The former Vice Chairman of the erstwhile Liberian Transitional Government and founding Secretary-General of the erstwhile Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), Oscar J. Quiah, has died. He was 76.
In a press statement, the Quiah family said that the late statesman died peacefully in bed from a stroke in the presence of a few of his children. According to a release, Quiah has been suffering from a stroke for a decade but survived double attempts before succumbing to the third one. He was 76.
The late Quiah was the first Minister of Internal Affairs after April 12, 1980, a violent military coup that saw the ascendancy of Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe to power and the executions of 17 government officials.
As a member of the Progressive, the late Quiah was able to secure the position of Civilian General of the six (6) men council that headed the Interim Government preceding the leadership of Dr. Amos C. Sawyer.
Paying tribute, President George Weah hailed Quiah for his selfless service to Liberia at a time when the country was in the midst of fragility. The Liberia leader has conveyed his deepest sympathy to the Quiah Family, urging them to take solace in the Lord during this difficult time for them.
Also paying tribute, the former Executive Director of the National Investment Commission George Wisner said Quiah fought a good fight and played a role in the redemption of the nation from the claws of suppression and marginalization.
“As is with many revolutionaries, the true extent of your legacy shines after you shall have left the stage. It is because revolutionaries are more often than not visionaries and visionaries see what ordinary eyes cannot see. They are mostly a generation ahead of their peers,” Wisner wrote. The people of Sinoe County, yea, Liberia, has lost a patriotic son and soldier of the progressive struggle. May history be kind to his memories and may light perpetual shine on him.”
It can be recalled that late Quiah while appearing before the then TRC, asks Liberians for forgiveness for his role in the country’s ugly past.
“I want to tell the Liberian people I am sorry for whatever I did that was the cause of people losing their lives. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry. I am sorry,” Quiah said while lying on the red carpet of the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmun Street where he was testifying before commissioners of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).” I am saying this sorry from the depth of my heart,” the founding secretary-general of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) continued.
Quiah was discussing his role in the formation of the PAL in the United States, his return to Liberia, and his involvement along with others to organize April 14, 1979, Rice demonstration, his imprisonments, and April 12, 1980, military takeover.
Quiah: “If we don’t forgive one another this country will not be built. Our generation will not be pleased, satisfied to see another war in this country. Liberia is rich but needs peace. Once there is peace every citizen will benefit.”
However, Quiah said his most regrettable moment was the diversity between the military and civilian components of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), saying due to that they could not achieve the objectives set.
Quiah attributed the rise and growth of pluralistic democracy in Liberia to the success of the struggle of the PAL, saying, “The struggles of architects of the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) was a resounding success. Due to our advocacy multiparty democracy is today a reality in our country.”
The late Quiah was a founding member of the PAL and its first Secretary-General, and National Vice Chairman for Operation, National Democratic Party of Liberia (NDPL).
Other positions Quiah held include Minister of Local Government, Minister of Postal Telecom, and Managing Director of Liberia Telecommunications Corporation. He also served as a Board member of the National Port Authority and NASSCORP. He is survived by his wife Joanna K. Quiah, several children, grand and great-grandchildren, and a sister.
Oscar Jaryee Quiah, born in 1945 in Sinoe County, died on Wednesday, January 27 at the ELWA Hospital in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.