CAPITOL HILL, Monrovia — Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor on Thursday caused uproar while serving as the presiding officer when she refuted attribution of being labeled a ‘CDCian’ (partisan of the ruling CDC).
Howard-Taylor’s disclaimer was in response to a joke from Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay when he raised concern ‘why only CDCians Senators were presiding over session in the Senate?
The vice president, whose National Patriotic Party (NPP) is in a three-party collaboration including President George Weah’s Coalition for Democratic Change and Alex Tyler’s Liberia People Democratic Party making up the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, said: “I’m not a CDCian; but rather a proud member of the NPP.”
As surprising her statement sounded to Senators and people in the Senate’s gallery, it is inarguably a fact that she is the political leader of the NPP.
The vice president is known for making controversial statements. In 2018, when the CDC came to power, Howard-Taylor insinuated that not being a member of the ruling establishment, but working for the government is totally intolerable.
She also insinuated that it’s biblically unacceptable while asking members of the local government in Bong County to either join ranks with the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) or be replaced.
She said similar actions were taken during the Unity Party regime where people were made to join the ruling establishment at the time.
“Y’all will join because other people joined the Unity Party so I’m waiting for y’all to travel to your districts to and tell me you’re joining the ruling Coalition,” she said.
Further fine-tuning her speech, Madam Howard Taylor said she holds nothing against the officials who are members of other parties, as had that been the case, she would be ordered their removal of all non-CDC officials, but maintained that trust is paramount and she would not be confident to express herself in the midst of non-members of the Coalition.
“The fact that some people sitting here, they’re not members of the Coalition, y’all know we have nothing in our hearts against y’all, because I would have said, ‘Remove everybody’; what would you have done to me? Nothing, it’s my time,” she said.
Vice President Howard-Taylor has been riding on rough road with President Weah and members of the President’s Congress for Democratic Change and at the same time been having scuffles with some officials of the NPP.
After months of speculations about her sour relationship with the president, Howard-Taylor let the cat out of the bag on May 14, 2019 on Unification Day, when she admitted her rugged relationship with President Weah on the Truth Breakfast Show.
On the program, she rendered an open apology to the President, noting she was guilty of traveling abroad without properly communicating to the Office of the President.
Sources within the CDC informed FPA she has since been making frantic efforts to restore her image in the Coalition, as such, in her native Bong County move could be a step in that direction.
However, her warning to the local officials in the county runs contrary to several pronouncements by President Weah that he wants to lead a country where citizens can go to work and feel free to discuss politics without fear.
In his first speech after winning the elections in 2017, President Weah said, “To other political parties, we are not enemies. We welcome you with open arms as we all strive to build our country. This election was a contest of ideas and not a clash of political personalities. Our ideas have prevailed but that does not mean you do not have a contribution to make. We need to bring our country together to secure our peace and work harder towards national unity and development.”
The President has made series of pronouncements, assuring the public of even greater freedoms under this regime.
Noted for Controversial Comments
During the election campaign in 2017, Madam Taylor stumbled on several comments she made in public; whilst her only alibi was that she was being taken out of context.
Speaking on the controversial Christianization of Liberia, she said, “I’m not going to mince my words on the Christianization of Liberia. I don’t have a problem with people affiliating with different religions, but I support Liberia being a Christian nation.”
While campaigning in Nimba County, Madam Howard-Taylor remarked the CDC-led government would bring former President Charles Taylor’s agenda back on the table if the Coalition is elected.
Her statement came at a time when it was rumored that Taylor, who is serving a 50-year jail term in the United Kingdom, was interfering with the elections.