By Morrison O.G. Sayon
Thousands of Liberians including relatives, friends and love ones on Wednesday turned out at the Trinity Cathedral Church on Broad Street to bid farewell to the fallen Chairman of the defunct National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Charles Gyude Bryant.
The former Chairman of Liberia’s last transitional government who played a pivotal role in guiding the country from war to the election of Africa’s first female President was laid to rest yesterday at the Crozzerville Cemetery outside Monrovia.
Chairman Bryant died last month at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Sinkor following a brief period of illness. He was 65 years. The late Byrant led Liberia’s sixth interim government from October 2003 to January 2006 as the compromised choice of the three major warring factions, the then Government of Liberia (GOL), Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).
Delivering the Panegyric at the Funeral Service of the late Chairman Bryant, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf described the fallen Liberian leader as a courageous and committed Liberian who served his country magnificently and a gentleman in every service of the world.
President Sirleaf said Mr. Bryant will always be present in the hearts of Liberians for his role in bringing peace and tranquility. “His death will have a long shadow on the country. Liberians shed deep sense of grief over the death of this great son of the soil,” the Liberian leader said.
She furthered, “Bryant served his country magnificently; Liberia has lost an astute leader; he was one of the courageous and committed leaders and the country has lost a devoted son. He was a gentleman in every service of the world. He was farsighted, good concentration and served the country very well”.
She added, “Bryant demonstrated knowledge of national affairs, the passing of Bryant calls for political parties and others to introduce new institutions. I call on all Liberians today that as we celebrate this year’s National Unification Day, let us give reference and memory to the late Chairman Bryant.”
Earlier in his Discourse, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Liberia, the Right Rev. Dr. Jonathan B.B. Hart described the late Chairman Bryant as a man of peace and a soft-spoken person whose only priority was to bring peace to a country that has been devastated as a result of nearly 14 years of civil conflict.
Bishop Hart also remembers Bryant as a devoted Christian who though he was Chairman of the NTGL, stood to the door of the Church every Sunday and ushered in those coming to Church. “Liberians must emulate the good qualities of Chairman Bryant and avoid the act of cheating, corruption and other vices that have the propensity to bring disgrace to the country,” Bishop Hart told the congregation.
Paying tribute on behalf of the defunct NTGL, former Vice Chairman, Wesley M. Johnson said the NTG Chairman implemented fully the mandate of the government as outlined in the Accra Peace Accord: disarm the warring factions, establish and maintain the government and hold Legislative and Presidential elections; enabling the first African woman to be democratically elected and, in the eyes of the world, inaugurated Liberia’s President in January 2006.
“He did not hold unto time; he made a convenient with the Liberian people, Bryant said he will not stay as Chairman of the NTGL for even a day or an hour beyond the date agreed upon as stimulated in the CPA,” Amb. Johnson said.
He went on, “Bryant lived and died by the law, he turned over at the agreed time as promised, he led Liberia from war to peace, no one can take from him what he earned; his name will be recorded as one of Liberia’s greatest leaders.”
As a patriotic citizen, Gyude participated in efforts to return the country to Constitutional Democracy, and when party politics were allowed, he became glued to the Liberia Action Party and soon rose to become the Party’s Chair. Under his leadership, Charles Gyude Bryant participated in several peace initiatives to end the war. At the Accra Peace Conference, in 2005 he was nominated one of three candidates for the leadership at the National Transitional Government and later elected to head the Transitional Government as its Chairman.
Chairman Bryant faithfully and honorably served as Head of State and Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia from October 2013 – January 16, 2006, involving all the warring factions, political parties and civil society. During the NTGL’s two years in office, Chairman Bryant established and maintained excellent relations with all partners involved in the peace building process. He made several official visits to countries of the Mano River Union, Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, Ireland and the United States. He signed several Bilateral and Multilateral protocols to facilitate Liberia’s reacceptance into the International Comity of nations.
Chairman Bryant’s National Transitional Government implemented fully the mandate of the government as outlined in the Accra Peace Accord: disarm the warring factions, establish and maintain the government and hold Legislative and Presidential elections; enabling the first African woman to be democratically elected and, in the eyes of the world, inaugurated Liberia’s President in January 2006.