Liberia: Youngblood Returns to Legislature after Almost a Year of Absence

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Representative Youngblood made a surprise appearance at Capitol Hill on Monday, joining her colleagues, who celebrated her return for the formal opening ceremony of the third session of the 54th Legislature

Monrovia – Rep. Munah Pelham-Youngblood (CDC, Montserrado County District #9) has returned to the Capitol following the protracted illness that kept her out of the Legislature for almost a year.

Rep. Youngblood, an influential member of the House of Representatives and the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change has been battling illness for nearly two years.

Following a brief return from sick leave in early 2019, her illness soon relapsed and she had to be flown to the United Sates where she has been seeking treatment.

Rep. Youngblood’s long absence from session and fake news of her demise led to calls of her resignation or impeachment from some quarters of her district. 

However, she made a surprise appearance at Capitol Hill on Monday, joining her colleagues, who celebrated her return for the formal opening ceremony of the third session of the 54th Legislature.

Addressing a team of reporters after the opening ceremony, she   announced that she is back and fully fit to serve her people.

“The district has been functioning but what I can say to you, as the leader of the district is now I am back,” a buoyant Rep. Youngblood declared.”

“I have a swag. I have a way in which I operate in my district as a striker. You know strikers don’t just stay one place. So, I am about to move around again in my district to tell the people that the one who you elected fell ill and is now back to serve you like I diligently served you in my first term.”

Speaking further, she rubbished calls of her impeachment and said her constituents are far too educated to be fooled by group of ignorant people.

“Well, I will say that those persons that were speaking about my removal probably they were not reading sufficiently to understand the mandate under which I was sent to the legislature -six years to serve. If for any reason that I seem not prepared or incapacitated, the decision is the decision of the whole plenary and not those individuals that were talking on national radio,” she said.

“They could have petitioned the legislature with 10,000 signatures to remove me. But unfortunately the well learned and educated people of district #9 did not subscribe to that kind of political strategy. It didn’t work, it can never work, especially in electoral district #9. That place that I represent, the schooled individuals and educated people are too many for ignorant to play within that district. So, it just couldn’t work.”

Not too long after her reelection and party subsequent victory in the 2017 Presidential and Legislative elections, Rep. Youngblood fell ill.

“Well, I will say that those persons that were speaking about my removal probably they were not reading sufficiently to understand the mandate under which I was sent to the legislature -six years to serve. If for any reason that I seem not prepared or incapacitated, the decision is the decision of the whole plenary and not those individuals that were talking on national radio.”

– Munah Pelham-Youngblood, Representative, Montserrado County District 9

Rep Youngblood is a ranking member of the ruling CDC and the House of Representatives where she serves as the Chairperson on the House Statutory committee on Executive. Since her reelection in 2017, she has been battling illness.

In 2019, there were rumors that she was terminally ill and later it was falsely reported that she has died.  Speaking publicly about her health problems for the first time, she revealed that she has been suffering from gastrointestinal issues that spewed out of control. However, through continuous medication and by God’s divine intervention, she was able to recover.

“From the initial stage, I suffered from gastrointestinal issues cause from not eating on time and later on things blew out of proportion, treating all of the medical situations but at the same time progress was not being seen. So, as a Christian, I had to go both ways, medical and spiritual.  I blessed God that I am here today,” she explained.

She thanked all those, especially her constituents who stood with her in prayers during her dark days.

Right to Protest

Meanwhile, speaking on a wide range of national issues, the Montserrado County District #9 Representative said it is the right of citizens to protest but they should go about it in a peaceful manner. 

Her comments came in the wake of the recently held January 6 protest organized by the Council of Patriots that ended chaotic after anti-riot Police fired water cannon and teargas at the peaceful protesters.

Rep. Youngblood, though fell short of condemning the Police’s action, said the protesters have the right to assemble peacefully to petition their government just as they (ruling party members) did when they were opposition.

She however frowned on the protesters for the ‘vulgar languages’ used during the process.

She said: “It is right for Liberians to gather and to put forth their petition but I sensed that vulgar profanity was used in finding the date for which they want to present their petition. We protested before when we were in the opposition, and I expect anyone to do the same but understanding that you as a citizen have a responsibility to respect your leader, and your leader must also show you that in return.”

She furthered that she has been following the situation from her hospital bed in the United States and acknowledged that the economic situation in Liberia is challenging under the CDC-led government.  However, she was quick to point out that it was a problem inherited from the past administration. To address the situation,  she called for collective effort of all Liberians, irrespective of their political affiliations.

“There are challenges in the country. I will not sit here to tell you that everything is perfect in Liberia. From where I sat in the US in my hospital bed I was reading the news. The economic situation, we didn’t bring it as a ruling party. This is the situation we met on ground and I think it is something that collectively as Liberians, we should sit on the table. The economic dialogue that was held, recommendations came from there. We must go back to these recommendations. There were economic experts that sat and give their opinions. No man is an island, where my knowledge begin is where another person’s ends and vice versa. We can tap on our collective ideas and move our country forward.”

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