Jewel Howard Taylor, the current Vice President of the Republic of Liberia is not just the ex-wife of former President Charles Taylor but has proven to be a good understudy of the once feared warlord that is serving prison sentence in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Taylor played a horrific role in what would be dubbed the great African tragedies of the 1990’s alongside Sierra Leone’s Foday Sankoh, whose rebel movement would become best known for hacking off the arms and legs of civilians leaving over 50,000 dead, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Laurent Kabila who was the central figure in a complex civil war that ultimately killed four million people.
Taylor is notorious for using fear to coward his opponents or enemies into submission.
The jailed dictator’s estranged wife who is a step shy of the presidency is using the formula of fear and intimidation that aided her husband to keep the nation underside for decades.
Bong County in central Liberia was Taylor’s base during the rebel years and has been for Jewel in post war democratic Liberia.
Elected Senator twice (2005 &2014) and now Vice President, Jewel has told the people of Bong County that this is her time to lord over them beyond any form of reproach take.
“Da my time. Nothing you will do. This is a new government and we will do things the new way,” Jewel told chiefs and other local government officials about her ability to make them jobless if they fail to follow what she called “chain of command.”
Under Jewel’s governance structure in the county, it would seem the President, the Minister of Internal Affairs and other elected representatives of the people can have no say in matters relating to the county
She wants the county’s governance issues to be restricted to a trinity consisting of herself as the leader, Representative Marvin Cole, ruling CDC’s only representative in Bong who served as political advisor to the veep when served as senator and County Superintendent, Esther Walker, Howard-Taylor’s maid at one point.
“Amongst the 15 districts, the Coalition [for Democratic Change] has one representative. If there are any issues, you may not be able to get me all of the time; get to the superintendent; to that one representative then to me,” she ordered.
“If you don’t want [to] accept it, say I don’t want to work. There are other representatives here but because this is our government and we have the responsibility to make it succeed that is the chain of command.”
On Thursday, May 24, she threatened local government officials who would not join her party saying, “truthfully, all of the thirteen commissioners may not be members of the coalition. You will join because other people joined the Unity Party ( former ruling party). So I’m waiting for you to call me to your district for you to tell me that you are joining the ruling coalition. That’s it.
“Because how can you…. The Bible says how can two work together if they don’t agree. For us to agree we must be on the same side. So if you think you can’t make it, tell us, we’ll find somebody else. Anybody feel they can’t make it now, say it before we go far.”
“Some people sitting here, they are not members of the coalition. You all know we have nothing in our hearts against you, because I would have said, ‘remove everybody’; what would you have done to me? Nothing, Da [it’s] my time,” Veep Howard-Taylor was quoted.