As world leaders begin their own preparation for attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this year in New York, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that Liberian President George M. Weah may again have to sit home due to the inability of his Foreign Minister Dee Maxwell Kemayah to travel to the U.S. over an open case of sexual harassment against him.
A female staffer at the Liberian Mission in New York lodged a formal sexual harassment complaint against the then Head of the Liberian Permanent Mission to the UN Ambassador Dee Maxwell Kemayah before he was recalled and appointed as Foreign Minister in 2020 by President George M. Weah.
Ambassador Kemayah, through his legal representatives in the U.S., has denied the allegations.
Since his recall, functions at the Liberian Permanent Mission to the UN are being carried out by Madam Cecelia McGill who is acting as Head of the Mission. The Executive Mansion is yet to nominate a new Head of Mission in nearly two years.
Sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia have now disclosed to African Star that Minister Kemayah is allegedly “interfering” in the day-to-day operations of the Liberian Permanent Mission to the UN.
It is also alleged that since he is unable to travel to the U.S., where police are reportedly prepared to question him over the sexual harassment allegations lodged against him, the Liberian Chief diplomat has resorted to “intimidating tactics” to generate confusion that will ultimately scuttle plans of the Liberian President to attend the UN General Assembly.
According to information obtained from confidential sources at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia, Foreign Minister Kemayah recently issued personal instructions to a driver at the Liberian Permanent Mission to regularly pick up Deputy Head of Mission one Maggie Gibson Glay from her residence to the mission for work in disregard of standing orders from the Acting Head of the Mission Ms. Cecelia McGill that only the Acting Head of Mission is assigned a driver.
The decision, according to the source, effectively undercut the authority of Ms. McGill who has reportedly drawn the ire of Minister Kemayah over her refusal to conspire to write an official letter to the U.S. Government to try to keep the spouse of the Foreign Minister in the U.S. after Ms. Kemayah was declared “persona non grata” by the State Department and asked to voluntarily leave.
Ms. Kemayah and her family left the U.S. in March and is reported to be in the West African sub-region without a new assignment but being paid by the Government of Liberia as a U.S.-based diplomat.
The content of a note sent to Minister Kemayah by the Acting Head of the Mission in New York was shared with African Star by a confidential source in Monrovia.
African Star which has a copy is unable to independently verify the content of the note since attempts to get a mission Representative in New York were unsuccessful. It is unclear if the Minister has responded to the note.
Meanwhile, a women’s group in the U.K say they are prepared to effect a “citizens’ arrest” of the Liberian Foreign Minister if he visits the U.K.
The group described the allegations of sexual harassment against Ambassador Kemayah, which they claim are being ignored by the Executive Mansion in Monrovia, as damaging to the image of Liberia.
According to the women activists, they are also prepared to stage a peaceful protest before the Liberian Embassy and any venue at which Minister Kemayah will be visiting.
In May, without any explanation, the Liberian Foreign Minister abandoned plans to attend an international women’s conference in London organized by Wilton Park, an executive agency of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.
The theme of the conference was “Strengthening The International Response To Conflict-Related Sexual Violence”.
In a separate development, there is no word on the full report ordered by President George M. Weah and due on May 17 of the “passport scandal” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs following reports that an accused fraudster – a Liberian businessman Bassirou Kante was in possession of a Liberian diplomatic passport after a raid by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).