Outgoing Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor’s recent disclosure of treatments received in the Coalition government of President George Manneh Weah that she served for six years is nothing but crying over spilled milk. How could a woman of her status allow herself to have suffered such psychological humiliation without speaking out!
Yet, she was bold enough to come in public defending the CDC and repeatedly criticize former Vice President now President-elect, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, for performing dismally under Madam Sirleaf. Such political decent boomeranged.
Madam Taylor took the National Patriotic Party (NPP) to President Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in a coalition that offered her the Vice Presidential slot during the 2017 election but received cold shoulders after the CDC came to power.
In the entire first year or so of the administration, she did not report for work in the Senate where she presides as President, because the Executive Mansion withdrew her official aids and motorcade amid claims and fears in the ruling party that she wanted to outshine President Weah. It took public pressure to have her amenities restored.
Appearing as guest on a live online talk show recently, the Vice President lamented that she never had access to the inner cycle of the Weah administration despite being the second in command, while her value in terms of education and experience was downplayed in the government. How does this gain attention of the public when she is already on her way out to give way to a new administration?
The Coalition for Democratic Change lost the 14th November 2023 Presidential Runoff Election to the Unity Party, clearly thwarting President Weah’s bid for second term in office.
But for the woman, who once served as First Lady of the Republic of Liberia before her election as Vice President to have endured such humiliation for six long years in total silence, is not only a serious disappointment to herself but disappointment to Liberian women aspiring for public office.
By her revelation, Madam Taylor clearly indicates that she was completely sidelined. No wonder why cries for jobs from within the NPP faction that headed went unheeded because she had no influence on President Weah or key officials to push her interest, and could not say so publicly.
“Certain point in time I was blocked; I was no longer part of the team. In 2016-2017, I was part of the team; we sat at the roundtable to talk and he (President Weah) will ask me at the end of everybody’s conversation to talk, ‘Deputy SB, what you say’ and I always had the chance to speak my mind.”
But she observed that subsequently, all this changed and she was increasingly ostracized in the Coalition, lamenting “That disunity of not communicating and consulting actually ate into the fabric of me. If I could look back, I will say that was the hardest part for me. As a woman, you know, we like to talk. And so, I always wanted the opportunity to talk about some of the things that were happening. And I always wanted to say that President Weah and I had never argued a face-to-face argument; never.”
Coming out now at the eleventh hour is, as it is often said in a Liberian parlance, “water under the bridge” that makes no significant relevance at the moment. All that is before her now is to move on with her life after January 22nd.