Liberia: Pres. Weah Grants Support to Sen. Henry Yallah in Bong County, Despite Vice President’s Displeasure
Salala District, Bong County – President George Weah Tuesday flagged off the campaign of Bong County Senator Henry Yallah with a caveat to members of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change to respect the mandate of the coalition by supporting candidates of the party in all 15 counties or else face repercussions.
“Some of you people are members of this Coalition but have chosen to fight the party by not supporting our candidates. I want to let you know that you will face the consequence of your actions on December 8,” President Weah told a cheerful crowd at a political rally in Gbarnga to endorse the re-election bid of Senator Henry Yallah.
“There are people among us who don’t listen to the party’s views on issues when the majority takes a decision. When they come to you to support any candidate in this race, don’t listen to them, they have nothing to offer you,” President Weah said.
Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is part of a ruling coalition comprising of Alex Tyler’s Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) and Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP).
“Some of you people are members of this Coalition but have chosen to fight the party by not supporting our candidates. I want to let you know that you will face the consequence of your actions on December 8.”– President George Manneh Weah
The coalition is fielding senatorial candidates in all of Liberia’s 15 counties in an election seen as an audition to President Weah’s three years in office.
Aware of the importance of next week’s senatorial elections, President Weah said his call is in no way a threat to constituent member parties of the coalition, but intended to inspire his partisans ahead of the elections.
“If you are a member of the CDC, it’s imperative that you support our candidates in these elections. We have to be party discipline,” President Weah said. I am very optimistic that for the love of the party, partisans of the CDC will vote for Senator Yallah.”
“These elections are very important to the coalition and we as member parties within the coalition must do all to ensure victories in all 15 counties,” President Weah said.
President Weah urged residents of the county to support Yallah, saying that his re-election as senator would benefit the people of Bong County. “You have a senator who is a friend to the president. Give me Senator Yallah and leave the rest with me. He’s my friend, not just a friend but a trusted friend,” he said. “I am urging everyone to join me in supporting the re-election of Senator Yallah.”
But Weah’s vice president, Howard-Taylor, had maintained her stance not to support Yallah, despite numerous pleas from President Weah. And President Weah threw pointed jabs at Howard-Taylor Tuesday, saying that “anyone who doesn’t want to remain in the coalition must leave”.
President Weah added: “Never bites the hands that feeds you. Why must you fight the coalition that we all made to reach this far?” This is very wrong. You must respect the party’s choice of candidate in the county.”
The reported rift between Weah and his vice president heightened when Yallah was selected as the candidate of the coalition in Bong County.
Howard-Taylor had argued that Yallah’s selection as the party’s candidate in Bong was “gross disrespect” to her party’s status in the coalition, arguing that the decision of who becomes candidate of the party would have been decided by the NPP, not Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change.
Describing Yallah’s selection as flawed, Howard-Taylor said it was the responsibility of Weah’s CDC to ensure he wins, not the NPP’s. “Bong is the stronghold of the NPP and how can you choose a candidate without the consent of the NPP,” she said.
Howard-Taylor is yet to announce her choice of candidate in Bong, but it’s believed that she is secretly supporting the bid of the acting chairman of the Council of Patriots, Menipakei Dumoe.
Next week’s senatorial election has seemingly turned out to be a proxy political fight between President Weah and his vice president as the battle for control of Bong County rages on ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.