— President Weah, overwhelmed with grief, eulogizes Rep. Youngblood
When President George Manneh Weah, yesterday took to the podium to eulogize fallen Montserrado District #9 Representative, Munah Pelham Youngblood, whom he referred to as his daughter, confidant and only political striker or #9, he became overwhelmed by sorrow and broke down in tears before a huge crowd of mourners.
“Munah! Munah!! Munah Pelham-Youngblood!!! My daughter, my friend, my confidant, my striker, my only number 9, CDC baby! Sheroe!,” Weah said in a loud and resounding voice, as he begged pardon to be excused of protocol set up for his delivery of his tribute.
He noted pointedly that Youngblood was one of the best political players of his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and, by extension, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), which comprises the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor (former wife of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor), and Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) of former Speaker of J. Alex Taylor.
Weah’s grief over the passing of Rep. Youngblood grew more when he realized that he was not introduced by the young astute political front-liner.
“So it is a sad day for me today, to come and speak but not introduced by you today,” he said.
He added: “Please allow me excuse myself, as I speak to you today over the mortal remains of my dear daughter. I may be your President, but today I speak as a grieving father. My conduct today may not be what you expect, because I am overwhelmed with sadness at my irreplaceable loss.
“My emotions are in control of me right now. I may weep, or I may not. Please forgive me, if I do.”
A number of partisans and stalwarts of the ruling CDC have died but Rep. Munah Pelham-Youngblood has been seen as a much more deeper wound created within the Party, and by extension the Coalition.
Since her passing, there have been series of funeral rites and pageantry, particularly at the headquarters the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) along the Tubman Boulevard in Congo Town, as well as in Youngblood’s constituency, Montserrado County District #9.
Invoking her remembrance as a vocal and astute young female politician, past recordings of political statements by Youngblood were used to raise a political banner, cautioning all partisans to not let Munah’s plea down by failing to restore Montserrado to the CDC at the Special Mid-Term Senatorial polls on December 8.
In continuation of his tribute, President Weah said inasmuch as death has laid its hand on the stateswoman, confidence is certain that the soul of the fallen Lawmaker would find its comfort in the bosom of God, whom she loved and served.
“Munah, my daughter, my striker, my shero, my CDC Representative, God endowed you with unusual skills and virtues that enabled you, in your sojourn on this earth, to have an indelible impact on the lives who crossed your path, from young to old, from rich to poor, from the healthy to the sick, and from the hungry to the fed,” the Liberian leader averred.
He said the good deeds of fallen Rep. Youngblood will not be interred with her bones but live on forever in the lives of those she touched, improved and made better.
According to Weah, he believes that no one dies before his or her time and, as such, it was God’s will that Munah should go back to her Creator at this time in life.
“Sarkpah (a colloquial incantation), family, friends, and well-wishers, I believe that no one dies before their time. So God, in His wisdom, has decided to call Munah back home at this time; and we cannot question God. Instead, we must thank him for Munah’s life, and for sharing her with us,” he said amid tears.
In retrospect, he mentioned that Munah was an outspoken and fearless person, a courageous and determined young lady.
“She never bowed down to anyone who tried to take advantage of her for whatever reason and she was a beautiful woman whose beauty was acknowledged and recognized in her pre-political and political career. She was a beauty queen with self-confidence and a unique sense of style,” Weah said.
Youngblood was elected to the House of Representatives in 2011 when she was only 28 years old and believed to have became the first youngest Legislator and a female to that point in Liberian political history.
In 2017, she campaigned and retained her Representative seat at the age of 34 and, up to her death at 37, she held the position of Chairperson on Executive Committee at the House of Representatives; holding on the responsibilities of preparing programs for President Weah’s interactions with the Legislature.
“Her personality was characterized by her her intelligence, diligence, and eloquence. She was persistent, consistent, resilient, and resistant to defeat. More over, Munah was an astute and articulate political trailblazer and displayed an amazing talent as a generational leader at a very early age, becoming the youngest female from the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to be elected to the Liberian Legislature,” Weah reflected.
About how Youngblood became one of his closest confidants, Weah explained that when he played for the Liberian National football team, Munah’s father, Col. Walter Maxwell Pelham, Sr., the head coach for a period, took care of him (Weah) and the rest of players.
“Munah was always around me when I lived on 9th Street in Sinkor and I was blessed to have her (Munah) lived with me briefly after her father died,” he explained in his eulogy.
President Weah said Munah considered him as her father and they both had a cordial relationship all through the days of Munah’s attachment to him.
“I was a good deputy parent to her and she received the same level of discipline I gave to all of my children, without exception.
“She was always willing to take up any new challenge that I placed before her, whether it was to enter politics or to learn to play basketball,” he said.
The Liberian leader pointed out that because of the Munah’s height, as she was tall, he suggested to her that it was a good idea to learn how to play basketball and, in a few years, Munah learned to play the sport and did very well.
After referencing Montserrado County Electoral District #7 Representative, Solomon George, as a witness because he (George) coached Munah when she was with K-Delta female basketball team. Weah also said that Munah was very firm and on some occasions intimidated even male counterparts in politics.
“She did not bow bow down for anyone, neither backed from anything. If you were lazy and ever came across her, you would become strong,” he said.
Weah added: “One instance was that during her campaign for Montserrado District #9, I accompanied her to an area where the opposing candidate had blocked the road. My supporters wanted to call the Police but in the interest of peace, I decided decided to turn around and go back.
“Munah, however, did not allow it. she said to me in a soft voice: ‘Excuse me, Mr. Standard Bearer. This man will not intimidate me. This is my ground. This is my 18-yard box . I am a striker. I am the number 9. So if that man doesn’t move from the road, I will teach him a lesson. I must pass here. So please get out of my way.'”
Weah said he was astonished and said “Chey Munah! Ehn your hear the woman? Your please get out of her way.” And interestingly, in his presence, Munah made her opponent to succumb and allow her and her campaign entourage, including Weah, to pass and continue with their campaign activities.
President Weah recalled that the last time Munah visited him and they both had a brief conversation, had Munah telling him that she was tired and needed some rest at home.
“Little did I know what you were actually trying to tell me, until when I got the sad news of your passing,” he said.
He told the crowd of mourners that, as a tribute to Munah’s legacy and her service to the CDC and her Constituents and Country in general he (Weah) wrote a song bearing the words:
“I am going home to take my rest, I am going home. I am going home to take my rest, I am going home. I was born, I lived and I died, and now I am traveling. I am going home to my Father. I am tired, going home to take my rest. I am on my way. Life has given me all I wanted. Don’t cry for me. I am going home to my Father. I am going hime to my Creator…”
In closing, he consoled Munah’s mother, Sarkpa who works at the budget bureau of the House of Representatives, her deceased father and others in his Kru vernacular.
Munah was buried at a cemetery in Congo Town on Saturday, August 8, 2020.