Jewel Howard Taylor Leads National Patriotic Party Again
Ganta, Nimba County – As the National Patriotic Party (NPP) national convention edges closer to its climax, Bong County Senator Jewell Howard Taylor looks certain to continue her reign as standard bearer of a political party founded by her husband, Charles Taylor.
Report by J.H. Webster Clayeh – [email protected]
“There are many more opportunities; all of us have agreed when we got in this process that regardless of the outcome of it we will all work together.
Remember now is not just NPP, it is the coalition of three political parties so all of us have to stay engaged and work together so we can win.
There are lots of work out there and I think we need all of our hands on broad” – Senator Jewel Howard Taylor
Taylor’s advantage put her in a better position to partner with Senator George Weah of the Congress of Democratic Change (CDC) ahead of the crucial 2017 elections especially as the two parties along with Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) appear dedicated to a recently forged coalition.
Sen. Taylor has claimed 332 (79%) out of the total 417 votes casted from 12 counties, While Ambassador Nathaniel Barnes, former ambassador to the United States won 71 votes (17%) and Rev. Hanniah Zoe earned just 14 votes (3%).
Twenty three 23 delegates were absent from the primary which was held in three locations – Bentol, Gbarnga and Ganta Cities.
There are four counties remaining for the NPP to complete its four regions national convention.
This gives Taylor an overall 63% advantage of the total 523 delegates’ votes from the four political regions (15 counties).
The numbers now show that Bong County Senator is automatically the standard bearer of a political party headed by her husband, former President Charles Taylor.
The four regional conventions, NPP says is to allow every county to be part of “choosing the NPP standard bearer”.
Voting started in Bentol City, Montserrado County on Thursday, December 8 when delegates from Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa and River Cess counties gathered.
On the second day of voting, in Gbanga, Bong County, delegates participating were from Lofa, Margibi and Bong Counties, and on day three votes were casted by delegates from Nimba and Grand Gedeh in Ganta, Nimba.
But with four counties delegates remaining to cast their ballots, the result from the national convention can in no way change the advantage handed the Bong County Senator.
The ad-hoc election commission has not officially recognized any candidate, but speaking after the preliminary results were announced on Saturday, December 10, Senator Taylor called on the two other candidates to come together and work with the coalition.
“Let us work together to go to the coalition so we can win”, she said referring to 2017 presidential election. Taylor stressed that “the party is bigger than everyone.”
She continued: “There are many more opportunities; all of us have agreed when we got in this process that regardless of the outcome of it we will all work together.
Remember now is not just NPP, it is the coalition of three political parties so all of us have to stay engage and work together so we can win.
“There are lots of work out there and I think we need all of our hands on broad”.
She added that as the NPP goes along with the CDC and the LPDP in the coalition, unity and hard work is what important in order to win the election.
“Once we are officially certified we will begin our party work,” she said. “We will be encouraging our people to go out to register to vote; we will be visiting the constituencies and structure of the NPP, the CDC and the LPDP and then we will begin that next year”, the Bong County Senator disclosed.
NPP National Convention Debate
From the start of the debate at the convention in Bentol, it appeared difficult to predict that Taylor could have claimed the most votes.
Amongst topical issues during the debate, Ambassador Barnes promised to make the “party great again”, while Rev. Zoe assured that his objective is established an NPP branch in Washington D.C., USA just as many political parties have done over the years in order to have influence on Liberians in the diaspora.
Barnes told the delegates that “as the winds of change is blowing in other parts of the world and that the NPP as a party wanting to change the Unity Party led government they need to start from their party”.
According to him the NPP has die and that he has come to resurrect the party from the dead.
“I am going to take the party to the next level; I am going to make the sleeping giant raise again”, Barnes said.
Similarly, Rev. Zoe said it is the time for the NPP to move in a different direction, while boasting about his massive experience here and abroad. He promised to start an NPP USA branch.
“I am going to take every head of the various counties leadership to Washington,” he said.
For Senator Taylor, she rejected claims that the NPP is dead while accusing her two contenders of “being out of the party for long time”.
She vaunted about opening the process for them to compete in a free fair and transparent conventional election.
“When there was no one wanting to be called NPP partisans I was there. This is the party that I love and cheer,” the Bong County Senator said.
Rejecting Unity Party ‘Strength’
In November this year during its convention in Bomi County, NPP voted overwhelmingly to collaborate with the Congress for Democratic Change to form a coalition.
Political observers are arguing that opposition political parties must formed a strong coalition ahead of 2017 if they must stand any chance of ousting the Unity Party.
But according to the NPP Chairman, Representative James Biney of Maryland County said formulating coalition to go to election in 2017 does not mean that the ruling Unity Party is strong, but it intends to form a government of inclusion.
“We did not come because UP is strong, but we want to work together as a team because when one party wins election they turn to marginalize the other parties”, Rep. Biney said.
“What we are doing here today is part of the process, we did it for Mr. Taylor and now Mr. Taylor is not here we can do it for ourselves”.
He also cautioned his partisans to muster the courage and mobilize support in order to pull more votes as compel to the CDC because NPP is the oldest party within the coalition which also includes Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP).
Quarrel at Primary over Fees Payment
During the convention, a group calling itself Movement for Hannanaih Zoe complained in a letter of observation to Chairman Biney, mentioning that Ambassador Barnes had reneged on paying his financial contribution as a candidate for the party national primaries.
The letter also called for the extrication of Amb. Barnes from the process due to his failure to pay the fees ahead of the primary.
But the NPP chairman claimed he did not receive any letter from Rev. Zoe and there is nothing in their party called movement for Hananial Zoe.
“People cannot come out and say we the movement for Hananial Zoe, if Rev. Zoe has a problem it is for him to write and say ‘this is what I have observed’ ”.
The NPP chairman noted that the party constitution provides that everybody contesting the standard bearer position pays US$5,000 as registration fees.
He said all three of the candidates met the requirements and were certificated.
He said US$2,000 was proposed by the three candidates as contribution to the process, but clarified that it was not a constitutional obligation.
“We had a budget to fund the process and each of them decided that they will contribute; it is not a constitutional requirement”, he said.
“If you look in our constitution it is there five thousand. So if some paid at this point in time and the other had not paid it does not have anything to do with the votes because the process is still continuing”.
“In other words it is the party that supposed to find that money people who are giving it are voluntarily giving it; it is not a constitutional requirement”, the NPP chairman concluded.