Kemayah’s Faith In Limbo
Confirmation On Hold
It is not clear what would ultimately be the verdict of the Liberian Senate against Foreign Minister-designate, Dee Maxwell Kemayah who is being confronted with offensive sexual harassment allegation by a female staffer from his recent assignment at the United Nations.
Ambassador Kemayah is struggling to defend his character following the sexual harassment allegation by Whynee Cummings Wilson who is a staff at the Liberian UN office, where the Foreign Minister-designate is serving as Liberia’s permanent Representative.
Amb.Kemayah recently appeared before the Liberian Senate for confirmation but later did he know that he would have been confronted with the sexual charge brought against him by his staffer at the UN.
After his presentation; setting the stage to convince the senators why he should be confirmed, Senator Dan Morais, of Maryland County who chairs the Committee on Foreign Affairs, paused the confirmation process announcing that the nominees must first address the sexual harassment allegation before the confirmation proceeding would go ahead.
Sen.Morais in his short statement adjourned the hearings minutes after it had commenced and informed Amb.Kemayah that the committee could not go further with the hearing until the allegation against him was investigated and resolved.
Sen Morais declared, “We as Senators and the committee charged with the responsibility of investigating allegations brought before us find magnitude in a full and thorough investigation and so, we will adjourn and the nominee will remain under oath and we will inform him the day of his return.”
Another senator from River Gee County, ConmanyWesseh Co-Chairman on the Committee also promised a full-scale investigation into the matter, adding that the investigation would be free of sentiment to give Liberia the kind of Foreign Minister it deserves.
“I don’t want any sentiment; I don’t want things that would tie us, things that are untested. We, in our political work, have stood for justice. We must not accuse falsely without giving prove of the accusations; we make and those accused, if found guilty, be prosecuted.”
Sen. Wesseh noted: “I, Conmany B. Wesseh, having stood for justice all my life and my political life, will ensure that justice is done in this particular case. The committee, I believe, will do a thorough job and we will pursue truth and justice without sentiment and encourage all of you who have shown interest to continue to do so until we get justice and the Foreign Minister that this Country deserves.”
However, despite the allegation and unprecedented deposition by the senators, AmbKemayah received massive solidarity support from various youth and women groups who believe that the allegation against him is politically motivated.
Although government and other stakeholders are yet to establish fact linking AmbKemayah to the sexual harassment allegation, the accuser has put up a stern challenged to the accused calling on him to submit to a lie-detector test.
A lie-detector test, also known as a polygraph test, records the body’s involuntary responses to an examiner’s questions in order to ascertain deceptive behavior. The test measures physiological data from three or more systems of the human body-generally the respiratory, cardiovascular, and sweat gland systems-but not the voice. There are other means that test the voice for deception.
Amb.Kemayah’s lawyers have responded to the Wilson’s allegation describing it as a trick to demoralize their client’s reputation.
In a communication regarding the allegation, the legal team of Kemayah questioned the credibility of Wilson’s allegation and wondered how a person expressing emotional regrets over such a grave act can wait after several months to come out at a time people were talking about rape. “Didn’t she know that from the beginning?” The legal team wondered.
Amb.Kemayah’s legal team has also catalogued his achievements that came with moral conduct in the public space, adding that their client had led several organizations,including the famous Liberian Business Association (LIBA) and several sport clubs with report of any ethical misconduct.
The report of Ambassador Kemayah’s involvement in sexual harassment comes at the time when President George MannehWeah declared rape as a national emergency and launched a roadmap to address the issue of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
In a five-page document response through his New York-based legal team, the Tilem& Associates, the accused Foreign Minister-designate said “We are aware that long before his nomination as Liberia’s Foreign Minister, a handful of detractors unleashed an avalanche of failed attacks to hunt him down into disfavor with the President.”
Mrs. Una K. Thompson, head of the joint women rights groups, Women Rights Campaign for Justice and Women of Liberia Peace Network said, they were raising the issue at a higher level to ensure that justice was done to both Kemayah and Wilson.
Mrs. Thompson, who herself is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administrationnoted that the women’s network was making sure that the case was non-political because, according to her, they strongly believe that women’s issues should not be politicized.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Thompson has called on the Senate to halt the confirmation hearing pending the adjudication of the allegation through a swift investigation.