VP Howard-Taylor Rebukes Gongloe -For Misquoting Her Statement  

MONROVIA –  Vice President Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor has vehemently reacted to media report attributed to Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe, the Standard Bearer of the Liberian People’s Party (LPP) that the Vice President wants partisan election magistrates appointed at the National Election Commission (NEC) for the conduct of the 2023 legislative and presidential elections.

Vice President Taylor described as ‘disingenuous’ and ‘unfounded’ the claim by Cllr. Gongloe, maintaining that her statement was taken out of context, and noted that such characterization of her by Cllr. Gongloe was rather a surprise since she could not have made such a statement at any occasion, not to mention such an auspicious occasion of the Faith and Justice Forum.

Madam Taylor was reacting to the February 22, 2023 publication of the New Dawn Newspaper in which Gongloe was quoted as rising to the defense of Magistrates at the NEC amidst what he referred to as calls for “a shakeup” at the electoral house by some politicians, amongst whom he named Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.

In the report, Cllr. Gongloe was quoted as saying that Vice President Howard-Taylor’s call to replace all magistrates at the NEC months before the 2023 general and presidential elections was intended to remove them and replace them with partisans of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), saying that he was dismayed by the Vice President’s claim that the Electoral Magistrates are corrupt.

The LPP presidential hopeful contended that it was sad for the Vice President to accuse all the electoral magistrates of being corrupt, and argued that though there have been some forms of electoral disputes, and that the vice president has forgotten that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government benefited from the election that these magistrates conducted.

But Vice President Taylor strongly refuted the claim, and rebuked the Liberian human rights lawyer and presidential hopeful for such characterization of her person with such misquotation of her statement at such an important forum as Faith and Justice Forum recently held at the Boulevard Hotel in Monrovia. Putting her statement into context, Vice President Taylor indicated that she told the Faith and Justice Forum at the Boulevard Hotel February 2, 2023 that the election magistrates have overstayed at their assigned post, and that NEC needs to rotate or replace them.

VP Taylor clarified that some of these Magistrates have taken advantage of their prolonged stay in the system and are prone to engage in corrupt activities, which she said, “is not healthy for our democracy to have individuals serving as Magistrates since 2005 at a particular station.”

Madam Taylor maintained that they have become entrenched in the system and are able to take advantage of the system for their own reasons.

Madam Taylor said that at no time did she call for the appointment of partisan election magistrates as alleged by Cllr. Gongloe, saying that it is rather unfortunate that the learned lawyer had to misquote her as saying she called for the removal and replacement of all magistrates at the NEC months before the 2023 general and presidential elections with partisans of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) when she addressed the Faith and Justice Network Forum on February 2, 2023.

She said these were her comments on the magistrate issue, and noted that it is false that she called for Partisan Magistrates as suggested by Cllr. Gongloe in a recent publication in Monrovia.

The call by the Vice President came in the wake of earlier call on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, by President George Manneh Weah, requesting lawmakers to return from their break to discuss critical national issues including a request for legislators to pass an amendment of the New Elections Law which called for the immediate dismissal and retirement of all elections magistrates across the country.

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