With much trepidation and nervousness, and hesitation, loved ones, family members as well as President George Manneh Weah and his administration are gradually wending their way towards doing the most painfully sorrowful thing—burying a very dear person—this time Public Works Minister Mobutu Mon-Vlah Nyenpan. Normally, the first few days of a loved one’s death presses down the hurt so hard like a pin being hammered into the naked heart. But as burial formalities unfold, and due to the limitedness of the human mind, the severity of the pain lessens artificially to the days or weeks of movements and condolences that crop up in between time. But towards the final hour of burial and on the exact day, temperatures flare up again like a fresh sore hitting against the piercing nail. Certainly, that is what the country is bound to witness today, Thursday, November 26, when the fallen Public Works Minister will be laid to rest following funeral service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street in Monrovia, The Analyst reports.
It has been nearly a month since the unfortunate and quite painful news about the fall of Public Works Minister Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan was announced. Because of his popularity and down-to-earth nature, the passing of the former Sinoe County Senator sent the entire populace into frenzy of disbelief and doleful lamentations. Several weeks of preparations for a befitting burial nearly muted the shock and pains of his passing until the Government’s announcements about his burial this Thursday ramp up emotions again.
Official Funeral Arrangements
The Government on Monday, November 23, released the official schedule of the Public Works Minister’s burial arrangements. On the Monday of the announcement, the Book of Condolence was open at the Ministry of Public Works, and the President of Liberia and officials of Government, as well as swarms of admirers and loved ones thronged the Ministry to sign the Book.
The following day, Tuesday, November 24, there was a night of traditional wake-keeping ceremonies at the Bardnersville Estate home of the deceased. Troops of friends, family members and relatives, together with top government officials, were at the wake-keeping program.
On yesterday, Wednesday, November 25, the body of the former Sinoe County senior senator was taken to his former workplace, the Capitol Building, where he was laid in state, and another Book of Condolence was opened. Against, President George Manneh Weah and entourage from the Executive Branch of Government joined their Legislative counterparts to sign the Book of Condolence.
Today, Thursday, November 26, Mon-Vlah’s body will be driven through the Ministry of Public Works bound for the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Broad Street in Monrovia by 9:00 am for a wake-keeping. There, according to the Government announcement, there will be the funeral service or “Service of Celebration” beginning at 11:00 am will take place.
Following the funeral service, burial will follow at the Brewerville Cemetery.
Meanwhile, the Government has also announced that as mark of respect for the fallen Public Works Minister and former Sinoe County Senator, President George Manneh Weah has declared a period of mourning at which time the national ensign will be flown at half-mast from all public buildings in Montserra County and Sinoe County from Monday, November 23, to Thursday, November 26 from 6:00 pm to 6:00 pm each day.
Fall of a Highly Meek Public Servant
The fallen Public Works Minister was 56. He was born March 20, 1964.
His appointment as Public Works Minister by President George Weah in 2018 brought him to revered public prominence, as he proved to be one of the President’s most loyal servants and articulate political appointees.
He was a workaholic that President Weah in 2019 announced his most favorite public servant. Because of his humility and hard work, Vlah, as he was popularly known and called, was named Person of the Year, Minister of the Year, Senator of the Year by several media institutions in the country.
Tearful, Paralyzing Thursday Looms
As the final hours of Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan gradually ticks on the horizon for his exit from Planet Earth, thousands of citizens and mourners are bracing themselves for what many say will be excessively sobbing and paralyzing moment. This is to be so because the former Sinoe County Senator was an anchor point for hundreds of citizens who believed in him and thousands of Liberians who support Government’s unbridled infrastructure programs for which he was a forerunner.
The people of Sinoe County and by extension the long-neglected Southeast of Liberia for whom the fallen Public Works Ministry was a staunched representative on the National Dinner Table will be shedding tears of hopelessness. They regard the passing of Mobutu Nyenpan as the quenching of a light that was depended upon for the connectivity of their forgotten region amongst individuals who are currently making decisions on such matters as roads and infrastructure development.
It was said that Mon-Vlah was a lone voice of the Southeast for Southeast development since the President, who himself is from the Southeast, would not boldly preach lest he’s branded as regionally parochial and bias. Vlah was the subtle agent the President himself relied on to push the cause of infrastructure development amongst other regionalists within the inner circle.
Student activists of the 1980s and their cadets and adherents have their share of tears to shed. They had seen and regarded “Mon-Vlah”, as they fondly called him, as a mentor, a fearless soldier and a reliable partner in the intellectual realm.
President George Weah, who has already shed much tear for Vlah has got much more to rain down the cheeks. He once called Mobutu is most loyal servant. He honored Vlah for being the best performing cabinet minister.
In his initial reactions to the passing of the Public Works Minister, President Weah did not conceal of love and affinity to him.
“I did not see and regard Mobutu as just a cabinet minister in my government. He was my best friend and brother. He was hard working, diligent and humane. It’s not only the family that will miss him. I will also miss him dearly,” the President said, quoted by the Executive Mansion.
Before his appointment as Public Works Minister, he had served as Senior Senator of Sinoe County until 2014 when he lost the post during a midterm senatorial elections. He also worked as the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company during the transitional period of Liberia.
He is a product of the University of Liberia, where he obtained a decree in Civil Engineering. He lately studied law at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia. He briefly practiced.
Minister Nyenpan hailed from Sinoe County. He was of the Sarpo stock, from a town called Grisby Farm in Butaw District. The majority inhabitants of Grisby Farm reportedly originate from Voogbadee, Juarzon Statutory District.
Besides being an astute public servant, Vlah was a socially popular person around whom many ordinary people gravitated.
Earlier Doleful Reactions
Reading from how the nation reacted to the death news of the fallen Public Works Minister, it is expected that his final hours—Liberians seeing their road hero buried—will see more riotous lamentations and tears.
As already stated, the Government of Liberia, through the office of President George Weah, swiftly responded to the sad news the same day of the death of the late Public Works Minister.
The President expressed his “deepest sadness and grief,” and said that the deceased minister would be remembered for his humility, family values, love for country and strong work ethics, which resulted in the development of many rundown infrastructures in the country.”
President said Mr. Nyenpan’s death had created a deep void in the cabinet and would also personally impact the Liberian leader who had come to regard the Minister as a friend and brother.
Also, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor who is believed to have had intimate relationship with the deceased, wrote on her Instagram page: “Oh death, where is thy sting; Oh death, where is thy victory? So Mobutu is gone and people are moving around without even mourning for a day! Ay ya, what is sacrifice! Only what is done for God is permanent.”
The brother of the fallen Public Works Minister, who effectively dispelled initial reports about the Minister’s death back in September, struggled to release the paralyzing news.
He lamented on his Facebook page: “My family has been fatally crushed! Lord you are on the throne and we know that, but why God? Why, Oh God, Why?”
In a subsequent post, he further lamented: “This is the moment I feared the most: informing our mother of your death. That hour has come this morning, and I asked that other family members give her such news…I just cannot! Am skipping this other family meeting. Rest in peace my brother. We shall grieve forever. #2 boys, 1 mother#”.
There were also spontaneous streams of tributes that poured out from loved ones, friends and admirers. Much of those reactions came on the social media and traditional media as well.