Madam Vice President:
It gladdens our hearts at The Analyst to join with thousands, perhaps millions, of other Liberians and non-Liberians to wish you heartfelt Happy Birthday—actually a belated Happy Birthday since the date was yesterday. We take this rather rare path of joining in the celebration of the natal day of a political figure like you because we strongly feel that in the spirit of national brotherhood, unity, peace and stability, it behooves all Liberians, despite their social, political and economic stature and vocation, to identify with each other when it is appropriate and befitting. Indeed, the celebration of your birth anniversary as a longtime Mother of the Land, one of the nation’s prides and “endangered species” is something that we at The Analyst cannot ignore. Like other Liberians, who might be your friends and foes, such a cherished moment in anyone’s life, must make us forget and overcome the grudges and dislikes of the past, bring us together, and join hands in celebration.
More besides, you are not an ordinary Liberian. You are not an everyday woman. And you not a typical Liberian politician. Every group of people or every nation or every generation has its legends. In today’s Liberia, you are a national pride; you are an iconic sensation.
Yes, politics is cruel, and it may succeed to paint you otherwise. Yes, human figment is limited and may therefore misunderstand you. But when all the superficiality of the imperfect world’s eyes and mouths shall have said or done their part, you remain the Jewel born 58 years ago—God’s child chosen daughter who is set aside to serve humanity, to build bridges over troubled waters and connect knots of adversaries in building what the slain former President, William R. Tolbert, used to call “a wholesome functioning society.”
So, right before our eyes, while you celebrate today as the Nation’s Second Citizen and more so as a Second Leading Character within the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, and in the terribly charged political landscape, copious pleasantries and good tidings are being poured upon you from even sworn opposition figures—people who, on the records, are viciously opposed to your government with the furor of a viper. Of the many “Best Wishes” we take specific note of those from your foremost diehard political critic and foe, Senator Henrique Tokpa of your home county of Bong, and from the daughter of a fiery opponent, Benjamin Urey—a daughter who herself is politically hateful of your CDC—Telia Urey.
Dr. Tokpa in a social media post wishing your best wishes on your birthday states, amongst other things: “As you mark your years of existence on Earth today, my wife and I join the peace loving people of Bong County and Liberia at large in wishing you a very happy birthday. We wish you peace, good health and happiness.”
Then he added: “Madam Vice President, it’s also my wish that we continue to join our hands and efforts together, and see our political differences as a commonplace to get the people’s work done.”
For her party, the daughter of the former Chairperson of the opposition bloc, stated in a Facebook post: “Happy birthday to Liberia’s Mother and Vice President! You are such an inspiration to young women in Africa, Aunty Jewel. Your strength, dynamism and compassion will continuously lead you to break more glass ceilings. We are proud of you and pray for God’s blessings on your life.”
Those exhilarating tidings from known highly critical opposition personalities may be interpreted by some myopic ruling party zealots as supposed ‘evidence’ of your “betrayal of the struggle” and “collusion with CDC enemies”.
But before that heavily parochial perception can be stomached, there comes President George Manneh Weah, on Executive Mansion facebook page: “On the occasion of her 58th Birth Anniversary, I seize the opportunity to extend heartfelt best wishes and felicitations to H.E. Madam Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia. I beseech the Almighty God to grant her wisdom, strength and longevity as we together work in humble service to our people”.
The National Youth League Chairman of the CDC, Lord Mayor Jefferson Koijee, a close confidant of the President, with an Instagram post: “Happy birthday, Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of Liberia. The entire Revolutionary National Youth League (RNYL) of the Mighty Coalition for Democratic Change hopes and prays that God grants you peace, long life and prosperity. Be blessed now and always as together we all steer the affairs our great country. JTK.”
What some CDC party zealots may not know, and which is a tragedy for them and your party, is that it takes leaders who cut across the aisle, who build bridges and are tolerant, to be able to stabilize this troubled country and foster peace and development. Leaders who enclave and resign themselves to ultra-partisan dispositions are often a disaster in waiting. In fact, they are not leaders. They are not supposed to be one. It is they who betray the populist coloration that your CDC should be.
But thank God you not a politically enclaved and barren ideologue. Because of your maturity in political tolerance, open-mind, pragmatism and bridge-building traits, you stand toweringly as a true leader and Mother. This is why as you celebrate, all Liberians, your social and political foes and admirers and supporters inundate and bath you with pleasantries during your natal day celebration.
May God help you to continue to be that kind of leader and mother you are born and grown to be. Happy Birthday at 58, Jewel. Keep being the precious jewel, the valued prize and price you are for your family, Bong County, Liberia, West Africa and the World that you are. God Bless.