Liberia: ‘Late Paramount Chief Taylor, a Leader, Reconciler’

The late Paramount Chief Momo Taylor



.... Mourners bid farewell to Paramount Chief Momoh Saa Taylor

Early this week, Luan-Korllie clans, a joint section of the three Kissi partitions of Foya Statutory District, Lofa County, lost a leader who many said was vested in the business of reconciling people.

Mourners at the funeral rites of Paramount Chief (PC) Momoh Saa Taylor were seen pondering in disbelief that their caring traditional leader is no more and that they are left wondering as to who will fill such respected shoes and lead them. 

Who will ensure there continues to be peace and harmony among the people of Foya and neighboring chiefdoms?  Momoh Saa Taylor died early October 3, following a period of protracted illness, and as a Muslim, he was interred the following day at the Muslim burial site in Foya.

D. Tamba Flomo: Clerk to the deceased 

D. Tamba Flomo served Taylor as his clerk since 2005 and he expressed a deep sense of loss and regret on the passing of his boss.

“I started work with the late Paramount Chief as of the end of October 2005 and I remained his trusted foot-soldier until his passing. He was a man of the people. He represented the Kissi people very well and he managed his father’s position very well, too. I knew him to be a very good citizen who cared and lived the life of a true leader,” Flomo said.

The long serving secretary and record keeper of the deceased Paramount Chief hailed from Korluma Town, a small settlement just a stone’s throw away from Shelloe Town, the original home of the late legendary Paramount Chief Tamba Lamie Taylor’s family. 

“He was nurtured by his father to lead. He grew up with similar wisdom as his father’s. No formal education as it was in the case of his father but he, too, had so much at his disposal that well-schooled men and women came to him for advice on many occasions.”

Taylor was one of the first sons of the late Lamie Taylor, a traditional leader who, on the basis of his wisdom and the ability to reconcile people, became a member of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU) in the 1990s.

The formation of the IGNU was a means of sorting out ideas to end the brutal civil conflict that claimed the lives of nearly three hundred thousand people and destroyed properties — a tragic experience Liberia is still struggling to recover from and rebuild, even as the country approaches two hundred years of independence. 

Lamie Taylor was born on September 29, 1898 and died in 2000. Upon his passing, his son, Taylor (now deceased) became the choice of the people of Foya to lead them — a role he accepted and served in until his death.

“Not because he was my boss and that we were close, but the truth is that he served with compassion, love and humility. He never put money first whenever there was a case before him.”

 “He was always concerned about peace and unity. He was not desperate and he advised me and many others to be content with little things in order to not be tempted into stealing from the poor and getting undeserved favors from the rich,” Flomo told the Daily Observer.

According to him, the late Taylor began having multiple health issues as of 2019, but recovered each time he received proper medical care.

“I am not a medical person. I don’t have all of the details, but what I can say is that my boss struggled most times with his breath,” he said. “He did not suffer from asthma but he always complained of his heart beating faster than it should.”

 Some time later he was checked and medical results showed that he suffered from high blood pressure. At another point in time, another result showed that his blood pressure was low. So he has been on and off like that.”

While in Ghana,  Taylor visited the Ghana University Hospital and received more advanced medical care. Yet, his condition deteriorated after a few weeks upon his return and he died at his home in Shelloe.  Dr. John T. Yarkpawolo, the resident medical director of the Foya Borma Hospital, had confirmed the death of Taylor.

At his Islamic burial ceremony, Rep. Thomas Fallah said Foya has lost a hero who had no boundaries in seeking peace and harmony for his people and others nearby.

“Today is a sad moment for all of us. He stood for a cause. He believed in his people. He was a visionary leader. His quest was always to see a reconciled Lofa, where all tribes should always be united, even in the midst of difficulties or disagreements. He always smiled and we will miss him,” Fallah told the Liberia National Television (LNTV) online live in Foya.

The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) lawmaker said that the life Taylor lived should be a reference point for people in Lofa to unite, even if they do not share the same political ideologies.

 “We are not forced to support the same political agenda but we will make so many gains if we respect each other and express our freedoms as provided for by law,” he said. 

Fallah, concluded that President George Weah is also mourning the passing of Paramount Chief.

Ishmael Kromah, Carter Center’s coordinator in Lofa also told LNTV online live that Taylor’s death is a blow to not only the Kissi people of Foya, but many others who came in contact with him. 

“Momoh was a living example. People always praised him.  He was a unifier. He always organized his chiefs each time we came to his area. He always settled differences between Muslims and Christians. He helped us in our work in Foya. He will be remembered by all of us,” Kromah said.

Representative Francis Nyumalin of Foya District #1 and Tamba Kamba, Superintendent of Lofa County, led an array of mourners through the principal streets of Foya and expressed gratitude for the services Taylor rendered while he was alive.

There were also mourners from Guinea and Sierra Leone who came to appreciate the good leadership Taylor demonstrated while he was alive, serving not only the people of his chiefdom but also Koindu (Sierra Leone) and Gueckedou (Guinea).

A septuagenarian, CTaylor had six wives, two of whom predeceased him. According to relatives of the deceased, the Paramount Chief is survived by 27 children, while five others predeceased him.