Liberia: Reconciliation Attempt in Grand Cape Mount County Fails

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GRAND CAPE MOUNT – Reconciliation among citizens and residents of Grand Cape Mount County following a prolong legal battle over the results of the December 8, 2020 senatorial election appears to be far from accomplishment as a result of the latest snubbing of multiple reconciliation engagements by the county’s former Senator Victor Watson and scores of his supporters.

It can be recalled that members of the Grand Cape Mount County legislative caucus recently ended a three-day reconciliation engagement with residents of the county aimed at discouraging the unprecedented wave of disunity as a result of disputes which characterized the just ended senatorial election held in the county on December 8, 2020.

The tour was presided over by Senator Varney Sherman, Chairman of the Grand Cape Mount County Legislative Caucus.

Residents of the county have been heavily divided following prolong legal action instituted against their Senator-elect Simeon Taylor of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) by defeated candidate Victor Watson of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).

Senator Taylor was elected by residents of the county and subsequently declared the winner of the December 8, 2020 senatorial election, but his archrival Watson filed a complaint against the decision, citing alleged fraud and double registration.

Defeated candidate Watson’s action to institute a lawsuit prompted series of violent protests in the county which led to the injuries of several persons and the destruction of properties worth thousands of
United States dollars.

The Supreme Court recently nullified the complaint filed against Senator Taylor, a move which prompted the smooth and subsequent certification of the CPP lawmaker.

The Supreme Court is regarded as the final arbiter of justice in Liberia.

Despite the High Court’s ruling, citizens and residents of the county remain divided.

Though the just ended reconciliation tour, which was separately held in the four administrative districts of the county, attracted scores of eminent citizens and others from Grand Cape Mount, the absence of former Senator Watson did not go unnoticed.

Speaking in a telephone interview with FrontPage Africa over the week end, former Senator Watson justified his decision taken not to attend any of the separate engagements held by the county’s legislative caucus with citizens in the county.

He claimed that he is not aware of any reconciliation tour or engagement held in the county in recent times.

He disclosed that though he heard that his successor, Senator Taylor, was being presented to citizens of the county by his legislative colleagues, he was not extended an official invitation to attend any of the engagements.

Senator Watson maintained that as a peaceful and law abiding person, he sees no reason why he will boycott a reconciliation meeting if invited or extended an invitation.

“I am not aware of any reconciliation in Grand Cape Mount. I am a very peaceful person and I am a friend of peace. There is no record that can show that and no one has ever told me about any form of reconciliation”.

“All I know is that the county’s legislative caucus was taking Simeon Taylor to various districts in the county since he got elected. That’s what I am aware of. I am not aware of any reconciliation; except it is now given different nomenclature. I will not be invited then I say, I don’t know. I don’t have any idea no invitation was extended to me”.

When quizzed whether the county is still divided as a result of his decision taken to delay the certification of Senator Taylor through the filing of multiple legal complaints, Mr. Watson noted: “I don’t want to speak to that; let me remain tightlipped on that for now”.

Willing to work

Speaking further, Mr. Watson vowed to work with Senator Taylor and anyone willing to help address the numerous challenges confronting Cape Mountaineers.

“I am willing to work with whosoever that wants to help Grand Cape Mount County not just a particular person or group. You can even come from anywhere; I will work with you in the interest of our people and county”.

Mr. Watson claimed that he respects and loves his people, and as such, he will not do anything that will go against their will.

He, however, fell short to state whether or not he will contest the senatorial seat of the county

Response

When contacted via telephone, Senator Taylor claimed that since the launch of the just ended lawsuit against his election, Senator Watson has not been cooperative.

He added that though he has tried on numerous occasions to reach his predecessor via mobile phone, Mr. Watson has not been able to answer or return his calls.

“I am a religious person and a person who has respect for everyone. I hold Mr. Watson in high esteem because he took part in the election and he has left office as former Senator. Whenever I call Honorable Watson for us to talk, he doesn’t pick up his phone. When I was going for my certification, I extended him invitation through the phone by sending message; he didn’t respond to me. What can I do?”.

Senator Taylor maintained that though he has been declared, certificated and subsequently inducted into office, he stills need to hold a dialogue with Mr. Watson.

He noted that he and former Senator Watson are not at loggerhead, and as such, he looks forward to holding a dialogue and working with his predecessor and anyone in the interest of citizens and residents of the county.

“We have the county in common and so, Honorable Watson and I are not enemies or opposition. I am willing to work with everybody. I am not a person who can pay back”.

Trauma

Senator Taylor pointed out that the failure of Mr. Watson to pick up phone calls from him and other members of the county’s legislative caucus prompted his absence from the reconciliation tour in the county.

He claimed that since his election as Senator of the county, Mr. Watson appears to be someone who is experiencing and have not yet fully recover from post-election “trauma”.

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