MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations has halted the confirmation hearings of foreign affairs minister-designate Dee-Maxwell Kemayah amid allegations of sexual assault against the nominee.
Maryland’s Sen. Daniel Morias, who chairs the committee, cut off the confirmation hearings on Monday, September 21, noting that he had received a complaint of sexual harassment.
“This committee cannot go further with this hearing until the allegation against Amb. Dee-Maxwell Kemayah is investigated and resolved,” Morias said, before adjourning the hearing.
“We as senators and members of the committee are charged with the responsibility of investigating all allegations that are brought before us.”
He said after the investigation is complete, Kemayah would be informed when to return before the committee to continue the hearing.
Grand Bassa’s Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, the only woman in the Senate, also supported the move: “I know Amb. Kemayah. I voted him for the first and second time when he came here. I know he has the credentials to represent Liberia, but, not to ruin his character, we have a sexual harassment allegation against him. Let’s investigate it first going forward, then we can now proceed with the confirmation hearing, which will save his integrity.”
River Gee’s Sen. Conmany Wesseh, who is also co-chairman on the committee, said while he supports a full-scale investigation into the allegation, it should be free from sentiments.
“We, in our political work, have stood for justice,” he said. “We must not accuse anyone falsely without investigating them or giving proof of the accusations we make and that of those we accused.”
He continued, “I Conmany B. Wesseh, have stood for justice all my life and in my political life. I will ensure that justice is done in this particular case. I believe the committee 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.”
The Senate committee made the decision to temporarily halt Kemayah’s hearing even though a group of traditional women, headed by the deputy chief of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, visited the grounds of the Capitol Building to show support for the embattled diplomat.
After his appointment by Pres. George Weah, a staff member at the Liberia Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, Wynee Cummings Wilson, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Kemayah.
The allegation of sexual harassment against Liberia’s permanent representative to the U.N. and foreign minister-designate came just a week after President Weah declared rape and other sexual violence crimes as a national emergency.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah