Liberia: Current and Past Lawmakers Pay Tribute to Fallen Former Nimba Rep. Johnson Gwaikolo

Former Rep. Gwaikolo’s sudden demise occurred at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia on Sunday

Monrovia – The death of former Nimba County Representative Johnson Gwaikolo has sent shockwaves across the county and the nation at large with current and former lawmakers paying their tributes.

By Gerald C. Koinyeneh –

Former Rep. Gwaikolo’s sudden demise occurred at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia on Sunday. The cause of his sudden demise has not been established but family sources said the incident happened following his return from the United Methodist Annual Conference in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

“When the Papay came from Buchanan, he went home, but then he told his driver to take him to the hospital and while on the way complained that he was finding it difficult to breathe,” a close family source who asked not to be name because he was not clothed with the authority to speak on behalf of the family to FrontPage Africa.

News of his passing has deeply saddened residents of Nimba County and the nation as a whole.

Current Rep. Taa Wongbe (District #9, Nimba County), writing on Facebook said Rep. Gwaikolo left behind a “legacy as a statesman and father to our district.”

“It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we share the news of Hon. Johnson N. Gwaikolo’s passing. This morning, Hon. Gwaikolo left us at the Catholic Hospital, leaving behind a legacy as a statesman and father to our district,” he said.

 “District 9 and Nimba mourn the loss of such an important and towering figure. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.”

Fellow Nimba lawmaker, Rep. Dorwohn Twain Gleekia (District #6, Nimba) said Rep. Gwaikolo’s demise is an irreparable loss to Nimba and Liberia.

“This is irreparable. This is a really sad time for us as a country. This was a statesman in this country. When he served in the capacity as president of UMU (United Methodist University). With the role that he played he is going to be missed. And our thoughts and prayers are with his family in these tough times,” Rep. Gleekia said.

Rep. Gleekia also said the fallen statesman was his mentor and was always willing to guide him in his professional work. “He was always there to advise me and guide me. He was a teacher. He was always willing to guide whenever we are going to caucus’ meetings.”

Rep. Marvin Cole (District #3, Bong County), who served as Co-chairman to Gwaikolo on the Committee on Rules, Order and Administration said his fallen colleague’s demise has “created a space that will never be failed.”

“This was a man that will want to get into your heart to make you happy even if he had to feel bad to make you happy. Nobody can easily do that. There is no word that we can use to easily describe his absence,” Rep. Cole said.

“For the short time I worked with him, he was a unique man. For the time I was at UMU as a student, he was such an intelligent administrator, and I was privileged to work with him at the Legislature. His responsibilities for people’s errors, if he had to be punished so that they can be set free, that is what he did and no human can easily do that.”

Former Montserrado District #8 lawmaker, Acarous Moses Gray also had a fond memory of the fallen former lawmaker.

“He called me General and I called him Papay. He was indeed an honorable man that brought wealth of experience to the Legislature and his diplomatic scale was superb.”

Rep. Gwaikolo was renowned as both a seasoned politician and an educator. He served as the Representative of Nimba District #9 for six years in the 54th Legislature, during which he chaired the Committee on Education and later assumed the role of Chair on the House Committee on Rules Order and Administration. Although he pursued reelection in 2023, he was unsuccessful, losing to current Representative Taa Wongbe. His tenure in the 54th Legislature marked his second stint in the legislative body, following his service in the National Legislative Assembly during the civil war.

Outside of the Legislature, the late Gwaikolo served as Deputy Minister of Public Works during the administration of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and as President of the United Methodist University (UMU).

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