THE DEEP WOUND caused by the passing of Hon. Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan is partly made fresh and painful again as his family, his church, his kinsmen, his colleagues and admirers converged to celebrate the first anniversary of his death. October 30, 2020 is a very tragic date that many will not forget. It was on this day that Liberia’s sitting Public Works Minister, the man whose voice was fresh and exhilarating in communities and on the airwaves as it was powerful in relating numerous pro-poor projects completed, underway and in the offing was snatched away.
THE TEARS, LAMENTATIONS and griefs shed by Liberians over the death of Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan on the date of his passing, and even now and in the near and far future have their justifications in the kind of man he was. There is absolutely no question about the fact that the passing of Vlah, as he was simply fondly called, has created a serious void. It left deep sores in the heart of many, that it is going to take a long time to heal. President George Manneh was right when he said in his first reaction to the death news of Vlah that “a lot of people will miss the fallen Public Works Minister.” It is not only the family and Government he diligently served that will miss him. Countless Liberians and non-Liberians will do also; for he was a very kind man, who hardly passed by anyone without speaking—without throwing some jokes that drew the affection and intimacy of all who came to encounter him, even the political and social aisles.
TO SAY THAT Vlah was an enviable and adorable family man is an understatement. He proved to be a true African—and Liberian—breadwinner, serving as the centripetal force and anchor point around whom thousands of people gravitated. Whether it was at his home in Barnesville Estate, or at the various offices he served from the LPRC to the Capitol Building or his private law office or at the Ministry of Public Works, there were seas of close and extended family people, friends and associates assembling in avalanche to see and meet him. And no one came close to him and left frowned and disenchanted. He was a consummate trigger of smiles and comfort.
AS AN INTELLECTUAL par excellence and studious personality, Vlah was a great asset Liberia lost. Even as the Weah Government’s first Public Works Minister, he cleverly combined his engineering acumen, his legal expertise, his political activism experience and legislative insight to propagate and execute pro-poor projects in real time. And with great passion and dedication to duty, he became an undisputed driver of the Government’s development programs. He made himself a shining example of public service that anyone can copy. And the marks of his handiworks are visible, commonplace and undebatable around the country.
WHILE UNARGUABLY PRESIDENT George Manneh Weah is a linchpin in the unprecedented roads and other infrastructure development drives taking place in the country, it is also true that such an epithet of the President would be untenable without the forthright, sworn and zealous acumen and commitment of the Public Works Minister in Hon. Nyenpan. Indeed, it took Vlah’s aggressive, oratory and persuasive skills and his honesty to duty to be able to win President Weah’s and international partners’ attention amid competing priorities to making the country’s infrastructure transformation agenda, mainly road works, a matter of urgency and priority.
THAT IS WHY we think that the anniversary program will be jammed in his honor is therefore worth it. The Church and biological families and associates gathering today have all reasons to reflect and remember a hero and the father-figure in Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan. But in all this, we must all take solace from the legacy of this former Sinoe County Senior Senator and Minister of Public Works. HIS CHARACTER AS a peacemaker, his passion to serve and be of help to others, his meekness and forthrightness are all ideals he lived for. They must give us solace and strength to rise up from the paralyzing stupor created by his passing.
INDEED, ONCE AGAIN our condolences to the Nyenpan family, the Sacred Heart Cathedral family, the Government and the people of Liberia.