Practical and successful politics is actually based on promises and delivery, i.e, when aspiring for elected public offices many promises are made as a way of convincing the electorates, but upon voting in candidates, delivery of such promises become a serious difficulty for most candidates- not even being conscious of the future.
That’s the situation with which incumbent Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor is currently confronted in her bid for re-election. Senator Taylor had actually thought that – based on her ‘cheeky’ and negative utterances about the county at gatherings, the period of nine years was too long and that all variables would remain constant.
And so, for nine solid years at the Liberian Senate, she chose ‘political safari’ as her way of representing the people of Bong County without any regard to the promises she made (to resuscitate the farmland owned by her ex-husband and former President Charles G. Taylor, just next door to Gbarnga City primarily for the employment of citizens as was initial done by her ex-husband, among others). More than that, Senator Taylor was elected by the people of Bong County primarily on the basis of sympathy for former President Taylor, whose relationship with Bongese was highly cordial and unbreakable.
Not being cognizant of all of these substantiated realities, Senator Taylor chose to engage in “careless politics” with the people of Bong County, including those of the so-called Lower Bong and Sanoyea District over whom she had claimed she had absolute control (fixed support). Visitations to the county were very rare, while advocacy, in terms of representation and lawmaking, was far less than the minimum percentage of success any Bong County would anticipate.
And trust me, the Senator was awaiting a year before the ensuing Midterm senatorial election- heavily relying on financial backing from the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Mr. J. Mills Jones, to pursue her re-election agenda – that which is now a clear reality as evidenced by her recorded comments, while recently launching her “Friends of Jewel” in the county.
“I went to the Central Bank and lobbied for L$72m for ‘Bong County’. All I am trying to do here is for you to say the woman has helped us, (so) let’s give her our votes,” Senator Taylor was quoted by most recent front page publication of the New Dawn Newspaper as explaining to members of her ‘Friends of Jewel’, further adding that even at the time the CBL had put a halt to giving out micro-loans due to the Ebola epidemic until next year, she recently “mango-mango” her way through in securing additional funding, as she reminded her prospective voters to now reward her with their votes.
The senator re-emphasized her previous appeal to her supporters not to be difficult as beneficiaries (perhaps sensing something otherwise) of her efforts to repay her by granting her another 9 years in office as Senator. Senator Taylor was further quoted as boasting that on another occasion, she again went to the CBL and begged Executive Governor Jones for more money (a point at which, according to the New Dawn publication, she asked a journalist to switch off his recorder).
While the issue of Governor Jones’ side of this whole thing will be compromisingly and fearlessly dealt with subsequently, it must be made clear that Jewel’s action to solicit “loans’ in the name of Bong County amounting to L$72m without the knowledge of the county administration and members of the Bong Legislative Caucus, only demonstrates her selfish political behavior and lack of interest in the county.
For eight years in the Liberian Senate, the Senator has not been able to point at any intangible and tangible achievements in Bong County to justify her re-election besides the campaign rhetoric, lies and deceits she takes around Monrovia a few radio stations that ‘she has done this and she has done that’ in the county- and I say this as true son and well-meaning citizen whose extensively travels across the county are uncountable.
You may not believe it, but go to Bong County, especially Gbarnga and ask whether Senator Taylor ever built or owned a house for eight years- and the answer would be a resounding NO from the mouths of Bongese. How would one be a senator of a county and deliberate refuse to built or own a house there?
Can you imagine a “senior” Senator of the county sleeping in a hotel for eight years- I mean Crystal Palace Hotel (first located in the Civil Compound Community) now in the Rubber Factory Community owned and run by a friend of mine from high school days- Mr. Emmanuel Gibson. And just towards the election year (2014), she entered into a lease agreement for a year (just this election) with Mr. Gibson for one of his apartments previously used as a guest house- close to the former residence of former Superintendent Rannie Jackson, just a few yards away from the newly constructed Paulma Guest House facing Lofa Road (opposite the Gbarnga Police Headquarters).
Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor is even on record for apologizing to the people of Bong County on Radio Gbarnga for abandoning them for eight years because “she was on travel ban and that she was also in the Law School”- a self-acknowledgement of default that has led to her diminishing popularity, and realizing such political mishap before the people of Bong County under the sound of her voice then, her next option was to lure Governor J. Mills Jones into her whims, including her ambition to contest as Vice Presidential candidate to him. That’s why Governors Jones had to even bend backward against all odds, despite the moratorium placed on CBL’s micro-loan scheme until next year because of the Ebola crisis, to give her (Jewel) such money as L$72m- an amount she’s currently using to run her campaign against the so-called intended purpose (interest of the people of Bong County).
Interestingly, the so-called Lower Bong, including Sanooyea (she claimed to be her stronghold) has already given her a RED CARD because of the reasons already mentioned. Infect, there are three other candidates being featured- from Sanoyea District itself and Salala District. Watch out for Part II.