Executives, stalwarts, partisans and sympathizers of the ex-ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP are commemorating the 68th birthday of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, founder and first standarad bearer of the party that was transformed from a rebel movement (National Patritoic Front of Liberia) into a formidable political force which contested and won elections in 1997.
Mr. Taylor left the jungle in 1995 and came to Monrovia after he led a five-year guerilla war against slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe and went to the ballot box in 1997, two years later, under an ECOWAS-brokered peace, overwhelmingly defeating top-notch Liberian politicains like current President Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the late Gabriel Baccus Matthwes, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh, Jr., and Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh, among others.
The NPP held power in Liberia from january 1998 to August 2003, when Taylor was pressurized thru arm rebellions led by combined LURD and MODEL rebel groups, and eventually stepped down and went in exile in Nigerian from where he was arrested, brought back to Monrovia and transferred to the UN-backed Special Court of Sierra Leone, tried and convicted for aiding and abetting RUF rebels in that country.
The party he left behind is currently locked in serious leadership crisis so much so that it is being barred by the National Elections Commission or NEC from fielding candidates in any elections, pending national convention to elect new slate of leaders.
A special press release issued here by the party late Wednesday reads: “Your Execellency, Darkpanah Dr. CharkesTaylor, 21st President of the Repulbic of Liberia, as you observe your 68th Birth Anniversay on January 28, 2016, the Chairman, members of the National Executive Committee, all partisans, well wishers and sympathozers of the NPP extend you happy bithday and best wishes.
“It is our ardent hope and paryer that the Lord will keep you and your family in good health, and we hope to celebrate this day with you in the future.”
Mr. Taylor whose departing words to Liberians before leaving for exile were, “God’s willing, I will be back”, is currently serving a 50-year jail sentence in Britain after he was tried and convicted in The Hague. By Jonathan Browne