Liberia: Tribute by Pres. Weah to Rep. Munah Evangeline Pelham-Youngblood

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PRESIDENT GEORGE WEAH: The cold hands of death have snatched you away from us. She was always a strong and courageous fighter, and she fought with all her strength. But as strong as she was, our Creator, the Almighty, decided to call her from labor to rest.

OPENING CHANTS (IN THE KRU DIALECT)

Munah!

Munah Pelham!!

Munah Pelham-Youngblood!!!

My daughter.  My friend.  My confidant.  My striker.  My only Number 9.   CDC Baby!   Sheroe!

We have lost one of our best players!  On occasions such as this one, when we gather on a national stage, I was always introduced by you, Munah.  So it is a sad day for me today, to come and speak and not be introduced by you.

Aye Munah!  Meh meh mehnai…..meh meh ne tu nyonweh!

Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members of the House of Representatives;

Mr. President Pro-Tempore and Members of the Senate;

Associate Justices, and Members of the Judiciary,

Doyen and Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Dean and Members of the Cabinet;

Bishops, Prelates, and Members of the Clergy;

Officials of Government;

Chiefs and Traditional Leaders;

Political Leaders and Business Leaders;

Members of the Bereaved Family;

Members of the Fourth Estate;

Marketers, Students;

My Fellow Citizens;                     

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

Please allow me to excuse myself, as I speak to you today over the mortal remains of my dear daughter.  I may be your President, but today I speak as a grieving father.  My conduct today may not be what you expect, because I am overwhelmed with sadness at my irreplaceable loss.  My emotions are in control of me right now.  I may weep, but then I may not.  Please forgive me if I do.

Honorable Munah Evangeline Pelham-Youngblood:

The cold hands of death have snatched you away from us. She was always a strong and courageous fighter, and she fought with all her strength. But as strong as she was, our Creator, the Almighty, decided to call her from labor to rest.

Now that she has gone to the great beyond, we are assured that she is in the bosom of the God that she loved and served.

Munah, my Daughter, my Striker, my Sheroe, my CDC Representative, God endowed you with unusual qualities, skills and virtues that would enable you, in your brief sojourn on this earth, to have an indelible impact on the lives of all those who crossed your path, from the young to the old, from rich to the poor, from the healthy to the sick, and from the hungry to the fed.

“She was always willing to take up any new challenge that I would place before her, whether it was to enter politics or to learn to play basketball.  For example, because of her height, I suggested that she should learn to play basketball, which she had never played before.  So she went to the basketball court and applied herself diligently to raise her game.”

– President George Manneh Weah

My 18-yard striker! My dependable #9! Gbaku! Mannehaju! The good that you did will NOT be buried with your bones, but will live on forever in the lives that you touched and changed and made better.

Sarkpah, Family, Friends, and Well-wishers, I believe that no one dies before their time. So God, in his wisdom, has decided to call Munah home at this time; and we cannot question God. Instead, we must thank Him for Munah’s life, and for sharing her with us.

Hon. Munah Evangeline Pelham-Youngblood was an outspoken and frank person, courageous, determined, and fearless. She never backed down from anyone who would try to take advantage of her.

She was a beautiful woman, and that beauty was acknowledged and recognized in her pre-political career as a beauty queen and runway model. She was self-confident, and had her own unique sense of style and swag.

Her personality was characterized by intelligence, diligence, and eloquence. She was persistent, consistent, resilient, and resistant to defeat.

But, over and above her beauty, Munah was an astute and articulate political trailblazer, and displayed an amazing talent as a generational leader at a very early age, becoming the youngest female from CDC to be elected to the Liberian Legislature when she was only twenty-seven (27) years old.

In the ten (10) years that she served her constituents of Montserrado County District 9 and the people of Liberia in that august body, she left a lasting legacy of leadership.

When I played for the Liberia National team, Munah’s late father Col. Walter Maxwell Pelham Sr. served as our head coach and he took care of all of us. Munah was always around me when I lived on 9th street in Sinkor and I was blessed to have her live with me briefly in my home after her father died.

And that is why I am forever grateful to Sarkpah, her dear mother, for entrusting Munah to my care. She was my daughter and she considered me as her father. We had the best relationship ever. I was a good deputy parent for her, and she received the same level of discipline that I gave to all my children, without exception.

She was always willing to take up any new challenge that I would place before her, whether it was to enter politics or to learn to play basketball.  For example, because of her height, I suggested that she should learn to play basketball, which she had never played before.  So she went to the basketball court and applied herself diligently to raise her game.

So one day I returned to Liberia for a visit, and she excitedly asked me to come and watch her team, the K-Delta, play.  And so I did.  At some point during the game, she had an opportunity to make a run down the court, and when she got to the basket, she tried to dunk the ball.  And with all that height, she missed it.  She turned and looked at me anxiously, and I looked at her and smiled.

After the game, she came to me and asked me what I thought about her playing.  I told her that she did well.  Then she told me:  “you really know how to laugh at people.  All the way I made so many mistakes during the game, you still tell me that I did well.”

And I told her that I was sincere about that compliment, because she had done well to rise to the challenge I had placed before her, and that if she continued to apply herself in that way, one day she would become a good player.  Munah listened, and applied effort, and became a good player.

Solomon George, who was her coach of the K-Delta female basketball team, can attest to that.

That was the same attitude that she took to politics, and to everything else that she did in her brief life.

Let me share another “Munah” story with you:

Munah was also very bold.  She could even intimidate people sometimes, because she was so outspoken.  If you were lazy, you would get strong.  She did not bow down for anyone, nor back down from anything.

For example, during her campaign for the Montserrado County District 9 seat, I accompanied her to an area where the opposing candidate had blocked the road.  My supporters wanted to call the police.  In the interest of peace, I decided to turn around and go back.

But Munah would not allow it.  She said to me, in a soft tone:

“Excuse me, Mr. Standard Bearer.  This man will not intimidate me.  This is my ground.   This is my 18-yard box.  I am a striker.  I am THE number 9.  So if that man doesn’t move from the road, I will teach him a lesson.  I must pass here.  So please get out of my way.”

I said “Chey, Munah!  Enh your hear the woman.  Your please get out of her way.”  And they did, and we passed.

That was MY Munah.

She was a true Sheroe of her time, and was acknowledged as such by her peers and all who knew her.  Her life was short, but meaningful.

We will miss you Munah!

I fondly recall our conversation when you visited me for what has now turned out to be the last time we were together.  She told me that she was tired, and wanted to go home and rest.  And we said our goodbyes.  Little did I know what you were actually trying to tell me, until I got the sad news of your passing.

I woke up on the morning after her death, and upon reflection I then fully understood the meaning of her last words to me.  And so I was inspired to write a song of tribute to you, which I have now set to music and produced.

As the song says, and we agree with you Munah…

“I am going home to take my rest, I am going home.

I am going home to take my rest, I am going home.

I was born, I lived and I died, and now I am traveling.

I am going home to my Father.

I am tired…going home to take my rest.

I am on my way.

Life has given me all I wanted.

Don’t cry for me.

I am going home to my father.

I am  going home to my creator.

I am traveling on my way to paradise.

Where there will be no more trouble.

No more pain

No more sickness

No more sorrows

I am going home to take my rest. I am going home.

I am going home to take my rest. I am going home.

Don’t be saddened.

Why are you crying?

I am going home to take my rest.

I have left the race of life.

I have played my part.

I have run my race.

I have reached the finish line.

I have won my race.

And I have made you proud.

I am going home to take my rest. I am going home.

I am going home to take my rest. I am going home.

I was born, I live and I died.

Going home to take my rest.

If anything that is left undone…

Let me know when we meet on the other side.

I am going home to take my rest.

The City of Joy…

Where there are no sorrows, pains, or troubles.

I am going to see what lies behind the blue sky…

‘Cause I am on my way to my Father.

To you, Jesus.

Heaven knows I am on my way to my Father

To Rest In Peace forever..

I am going home to take my rest… I am going home.

I am going home to take my rest… I am going home.

Till we meet on the other side.”

Walter Munah!!

Sarkpah Munah!!

Naju Munah!!

Sia mou te tou?

A mon ye je mou te tou, na.

Naju mou te pen.

Nyenswar bo na yen mou.

Good bye, Munah.

Rest in peace.

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