Liberia’s Vice President, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor denies link to a new campaign here to ask President George Manneh Weah to step down from the Presidency.Madam Taylor brands those linking her to the ‘President George Weah step-down campaign’ as wicked people, who do not mean well for the country.Addressing a news conference Thursday, 26 September in her office at the Capitol in Monrovia, she explains that it does not make any sense as Vice President or second in command of the administration to at the same time undermine her government.
The group that staged the June 07 protest in Monrovia, Council of Patriots or COP has announced another protest for December, to ask President Weah to step down, accusing him of being incompetence.Ms Taylor had previously denied being part or lending support to activities of the COP during its first round of protest after similar rumor emerged.
Prior to the June 07 protest, President Weah publicly designated her to receive the protesters’ petition, but she failed to show up at the eleventh hour, citing health reasons.
Vice President Taylor continues, “I made cautious mind to be part of the Coalition for Democratic Change and contested as vice president along with the president and I was elected. I know better to be part of the process and try to destabilize the government, and I think those spreading those rumors are wicked and diabolical people.”
She recalls that she suffered many years of stigma because of her association with her ex-husband, jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, and would not allow herself to be drawn into something that would taint her character.
“I was not here many years of the civil wars because I got married to Mr. Taylor, I suffered stigmatization and you think I will want to put my hands in something that will derail my character? No. Liberia is the only country I’m carrying passport for and Liberia is the only country my children and grandchildren have as home. This is my government and the only thing to do is support the process of good governance for the betterment of everyone.”
Madam Taylor took her husband’s party, the National Patriotic Party to Mr. Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change in 2017 for a political marriage, which gave birth to the now governing Coalition for Democratic Change.
Narrating how she became running mate of Mr. Weah during the 2017 Presidential and Representatives elections, Madam Taylor notes that she never lobbied or begged for the position, but people within the Coalition saw her value and potential and based on that she was selected and later became the first female Vice President of Liberia along with President George Manneh Weah.Relationship between the two has not been very cozy in public and she has once apologized publicly to President Weah for making frequent travels abroad without notification.
Commenting on calls for the establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court here, Madam Taylor says the decision lies with the Liberian people and that President Weah has taken step by asking the legislators on the way forward.
“The issue of the war crimes court, Liberians must decide and the members of the Liberian Legislature that represent the people directly in government will now look at it and maybe, be forwarded for national referendum for the final conclusion, as to whether court should be established or not,” she adds.
Ms Taylor’s ex-husband, Mr. Charles Taylor is victim of a hybrid court established for Sierra Leone, which indicted Taylor during his presidency for atrocities committed in that country and subsequently tried and convicted him for ailing and abetting RUF rebels who rained mayhem against the civilian population.
On her proposition for 15 additional seats exclusively for women in the Liberian Senate where she once served before coming to the Presidency, Veep Taylor explains that females are totally underrepresented in the entire Liberian Legislature especially, the Senate, where Grand Bassa County Senator, Madam NyonbleeKarnga Lawrence is currently the only female among 29 male senators.
“When we started this from the beginning, we have Senators Geraldine Doe Sheriff, Joyce Musu Freeman, Alomisa Barh, and the rest; but today is a totally [different] boil game. I feel women should be given the opportunity to serve nationally. The representation of women in the legislature is low, so pushing for the increment of health allotment for the improvement of child modality and other women health related issues are stalled,” she argues.
According to her, many of the issues that those female lawmakers pushed for yielded fruits especially, the Affirmative bill, adding that the bill passed speedily at the level of the House of Representatives because former House Speaker Alex Tyler was a champion for “HeforShe campaign”. However, when he left the Speakership, his successor former Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, stopped every step thereby, bringing the vital issues that should been handled to a halt.
Madam Taylor notes that if women who constitute 50 percent of the country’s population were so underrepresented in the Capitol, which is considered the ‘people’s house’, than something must be done legally to address the situation.Countering those who say the country lacks funding for such accommodation, she recalls the House of Representatives had 63 seats, but when the need arised, the number increased to 73 seats and money is being allotted for those seats.
Veep Taylor reminds that the Constitution of Liberia calls for equal employment opportunities, no discrimination in employment, and equality at all levels, but the way things stand now, women suffer low representation and employment in government. By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor–Editing by Jonathan Browne