Monrovia — During the campaign activities leading to the 2017 presidential runoff election, Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull was one of the prominent Liberian women/activist that mounted the podium at the headquarters of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to call on Liberians to vote the Coalition for Democratic Change ticket. Her reason? Because there was an astute Liberian female on the ticket.
Two years after, Cllr. Bull is dismayed over media reports about what is believed to be a fray between the President and the Vice President.
Cllr. Bull: "I went to visit her (Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor) to get a clear understanding of what I've been reading in the newspaper, social media and listening to the radio. Before hearing her story, I reminded her that in the second round of the election in 2017, I went to the CDC headquarters and told her that although I'm not a member of any political party, but in my capacity of my earned respect from the people of Liberia, the women of Liberia, to support the CDC because this ticket was bringing forth to the people of Liberia the first elected female Vice President of the Republic of Liberia that would promote continuity of women's leadership in Liberia since Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had broken the ceiling."
According to Cllr. Bull, women in Liberia were seeking 50 percent representation in the Legislature, therefore, having a woman as a Vice President was a boost.
"Who will disagree with me that her being on that ticket was an evidence of the success because she came from Bong County - the Kpelleh tribe which has the most populous voting age in this country and from Lofa, a very populous county in the country," Cllr. Bull asserted.
An appeal to Jewel
Cllr. Bull, a legal luminary and a preacher woman with a rich history of activism in Liberian politics and women empowerment dating as back as the '70s to present, said she called on the Vice President that despite the "overt disrespect, neglect, abuse manner she has been treated by the Executive and some of her own colleagues, she should continue to do her job."
She appealed to the Vice President not to boycott the Annual Message of "her partner" because, according to her, it was the only two of them who won the overwhelming votes and not the appointees who were appointed by the President and his subordinates. She said it is of no essence giving credence to the subordinates of the President.
She admonished Vice President Taylor not to allow anyone to hinder her from performing her function.
"From what she showed to me, I see that she's still riding her own car when she should have a bulletproof car and using the old cars from Joe [Joseph] Boakai - the ancient vehicles - while others of lower ranks in the legislature have brand new cars and members of the legislature who are not in the Coalition receiving their salaries, receiving their operational funds but her office does not have operational fund and her bills," she lamented.
Cllr. Bull said the intent of the refusal of the Executive to release the budgetary allotment for operational funds to the office of the Vice President is do give her an ugly face to vendors.
The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has, however, says it has made payments to all branches of Government within the limits of what is possible. The office of the Vice President has received more than US$3 million in both compensation and goods and services since 2018. Fiscal challenges have led to austerity that has affected senior leadership of all branches of Government. The ministry is not selective in administering payments but follows rule-based fiscal rules that aim to contain the deficit and assure budget credibility.
Weah, Get Your House in Order
However, Cllr. Bull insists that the alleged withholding of funds is only intended to tarnish the reputation of the Madam Taylor.
"I told her I will appeal and I'm appealing to President George Manneh Weah, her partner, to remember that she was the standard-bearer of NPP whom he and his party brought on board of the election to form a coalition that took him to the promised land but he did not go there alone, she went with him, and since he has vowed on many occasions that he's a HeForShe and supports women, he should get his house in order first by supporting his partner," she said.
Cllr. Bull said it's only when the President supports the Vice President women of the country will be confident that he will support women - both high and low.
According to Cllr. Bull, Vice President appreciated the visit and thanked her for always going to her rescue unsolicited in many forms - as a women's advocate, a human rights advocate, a politician and a mother.