Monrovia — An executive committee member of the former governing National Patriotic Party (NPP) Senator Sando D. Johnson says the party is seriously concerned about the "ill-treatment" of its political leader, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, by some members of the Executive branch of the Liberian government.
Senator Johnson represents the people of Bomi County in the 54th National Legislature.
The former ruling NPP of ex-Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor, is one of the three political parties that make up the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) that brought President George Manneh Weah to power in January 2018.
The other political parties are: Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP).
It can be recalled that Vice President Howard-Taylor Vice President Taylor has been relaxing at her home in Congo Town, outside Monrovia, boycotting her constitutional duties due to the alleged failure of the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to disburse operational funds allotted to her office.
In a letter addressed to Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie and members of the Liberian Senate recently, VP Taylor pointed alarmed over the refusal of government, through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, to release operational funds for the smooth running of her office for the budget years 2018/2019, and 2019/2020.
The Liberian Vice President who has been relaxing at her home in Monrovia for nearly a month now.
"I am saddened to inform you, as elders of our nation, that the situation remains that bills due my office from 2018-2019 are still not paid and the operational expenses which I needed for the effective running or functioning of my office (Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia), during 2018 - 2019 and 2019 - 2020 budget years have not been paid," she stated.
VP Taylor maintained: "Honorable President Pro-Tempore and Members of the Liberian Senate, this continued situation has left me without the proper security arrangements for my safe movements and without the ability to provide necessities for my Office. Currently, the security vehicles, including 2 bullet proof vehicles, needed for my movements have still not been provided to my detail" she noted.
The Liberian Vice President furthered: "As a result, I have been unable to leave my home over the past 3 weeks. I am therefore constrained to inform this Honorable body that due to the constraints described, I am unable to attend to my duties during this opening of the 3rd Session of the 54Th National Legislature 2020; until these constraints are attended to".
But speaking in an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa over the weekend, Senator Johnson pointed out that though the Liberian Vice President is yet to officially inform her party officials about the situation, executives and partisans of the former ruling party are under obligation to protect their standard-bearer.
He added that the NPP will meet to take actions against reported acts of marginalization, ill-treatment and disrespect being meted and shown its political leader.
"The Vice President has not brought about the ill-treatment being meted against her to the party officially, but the party is concerned about this. She has flagged the issue that budgetary support is not forthcoming and because of this, her office is not functional. She also mentioned that she is being disrespected by some senior and junior ministers within the Executive. The issue of her being strangulated was discussed months back, but it has not been addressed," he stated.
Senator Johnson maintained: "I am one of the Vice President's confidants, that's the fact and I can tell you that as far as we are concerned as a party, we are under obligation to protect her. We will speak to the unfair treatment meted against her. If people want to attack or disrespect her, we will also speak to that".
Weah asked to act
From all indications, the relationship between VP Taylor and President George Manneh Weah continues to sour up on a regular basis.
But Senator Johnson who claimed to be a strong confidante of the NPP political leader, insists that all amenities or entitlements enshrined by law must be provided to the office of VP Howard-Taylor.
He noted that the provision of benefits to ensure the smooth operations and running of the Vice President's office must not be given at the will and pleasure of anyone, including the President, because those allocations are appropriated by law in the National Budget.
"I believe that the Vice President office has not been given the due respect or all of the support needed. Her office is a constitutional office; whether you like her as Jewel Howard-Taylor or not; she is the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia. All of those things that should make her office functional, they must be provided. If those things have not been coming forth, I want to call on the President and the Minister of Finance to act sooner. We must stay in the confines of the law," he noted.
'Briefcase' party part of CDC?
Speaking further, the NPP lawmaker described the Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP) of former House Speaker Alex Tyler as a "briefcase" political party that is also part of the CDC.
According to him, the LPDP has no substance in the body politics of the country.
He added that despite the "unfair and ill-treatment" against the Liberian Vice President, the relationship between the CDC and NPP remains on course.
Senator Johnson indicated: "Let me speak for the NPP, and not the LPDP because there is no comparison between the NPP and the LPDP. When we are talking about political parties, we are not taking about briefcase political party that does not have substance in Liberia".
"As far as I am concerned there is cohesiveness between the CDC and the NPP; these are the two original parties that came together and form the CDC. There is a MOU that put us together. We are on the right track; we are moving together" he added.
"That's a fact, we are still raising those issues. We are telling the President that the NPP played a key role as a party. Had it not been for the NPP, we couldn't have been to where we are today. We must be given what we deserved. But I think, they are working with us gradually.