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Striker and Midfielder

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-Weah describes presidential team with VP Jewel

In what seems a rare public acknowledgment of cozy relations between them despite perceptions out there, President George Manneh Weah has told the people of Salayea in Lofa County that he relies on the wisdom and experience of his Vice President, Jewel Howard Taylor in running the government. President Weah, who kicked off second to the last leg of his tour of all 15 counties which started on February 12, 2021, describes Vice President Jewel Taylor as the midfielder of the government with him (Weah) as a striker, reminiscent of his fond memories from the soccer pitch.

This is the first time VP Taylor is traveling with President Weah on the tour that has taken him to all of the counties, but Montserrado County which remains the last. Even Bong County that situates in Central Liberia where Ms. Taylor hails from, contested for the senate and won twice before becoming Vice President, she didn’t accompany the President.

Besides, the Vice President vehemently rejected and campaigned against the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC’s) senatorial candidate Henry Yallah in that election, and instead, supported her own choice, Prince Moye, who won the seat, something that glaringly exposed the depth of sour ties between the two.

However, speaking Thursday, June 03, 2021 in Salayea, the first major town to Lofa, President Weah said he usually looks to VP Taylor for guidance and advice to effectively govern, something that appears to contradict previous strains between them. However, President Weah may be presenting a united face to the people of Lofa in a tour that is generally intended to galvanize support for his re-election bid in 2023.

Lofa is a politically sensitive area for Mr. Weah for two critical reasons: He lost the county during the 2017 elections to former Vice President Joseph Boakia, and also the December 8, 2020 midterm senatorial election to a son of Lofa and former minister of defense, Brownie J. Samukai, whose certification by the National Elections Commission is being blocked by the Supreme Court following his conviction of misapplying soldiers’ benefits.

Senator-elect Samukai, a member of Mr. Boakai’s Unity Party, has been mandated by Criminal Court ‘C ‘at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia to restitute in phases, over US$1 million misapplied from soldiers’ retirement benefit.The people of Lofa are not generally happy over the delay in certificating their son, and it is brewing political tension here.

Strangely however, as President Weah departed Monrovia Wednesday for Lofa, former vice president Boakai – a critic of the administration, called on citizens of the county to welcome the President to the county amidst the simmering political tension. Meanwhile, Mr. Weah has urged the people of Lofa to work with their lawmakers to achieve development programs they are yearning for. By Jonathan Browne

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