Senate Halts Kemayah’s Confirmation

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Ambassador Dee Maxwell Kemayah has been confirmed as Foreign Minister, amid allegations of sexual harassment leveled against him.

-Opens formal investigation in sexual harassment claim

The Foreign Relations Committee of the Liberian Senate has halted all proceedings into the confirmation hearing of Foreign Minister-designate, Ambassador Dee Maxwell Kemayah until the sexual harassment claim against him is investigated and he is cleared. 

The committee, chaired by Maryland County Senator, H. Dan Morais, has also opened a formal investigation into the sexual harassment claim—a move many believe is meant to ensure that due diligence is taken in order to avoid misstep in such a grave situation.

The Committee at the hearing on Monday said its decision to open and adjourn the hearing is to allow probe into sexual harassment allegation against Ambassador Kemayah by a female staff at Liberia’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations in New York, where Ambassador Kemayah has served as the Permanent Representative for about a year now.

Amb. Kemayah was recently nominated by President George Weah on September 3, 2020, to serve as Foreign Minister in place of Gbehzohngar Findley who had resigned to pursue his senatorial ambition in Grand Bassa County in the upcoming mid-term election. 

However, Ambassador Kemayah’s nomination has since been marred by allegation of sexual harassment by a staffer of the Mission, Ms. Whynee Cummings Wilson.

She alleges that Amb. Kemayah molested and sexually harassed her on January 8, 2020, her birthday, a confession coming out right after Kemayah was nominated for the position.

She has, however, come under criticisms for not speaking up until Kemayah’s recent nomination which leaves many to believe her allegation is politically-motivated.  To add to the suspicion and concern about falsehood surrounding her confession and allegation, Ms Cummings in recent days said she came out to add to the many views protesting against rape.  

Tilem and Associates, a Law Firm representing Ambassador Kemayah, has responded to the allegation, terming it as a lie and politically motivated. The legal firm warned Madam Cummings-Wilson against tarnishing the hard-earned image of their client or else she will face a legal battle.

But the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Morais, at Monday’s hearing stated that the Committee finds magnitude in investigating the allegation which has been brought before the Committee—a move many are applauding, insinuating that the Senate is aware of the public concerns amid the allegation.

The Committee’s Co-chair, Sen. Conmany Wesseh, said the case of the Liberian Foreign Minister-designate should be treated with justice, void of sentiments, especially a person who will represent the country at the international level.

“To ensure that Liberia gets the Foreign Minister it deserves,” Senator Wesseh said, “The pursuit of justice is to ensure that no one makes false allegations against him and that anyone found guilty in the accusation would bear the full consequences.”

Liberian journalist Julius Kullie Kanubah described it as a “good and laudable step,” the Senate’s decision to open and adjourn the confirmation hearings of the Foreign Minister-designate. 

“This first step must be applauded at this stage, but with caution,” he wrote on his social media page on Monday. 

Kanubah noted that the stakes are indeed high for Kemayah in this situation.

“This is why the Senate Foreign Relations Committee must ensure that justice is done to both the accuser and accused in this case. If there is one thing from the first hearing, Senators from all sides (opposition, ruling, and independent) seem resolved to ensure justice, at least, publicly,” he noted.

“Importantly though, there are many known unknowns in the investigation announced by the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee. “We don’t know how open and transparent the investigation would be as much as how long it would take; how extensive it would be; who will be involved; and whether the Senate and the Executive branch would coordinate or cooperate to do a joint investigation,” Kanubah, wondered.

“Kemayah’s CV and experiences are rich and he had previously got two Senate confirmations under his belt. What a success! But can he get the third? It might be the most significant challenge of his lifetime,” Kanubah noted.

The committee reached the decision to suspend the hearing to open an investigation into the sexual harassment allegation when one of its members, Grand Bassa Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, proffered the call.

The only female in the Senate requested a full investigation given the seriousness of the allegation and the ‘integrity’ that comes with the position.

Meanwhile, prior to the Monday confirmation hearing, women groups under the banner “We Are Unprotected” Campaign had written and called for the suspension of the confirmation of the Foreign Minister-designate. 

“Our request is based on the fact that Mr. Kemayah is currently the subject of grave sexual harassment and assault allegations made by a female employee of the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, where he worked as Ambassador prior to his nomination,” the group’s communication noted.

 The group indicated that given the gravity of the allegations and the recent outrage over the high cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) against women and children in the country, it is incumbent upon the Senate to suspend the confirmation hearing until the government completes an investigation into the matter.

“We believe that any action short of this to give both Mr. Kemayah and his accuser the right to be heard will create a doubt over our commitment as a society to address these egregious crimes especially when Rape and other forms of SGBV have been declared a National Emergency by the government,” the communication stated.   

The member organizations of WE ARE UNPROTECTED, who signed the communication were: Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) – Community Healthcare Initiative (CHI) – Organization of Women and Children (ORWOCH) – Girls For Change (GFC) – Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) – Rescue Abandoned & Children in Hardship (REACH) – Women & Children Initiative.

The government of Liberia, through Deputy Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby, confirmed recently that the government is in possession of Ms. Wilson’s complaint and an investigation will be launched soon. 

While the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FeJAL) had called for the withdrawal of Kemayah’s nomination, the Women’s League of the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) has condemned the allegation against the Ambassador, noting that the allegation is coming from individuals who are opposed to his nomination as Foreign Minister.

Before his initial appointment at the Foreign Ministry and subsequent designation to serve at the Liberian Mission to the UN, Mr. Kemayah served as chairman of the political party, MOVEE. 

According to MOVEE’s women league, Mr. Kemayah has been a patriotic and dedicated national leader who has worked and continues to work for the good of Liberia without any spot of sexual harassment levied against him in past capacities he had served.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Don’t forget to investigate his citizenship too. He talks like a crook from next door, Sierra Leone. Don’t say nobody told you.

  2. I have listened to Ambassador Kamayah speaking. He speaks as a typical Liberian. You are mistaking his meticulous and eloquent articulations (which actually makes him a born diplomat) to be that of a Sierra Leonean, and because his home town is near the border with Sierra Leone.

    Lamini Warity speaks as a Sierra Leonean. And is in fact, a Sierra Leone, but is also a natural born Liberian. Boima Fahnbulleh and his sister Miatta, because they spent most of their early school years in Sierra Leone, speak as Sierra Leoneans. And also because of their standard English!
    So according to you, they are Sierra Leoneans.

    If you should be given attention, then we would investigate hundreds of thousands of Kissis, Mandingoes,Mendes, Kpellehs Vias, Krus, Greboes, Lomas, Manos, Krahns, etc Think about our western, eastern, and northern, borders, and reason well.

    • Mr. Blockheaded Dunce, the idiocy you display in the attempt to psychoanalyse my comment demonstrates your lack of mental capacity to comprehend anything above your retarded level. From the sorry ass village you were hatched in, does “investigate” and “convict” mean the same? The only credit you get around here in that regard, is the astounding fete that you have survived this long on one brain cell. But carry that dumb ass uni-dimensional thinking elsewhere, where people pay to see you and elk in cages. Freaking idiot!

  3. DAN MORAIS MUST RECUSE HIMSELF FROM THIS INVESTIGATION IF JUSTICE IS TO ACTUALLY BE SOUGHT AS SUGGESTED BY SENATOR WISSEH!

    Like someone mentioned the other day about “arsonists feigning to be the best firefighters in the very fire breakout they lit“, or as “corn facing chickens for justice“ is exactly the reality of this matter.

    That is, with the minister designate to under go this investigation headed and conducted by Dan Morais whose plea to have him Morais replace Gbehzongar as Foreign Minister was rejected, and who and the CDC were recently in a legal battle regarding the fate of Dan Morais job as senator!

    Added to the fact that the very Dan Morais and candidates politically related to this very diplomat, are set to be at each others throat for the position of senator for Maryland County.

    DAN MORAIS MUST RECUSE HIMSELF FROM THIS INVESTIGATION IF JUSTICE IS TO ACTUALLY BE SOUGHT AS SUGGESTED BY SENATOR WISSEH!

  4. I agree with you Mr. Gborvlehn. Dan Morais must recuse himself from this UNPRECEDENTED so called “investigation” which in the end is a mere waste of time, taking into account the reality that this is a flimsy allegation which lacks logical or legal fact, and also lacking evidence and or proof.

    In other words, Senator Dan Morais´, chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs unprecedented path calling off a Senate confirmation proceeding for a Foreign Minister-designate until allegation of sexual harassment (LACKING COMMONSENSE AND EVIDENCE) against him is looked into is clearly and convincingly a personal vendetta on the part of Senator Dan Morais.

    Morais is still vehemently disgruntled for the leadership of the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change decision on carrying out a primary for the senatorial ticket of the coalition in Maryland County — a democrartic exercise which threatened and threatens the lifetime senatorial ambition of Dan Morais in Maryland County.

    In fact, credible sources right here in the Capitol with us have proven that it was Senator Morais who plotted with Whynnie Cummings Wilson to (AFTER NEARLY A YEAR) come up with such a flimsy accusation lacking any logical or legal fact, and also lacking evidence andn or proof.

    As for Conmanny Wisseh, of course as a matter of politics, and he sharing the sam character of using human blood for becoming senator as is the case of Dan Morais who almost died in prison for ritualistic killing, they, are in this matter, no different from “arsonists of a firebreakout feigning to be good firefighters” if we may burrow one lady´s comment recently.

  5. It’s okay for Mr. Kemayah’s confirmation hearing to be temporarily halted because of the sexual harassment charges his accuser, Miss Wilson has brought against him. Let’s hope that the Kemayah-Wilson investigation will not last forever. Why? Because if the investigation goes on for a long time, the republic of Liberia will exist without a Foreign Minister. Furthermore, if the alledged investigation drags on for a long time, Kemayah may lose the opportunity to be considered for the position.

    Something To Think About:
    Would Miss Wilson have come forward to report her sexual harassment allegation if Kemayah had not been chosen to serve as Foreign Minister of Liberia?

  6. Unlike the Legislative branch of the Liberian Government, the Executive is very sensitive on sentiments. Public sentiment is more powerful than law. This is the reason why the Presidential office has options to revision. Why also the Executive branch has its own function. The slightest mistake in an appointment could activate a mandate of removal; for example, in impeachment by the Liberian people. On the other hand, if the head of the nation adheres to the will of the people, the power of the chief of state is unquestionable. However, a majority leader will take precautionary measures when tyranny tend to block democratic decisions impair promised platform. To be President of Liberia, the key is capability based on majority votes, popular. As long as the Liberian people are satisfied with your decision, you stay in based on constitutional allowance, unlike a lawmaker who is placed in based on law to protect the interest of his or her constituent, county. To select is not an easy motive.

  7. Where there’s smoke there’s fire. I have no doubt, that this alleged incident took place, but I’m a little gloomy about the facts surrounding it. Wilson alleges that Kemaya asked for a “kiss”, I assume she declined in a cool, but feisty manner. Base on the energy coming from her, he then proceeds to convince her by saying “we are all adults here”. Now, how did kemaya and Cummings got to this flirty level (RED ZONE)? That’s the smoke. Conclusion; women have a natural tendency to be flirty and feisty with men, especially their superiors or bosses, it’s is natural, they do not learn it from their parents it is a woman thing. Some do it just to make themselves comfortable around whomever they are working with, but on the other hand, some do it simply for a favor in exchange for sex. Kemaya, appears to be a just, honest, and disciplined man. He should’ve stuck to his guts. Wilson on the other hand had no ill will she was probably just been herself with a little smile or smirk here and there with her boss. I’m sorry it has to end this way. Women are speaking up, whether confirm or not it is off her chest. Some of you may remember Denge the artist, who asked an upcoming female artist to sit on his lap even though there was no relationship between them.

  8. Cherie F,
    I am afraid you have made quite a number of valid points. Let’s face it…. sexual harassment cases are usually hard to settle. Sometimes, such cases are settled out of court with cash money being paid to the the accuser. Sometimes if the accuser runs out of luck, the accused person walks without money being paid. Frankly, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the Wilson-Kemayah situation. Neither do I think any of the pundits know what motivated Wilson to tell her story at this time and not before.

    In the state of Virginia, a well educated female African American college professor accused Justin Fairfax, the state’s Lt. Governor of sexual harassment a year ago. Like her, Justin Fairfax is very educated. The female accuser alledged that the sexual harassment issue occurred more than ten years ago. All the while, the accuser never bothered to tell her story openly until it was announced that the Governor of Virginia, Gov. Northern posted a black face in a year book many years ago. As you know, the state’s African Americans, white liberals and other sympathizers became enraged about the post. So who was next in line to succeed Gov. Northern if the protesters (Fairfax’s supporters) had won the fight to oust the governor? Justin Fairfax, of course!

    Twist and Turn…..
    So as protesters began to demand Gov. Northern’s ouster, the female accuser finally became emboldened and stepped out of the woods to say Justin Fairfax did something to her many years ago. Remember, the female accuser did not say both of them did something, but rather, Fairfax did something to her.

    Okay, to make a long story short, Fairfax did not lose his job as the state’s Lt. Governor. Come next year, Fairfax is planning to run for the position of governor of Virginia. Certainly, Fairfax (was, is) politically bruised because of the sexual harassment issue, but according to sources, the young guy will definitely test the waters in 2021.

    Where’s the female accuser?
    Well, when the news broke, she was living in California as a college professor. Like Fairfax, it was rumored recently that she too intends to run for an elective office. I am not sure where specifically.

    A Big Puzzle……
    With regard to the Wilson-Kemayah case, we just have to wait and see what happens! There are supporters on both sides of the Wilson-Kemayah affair. There are a good number of fair-minded Liberians who I often refer to as the Independents. In my view, the Independents are not pro-Wilson, neither are they anti-Wilson. In the same sense, the Independents are not anti-Kemayah or pro-Kemayah. I count myself as an Independent because I am unaligned and because I prefer to see how the case ends without taking sides.

    Me Too Movement?

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