Liberia: “Grant Us (Sapo Tribe) Our Place” – Kaiyeh Roosevelt Quiah Demands
MONROVIA — Liberian author and businessman Kaiyeh Roosevelt Quiah, in paying tribute to his deceased father, the veteran statesman Oscar Jaryee Quiah, calls on the Government and people of Liberia to grant the Sapo tribe its official standing. The Sapo tribe is not officially listed among the 16 tribes of Liberia, and have been considered by many as a subset of either Kru or Krahn.
“To the Sapo tribe we are grateful! Quiah is grateful! Your sacrifices for Quiah, you must know today, is recognized! You were tortured, but never broken! You were beaten, but never discouraged! Your old and young were killed, but your spirit was never subdued! You never gave up Quiah! And for this herculean sacrifice, we will recommit to the general welfare of the Sapo tribe. We cannot give back what you sacrificed for us, but we can, as members of this great
tribe, strive to ensure that the tribe is given its rightful place in this great nation of ours. Quiah was nothing without Sapo! With Sapo, Quiah lives on” intimated the young Quiah as to why he makes this call.
In his appeal to the president and the entire country, Mr. Quiah states “Today, His Excellency President George Manneh Weah, we beseech of you, in your highest wisdom, to send to the house a bill that will officially make and list Sapo as a tribe in Liberia. This is overdue because Oscar Jaryee Quiah could not be the one to do it. The cause he took up alongside other progressives was national. To have put forth the matter of absolute legitimacy and full recognition of the tribe would have detracted from the grand national objective. Now, we call on you, fellow Liberians, to grant us our place among you. Mr. President, Honorable members of the houses of senate and representative, Honorable members of government, the plea of the Sapo tribe of Sinoe County lays at your feet. Grant us, as excellency and honor here dictate, our humble plea.”
Kaiyeh Quiah, who implied in his tribute that the Progressive cause is still alive, pledges to continue in the footsteps of his father:
“The quest to liberate all of our peoples from the hitleric fragmentation of division, from the brutal stripes of injustice, from the gruesome affliction of poverty and the egotistical menace of inequity, is a mantle I assume and a mandate I commit myself to henceforth!”
Asked if his latter statement was a hit at President Weah’s government, Kaiyeh Quiah said “No! I do not consider the Liberian problems a new thing! I do not suggest any one government is responsible. That’s why I always say it takes conscientious and collective effort of all branches of government, opposition leaders, and the general Liberian populace, to implement fixes worthy of positive change in Liberia.”
“Who is a progressive and how will you liken President George Weah?” I probed Mr. Quiah. He giggled before responding:
Progressive is my father, who opened up our home and his office to hundreds of Liberians every day, especially on weekends, during the mid 1990s. He paid hospital bills, school fees, granted scholarships, and put food on tables! That’s progressive! And well, President Weah is the only Liberian I know that visited every refugee camp in West Africa, and helped our people! His tremendous help at home is also no secret! That’s who a progressive is! Progressive is not talk – progressive is an act of love for our people! And stunningly, my Papa and I reached this conclusion about 10 years ago.”