do justice by listening to us, because prior to this gathering, we dispatched series of communications to the Senate Committee on Justice and Governance, through its head, Senator Dan Morais, including the Foreign Ministry and Gender Ministry to ensure a halt for proper investigation", insists Madam Thompson.

The ground of the Capitol turned noisy yesterday with pro and anti-groupings with one displaying placards with inscription: "Welcome Back", "Thank you for your Service" including supporters of Amb. Dee Maxwell Kamayah, who had gone to extol him, for his services to the country while serving as Permanent Representative to the U.N.

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