Incarcerated ex-Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor has been accused of still wielding influence over his National Patriotic Party, the NPP, currently beset by serious leadership crisis in Liberia.
Speaking to The NewDawn over the weekend in Monrovia, NPP Assistant Secretary General, Marvin Cole, claimed Mr. Taylor is consistently directing the affairs of the party, while in prison in Great Britain. How this was possible is not clear.
But according to him, one of Taylor’s daughters, Shadline Taylor, has allegedly informed partisans of the NPP that her dad (Taylor) wants her becomes the next National Secretary General of the party during the pending 6th Biennial Convention.
Already, Mr. Taylor’s son, Philip Taylor, is the Montserrado County Chairman of the NPP. It is not clear whether his ascendency was based on directive of his father.
Philip’s mother, who is former First Lady and current Senator of Bong County, has been the political leader of the party.
Senator Jewel Howard Taylor was the flag bearer of the NPP during the 2011 elections, though she did not vie for the Presidency.
Shadline’s alleged demand is one of the reasons behind the current internal crisis, Cole further claimed.
“We think this is terrifying for Mr. Taylor to still be giving mandates of how the party should be run here. I’m calling on the international community and partners in progress to ensure that Mr. Taylor’s telephone conversation be monitored to the letter,” he said.
He noted that as result of the reported interference from the former standard bearer, some NPP partisans were becoming lawless. “The action of some our partisans squarely points to lawlessness and it is lawlessness that led Mr. Taylor to where he is now. We are calling on the aggrieved partisans to come to the table for dialogue. This is our party and every party has differences and it is only befitting that we handle our issues in house,” he suggested.
Cole said it is worrisome and scaring for Mr. Taylor to be reportedly dictating affairs of the party in jail. However, when Senator Taylor was contacted via mobile phone on Cole’s claims about Shadline Taylor, she could neither confirm nor deny the information, but expressed regrets if that were the case.
She said it would be unfortunate if Mr. Taylor will involve in party politics, while serving his sentence. “This is news to me about Mr. Taylor’s involvement in the affairs of the NPP; but if that’s something to go by then it’s wrong and unfortunate. Currently, the NPP is experiencing some troubling [times] which is normal with political institutions globally; we’re trying to resolve the matter,” Senator Taylor said.
The NPP, under the acting leadership of businessman Randolph Cooper, was set to hold convention last month, but the National Elections Commission halted the process, pending full investigation into the leadership rigmarole.
Some stalwarts of the party, including former rebel general, Kuku Dennis, who is a cousin of Mr. Taylor, and former Deputy Police Director YekehKolubah, hadreportedly besieged headquarters of the NPP in Congo Town on grounds that the political leadership led by Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and Cllr. Theophlius Gould should leave office.
Cllr. Gould’s tenure as National Chairman of the party expired last December. Some aggrieved partisans claimed the Gould-Jewel leadership is reaping financial gains from properties of the party purchased by its first standard bearer, Mr. Taylor.
During election for the Senate President Pro-Tempore in 2012, Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, had claimed he was instructed by Mr. Taylor to vote against Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, who was then vying for the post against former Senator Gbehnzohngar Milton Findley of Grand Bassa County. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor – Editing by Jonathan Browne