MONROVIA – An array of officials, former officials of government, families and members of the public flooded the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday to bid farewell to Mr. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan who served as Minister of Public Works from 2018 until his demise in October this year after weeks of battling stroke.
Some of those in attendance to at the funeral service to pay tribute were President George Weah, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, Members of the Judiciary and as well as members of the Diplomatic Corp.
The Acting Public Works Minster Ruth Collins expressed sorrow, stating that the late Minister was very committed to his duties.
Mobutu fell off on September 3 shortly after a meeting with senior administration officials at his office. Minister Nyenpan went into coma before doctors at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center managed to stabilize him after which he was flown to neighboring Ghana for further treatment.
He underwent intense treatment at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana for almost two months before giving up the ghost.
Following his stroke, doctors at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center performed multiple procedures and surgery to reduce blood in the minister’s brain. After managing to drain the blood to a safe level and stabilize him, President George Manne Weah instructed Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah to make US$150,000 available to fly the minister for further treatment.
A former Senator from Sinoe County, Mr. Nyenpan, 54, was appointed by President Weah in February 2018 and confirmed by the Senate on February 15, 2018 as Minister of Public Works.
Mr. Nyepan won his seat in the 2005 general elections, running on the ticket of the Alliance for Peace & Democracy (APD).
During his time in the Senate, Mr. Nyenpan served as Co-Chair – Public Works & Rural Development; Information, Broadcasting, Culture and Tourism and was a Member of the Executive; Defense, Intelligence, Security and Veteran Affairs; Maritime; Planning and Economic committees.
Paying tribute on behalf of the family, the junior brother of the fallen minister described him as “The pillar of our family”.
“Maybe I need to say this: in this country when we see people shining we should ask about their stories. The Mobutu you saw as Senator, the Mobutu you saw as a Public Works Minister he worked and worked. He prepared himself and he was not a Minister by chance, he was never a Senator by accident, he was a Minister by qualification, by competence and by ability. My brother was a Senator because he was a people’s person”.– Ojuku Nyenpan, Bother of the late Mobutu Nyenpan
He urged all those mourning his brother to rid their hearts of envy and jealousy as it is never certain when the soul leaves the body.
He said his brother did not attain the various high-profile positions he served in the government by chance. According to him, the late Mobutu Nyenpan proved worthy of all the positions he ever held.
“Maybe I need to say this: in this country, when we see people shining we should ask about their stories. The Mobutu you saw as Senator, the Mobutu you saw as a Public Works Minister he worked and worked. He prepared himself and he was not a Minister by chance, he was never a Senator by accident, he was a Minister by qualification, by competence and by ability. My brother was a Senator because he was a people’s person,” he said.
He stated that the late Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan was a consummate family man who gave his all for the betterment of his family.
Ojuku lauded the President of Liberia for appointing his brother as Minister of Public Works and also the people of Sinoe County for electing him as Senator 2005.
“Mobutu is lying down helpless right now but each of us including me shall be accorded similar fate where a day will come and regardless of who you are you will lie there breathless,” Ojuku lamented.
He stated that the entire Nyenpan family including the children of the deceased are devastated and heartbroken.
“We ask for your prayers, we ask for your consolation. Those who want to do other things beside consoling us we say thank you as well,” Ojuku said.
Meanwhile, Ojuku indicated that the Nyenpan family seeks no enemy in such difficult and trying times in the lives of the family members.
“In these trying times, we seek no enemies, we are a small poor family, offspring of a bus driver and a janitor,” he disclosed.
At the Capitol on Wednesday, President George Weah described Mr. Nyenpan as the “doctor of the bad road medicine”.
President Weah remembered the late Works Minister for his dedication and commitment to serving his country with integrity. “As President of the Liberia, I stand before you with sorrow, grief as I remember him for his friendship over the years that was always characterized by mutual respect. His work ethics was always characterized by commitment, diligent and efficiency.”
According to President Weah, Vlah Nyepan as a member of his cabinet since 2018, the Public Works Minister did all he could to justify the confidence reposed in him. “Mobutu did all he could to justify that confidence. It was his responsibility as Minister of Public Works to concretize the vision of my administration which is building roads. He worked tireless to build the roads despite the financial constraints.
“Because of his successful implementation of his mandate I was named by Liberians as the bad road medicine but he was the doctor. He administered that medicine. He was a very important to my cabinet family may his soul rest in peace and light perpetual shines on him.”