MONROVIA: The Grand Master of the Orders of Distinction, President George Manneh Weah, has decorated and honored Liberia’s Foreign Minister Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., with the nation’s Highest Honor.
The Liberian leader admitted Foreign Minister Kemayah to the ‘Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia’ with the grade of Knight Grand Commander.
The Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneers of the Republic of Liberia is a National Order of honor, merit, and distinction that takes prominence among the National Orders of the Republic of Liberia. William V.S. Tubman created it on January 7, 1955.
According to the Patriotic and Cultural Observance Law of Liberia, the objectives for creating the Order are to commemorate the achievements of the pioneers and keep the flames of their memory burning bright; to inspire in all Liberians a deep and abiding love for their Country; to develop a strong devotion to duty; and to foster development for greater contribution, leaving their country more developed than the way they found it.
Stating the reasons for honoring Foreign Minister Kemayah, President Weah said Kemayah emerged from very humble origins and completed his tertiary education, Class of 1989 at the University of Liberia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics, with Minor in Physics. Thereafter, he studied for and obtained a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Development Studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Diploma in Microfinance and Community Economic Development, all with honors – Credit, Summa Cum Laude and Magna Cum Laude from the Catholic-owned and run Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi, Uganda, East Africa.
“You brought into Government service a wealth of high-level experience from the Public/Private sector that spanned multiple institutions in the non-Governmental organization/civil society with a focus on institutional development, governance, transparency, accountability, reform, development and humanity”, the citation said.
Prior to his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet in September 2020, Amb. Kemayah served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Administration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Liberia from March 22, 2018 to September 3, 2018.
Present Weah said during his brief tenure, Minister Kemayah brought about meaningful changes to ensure effective functioning of the Ministry, including the Foreign Service of the Republic of Liberia.
“Following your stint at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Home Office) and recognizing your high-performance record, you were, again, appointed to the Foreign Service as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations and all of its organs in New York on September 4, 2018. You served in this post until September 29, 2020,” the citation read.
“Your appointment by His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet in September 2020 was not by coincidence, given your enviable service performance record in previous assignments. You embarked on your task with a robust platform for reforms in foreign policy, image-building, accountability, transparency and the strengthening of bilateral, multilateral, as well as diplomatic ties”.
The Liberian leader also recognized Minister Kemayah’s role as a politician, stating that: “you continue to be an active player and stakeholder within the body politic of the Republic of Liberia. You served in several capacities in the Movement for Economic Empowerment (MOVEE) that is one of the Political Parties that fully participated in the Presidential and Legislative elections in 2017 in Liberia, at which time His Excellency President George Manneh Weah was overwhelmingly elected for his first term. MOVEE supported President Weah and is now one of the constituent political parties of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). You are currently the Political Leader of MOVEE”.
President Weah also recounted that Minister Kemayah as a devout Christian, continues to provide meaningful services and support to the Baptist Church in Liberia and the religious community in general, and that he is uncompromising in his support for religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence.
“You are a staunch supporter and promoter of sports, especially football. You are married, with children, to an astute Liberian and a God-fearing woman of high integrity, professionalism and productivity,” the President said.
The citation said Minister Kemayah’s leadership has led to improved competencies in policy formulation and strategic planning across diverse institutions in the public and private sector in Liberia.
“Consequently, in recognition of all your achievements and invaluable contributions to Liberia and the People of Liberia, now therefore, I, Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and Grand Master of the Orders of Distinctions, by virtue of the power in me vested do hereby admit you into the MOST VENERABLE ORDER OF THE KNIGHTHOOD OF THE PIONEERS WITH THE GRADE OF KNIGHT GRAND COMMANDER. Wear this insignia with dignity and pride to the glory of God. Congratulations!”
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, H.E. Dmytro Kuleba, presented his country’s highest honor for personalities to the Foreign Minister of Liberia, making Amb. Kemayah the recipient of three prestigious local and international honors and awards in less than a week.
It can be recalled recently that the Liberian Foreign Minister was a recipient of the prestigious Golden Image George Manneh Weah Presidential Leadership Award of 2023 for the level of transformation he has championed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to Foreign Minister Kuleba, his presence in Liberia is a demonstration of the straightened relations between Liberia and Ukraine. He said his visit to Liberia was to deliver a message of freedom and a mission to decorate Liberia’s Foreign Minister, Amb. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., with one of the highest honors: the Order of Merit (1st Degree), that President Zelensky had bestowed on Foreign Minister Kemayah. The Ukraine Foreign Minister thanked President Weah for instructing Minister Kemayah to take a stance in support of the Government and people of Ukraine.
On December 30, 2022, the President of Ukraine, H.E. Volodymyr Zelensky, issued and published on his official website Decree No. 902/2022 to appreciate and recognize the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liberia for his exemplary stewardship towards the promotion of the rule-based international order, global peace, and security in the context of the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law. The Ukrainian President honored Liberia’s Foreign Minister Kemayah with the Order of Merit (1st Degree) for a significant personal contribution to strengthening interstate cooperation and supporting State sovereignty and territorial integrity in Ukraine.
In response, Foreign Minister Kemayah thanked the Ukrainian Foreign Minister for the honor, which he dedicated to President Weah, stating that H.E. President George Manneh Weah gave him the opportunity to serve.
During the official program of the 176th Independence, the Liberian Leader honored several distinguished personalities, including the President of the Republic of Ghana, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, and the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, as well as the Speaker and the President Pro Tempore of the 54th Legislature, and the National Orator of the 176th Anniversary, among others.
Foreign Minister Kemayah, upon taking over the helm of power in 2020, embarked on a reform process. The minister is credited with reducing the passport price by 20% in all categories at no cost to the government’s revenue, improving the ranking of the Liberian passport, and winning more scholarship opportunities for Liberians across the world.
Currently, the Ministry is undergoing massive renovations that have not gone on since it was constructed more than fifty years ago. The Kemayah-led reform initiative include among other things, targeted improving policies, strengthening Liberia’s bilateral and multilateral ties, enhancing human resource development, strengthening transparency and accountability, and developing infrastructure at the Ministry.