By Melvin Caesar
Ever since former soccer star George Weah made public his political ambition, he has been struggling inconsistently for power: first running unsuccessful as presidential candidate in 2005 and vice presidential candidate in 2011 to former United Nations Envoy to Somalia, Winston Tubman. George Weah lost both elections to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf who went on to become Africa’s first female president.
As the battle for President Johnson-Sirleaf’s replacement ensued, Mr. Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), lauched a sweaty search for an individual with the requisite political capital that would give the CDC a winning formula to replace the then ruling Unity Party two terms reign. Jewel Howard Taylor, then two terms Senator of Bong County on the ticket of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) stood out as the best suited politician giving her wealth of experience in Liberian politics, former first lady of Liberia and a long time campaigner for women empowerment and education with a strong wherewithal to pull the trickers in the women and student communities. Mr. Weah and his CDC cohorts reached out to her through several intermediaries seeking her hand in political matrimony.
Madam Howard Taylor then Senator of Bong County consented with the precondition that her wishes for Liberia would be inculcated into the CDC manifestos. Mr. Weah consented since they were not different from what the Congree for Democratic Change had on paper. Hence, the discussion to establish what would become today’s Coalition for Democratic Change started with the involvement of the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) of then House Speaker, Alex J. Tyler.
The conversation to team up with the former soccer star began on a bed of roses. A document to consulate the marriage was signed in November 2016 among the Congress for Democratic Change, the National Patriotic Party and the Liberia People Party. They agreed among many things that appointment in government upon succeeding President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would be made on a consensus basis from the three signatories of the agreement and first preference would be given to their members; members of the coalition who are holding legislative positions in any of 15 counties of Liberia would be given preference in the event of a legislative election except they choose not to contest and national decisions would be made through consultation among parties that constitute the CDC.
Immediately after inauguration on January 16, 2018, the document was found wanting as the Congress for Democratic Change began making appointments unilaterally. When queried, President Weah said the Liberian Constitution does not suggest that he should consult anyone on his presidential power to appoint in contravention of the agreement that brought the Coalition for Democratic Change into existence. Jewel Howard Taylor and the other party has given Mr. Weah the presidency. So, it was now time show what was under his sleeves all through the discussion to get Madam Howard Taylor on his team with sinister motives.
Since inauguration, the Vice President of Liberia still rides her private SUV jeep that is more than three years old with no protection as required by law. With the instructions of President Weah, Vice President Howard Taylor has been denied her operational allotted in the National Budget for her office.
More than that, the former soccer star has taken away her supervisory role over the National Lotteries Authority, the Liberia Marketing Association and other institutions. She has been subjected to an ordinary protester in demand for what legally belongs to the office of the vice president.
Sources within President Weah’s circle have hinted that he is paranoiac that Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, if allowed to fully receive her budgetary allotment, would gain more political strength to jeopardize his second term bid. Everyone is bewildered that a man who nakenamed himself “Feminist-in-Chief” would treat woman in such a despicable manner after dubiously making her to believe that he meant well.
In the build up the December 8, 2020 mid-term senatorial election across Liberia, the Congress for Democratic Change has left the Vice President out of every decision to candidates to contest on the coalition ticket. The Congress for Democratic Change held stage managed primaries and give non-memebers of the Coalition white ballot slots and waive Nimba County to Senator Prince Johnson but refused to allow Vice President Howard Taylor have a say in the decision to select a candidate in Bong County where for the first time through her, the CDC got the highest number of votes in 2017 unlike in 2005 and 2011.
Again, as Liberia grapples with the fight against Covid-19, the pseudo “Feminist-in-Chief” left out the only woman who is supposed to represent the voice of women at table of national decisions making is left out of the entire process till date. Vice President Howard has never been invited to any Covid-19 response meeting whatsoever. She has been fending for herself to contribute since she could not afford to have a cold feet during this critical period in world history.
The first time Vice President Howard Taylor asked her boss to give her some of the Aliba CEO Jack Ma’s donated facemasks to share with others, he [Weah] refused.
On July 20, 2020, a stalwart of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), Senator Dan Morias filed a petition before the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission (NEC) seeking declarity judgement against the Congress for Democratic Change to engaging in acts that contravene the agreement into in 2016 that brought the Coalition for Democratic Change into existence.
While hearing into the matter is pending, the CDC has released a list of candidates that would contest on the party’s ticket across the country with no female presence under a Feminist-in-Chief rule.
The only woman who chose to challenge the CDC oligarchs was expelled from the party without due process.
About the Author:
Melvin Caesar is a Liberian professional with expertise in International Diplomacy and Leader. He can be reached at email@example.com