MONROVIA – As the clock ticks closer to the 2023 presidential election, when the electorates are expected to decide whether or not to retain President George Manneh Weah and his tripartite Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), or bring in a new team of leadership from the opposition community that will govern the country for the next six years, one individual whose fate now seems inexorably tied to President Weah’s reelection quest is his Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor. Just a few months ago, the relationship between the Vice President and her boss had seemed so imperiled to the extent that rumors started flying around that President Weah was reconsidering carrying Jewel as his Vice President in 2023. But it now seems that President Weah and his prime lieutenant have broken the ice, as Jewel Howard-Taylor has taken hold of the momentum to ensure a Weah 2023 one round victory.
Returning from the countryside recently where she crisscrossed Bong County and held meetings with the citizenry, VP Taylor hit the ground running when she returned to the Liberian capital as she hurriedly went to brief her boss about the outcomes of her visit.
“Today, September 5th, I paid a courtesy call to my Boss to bring him to speed with the consolidated meetings held in Bong County; and the recommendations made towards our WEAH 2023 one round victory,” VP Taylor enthused effusively in a social media post following the meeting with her boss, President Weah.
During the aforementioned tour, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor held an intensive and exhaustive week-long consultative meeting in and across her native homeland of Bong country where she not only assessed the development challenges and gaps of Liberia’s third vote-rich county, but as well rallied “Bongees” to vote for President Weah in 2023 for having the audacity to choose their own daughter as his Vice President.
As a daughter of Bong County who is running as President Weah’s second in command, Jewel had spent one week in the countryside in a series of meetings with cross-sections of citizens from across the broad spectrum of the county in the city of Gbarnga and adjacent parts.
According to the Vice president, the primary goal of the week-long consultative meeting was to unite and promote peace and coexistence among citizens of Bong County. She called on citizens of Bong County to put their sociopolitical differences aside and come together as brothers and sisters to advance the well-being of the Bong people and accentuate their county to noble heights.
Madam Taylor used the occasion to thank the people of Bong for their massive support to the government of President George M. Weah and stated that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government was deeply grateful to Bong County for its unwavering support—from 2017 to present.
In her well-organized and jammed-packed consultative meetings with Chiefs, elders, politicians, local officials, women groups, youth groups, religious and business communities, and other essential segments of the county, Veep Taylor stated that as a mark of gratitude to President Weah and the CDC government who have handsomely honored Bong county with the Number-2 position in the power structure of Liberia, she pleaded with her kinsmen to overwhelmingly support the reelection the Weah-Taylor bid comes 2023.
She intimated and strongly emphasized that President Weah and the CDC are highly counting on the unflinching support of Bong as it is counting on the rest of the other counties to secure a decisive win in 2023. She rallied “Bongees” behind Weah’s the Party second term bid and added that the CDC government will forever remain grateful and indebted to Bong for its unbending support.
“We need Bong more than ever, so I call on my resilient people of Bong to give us their support in a very massive way, come 2023. This election in 2023 is a Bong County affair. For the more than 170 years that Liberia has been in existence, Bong County has always been asked to support other people for the presidency, but never had the opportunity to provide a Vice President. This is the first time in our history that somebody has said, ‘the Kpelle people, who are the largest tribe in our country, deserve something. So, let’s ask them to come and join us. It took President Weah with that wisdom to bring the Kpelle people on board. And it’s not just me at the Vice-Presidential level, there are many deputy and assistant ministers that are working in various sectors. I was shocked when we called the political parties’ meeting last Friday that almost 32 persons came from different agencies working for the government. So, Bong County is really represented in the government space.
“This election is a Bong County issue. In this election President Weah is running, but Bong County is running too, because your daughter is sitting in this space. If we continue to do the work we are doing, we will continue to ask that Bong County stand with me, because I am the one sitting in the Number 2 seat. If we go and give the Bong County vote to somebody else, there will be a Vice President that will not come from Bong. But I believe Bong County has a chance in 2023 to add our voice together for the Weah-Taylor ticket because Bong County is involved in this process. I am satisfied with the level of support we have gotten from all of the meetings, and I am doing a report to His Excellency the President, to talk about all of the shortfalls at the county level,” Madam Taylor said when she addressed the media at the close of her consultative meetings.
The proactive move by President Weah’s chief lieutenant comes at a time when the opposition community is splintered wide in the center, evidenced by the breakup of the opposition tent, the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), which saw Joseph Boakai’s Unity Party, Benoni Urey’s All Liberia Party (ALP), and Senator Nyonblee Karga-Lawrence’s Liberty Party leaving the opposition tent to fend for themselves in an expected political arrangement that the public is yet to see come to fruition.
On the other hand, Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Alexander B. Cummings has managed to assume leadership of the CPP, along with the Liberty Party headed by Musa Bility which pledged solidarity with Mr. Cummings recently.
In the wake of these development, seasoned political pundits who have been keenly observing the political dynamics in Liberia, believe that the current opposition implosion could engender a carte blanche victory for the governing party, as the voters could be so wary of a splintered opposition that they might opt against voting for the “angel they don’t know”.
“It’s extremely tricky, how the opposition, through their own miscalculation, have allowed themselves to play into the parlor tricks of the ruling party. Weah and his CDC got the opposition right where they wanted them to be in the optical view of the public, an ineffective, undecided and bellicose group that the voters are now afraid of,” says Martin Wesseh of Clara Town.
Jewel in the thick of things
Perhaps to finally kill any misgiving about the souring of relationship between the President and herself, Madam Vice President attended a political rally yesterday Tuesday at the CDC Headquarters in Congo Town where she stumped the stage, dancing along with all of the CDC cadres and officials, including Chairman Mulbah Morlu. Marked by heightened celebrations and sloganeering, the rally showcased VP Jewel Howard-Taylor in her true elements of politicking, a characteristic which pundits believe, made President Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change to choose National Patriotic Party’s Jewel as his Vice President in 2017, in the political marriage with the Alex Jeneka Tyler’s Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP).
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