Liberia: ‘Astute And Vocal Statesman’, Pres. Weah, Lawmakers Pay Tribute to the Late Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh


Monrovia – President George Weah has joined and array of government officials in paying homage to the late Representative Jay Nagbe Sloh (District #2, Sinoe County) who died following a brief illness at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Monrovia on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh, [email protected]

In a statement released by the Executive Mansion, President Weah is quoted as saying that Sloh was an ‘astute statesman’ and proponent of media freedom -a vision shared by the president.

“Representative Sloh was an astute statesman and proponent of media freedom – a vision shared by the President. His passing has left a great void in not just the Legislature, but the body politics of the country,” the statement said.

“The President expresses his profound sympathies to the bereaved family and the entire Liberian legislature, as well as the people of Sinoe County, for the passing of the outspoken lawmaker.”

Representative Sloh, who was elected during the 2017 general and presidential election, has been a longtime journalist who previously served as the Director-General of the Liberian News Agency before his election.

House Pays Tribute

At the House of Representatives, the fallen lawmaker served as Chairman of the Committee on Information, Cultural affairs and Tourism and also a member of the once vocal Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC). 

Writing on her official Facebook page, Rep. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (District #4, Montserrado County) said her fallen ILC member was an astute and vocal intellectual whose memories will live on forever.

She writes: “The Office of Hon. Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis and people of electoral District#4, Montserrado County regret and extend their deepest condolences to the people of District#2, Sinoe County, the Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC) and Liberia at large for the death of Hon. Jay Nagbe Sloh. The late Hon. Nagbe Sloh was an astute and vocal intellectual at the House of Parliament (House of Representatives), his memories will always be remembered. We say to the family and friends, take heart in this time of bereavement and let the Almighty God console you all. Rest in peace Hon. Jay Nagbe Sloh.”

Rep. Moima Briggs Mensah (District #6, Bong County) also writes: “As I think of those passionate expressions during the implementation of your mandate given you by the people of District #2, Sinoe County at the Legislature, I feel a kind of pain that my thoughts imagine all your immediate relatives and friends who had encountered with you. You have left memories of positivities and a pain that only time can heal.”

“We express as a district, District #6, Bong County our dearest sympathy to the family and entire constituents of Sinoe County, District #2.
Rest In Peace Sloh.”

The House Committee Chair on Peace, Religion and National Reconciliation, Rep. Dorwohn Twain Gleekia (District #6, Nimba County), speaking to FrontPage Africa said the fallen lawmaker was a role model who will be remembered for his counsel to younger legislators.

“He was someone I considered as a father and a role model. Outside of the Legislature, he would give us advice and what it takes for one to be a great man,” Rep. Gleekia recounted.

The death of Sloh brings to four, the members of the 54th Legislature who have died since its inception in January 2018. In 2019 alone, the Legislature lost three of its members including Montserrado County District #15 Representative Adolph Lawrence (car crash), Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff (protracted illness) of Montserrado County and Senator Edward B. Dagoseh (protracted illness) of Grand Cape Mount County.

Gleekia, who is also a member on the Committee on Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism, said Rep Sloh’s death came as a shock to the House and should be something that the 54th Legislature should be wary of.

“It should be a great concern to all of us. This is a job that we have that everyday people pray for us to die. So, it is shocking and worrisome. And it is something that every one of us should pray that it comes to an end. To see one of us leaving is so sad. And it is happening in both Houses. We need unity.”

The fallen lawmakers was a firebrand and combative force in the House of Representatives. Elected on the Unity Party ticket, he soon joined the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

However, his membership with the ruling party did not stop him from speaking against the ‘lapses of the government.

In February, Sloh campaigned vigorously for the ousting of Chambers as Speaker of the House.

In one of his interviews with Truth FM, he disclosed that his campaign to remove Chambers as Speaker was just short of nine signatures. He noted at the time that Speaker Chambers was of no help to the President and the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

“Representative Sloh was an astute statesman and proponent of media freedom – a vision shared by the President. His passing has left a great void in not just the Legislature, but the body politics of the country.”

– Executive Mansion

He was a vocal member of the Independent Legislative Caucus formed to ‘restore sanctity’ at the House of Representatives.

He also formed a formidable alliance with the late Representative Adolph Lawrence and Montserrado County District #10 Representative, Yekeh Kolubah that openly called for the removal of Speaker Chambers over allegations of corruption and the Speaker’s “inability to lead.”

In between, he was also ‘humorous’ and enlivened plenary with some of his anecdotes whenever he was not in a combative mood. Some of his colleagues says he will be missed because of those traits.

“He was one of the critical lawmakers who could really argue on the floor. He spoke his mind and took on the Speaker when he felt the Speaker was not doing the right things,” said Rep. Matthew Fair Play Joe of District #3, Grand Bassa County.

“He will also be remembered in the 54th Legislature as one of the jovial lawmakers. He made people laugh and it was fun to have him around.”

Also speaking, the Director of Press at the House of Representatives, Isaac G. Redd said Sloh was “bold and nationalistic, and called on lawmakers and other politicians to follow his footsteps.”

“He was somebody who was bold. He didn’t look at political interest. He looked at situation from a nationalistic point and was not a party centered person,” Redd eulogized.

“People should not be sycophantic. They should be expressive and say things without fear and favor or political reward. People should look at the country above their individual interest.”