Tribute by Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf President of the Republic of Liberia in Memory of the Late Sheikh Kafumba Konneh

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Mr. Speaker
Mr. Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court
Mr. Pro Tempore
Honorable Members of the Legislature
The Dean and Members of the Cabinet
The Doyen and members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen

When a giant tree falls in a forest, it impacts other trees far and near. Last night, our country was shocked by the news of the unfortunate demise of the late Sheikh Kafumba Konneh; a great statesman of valor unpretending. His passing symbolizes the fall of a giant tree in the forest.

The late Islamic Prelate was a distinguished Liberian who will be remembered as a messenger of peace and inter-religious tolerance. He was a prominent voice and face of Islam in the last three decades in Liberia commencing with his role as Secretary General of the Muslim Union of Nimba County – to Secretary General to Chairman of the National Muslim Council of Liberia.

He was not just an Islamic preacher but a politician, scholar, lawyer and judge. Prior to the demise of the late President Tolbert, Sheikh Kafumba Konneh was Commissioner of Ganta City and served as Justice of the Peace in Sanniquellie, Nimba County. His role as an activist started when he disagreed with and pledged his support for the late Dr. Edward Kesselly and founder of the current ruling Unity Party. It was Sheikh Konneh that mobilized Nimba in support of Dr. Kesselly in the 1985 elections.

Today he is no more but we will fondly live with the memories of his outspokenness, fearlessness and courage. When conflict raged – he stood as an outstanding proponent in the search for lasting peace for our country.

The Vice President called me a few hours ago and asked me to convey his deepest sympathy over this loss. He could not be here because he is away on official duties attending an African Union Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

We mourn this great loss to our country as we strive to consolidate the peace and stimulate the trappings of national healing and reconciliation. To the bereaved family – we say take heart.

Authors

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