-Rallies National, Collective Efforts to Defeat COVID-19
Vice President, Jewel Howard-Taylor has frowned on fellow politicians and other citizens in the country, who are politicizing the current global health emergency.
In a phone-in conversation with the Super Morning Show of the Liberia Broadcasting System (ELBC radio early program), VP Taylor said mixing politics with the ongoing health emergency is a complete disservice to the country and its people who are striving to survive amid the current global health emergency.
“The President has called upon all of us who work with him to rise to the occasion by using our means in ensuring that the communities across the country are impacted positively. Sharing buckets bearing my photo or name is nothing to highlight . What matters is that we are doing the little we can in our reach to reach out to our people and serve them more,” she said as she slammed any political beef between she and President George Weah or anyone else.
VP Taylor added: “We are fighting a common invisible enemy. We are all at risk, but sitting down doing nothing will do us more harm than the little good things we are doing now.”
She said she has donated several hand washing buckets and rice to people of Sophey Community, the neighborhood in which she resides.
“This shows that we care as individual members of the government and as a government also. The National Patriotic Party (NPP), the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) make up the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and we are all at liberty to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 in anyway necessary,” she clarified.
Taylor’s clarification came following posts on social media with hand washing buckets bearing her photo and name as well as others bearing President Weah’s photo and name.
“You will all agree with me that the government is challenged. We did not plan for this. We don’t have the resources to cover all but as a people, knowing that we all belong to the same land we want to see survive, we must rise up and do our best,” she noted.
She further said that instead of people criticizing who is doing what or not, it is about time that everyone makes a contribution to the fight against the deadly virus disease.
“If everyone across this country that is receiving government’s salaries and benefits can buy just a bucket and give it to his neighbors who cannot afford, it will help a lot more than sitting around politicking,” she said, adding that 70,000 servants is a huge number from whom much more should be shown at this time of the health crisis.
Admonishment to the media
VP Taylor called on journalists across the country to report the facts and stop carrying all the negative news that does not reflect the actual realities.
“This time is not to criticize. This is the time we can galvanize all of our support around the President to defeat this virus. There are nurses and doctors who are at the front-line. They are at risk, we are all at risk. But we can succeed in defeating this Coronavirus as we did during the outbreak of Ebola if we work together as a unit instead of individual political institutions of people,” she cautioned.
She averred that the Liberian media should step up to the game by sharing messages of hope and confidence in the health system, even though there is no cure for the deadly COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Information Minister, Lenn Eugen Nagbe said, even though the joint chambers of the 54th Legislature is yet to look into President Weah’s declaration of the State of Emergency (SOE), the state of emergency holds and has taken effect already beginning 11:59 pm yesterday (April 10, 2020).
“The key measure is social distancing. This is why he has mandated Liberians and all other residents in four of our 15 counties to obey a lock-down while the State of Emergency takes effect all across the country,” Nagbe said when he phoned-in on the Super Morning Show to explain further the essence of President Weah’s State of Emergency declaration.
It can be recalled that on Wednesday April 8, President Weah relied on Articles 86, 87 and 88 of the 1986 Constitution and declared a State of Emergency in an effort to contain the further spread of COVID-19.
Articles 86, 87, and 87 give the President the right and power to declare a state of emergency if there are enough reasons shown that the country or part of it is threatened by enemies, invisible or physical but also called on the joint chambers of the Legislature to verify the President’s reasons and concur or reject in keeping with law.
With six more cases confirmed positive yesterday, Liberia’s cases have risen from 31 to 37, including five deaths and three recoveries.
River Gee County Senator, Commany Wesseh, has, however differed with Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and her boss, President Weah for using their photos on items they are donating or have donated to communities in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
According to Sen. Wesseh, both the President and the Vice President are not private citizens and as such it the state who feeds them and provide all of their basic needs.
“By law, they don’t have any private income and as such when they use money for the public they should avoid creating campaign scenes. They will get the praise tomorrow when we defeat this virus together but there is no need for campaign amid health emergency,” he said.
Wesseh added that Representatives and Senators may use their images to share items to their constituents provided too that they are not using allotments from government.
“I could choose to use my salary to do so. It is not a problem because I have a small constituency. This is different with President and Vice President. They belong to the entire country, not a constituency or a few constituencies,” he said.
He emphasized that everyone who has the capacity in whatever little way should make some contribution in helping to fight against the Coronavirus disease which has already become a pandemic taking away many lives daily.
Sen. Wesseh said that health workers who are at the forefront of the fight against the deadly and invisible enemy need lots of support and as such, President Weah should put in place a good system for accountability of the state monies and those of donor partners.
“I am not suggesting or insinuating that any money has been misapplied yet but care has to be taken so that we cannot go in bad books tomorrow for causing more harm than the good we claim we are doing today,” he averred, noting, “The President is not wrong for declaring the state of emergency until it is proven so.”
According to Wesseh, the President has seven days as of the day he/she announce a state of emergency to communicate with the Legislature and the Legislature, in keeping with law, has three days to concur with the president or reject the declaration of the state of emergency.
Sen. Wesseh is an executive member of the former ruling Unity Party (UP). The UP is one of the four collaborating political parties (CPP) that is on President Weah’s back to work for the country as he has promised during campaign times in 2017.
At 4 pm yesterday, the World Health Organization(WHO) reported that 1,639,993 persons have been infected globally with 100,174 deaths reported worldwide while recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic stands at 369,021 persons.