Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor – the ex-wife of Liberia’s imprisoned former President, Mr. Charles Ghankay Taylor, has claimed that he remains “the most- loved” ex- leader here, in her criticism that the ruling Unity Party of President Ellen Johnson-Sirlef “has not managed to create a government of national unity.”
But the government has strongly countered Senator Taylor’s comment against the regime, arguing that the Sirleaf-led government is “by far better than the NPP government was in terms of inclusiveness in governance.”
The former First Lady of Liberia, who now heads the former ruling National Patriotic Party or NPP, told the Truth Breakfast show of Truth 96.1 Fm in Paynesville on Monday, June 1 that her disappointment in the UP-led government over the last ten years is that the government has been run as a “ Unity Party Affair.”
She claimed that the government was not one that goes beyond boundaries to make people feel a part, giving rise to rampant formation of political parties roughly totaling 24.
Senator Taylor also accused the Sirleaf Administration of hiring a “very few” politicians from the opposition to work, further alleging that “out of the entire government maybe you will name three or four” opposition members working.
She said during elections, most appointed officials even joined the ruling party, including commissioners that, she believed, were to be independent- only “because they thought that was their only support.”
But Senator Taylor expressed the belief that appointed officials were not obligated to join a ruling party, arguing that people can be appointed to government positions because they are the best possible choices for such positions regardless of political lineages.
In the case of the NPP government, the Bong County Senator claimed that “former President Taylor remains one of the most loved political leaders in our time” because Taylor Administration went across borders to make sure that people were included in what the NPP did.
“As First Lady, my office was where the opposition leaders went; there was nothing they wanted done that was not done,” she claimed, concluding that except for Information Minister Lewis Brown, the NPP has not received jobs from the UP government at all levels.
As to the Peace Ambassador Job offered opposition leader George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC prior to his ascendency to the Senate, Senator Taylor said there were rumors of lack of support from the government, particularly given that the ex-Ambassador did not make any report indicating progress made.
In a follow-up with Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson Monday, he told the NewDawn via mobile phone that unlike the Taylor Administration, the current government was receptive of the opposition, and that nobody was running away from Liberia because government was not after anyone.
Mr. Jackson argued that it was unfair for Senator Taylor to draw an unparalleled analogy against the Sirleaf Regime, emphasizing that “unlike the NPP Government, the incumbent was very much receptive of the opposition.”
Listing non-UP card-carrying politicians working in the Sirleaf Administration, Mr. Jackson named himself from the opposition Liberty Party, while his boss Lewis Brown was from the NPP.
He also mentioned a number of government institutions where non-UP members were either appointed as heads or playing key roles, including Liberia’s Anti-Corruption Commission ( Cllr. James Verdier); Justice Ministry (Cllr. Benedict Sannoh); Governance Commission; Commerce Minister (Axel Addy); and the PPCC, as well as the Independent High Commission on Human Rights, among others.
Mr. Jackson named other individuals as main opposition CDC political leader George Weah- appointed Peace Ambassador; CDC’s Nathaniel McGill; former Justice Minister Christina P. Tah; Former Public Works Minister Samuel Koffi Woods, as well as former Labor Minister Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, among others. By Winston W. Parley – Edited by George Barpeen