Liberia: Foreign Minister-Designate Re-Appears for Confirmation Hearing - Says Allegation Against Him Is a 'Takedown Campaign'

(file photo).

Monrovia — Mr. Dee Maxwell Kemayah, Liberia's Foreign Minister-designate, faced the Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee for the second time last Friday for confirmation in the wake of allegation of sexual harassment against him by an employee of Liberia's Mission to the United Nations.

Amb. Kemayah who served as Liberia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations was accused of sexual harassment by a Liberian staff of the mission in New York immediately after his nomination for the new post was announced.

During his second appearance before the Senate Committee, Mr. Kemayah termed the allegation of sexual harassment against him as a "takedown campaign" that was planned against him even before his nomination as Minister of Foreign Affairs designate.

Kemayah: "I don't fear that my integrity is being questioned. What I fear is that, it is a sad day for our country. This is a takedown campaign. We are aware that globally there are false allegations that has come against world leaders. This is a smear campaign before even my nomination when it was speculated that I would be preferred for the position of foreign minister.

"It is not about my integrity. My integrity remains respected even at the UN. We are one of the champions on women's issue at the UN. There is awareness at the UN that these things occurred for political reasons."

When Amb. Kemayah first faced the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, Senator Dan Morais, (Maryland County-IND) chairman of Committee called off confirmation proceeding for until the allegation of sexual harassment against him is looked into.

At the resumption of the hearing, Sen. Morais said: "The Committee acknowledges receipt of a letter from the civil society, we also acknowledge receipt of a letter addressed to the Senate Pro-Tempore from the women's rights platform and we are also in possession of a carbon copy letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."

"The Committee chair has given opportunity to people in direct contact with the accuser and would want to represent her directly or indirectly to come forward but must come along with a sworn affidavit and authorization to represent."

He also informed Committee members and the gathering that he has written the Deputy Foreign Minister to respond to the letter of complaint sent to the Ministry since it involves two of its employees.

Sen. Morais added: "While the secretary of the Senate is yet to receive a direct representative from the accuser other than an email and because of the sophistication of the cyber space, it will take us some time. Those in direct connection with the accuser and would want to represent her directly or indirectly can get in contact with the Senate secretariat but must come along with a sworn affidavit and authorization to represent.

"We have also received a letter from Mrs. Kemayah, the wife of the accused. It is important to inform you that we have all these information and communication and we will treat them with the necessary attention it due."

Even though the government and other stakeholders are yet to establish any fact linking Ambassador Kemayah to the sexual harassment allegation leveled against him by Whynee Cummings Wilson, the lady herself has challenged the Ambassador to a lie-detector test.

A lie-detector test, also known as a polygraph test, records the body's involuntary responses to an examiner's questions in order to ascertain deceptive behavior. The test measures physiological data from three or more systems of the human body-generally the respiratory, cardiovascular, and sweat gland systems-but not the voice. There are other tests that test the voice for deception.

However, Ambassador Kemayah's lawyers have responded to the Wilson's allegation by describing it as a trick to demoralize his reputation for her "devilish" goal.

In a communication regarding the allegation, the legal team of Kemayah questioned the credibility of Wilson's allegation and wondered how a person expressing emotional regrets over such a grave act can wait after several months to come out at a time people are talking about rape. "Didn't she know that from the beginning?" The legal team wondered.

Amb. Kemayah's legal team has also catalogued his achievements that came with moral conduct in the public space, where it said he had led several organizations including the famous Liberian Business Association (LIBA) and several sport clubs that he was not named in any ethical misconduct.

The report of Ambassador Kemayah's involvement in sexual harassment comes at the time when President Weah has declared rape as a national emergency and launched a roadmap to address the issue of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).

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