Liberia: Internal Wrangle Within the NPP Seeks to See VP Jewel Howard Taylor Step Down as Standard Bearer
Monrovia – The on-again; off-again Jewel Howard Taylor saga is back on, apparently.
Report by Rodney D. Sieh, [email protected]
This time, forces within the National Patriotic Party’s wing of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change have taken the Vice President to court with a laundry list of allegations ranging from violation of the party’s constitution usurping executive functions and corruption. Separately, some within the NPP are advocating for her to step down, which in effect could pave the way for her ouster from the Vice Presidency and possibly the coalition’s ticket in 2023.
In filings against the VP before the Civil Law Court, the party accuses Howard Taylor of convening a National Executive Committee Meeting in the name of the NPP, regarding the party’s planned senatorial primaries and setting up of constitutional Review Committee.
Suspended party chair, James Biney, Secretary-General Andrew Peters and George Mulbah filed a petition for Declaratory Judgment against their Standard Bearer, the Vice President, Howard Taylor.
The aggrieved officials of the party complained that the Vice President on June 12, reportedly refused to attend the NPP’s National Executive Committee meeting at a local Hotel in Monrovia, but unconstitutionally convened and presided over a separate Executive Committee meeting at the NPP headquarters on the same day.
Ironically, Mr. Biney, was expelled from the party in November 2018 and retaliated by hosting a convention of his own during which he and his faction announced the expulsion of the vice president from the party.
At the time, Mr. Cyril Allen, the chairman of the governing council of the Coalition for Democratic Change, described the action by Biney and his group as reckless and irresponsible.
The feud has escalated since.
In 2019, Mr. Biney claimed that the real issue between he and the Vice President is her ambition to run for President in 2023. “Mrs. Taylor invited me and told me she wants to contest the Presidency [in] 2023, and that she needs people to join me to remove the Party from the Coalition and I said ‘Mrs. Taylor that will be the saddest mistake you will make because we have a lot of work to do so if that is what you are thinking about wait for 12 years’ and she said the Party is her husband’s party and if I cannot conform to her proposal I should leave the party.”
Mr. Biney accused the VP of looking for surrogates and stooges to create crisis, while responding to allegations that he is intending to merge the NPP with the CDC, he denied and warned the VP to disengage with the fight or she might destroy the Party. “It doesn’t make sense to say I want to merge the NPP with the CDC because to do that it requires a convention and they haven’t provided prove about their claims that I want to merge the NPP with the CDC.”
Months later, the feud appears to have resurfaced.
In a chain of discussion from a WhatsApp chat group of the ruling coalition obtained by FPA, one discussant advocated a stepdown action.
The discussant wrote:
“Fellow partisans, by Monday the SB Jewel Howard Taylor Stepdown Action Group will be officially announced and a working committee will be constituted to craft a Resolution Declaring Vote of No Confidence in Madam Jewel Howard Taylor as SB of the NPP and as Vice President of Liberia and further petition the President of Liberia and Standard Bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change to convene a Special Session of the Coalition for endorsement of the NPP partisans resolution and compelled her Resignation as Vice Standard Bearer of the Coalition and vice President of Liberia.
This Resolution shall be prepared in one week and will be presented to the SB at her Capitol Building office within two weeks. No turning back, the NPP must survive…!!”
“Mrs. Taylor invited me and told me she wants to contest the Presidency [in] 2023, and that she needs people to join me to remove the Party from the Coalition and I said ‘Mrs. Taylor that will be the saddest mistake you will make because we have a lot of work to do so if that is what you are thinking about wait for 12 years’ and she said the Party is her husband’s party and if I cannot conform to her proposal I should leave the party.”James Biney, Suspended Chairman of the NPP
Among the many reasons cited in the call for the VP to step down, the discussant accused the party’s leader of being the master mind behind the NPP properties leased monies being pocketed by she and her surrogates to the detriment of the growth of the NPP since 2005 to present.
The discussant also alleged that since her election as Standard Bearer in 2017 and subsequent nomination as Vice Standard Bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change a platform created by the Chairman James P. Biney, the NPP leadership made her an elected Vice President of Liberia an opportunity that brought the party back into the corridor of government. “But, disappointingly her election to this high state office had only brought shame and disgrace to the party such as a. Usurping executive power unto herself in Bong County and when on dismissing all of the local government administration in the county and appointing her own officials in the name of revenge (this is our time!!) in total disrespect to the President of Liberia whose authority is to appoint and dismiss any and all local government administration.”
The discussant also accused the VP, acting in her capacity as Vice President of Liberia of wrongly jumping into the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) and dismissing nearly all of the key officials of the association, a power she lacks and was defeated by law, according to the discussants.
Upon loosing her two unconstitutional power struggles in Bong County and the LMA, the VP is accused of trying to unseat the constitutionally elected officers in order to have absolute control in the NPP. “This power struggle for control in the party had led to a very deep wound of disunity amongst partisans some of whom are carried by her government status(Vice President of Liberia) with the feeling that she can influence job for them in the government. Because of her being obsessed by the power she cannot read and comprehend a simple party constitution which is now the crux of the disunity in the party for almost three years thus compromising the growth and development of the party.”
The discussant in the ruling party chatroom says VP Howard Taylor has become a total embarrassment and disgrace to the NPP and is determined to see the NPP do not benefit from her political investment. “This is a wakeup call to all well meaning partisans that it about time that SB Jewel Howard Taylor “Resign and take her Exit Now!!!” from the party leadership and give a chance for the reunification and rebuilding of the party for 2020 and 2023….Jewel Howard Taylor Stepdown Action Group! Join us now to redeem our beloved and only Party.”
Supporters of the VP say Biney and others are using the NPP court case filed on Saturday by Binney et all as a strategic move to avoid going to national convention which is past due.
Under the NPP constitution, convention should have been held since last December. The constitution states that if the convention is not held at the required time, it must be held within three months.
According to Section 3.2, October 29, 2016 National Convention of the party’s constitution, there shall be national convention held once every six years during the year of General and presidential elections, among other things to nominate and endorse for the presidential and legislative positions, based on the results of the party primaries held in the political subdivision within the scheduled time frame published by the National Elections Commission(NEC) for the conduct of political activities during the election year. The National Convention shall comprise all elected officials of the National Executive Committee, the Executive committee of each of the national auxiliaries and all accredited delegates from the electoral constituencies.
On Monday, the NPP Bong Chapter took issue with the complaints against the VP, citing Resolution crafted from the Grand Bassa Convention which stipulates that: “All County Chair persons deemed elected as county chairperson with their six years tenure beginning as of 2016 with the provision that the approved Convention Committee will ensure the County Restructuring and begin the process of soliciting candidates which should have taken place on Saturday, June 20, 2020 with the results and full County Executive Committee listing submitted to the NPP headquarters by Tuesday, June 23, 2020, same to be signed by county officials.”
The NPP Bong chapter have also taken issues with attempts at the weekend by a faction of the party to endorse Senator Henry Yallah of the People’s Unification Party as the party’s choice in the upcoming Senatorial Midterm elections.
The chapter said Monday: “In view of the foregoing violations of section 3.2, the National Convention of 2016 by a senior CEC member Bong Chapter who singlehandedly endorse a candidate that is not a member of our noble party, the Bong County chapter wants to inform the general public that the NPP has not made any decision on its senatorial candidate to contest on the party’s ticket in Bong County.”
The latest chapter in the VP saga comes amid mounting speculations that the ruling Congress for Democratic Change faction of the coalition are contemplating dropping the vice president for a second term quest with several names including Minister of State Nathaniel McGill and Chief Justice Francis Korkpor being mentioned as possible replacement.
The VP has resisted calls for her to step aside amid lingering on-and-off tension between she and President Weah.
In a FrontPageAfrica interview in January, the VP ruled out any chance of quitting although acknowledged that she has given it some thought. “Yes, I have… . but like I said earlier, I am not a quitter; especially now. For I have the rare privilege to have been elected by the people of Liberia in 2017 and not just the CDC. I now belong to the STATE, whose trust I must bear till the end of this mandate.”