Cameroon Ambassador to Liberia Beng’yela A. Gang has called on the family of the late Liberian Ambassador Carlton Alexwyn Karpeh to strive with enormous dignity to accept the void created by his death since February 28, 2017, calling Karpeh “a man who was sturdy, a protector and guide.”
Paying a tribute at Ambassador Karpeh’s funeral, Ambassador Gang entreated his family, despite their grief, to take heart and to especially remember that his bowing out of the stage of life is but a clarion call, adding: “It is a call for you to seize the glowing mantle of his positive achievements and to ensure that his light is never snuffed out by the storms of adversity or family divergence.”
He told the family and other mourners, including government officials, and those he mentioned by name, among them “Louise, Martin, Versia, the Rev Foday, Ma Mary, Ambassador Tuan Karpeh, Honorable Edwin Snowe,” that Ambassador Karpeh prepared them well for his departure.
Ambassador Gang reminded family members and others that from certain perspectives, “today’s dirges also contain some strands of hope and celebration: Celebration of a life fully lived and well-fulfilled.”
Ambassador Gang said whether “it is from the angle of academic, journalistic, governmental or diplomatic exploits, whether it is from the perspective of his diverse social attachments, we stand before you to join in the testimony of the diplomatic excellence of Doyen Carlton Karpeh. The government of Cameroon wishes to remember him as such.”
He said Ambassador Karpeh, as the longest serving Liberian Ambassador in Cameroon during which time the title of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps became synonymous with the name Karpeh and Liberia left an unrivaled image of professionalism and commitment to the fortification of the bilateral relations between the two countries, adding: “He left many friends in Yaoundé.”
He said: “Ambassador Karpeh was faithful to the eternal foundations of our bilateral solidarity as were laid by President Tubman in 1960 when he symbolically brought along with him to Yaoundé the pioneer Ambassador to Cameroon being among the very first foreign sovereigns to visit the nascent Republic of Cameroon.”
He said Ambassador Karpeh served in Yaoundé from 1987 to 2003, which included extremely difficult times for a foreign diplomat as Liberia was mostly in grave civil strife.
“At such times, any Ambassador’s usual composure and assurances would be eroded by the drought and uncertainty of support from home. The early 90s were also a period characterized by some turmoil in my country.
“This was engendered by the unmitigated expectations and recriminations from the competitive, multi-partisan politics that President Paul Biya had impelled in Cameroon,” he said.
“These were the turbulent challenges through which Doyen Karpeh had to navigate. He did so with courage, eloquence, penetrating wisdom, balance and a sense of destiny. The indelible image left of him in Yaoundé is that of a wise-looking notable clad in an elegant Lofa County traditional suit – and yet the English language was his willing servant.”
Ambassador Karpeh, he said, served under three contrasting Liberian Presidents, adding: “I could even say conflicting Presidents, and survived – before serving under President Sirleaf in the new era of democracy. One could, in other circumstances, say a cat with nine lives.”
He hoped that when the time comes for President Sirleaf to fill the yawning gap left since the departure of Doyen Karpeh from the Embassy of Liberia in Yaoundé, “our hope is that an Ambassador of the stature of Ambassador Karpeh, or even more, will be among her prerogatives.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Gang said the high authorities of Cameroon instructed “me to publicly recognize Doyen Karpeh’s role and also asked me to pay tribute to his government and family who gave him to serve both our countries in Cameroon.”