Monrovia – Breaking the silence, Senator George Weah has finally admitted to having telephone conversation with former President Charles Taylor who is currently serving a 50-year jail term in the United Kingdom for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
His admission comes in four months following the former chief of investigation for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, Alan White, and disclosure to the VOA that Taylor was interfering with Liberia’s election by having conversations with Weah.
“The allegations and sourced information that I’m receiving is that Charles Taylor, the former President – indicted and convicted war criminal for his actions in Sierra Leone and the leader of the RUF – is interfering with the elections,” White said.
White disclosed that Weah had been having discussions with Taylor on ensuring that there would never be a war crimes court established in Liberia.
“There are also other allegations that when he [Taylor] left, there were millions of dollars that were buried and left behind so whoever gets elected and they seek to get his sentenced reduced and to get him back in Liberia will be worth that while,” White revealed.
Weah remained mute after White made the disclosure but his surrogates denied the allegation and noted that White had no business meddling in Liberian politics.
From the onset, senior strategist of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Prof. Wilson Tarpeh, said the party could not confirm nor deny whether or not Sen. Weah had been in communication with the former war lord.
“We cannot confirm nor deny that such a discussion may have taken place. I’m sure Mr. White will have his evidence to prove that. It still remains an allegation that we cannot confirm nor deny.
“What we can say is that the Congress for Democratic Change has been in discussion with a number of opposition political parties to form an alliance or a coalition for the purpose of the ensuing 2017 election,” Prof. Tarpeh told VOA.
But not all members of the CDC were on the same page. Representative Moses Acarous Gray who prior to his election as Montserrado County District #8 representative to the House served as Secretary General of the Congress for Democratic – Weah’s original party – out rightly denied White’s disclosure, noting it was “cash driven”.
“George Weah at no point discussed with Taylor to abort the establishment of a war crimes court for Liberia. Under our Constitution, courts are established by the Legislature and not the President so Mr. White has to be taught our Constitution,” he said.
Gray further told FrontPageAfrica at the time that the CDC was fully aware that Taylor’s calls are monitored by international partners and would “dare not undermine the interest of Liberia.”
Then Came the Admission
On Tuesday, Weah out of the blue mustered the courage to answer to the question which had been hanging over his head for the past months.
His response though was quite distanced from that of some of members of his party.
“I Spoke to Taylor recently during one of our Coalition meetings.
"Someone who is close to President Taylor was on the phone in our midst and informed me that Taylor had requested to speak with me and I agreed.
"I picked up the phone and said Mr. President how you are? He was the President of the Republic of Liberia no matter what happens I must give him due courtesy and say hello.”
Senator Weah who has named Taylor’s ex-wife, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor as his running mate, averred that he would do the same for any other former President.
“Even if Ellen Johnson Sirleaf leaves office today and asks to speak to me, the best I can do is to say, Madam, how are you?
No Law Broken
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica in an exclusive interview, CDC’s assistant secretary for press and propaganda, Menikpake Dumoe said Sen. Weah’s admission to speaking with Taylor does not in any way corroborate White’s allegations against the pair.
According to Dumoe, rather than it being seen as though Taylor was interfering with the October elections, it should be taken as White interfering with Liberia’s election.
“I challenge anyone who can show me the law that Taylor violated by calling Liberia, both local and international law. Taylor is a Liberian and he has the right to call or give his view on Liberia’s election,” Dumoe said.
According to him, White who is the foreigner should rather desist from meddling in Liberian politics and causing confusion among Liberians.
What Does the Admission Mean For Coalition
Speaking emphatically and somehow corroborating White’s allegation that the essence of former President Taylor speaking with Sen. Weah was to keep her ex-wife on the ballot paper as running mate and also to ensure that there will be no war crime court in Liberia after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf shall have left power, Dumoe said the CDC leader’s communication with the former President turned war crime convict is a manifestation that the coalition is ready to reconcile Liberians.
“Speaking with Charles Taylor for us means that the Coalition for Democratic Change is ready to reconcile Liberians, no matter who they are or what they did; we are not going to go after anybody."
"We do not want war crimes court to divide us. We can handle our own issues; we do not need a war crimes court. We can reconcile the country and move forward,” Dumoe said.