Since his death, thousands of sympathizers and well-wishers have converged at different locations to bid journalist Mamadee Diakite farewell.
During the last memorial service on Saturday, September 3, at the Monrovia City Hall, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, current and former government officials, businesspeople, media practitioners, friends and other well wishers were of the opinion that the late Mamadee was always tolerant when criticized during his talk shows, and would always contact an accused to hear his/her side.
Based on their facial expressions, the sympathizers just wanted to pay a tribute to Diakite; sadly, for the sake of time, all did not get the chance to do so. But the selected few who paid glowing tributes while shedding tears for the irreparable loss, spoke for all.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, struggling to control her emotions, stated, “One of the powerful forces in the society is the media. A nation is prosperous, a nation is blessed when the force is used responsibly…responsibility requires knowledge, the effort to obtain knowledge, the courage to be informed, to be balanced, truthful and to stand strong.”
She continued, “Responsibility requires patriotism and love for your country. Mamadee Diakite represented all of these.”
She added: “Our respect for him is demonstrated by all the many people who came out to bid him goodbye. When Mamadee’s story is written, when Liberia’s story is written, Mamadee will stand tall; for he was a professional journalist.”
The President said the fallen journalist will be remembered because he stood for what he believed without fear, and also believed in what he said and did.
Former Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan, in his poetic delivery said, “On the morning of August 30, the life candle of a brilliant young man was blown out by the dusty wind of death. And as a result of his passing from mortality to immortality, his beloved motherland, Liberia, and his beloved compatriots, Liberians, are still coming to grace his sudden passing.”
Ngafuan said he had some tough intellectual exchanges with Mamadee during their various interactions over the years, especially on his Truth FM Breakfast Show and the Prime Morning Drive; interactions reminiscent of those with former BBC journalist Robin White.
“He was forthright in his thoughts, but tolerant to views of those who disagreed with him fiercely.”
Although he did not always agree with the late Mamadee, Mr. Ngafuan said he nonetheless admired him for his perspectives, which exemplified the vibrancy of Liberia’s democracy.
Former Pro-Tempore and Grand Bassa County Senator Gbehzohngar Findley described the late Diakite as a “Giant” among journalists, noting that the turnout at his funeral and memorial service clearly attest to the fact that he was a giant.
Earlier, Presidential Press Secretary Jerolimek Piah, who was represented by his deputy Abel Plakeh, remembered Mamadee during the many shows on which he (Piah) participated.
Not trying to undo what his deputy said on behalf of the office of the Press Secretary, Mr. Piah did a rendition of the popular song, “Lord, I know not what tomorrow has for me”.
Former Information Minister Emmanuel Bowier said although Mamadee’s passing was everyone’s loss and shock, life, as a show, must go on.
He consoled the bereaved families and all by reminding them that “Death lays his icy hands even on kings.”
He said Mamadee was a humble person, whose death should be celebrated, not mourned. “He was a reconciler and respecter of people, especially older people,” Bowier added.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports’ Kula Fofana said Mamadee had played his role, for which the entire country is now remembering him.
She cautioned Liberian youths to consider how Mamadee is being honored after his passing so they could aspire to live better lives and that history will remember them for the best, and not for the worst.
Press Union Secretary Daniel Nya Konah said he, together with every Liberian journalist, will remember Mamadee Diakite for bringing a strong position on discussions of issues of national interest.
He said journalists are taught to bring their opinions backed by credible statistics and pieces of evidence, which Mamadee did exceptionally well.
Meanwhile, a group referred to as “Village” has opened a USD account at the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) where sympathizers who want to help the surviving families can contribute. The account number is 001-USD-403-897-521-01.