By Reuben Sei Waylaun
It is written that what a man does lives after him, this is what has reportedly happened to the governing Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of which VP Jewel Howard-Taylor is a part after making some ‘contentious statements’ in Bong County ahead of the just ended senatorial by-election.
The CDC’s candidate, Representative Marvin Cole (20, 982 or 35.4%) has been defeated by independent candidate, Dr. Henrique Tokpa (27806 or 47.0%) according to the National Elections Commission (NEC) preliminary results.
It was widely believed that the CDC is strong in the county where its Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor hailed from after previously being elected as senator on two occasions (2005 & 2014). Such perception caused the party to field a sitting Representative of Bong County electoral district three, Josiah Marvin Cole for the vacant post.
Now that Representative Cole has been defeated in the race, many political pundits are now getting to accuse Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor that her earlier ‘political bullets’ toward opposition parties and supporters in the county played a significant role in the pending defeat of the party in the county. The seat in Bong County became vacant following her election as Vice President and Senator George Weah of Montserrado County as President respectively.
What will go down as a pain is that VP Taylor herself was in the field canvassing for the election of Representative Josiah Marvin Cole as her replacement in the Liberian Senate.
“Myself I say we will get in this election in the last two weeks travelling from place to place. If somebody say I opposition, it means you against the government. If we elect Dr. Henrique Tokpa as senator, the senate will have two opposition people. You will tie the president’s hands, because they are opposition. Carrying Dr. Tokpa is carrying corruption in the Senate,” she once said in a gathering through a video that has gone viral on social media.
Causes of double pains In Bong County:
The tension against the CDC in the county came from several angles in the county and the entire country. During the 2017 presidential runoff elections between the Unity Party (UP) of former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai and the governing CDC of George Weah, Ambassador Jeremiah Sulonteh of the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) allegedly supported the CDC in order to endorse him for the vacant seat in Bong County, but the CDC reportedly downplayed his request in 2018 and endorsed Representative Marvin Cole through the alleged influence of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor.
This caused Ambassador Solunteh to quit the race after considering the decision from the governing CDC to downplayed him as a complete ‘betrayal’.
The Vice President and the leading candidate in the 2018 Senatorial by-elections, Dr. Henrique Tokpa were in serious political bickering following the 2014 senatorial elections after they both claimed victory, Dr. Tokpa later discontinued his case for the sake of tradition.
Following her election as Vice President on the ticket of the CDC, VP Taylor threatened to dismiss local officials of the county who are not members or supporters of the governing CDC.
“The fact that some of you who sitting here, are not members of the Coalition, but we have nothing in our hearts against you because I would have removed everybody, replaced you with people I trust and believe would work with us, because you would have done same to me had you been in power. This is my time, because I served as opposition for 12 years,” Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor once told some citizens of Bong County in an emotional remark.
It was alleged that some local officials were dismissed as stated by the Vice President.
This has reportedly caused serious division in the county between supporters in the county, lawmakers and some local officials.
The ANC of Alexander Cummings, Unity Party of Joseph Nyumah Boakai, Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, People Unification Party (PUP) and other political parties, citizens endorsed and overwhelmingly voted independent candidate, Dr. Henrique Tokpa ahead of Representative Marvin Cole of the CDC.
Besides, the governing CDC has continuously complained of lack money to even support the elections, but fielded a sitting lawmaker who has been in office for just six months, something which may have resulted into another by-elections if elected as senator of the county.
What Political Pundits Say?
Political pundits believed that the electorates in the county for fear of future ‘repression’ from the governing CDC that is poised to govern the country for twelve years are seriously looking for critical voices in the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate to defend them.
According to them, some of their decisions were taken based on what they foresee in the leadership of the CDC which their daughter (VP Taylor) is now in commanding position.
Prior to joining the tripartite arrangement, Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP), the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has always been a force to reckon with in elections in the country since 2005.
VP Taylor Contrasting Statements:
In a social media video that has gone viral, Vice President Taylor is seen and heard loudly telling some supporters in her native Bong County during a gathering well-attended that Bong County alone contributed 65% votes out of the 2.1 registered voters that made then Montserrado County Senator, George Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia in the 2017 legislative and presidential elections.
However, it can be recalled that President Weah of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) received 732,185 of the 1,218,124 which represents 61.5%.
In her native Bong County, where she claimed to have serious political command, the total of 113,517 voters voted according to the National Elections Commission (NEC). In the central Liberia county, the ruling CDC obtained 70, 668, while the UP of then Vice President, Joseph Nyuma Boakai received 39,371
“The people say that’s the president we want and we all agreed for six years. How can you elect the president in less than six months, the Bong County caucus says they not working with the president? So, the confusion now in the county is because of them. We all went to elections, they have plenty money and cash themselves around and the people say no. George Weah that our son, let’s give him chance if your son say they cannot work with the president that problem. They know how to undermined people,” she lamented.