Since the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government took over from the Unity Party on January 22 this year, there have been nagging problems ranging from economic to human rights issues that Liberians believe government should be seeking to address.
The skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and the ever depreciating Liberian dollar against the United States dollar, gruesome killings in almost every part of the country, and high transport fares are a few, among many, of the critical issues that Liberians feel government ought to address urgently.
It is openly acknowledged by public officials that there is a lack of adequate information flow between the government and its citizens explaining how this government plans to tackle pressing issues of national concern especially reconciliation, justice, job creation and those centered on the controversial road financing loan agreements signed into law recently.
Many Liberians, from our observation, appear quite anxious about the future of their country and are strongly desirous of knowing what measures will be taken by this government to address questions of justice, reconciliation, inequality, poverty and inclusion. However, many are also alarmed about what they see as conflicting policy prescriptions dosed out to the public by officials in high positions of trust.
One of such in recent times is the order passed onto Bong County Superintendent, Esther Walker, by Vice President Taylor to dismiss all local chiefs who are partisans of the Unity Party and who are unwilling to join the CDC.
Our Bong County Correspondent, Marcus Malayea reported from Gbarnga that Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf has ordered Superintendent Walker to reinstate all local chiefs she recently dismissed on the orders of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor. VP Taylor ordered the Superintendent to replace all partisans of UP with members of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) that formed a coalition with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).
Why would the Vice President propose to intentionally violate the Liberian Constitution and resultantly breed confusion and anarchy when people of this country have resolved to conduct themselves peacefully despite their economic predicament? Vice President Taylor has been noted for two things recently since she assumed the position on January 22, 2018.
First, she made a number of foreign travels without consulting the President, her principal, on the nature and purpose of her travels abroad in her official capacity. In the eyes of many Liberians, her attitude was supercilious and tantamount to gross disrespect to President Weah.
The furore ignited by her actions led to her public admission on a local radio here in Monrovia that she was to be blamed for the tension that was mounting between her and the President because she had traveled abroad without informing her boss.
But such mea culpa (through my fault) coming from a Vice President who, by dint of experience, having served as a senator and law maker for 12 unbroken years is not only troubling but puzzling. Why? Because the Vice President, a lawyer by training, should be fully aware of the Constitutional limits on her function and scope of authority.
Moreover, she should have known better except of course she was carried away by the joy of the moment and the sheer exhilaration (excitement and happiness) of being at the second highest level of national leadership such that she would let down her guard in her “this is our time to eat” utterances and, even more so, packing up and leaving the country at the public expense, without a whisper to her boss about the nature and purpose of her visit abroad.
The next concern is a public statement she made in Gbarnga implying that people are going to be pressed ganged into membership of the CDC. She is recorded as saying, “That’s our time to eat, and if anyone does not join the coalition, the person should see himself/herself relieved of her position because two cannot walk together if they do not agree.”
This is the statement apparently upon which Bong County Superintendent acted to issue marching orders to the chiefs to fall in line by joining the CDC or risk being sacked. Such an inflammatory statement does not only imply that the CDC-led Government came with the mindset of exploiting the resources of the country to enrich select individuals, it also violates Articles 8 and 18 of the Liberian Constitution which give every Liberian the right to employment without discrimination.
This is a matter which should claim the attention of the President even for nothing more than to assuage the fears of Liberians that marginalization and exclusion will not be the order of the day under his administration. But this is a government popularly elected to power on the strength of claims that it is committed to lifting Liberians out of poverty regardless of background, tribe, religion or status.
This newspaper is of the firm belief that the statement, “This is our time to eat,” runs contrary both in spirit and intent of President Weah’s inaugural declaration to run an inclusive government which will lift Liberians out of poverty.
There is a popular saying that “To whom much is given, much is expected”. Vice President Taylor should be aware that Liberians are anxiously waiting and watching with eagle eyes to see what she and the entire government are capable of delivering having been overwhelmingly voted for on the sentiments of love and popularity.
We at the Daily Observer wish to candidly tell the Vice President that she is erring too much by her conduct and utterances, and that she should tread lightly lest she conveys a non-erasable impression of a Vice President bent on undermining the authority of the government in which she serves as the second in command.