— Says contents of the collaborative framework are being disrespected
Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has divulged that the current framework that governs the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) is being violated just three years after the party rattled power of the grips of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Unity Party (UP).
In a rare public admission, VP Taylor, who is the standard bearer of the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP), which is a member of the tripartite coalition, said that the entire collaborative framework on which the coalition was established, seems to be turning upside-down to the extent that the coalition is currently in a critical position because of the blatant violation of portions of the agreements that brought the three political parties in the collaboration.
“There are areas where there are explicit rules and laws and we need to abide. We need to respect the terms of the agreement that consummated the Coalition so that we can live in an environment of peace and unity as we go forward.
She alleged that some figures of the constituent parties are trying to transgress those laws and they are planting seeds of conflict. Though she did not out-rightly name those who are violating the terms of the agreement, the VP said the situation is leading to disenchanted members of constituent parties leaving either the Coalition or its member parties.
“The coalition is at a very crucial point as we head to the Senatorial mid-term elections. The agreement that we had that those parties that have incumbents in certain seats have the right of nomination to those seats, but this is no longer the situation and has been the cause of confusion within the coalition,” she said.
The cracks within the Coalition which is not something new began barely a year upon assuming state power with reported visible strains between President George Weah and his Vice President is becoming more unmistakable as the country heads into a crucial mid-term senatorial election slated for December this year.
It is something that many of the coalition support fears will badly hamper the bid to emerge victorious with the most seats come the midterm senatorial elections. And that the maneuvering or political interplays that have helped to keep the coalition, which comprises the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), the National Patriotic Party (NPP) and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP), will not outclass the current disenchantments that have overwhelmed the ruling coalition ahead of the December 8, 2020 polls.
According to Vice President, the situation has led to people leaving constituent members of the coalition and by our agreement, Bomi, Gbarpolu, and Maryland Counties belong to the NPP “because we have incumbent Senators in those counties.”
“The fact of the matter is that the NPP should have had the right of nomination to those counties. Sando Johnson was with the NPP as an incumbent in Bomi County but his post was being contested by members of the ruling coalition, which is totally against our agreement. So this led to him resigning. He thought that his rights were not being satisfied. I don’t know how the coalition will land on its feet,” the VP said on a popular night show, Spoon Talk on Monday night.
‘VP decries rape’
Meanwhile, VP Taylor has decried the alarming rape situations in the country. It is no secret that domestic violence and sexual violence against women and girls, especially rape, remained widespread and the alarming rate at which children and teenagers are being raped in the country is now a major cause with many calls for genuine and holistic actions that would help bring the situation under control.
Amid this situation, VP Taylor has her voice to a growing list of individuals calling for stronger punishment for rapists. She describes the growing wave of SGBV cases as a ‘grievous crime’, especially against minors. She said on the show that the issue of rape is alarming, out of control, and does not seem to be stopping.
“Today, I amplify my voice and add it to the many others who have been speaking for a campaign calling an end to rape in our society. I also pledge my unwavering supports to the call for harsher punishment for those who are convicted of raping a woman over eighteen years and a harsher one for those raping girls less than eighteen years,” she said
The VP said she is of the opinion that no man who rapes a child or a woman deserves the freedom to live a normal life. “What I do know is that every society must make up its mind how to handle its grievous crimes especially against those who are unable to speak or defend themselves.”
She called on the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL) to submit an amendment to the laws on rape by increasing the penalty thereof.
“I also call on the Movement for One Liberia (MOL) to establish community-based activities across our country to create awareness about the crime. I also call on the Ministry of Gender (MOG) to begin a robust program to deal with the issue of rape from the point of perpetration to the law.”
The VP added, “These not ordinary times, so desperate times call for desperate measures. We have been talking about this too much. It is time we combine our energy with concrete actions.”