MONROVIA – Montserrado County District 9 Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood has been out of session for nine consecutive months and even residents of her district do not know her whereabouts, neither has the House of Representatives nor her family cared to clarify the multiple rumors of her death news or wellbeing. Rule 21.1 of the House Standing Rules forbids any member from being absent from sessions for two weeks without obtaining approval from the Speaker and violators must be penalized in a manner deemed appropriate by the leadership in consultation with Plenary.
Rep. Youngblood, the youngest lawmaker, a one-time eloquent and hard-hitting lawmaker, did not sit in session for nine months, missing out on a lot from Monday, February 14 – Wednesday, October 9, 2019. She chairs the House Committee on Executive. She reportedly sought permission to seek medical attention in the United States in February this year; she has since been considered excused, causing her to miss out on the entire second sitting of the 54th Legislature. It remains unknown when she would be returning to the country and the Legislature. There are reports of some residents of her district drafting a petition to declare her incapacitated.
Bendu Kabba, a resident in the district, expressed frustration about the continuous silence of her Representative. “They cannot be keeping us in limbo about our own lawmaker and people want us be happy about the process. We need to know what’s going on with Munah, we don’t want our so-called opposition to keep asking about her.” Prince Guye, also a resident in the district, hoped the CDC lawmaker returns soon and starts her workings for the district. “If she is sick and cannot make it anymore let her office say it. We are the only district right now in Liberia, which lawmaker is living but cannot seen; we cannot hear from her and we don’t know her whereabouts Moses Quannue: “Let Munah Pelham leave and turn the seat over so we can go for a by- election because she’s missing in action, if she even gets well today, it is my advice that she leaves our job.”
“They cannot be keeping us in limbo about our own lawmaker and people want us be happy about the process. We need to know what’s going on with Munah, we don’t want our so-called opposition to keep asking about her.”
– Bendu Kaba, Resident, District 9, Montserrado County
Winifred Morris, another resident, described those calling for Representative Youngblood’s resignation as being evil-minded.
“They are wicked; they are heartless; they are all monsters those calling for our lawmaker’s resignation. Maybe they are praying for evil thing to happen to her but God Almighty will not let that happen Munah,” she noted.
Evangeline Zobbom, 43, is one Representative’s supporter who urged Liberians to stop wishing evil for each other. “If even the woman is sick, is it something for people to rejoice? If I were Munah, I will leave the damned job and find another job, crazy people,” she said angrily as she turned and walked away.
Rumors of Death
This is the second time for a ruling party’s lawmaker to seek months-long treatment outside the country up to nine months. Last 2018, the Montserrado County District #9 Representative departed the country on April 25, 2018, and returned home (Liberia) on July 18, during which she was welcomed by hundreds of supporters of the district at the Robert International Airport. They had dressed in white T-shirts, with inscriptions “Welcome Home, the Devil is Liar,” stormed the RIA in appreciation of her return to the country.
During her medical absence last 2018, it was rumored on social media that she had passed in India. In all of this hullabaloos, rumormongers posted the Representative’s picture on social media and wrote, “Rest in Peace” and “Why, So Soon?” This newspaper is told that because it went so viral it caught the President’s attention. He had to be later informed by Mrs. Elizabeth S. Pelham, mother of the lawmaker, that her daughter is still alive.
Also, a special prayer and “Thanksgiving Service in honor of the miraculous return of Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood” was held in the Christ Pavilion Ministries International (Wonders of Praise Chapel) in Lakpazee. During the service, Rep. Youngblood remarked: “I was dead and came back.” It may be recalled, during the 53rd Legislature – January 2012 – December 2017, Rep. Youngblood was the only ‘tough female lawmaker’ of the Congress of Democratic Change, now one of three ruling political parties’ coalition.
She was robust in her Committee works. She lastly served as Co-chairman on Executive in the 53rd. Also, Mrs. Youngblood was a ‘research and resourced lawmaker’ as well as was outstanding in attendance according to the IREDD’s grade card and was exceptional in developing her district, which all attributed to her reelection. She participated in nearly all functions and activities of the CDC 2012 – 2017 and was one of the strategists. To the end of the 53rd Legislature, Rep. Youngblood was the Secretary to the Aggrieved Lawmakers, who ousted former Speaker J. Alex Tyler in 2016 in favor of former Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay. She is one of 31 incumbents who were re-elected in 2017.
Before her illness, she remained a strong pillar of the CDC, and during the inauguration of President George M. Weah, which marked the first Joint Session of the 54th Legislature on January 22, 2019, she was part of the Planning Committee as Chairman of the House’s Executive Committee, and she proffered the motion for the Joint Session to commence the business of the day.
She chiefly organized the two State of the Nation Addresses, which were delivered by President Weah. She departed the country shortly after the last address. In the absence of the Deputy Presiding Officer – Deputy Speaker Prince Moye, she co-presided. She is the third-in-command at the House of Representatives. Before she left Liberia, she part of the President’s inner circle.
Meanwhile, Representative Youngblood’s long absence from her Montserrado County’s District 9 has not only raised concerns among her colleagues in the House, it has also sparked mixed reactions from residents of the district, which she represents in the House of Representatives. Culled from frontpageafricaonline.com
Main Photo: Munah Pelham-Youngblood, District Representative