Tributes Pour on Fallen Liberian Journalist at Memorial Service
Monrovia – Friends and family members of fallen Liberian journalist Kamara Abdullai Kamara converged on Friday, April 20, 2018 at the Monrovia City Hall to memorialize his life.
Report by Alpha Daffae Senkpeni, [email protected]
Amongst those attending the ceremony were President George Manneh Weah, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Senator Commany B. Wesseh and officials of the UN, ECOWAS, civil society organizations, and the Muslim community.
An endowment fund was also launched to cater to the family, while President Weah promised to shoulder the responsibility of caring for the kids of the fallen journalist.
Kamara, popularly known as KAK by his media colleagues, suddenly died on Tuesday, April 17 at the Phebe Hospital in Bong County. The cause of his death is still undisclosed but doctors said he was brought to the hospital “unconscious.”Stanley Kamara, elder brother of KAK, said he “lived a very short but popular life”.
Famous for his meekness and tolerance as a devoted Muslim, KAK led the Press Union of Liberia for two years, implementing several media development projects in the country.
He was a massive advocate of free speech and unwaveringly pushed for the decriminalization of speech in Liberia.
Speaker Chambers, in his tribute, called for support for the family of KAK, saying, “the peace that will make his soul rest is the care that will be given to his family, so we should all do justice to peace.”
Paying tribute on behalf of the Liberian government, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elisa Shoniyin described the demise of KAK as a “regrettable monumental loss”.
Shoniyin emphasized that the government remains “true to free press and free speech under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah.”
An official of ECOWAS, who recounted the work of Kamara for the transitioning of UNMIL Radio to ECOWAS, said his death is a “big blow to West Africa”.
Charles Coffey, president of the Press Union of Liberia, launched the endowment fund for the family and said Kamara’s demise has created “an indelible vacuum” for journalism in the country.
Several longtime friends eulogizing the attributes of the fallen journalist described him as “someone special.”
“Kamara made a lasting impression on all the people he knew,” said Trokon Tarr, a Liberian journalist, who said he knew KAK for more than 20 years.
“He was one of the most tolerant Muslims in Liberia, a champion for journalism and media freedom. He dealt with conflict in a humble way.”
Alice Weah, Governor of the Borough of New Kru Town called on leaders to emulate the leadership style of Kamara.
Another person described him as a “caring friend who even cared for those who hurt him.”
Veteran Liberian journalist Frank Sainworla said the two things to take away from the life of Kamara are “work discipline and tolerance and patience.”
“He epitomizes the essence of a good journalist, he thirsted for knowledge. He was respected by people from all walks of professions,” Sianworla said, adding “He was calm, tolerant and hard working. Abudulllai is gone as a hero.”
While Ledgerhood Rennie, Director General of state broadcaster ELBC, said Kamara would want journalists to epitomize what he stood for.