|23rd President of Liberia|
11 August 2003 – 14 October 2003
|Preceded by||Charles Taylor|
|Succeeded by||Gyude Bryant|
|28th Vice President of Liberia|
24 July 2000 – 11 August 2003
|Preceded by||Enoch Dogolea|
|Succeeded by||Wesley Momo Johnson|
18 April 1947|
Toweh Town, Liberia
|Died||1 April 2013
|Political party||National Patriotic|
Moses Zeh Blah (18 April 1947 – 1 April 2013) was a Liberian politician. He served as Vice President of Liberia under President Charles Taylor and became the 23rd President of Liberia on 11 August 2003, following Taylor's resignation. He served as President for two months, until 14 October 2003, when a United Nations-backed transitional government, headed by Gyude Bryant, was sworn in.
Blah was born in Toweh Town, Liberia, a Gio-speaking hamlet in north-eastern Nimba County, close to the border with the Ivory Coast. He joined with Taylor because of a shared hatred of President Samuel Doe, who had killed Blah's wife along with hundreds of others in an ethnic-related massacre. He trained with Taylor in a Libyan guerrilla camp and served with him as a general during Liberia's civil war in the 1990s. He held the post of ambassador to Libya and Tunisia after Taylor was elected in 1997. In July 2000 Blah was appointed as Vice President after the death of Enoch Dogolea who was rumoured to have been poisoned.
Blah was known as a quiet and unassuming man, driving his own jeep around town rather than using a motorcade and driver, and wearing flowing African robes instead of the normal olive green military uniform. He was constantly annoyed by the presence of bodyguards following him around.
In June 2003, Taylor had left the country for peace talks in Ghana, and while there he was indicted by the war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone. Blah was urged by the United States to take power from Taylor during his absence, but Blah made no such attempt. After Taylor's return, Blah was held under house arrest for ten days, but was subsequently absolved and reinstated as Vice President.
When Taylor resigned in August of that year, Blah briefly succeeded him as president. He was condemned by Liberian rebel groups for his close ties to Taylor; they charged that he would simply continue Taylor's practices. Blah responded by calling the rebels "brothers" and saying "Let bygones be bygones. If there is power, we can share it." He invited the rebels to negotiate in his own house.
On 7 April 2008, Blah said that he had been sent a subpoena to testify at Taylor's trial before the Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. He said that he would testify and "speak the truth",1 and he testified on 14 May 2008, describing child soldiers and the relationship between Taylor and Foday Sankoh.2
Originally trained as a mechanic, Blah was fluent in German, French and Arabic. He had many children by his wife Nettie, and many grandchildren.
Blah died early on 1 April 2013 at the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia.3
- "Former Liberian vice-president says he will testify in Taylor trial", AFP, 7 April 2008.
- "Charles Taylor's former deputy testifies", Reuters (Mail & Guardian Online), 14 May 2008.
- Paye-Layleh, Jonathan (April 1, 2013). "Former Liberian President Moses Blah Dies". Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- BBC News: Moses Blah Profile
- Moses Blah Background, Emily Robinson, Lehrer NewsHour Online Backgrounder
|Vice President of Liberia
Wesley Momo Johnson
|President of Liberia