Muslim Cleric Sheikh Kafumba Konneh: 1944-2015

Hawa Wesseh
hwesseh@yahoo.com

The late Sheikh Kafumba who pass away recently in Monrovia and for decades, the face of Liberian Muslims was born on February 4, 1944 in Seclepea, Nimba County. He was predeceased by Mr. Fombo Konneh and Mrs. Madoye Kromah, his parents. Reports say he will primarily be remembered as an Islamic cleric who was an eminent Liberian religious leader and also for his dedication to peace and his association with the inter faith religious council, which compromised different inter denominational groups that work tirelessly for peace during the last two decades. He died on July 20th this year at his home, after a brief illness.

Sheikh Konneh it is said, was self-educated and began his career from 1972 as an Associate Magistrate in Yekepa in Nimba County, a post he held for two years. While still a magistrate, he was nominated as the Secretary General of the Liberia Muslim Union in Nimba County. Two years later in 1979 he would occupied the post of commissioner for Ganta Township. Throughout the 1980s, according to sources he would work within the Muslim Congress of Liberia, ultimately serving as its Secretary General in 1982; subsequently,succeeding Sheikh Rashid Sheriff [decease] as head of the Liberia National Muslim Council. A post he held until his death.

The late Sheikh is credited to working for religious tolerance and was also a critical voice for peace.

During the 1990s, working with such leaders as Catholic Ash Bishop Michael K. Francis, Lutheran Bishop Roland Diggs, and Bishop Arthur F. Kulah of the Methodist Church etc., as warring fashions carved out the country, with the Amos Sawyer led Interim Government of National Unity [IGNU] sitting in Monrovia and its enclave of Bushrod Island; he was an active participant in negotiating several peace arrangements, including the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement [CPA] which finally saw a negotiated settlement in 2003, also paving the way for former president and now indicted war criminal Charles Taylor to exit from Liberia.

In 2006, the late Sheikh Konneh was selected as Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] of Liberia. The mandate of the commission was charged with investigating the root causes of the Liberian civil crisis from 1979 to 2003. The TRC report in fact summarized Liberian history in totality. Sadly, the provisions and recommendations forwarded by the commission has not been implemented by the Unity Party Led government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The Sheikh had four wives, and 13 children.

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