First ‘Native’ Foreign Minister Reburied in Hometown

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The late Momolu.jpg

The remains of Liberia’s first indigenous Secretary of State, now known as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Momolu Dukuly, have been reburied a few months after his daughter exhumed the body from the Palm Grove Cemetery in Monrovia.

The reburial took place on Friday, March 25, in Billimah Community near the Freeport of Monrovia, the place he had said he wanted to be buried, one of his daughters, Bendu Dukuly told reporters.

Madam Dukuly exhumed the body of her father when his tomb at the Palm Grove Cemetery on Gurley Street was desecrated by unknown individuals.

Momolu Dukuly was a diplomat and a politician. He was born on June 10, 1903 and died on November 10, 1980, immediately after he returned from the United States.

He was appointed by President Williams V.S. Tubman as Liberia first native Secretary of State from 1954 to 1960 replacing Gabriel Lafayette Dennis.

He addressed the first meeting of Representatives of Members of the United Nations held in the Opera House, San Francisco, in 1955.

“My dad once told me that when President Tubman decided to appoint him as the first native Secretary of State almost forty years ago,” she said, “President Tubman told him that if anyone deserved the position he was the one because he had the experience.”

Madam Dukuly said, her dad told her that, “Tubman, however, told him that the problem was his religion. Momolu was a Muslim.”

“My dad said that this was the opportunity in his lifetime not only for him but also for the segment of the population, natives, and especially those of Mandingo descent.”

“The next day, my father, the young Muslim scholar, gave up his mat in the mosque for a bench in the Christian church and became the Secretary of State,” she stated.

“Though, my dad abandoned the Muslim faith he was always in the other corner using his mat to pray,” Bendu Dukuly stated.

“Dad mentored several indigenous Liberians some of whom are serving in high positions of trust and some have served in previous posts,” she said.

“Dad was a type of man who frowned on discrimination, especially on religious lines. He saw every Liberian as equal and wanted them to be educated. That was one of his major dreams,” Madam Dukuly recollected.

“He was a simple man and not a greedy person and he always told us to do well and respect other people,” Madam Dukuly said in tears. “Besides being a diplomat he was a successful businessman who contributed to the economic development of our country.”

She advised Liberians to avoid divisive politics, making reference to the ongoing debate as to whether Liberia should remain secular or be declared a Christian State.

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