Liberia: Veep Taylor Challenges Rep. Yekeh Kolubah
….. Vows to tour and campaign vigorously for CDC and its candidate in Montserrado County District #10
The lead-up to the October 10 elections has seen heightened contention between incumbent Representative Yekeh Kolubah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
However, on May 18, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor sharply responded to a threat from Kolubah, warning her and the CDC to desist from interfering in their District #10 politics because it is very “dirty”.
Taylor also questioned the district lawmaker’s work since his ascendancy as a lawmaker and what he has done for his people and the district over the years.
Her statement comes weeks after Rep. Kolubah, who represents the district, threatened to “dirty her” if she kept meddling in their county politics, but she should immediately listen and do the needful.
“Honorable Yekeh Kolubah, and Mr. Speaker, I’m calling his name because he had a press conference and mentioned my name there; I will begin touring District# 10 soon, and it will be Army to Army, where people will come see who is who because I’m not afraid of you,” Taylor claimed.
Taylor, who spoke to employees known as “Majority Legislative Staffers” in support of President George Weah’s re-election recently, expressed serious disappointment at Kolubah’s comments and reiterated her commitment to working for the betterment of the district and CDC.
It is also reported that the ruling CDC Vice President is a strong supporter of former Commerce Inspector General Josephine Davies, who declared her intention to contest the district seat to unseat Rep. Kolubah over what she described as his failure to adequately represent the constituency.
It may be recalled that the District #10 lawmaker, in his live video press conference, further accused Jewel Howard-Taylor of financially supporting his opponent, Josephine Davies, for the upcoming elections.
Kolubah claimed that while it is the right of the Vice President to support any candidate of her choice, he is calling on her to desist because, if she fails, he will not hesitate to return “fire for fire”.
“So, I’m calling on our mother, Chief Jewel Howard Taylor, not to get involved with District 10 politics. I believe in dirty politics.” He explained. “You sit down in your house with Josephine Davis and decide to give her money to campaign against me. That’s your right, but if you get involved in our dirty politics, I will drag you in the mud with no regret.”
Kolubah is also on record for constantly raining insults on the Liberian Presidency as well as the mother of the President, as well as other prominent Liberian women who have condemned his action throughout the length and breadth of Liberia.
The District #10 lawmaker has been suspended by his colleagues on several occasions and denied benefits because of his tirades and adverse demeanor as a member of the legislature. He has also faced massive protests from several women's groups over his continuous “rude” behavior.
She warned, “Rep. Kolubah should not even bring it to me because I’m coming and will be in District 10, and the good thing about it is that it is the district that I’m living in. So we, residents of the district, will correct the mistake we made in 2017 soon because no matter what, our representative will be reelected.”
Taylor said the job of a lawmaker is not to stand in open plenary or sit on the radio and rain insults on the Presidency or follow government officials but to instead adequately represent his or her constituents through lawmaking, oversight, and representation.
“Cussing the President is not the function of a lawmaker because he doesn’t work in the legislature; so what the cuss is he doing in his district? But again, District 10 has got to do something because they will get nothing in that district until they change him, and I am living there, so we will deal with him.”
Taylor further called on other Representatives to ensure that a prompt intervention is made by taking legislative action against the lawmaker for his behavior, adding, “You can't stand on the House floor every day and just keep insulting.”
She then urged all residents of District #10 to put aside their political differences and vote for a woman representative for the common good and development of the district.
At same time, political pundits said the response from Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor highlights the tense political climate in District #10 and the wider country of Liberia. Rep. Kolubah’s incumbency presents an acute threat because, not only does VP Taylor reside in the district, the ruling party, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), is also headquartered there. As the CDC lost its prized senatorial seat in Montserrado County to Abe Darius Dillon in 2020, a defeat in the party’s home district would be just as detrimental to the party.
It is concerning that politicians are resorting to threats and name-calling instead of engaging in constructive, issues-based dialogue and working towards solutions for their constituents.
They stated that it is also important to note that this type of behavior can have a negative impact on democracy and the rule of law. When politicians use intimidation tactics, it can discourage citizens from participating in the political process and undermine trust in government institutions.