ON SEPTEMBER 2, 2020, Liberia let go to the great beyond one of its unsung heroes. Dr. Thomas Jaye, who for thirty or more devoted his life to the human capacity building program of Liberia, was buried. It was a privilege The Analyst attended the official funeral on the Fedell campus of the University of Liberia where he is credited for producing scores of young professionals and academics. By attending, we gathered from official and private eulogies tendered by colleagues, friends and relatives that, indeed, the country, in the aftermath of the demise of Dr. Jaye, will nurse a deep void that would be difficult to fill.
JAYE’S THIRST for education and professionalism, coupled with his passion to inculcate that knowledge to others, remains an indelible legacy to behold. And mourners after mourners at the funeral brought home clearly and lavishly the revered deeds and actions which this Liberian educational icon left on the books. Those who followed him closely, and those who benefited from his enviable and sterling qualities, were clear about the fact that Dr. Jaye was a rare species of Liberian intellectual and educator.
HE IMPACTED COUNTLESS people, both young and old, rural and urban, politicians or ordinary Liberians not only with direct knowledge he offered in classrooms, offices, workshops and other face-to-face forums; he also profusely authored and released a plethora of written words—books and articles for newspapers, periodicals, journals and other written platforms.
TJ, AS HE was fondly called by his many admirers, studied International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and previously obtained an MA degree in History at the Moscow State University. He wrote on countless security issues and had other academic interests in conflict studies, democracy, governance and international relations. He wrote “Issues of Sovereignty, Strategy and Security Outcomes in the ECOWAS Intervention in the Liberian Civil War” and co-edited of the book, “ECOWAS and the Dynamics of Peacebuilding in West Africa”. He wrote on issues related to security culture, HIV/AIDS and securitization, US-Liberia Security Relations and others.
- JAYE WAS very passionate about transformation, be it in Liberia or the whole of Africa. That’s why he profusely lamented the conditions of his motherland and Africa when he served as the 98th commencement orator of the University of Liberia on December 4, 2017. He said, essentially: “Africa has produced mixed results with a few countries being stable while the rest have been caught in the barbed wire of political turbulence: intra-state conflicts; electoral crisis; governance and leadership failure; economic stagnation; social decline and insecurity. Put bluntly, when we look back, we see that the socio-economic conditions of our people are worse off than at independence.”
PERHAPS THAT IS also why he cautioned the graduates by stating: “Understanding the complexities of what awaits you is the key to overcoming them. Once you have prepared yourself academically, you can only hope for a better future. Indeed, education is insurance for you for the future. What does it mean? It means that you are now in a better position, as you leave this graduation hall, to make a sound judgment as to what is wrong and what is right; what is good for Liberia and Liberians and what poses a threat to the collective security of our country. You can locate Liberia within the context of almost everything I have said and so let me say a few direct words about the developments in this country.”
SUCH WAS A man—a patriot in deed, a mentor per excellence, a family man, a bookman unmatched. Liberia will miss him. Africa will miss him.
THE ANALYST, IN solemn ovation, posthumously salute Dr. Jaye for his widely cherished service to Liberia and humanity. May his vision for the country he loved so dearly and Africa he adored so intently resonate with both leaders and ordinary people for whom he labored so gallantly and selflessly towards genuine liberation—the liberation of the mind from the claws of neocolonialism.
AND OUR HEARTFELT condolences to the family, the University of Liberia, all other academic colleagues and students who admired him so much.