Homage To Oscar Quiah: Progressives Pay Tribute to Fallen Icon

Monrovia – Appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission back in August 2008, Oscar Quiah held no punches in dismissing any suggestions that the Progressive Alliance of Liberia(PAL) had any role or input in the execution of thirteen former officials of the deposed government of William R. Tolbert.

In the aftermath of the 1980 coup d’état ended the Tolbert government, Samuel Doe’s People’s Redemption Council enlisted some members of the progressive to join the military regime.

Murmurs about the progressives’ influence on the inexperienced PRC junta was largely responsible for the chatters which followed the coup and how much of a factor the progressives played in the executions.

For Quiah, who was Secretary-General of PAL and one of the strongest voices of the pressure group largely blamed for setting in place the motion that led to the fall of Tolbert and the True Whig Party (TWP), the reports were unfounded.

Mr. Quiah reportedly died on Saturday, January 30 after a protracted period of illness. He is also a former Minister of Internal Affairs, Post and Telecommunications, and a host of other positions in Liberia and overseas.

Fellow progressives like Mayson says Quiah’s death is a great loss not just for the Progressives but for Liberia as a whole.

Dr. Mayson notes: “During our struggle for rice and rights, Jaryee stood tall in the vanguard of PAL, the Progressive Alliance of Liberia, led by that other icon, Man Pekin Gabriel Bacchus Mathews.  Together with MOJA, led by the living legend, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, we managed to mobilize our people against the excesses of the decadent True Whig Party government.”

Although the Progressive forces have not yet achieved state power and therefore have not been able to achieve all their goals of peace, unity and progress for our country, Mayson says the organization has managed to establish such a solid foundation for democracy that it will take more than the winds of puerile tyranny to prevail against it.

For Mayson, Quiah was a crucial force in that regards. “Jaryee was foremost among those who laid this foundation. He paid a heavy price for his commitment: His personal resources were depleted in support of the struggle. He was jailed numerous times. He endured so many beatings and acts of torture. He was even scheduled for execution.  Through it all, Jaryee stood firm in defense of our people.”

Mayson says Quiah’s death has left him sorely aggrieved.  “Since our days together in Sinoe High School, he was always my close friend and big brother. Our participation in the struggle for our nativeland cemented our bonds of friendship, and we came to love and respect each other intently and sincerely. 

During our struggle for rice and rights, Jaryee stood tall in the vanguard of PAL, the Progressive Alliance of Liberia, led by that other icon, Man Pekin Gabriel Bacchus Mathews.  Together with MOJA, led by the living legend, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, we managed to mobilize our people against the excesses of the decadent True Whig Party government.”

– Dew Mayson

When I visited Jaryee a little over a month ago, sick as he was, he still managed to share with me his infectious smile which endeared him to so many of our people. So much to say about Jaryee, but tears are already falling. And, in any case, words are simply inadequate.”

Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh, another iconic figure of the progressive era describes the fallen Quiah as a

great fighter for our people’s redemption. “On the other side of the progressive camp, he was the closest friend I had, and I respected his fortitude, dedication and honest interaction. He was a patriot in the tradition of Juah Nimley, S. Raymond Horace, D. Twe, Marcus Gbobeh, Wiwi Debrah, etc—all legendary fighters for our people’s emancipation and advancement. Great fight Jaryee! A marvellous struggle!! It is a tragedy that many of them still don’t understand but a legion of young patriots are coming up who with courage and consciousness will carry this struggle to its logical conclusion.”

Dr. Fahnbulleh adds:  “This conclusion as we discussed in the filthy cell of 4B at the South Beach prison in 1979 and subsequently, must lead to the popular participation of the broad masses and their eventual determination of the historical trajectory that will lead to dignity, social justice and unity! Salute militant, salute!.”

President George Manneh Weah, paying tribute this week, expressed condolences to Mr. Quiah’s family

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.

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