The impeachment and removal of Associate Justice Kabineh Mohammed Ja’neh from the Supreme Court Bench in a process replete with drama, but marred by irregularities has left the public wondering just which way the country is headed as speculations abound about who is next in line to to be axed.
According to sources, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor is accused of harboring intentions, and nursing a long held ambition to contest the Presidency in 2023, something which, according to sources, continues to rile President George Weah and members of his inner circle.
It all started sometime last year when erstwhile National Patriotic Party (NPP) chairman, James Biney was ousted from the chairmanship, and subsequently expelled from the party following his falling out with the Vice President.
It can be recalled that the NPP had entered into a coalition with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in the run up to the 2017 elections. Under the arrangement, Jewel Howard Taylor was accommodated on the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) as vice running mate to George Weah. But, the NPP had been mired in controversy which, according to some of its supporters, brought the party into public disrepute as a result of consternation between Biney and Mrs. Taylor.
According to inside sources, Biney had sought to ingratiate himself into the good graces of President Weah by placing the NPP machinery at the complete disposal of the CDC. Their fight for control of the party saw the expulsion of Biney from the NPP. He was reportedly expelled from the party for violating its key provisions, including by-laws and constitution.
Biney, in reaction to this development accused Vice President Taylor of harboring an ambition to become the country’s next president after President Weah’s first term expires in 2023. He had told Daily Observer reporter William Harmon in a previous exclusive interview that NPP was engulfed in crisis, “because Madam Taylor was seeking to pull the party out of the coalition in order to pursue her ambition to become President of Liberia in 2023.”
But VP Taylor in her response to Biney’s claims, stated in a press release, “the VP wishes to reiterate her awareness that the prime focus of her energy and intention has always been to lend full support to the agenda and purposes of the President, not to pursue a separate end of her own.” She maintained that it was “ludicrous, diversionary and a bold faced lie to have heard Mr. Biney telling the public that the VP met with him and expressed the desire to contest for the presidency in 2023,” Madam Taylor’s press statement said.
According to Daily Observer reporter William Harmon, the VP also admitted to what she described as creeping political uneasiness within the party as unfortunate, adding that this is “an unwelcome development,” and that such scenario was not uncommon in political institutions, especially in an illiterate setting.
Continuing further, she said “such should not mislead any partisan to assume that he or she can maliciously distract the Party by resorting to acts bordering on self-aggrandizement and manifested by the spewing of lies and libelous statements about her person and the NPP,” the statement said.
“NPP remains a reliable and unshakable pillar under the indomitable Coalition for Democratic Change, the institution that is destined to change the sad story of this country remains unfazed by the ill-advised bidding of mischievous elements.”
But despite vigorous denials of harboring intentions to contest the 2023 elections, President Weah has apparently remained unfazed by her recantations as suggested by the rather intense strains currently subsisting between the pair. The strains became even more visible with the widely publicized tape recorded account of former Bong county Superintendent Esther Walker’s encounter with Minister of State Nathaniel McGill and Finance Minister Samuel Tweah, during a reception at the President’s Jamaica Village Resort.
Apparently, the conferral of traditional titles on VP Taylor by traditional elders in Bong County recently appears to have riled President Weah and his coterie of advisors, who are incensed about what they perceive as her attempt to propel herself to a pedestal of influence and authority.
But according to observers, VP Taylor has not helped her own cause by her utterances and actions which have alienated many in her Bong County. Her “dat our time to eat” statement to traditional leaders in Bong county, and her sacking of local officials who, according to her, did not support the CDC during the 2017 elections only served to significantly alienate her the county support base.
Perhaps the most telling of all, according to political observers, was her snub by officials of the Liberian embassy in Rabat Morocco during her recent visit to that country. Additionally, reports that she has replaced her assigned state security body guards with ex-fighters loyal to her former husband Charles Taylor, including ex-General Momo Jibba, suggests that sooner or later, things may come to a head.
She has since remained taciturn in the face of what sources say is official denial of adequate budgetary support to her office and programs. From what it appears, VP Taylor may more likely than not suffer the same fate consigned to former VP Joseph Boakai, who had described himself as a race car parked in the garage.
During the 2017 campaign, VP Taylor, then a vice presidential candidate, had told the world that unlike Joseph Boakai, she will not be a race car parked in the garage. But from all indications, it appears that she may very suffer the same fate or even impeachment from office before the end of her term.