By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
Sometimes ago, I was part of a campaign to resolve what was considered a feud between President George Manneh Weah and his Vice President Madam Jewel Howard-Taylor. At the time it was said that the two were at loggerheads, something that was not healthy.
As a result, the speaker of that year’s Independence Day thanksgiving and intercessory service at the Independence Church in Johnsonville, Rev. Michael Tuan Sie, raised the issue in the presence of the two. However, the President at the time trivialized it.
Notwithstanding, it became an issue of public concern as people expressed displeasure over this cat-and-mouse situation and called on the two to bury the hatchet to move forward. Later it was gathered that some of the concerns of the Vice President were resolved with visible improvement in her convoy.
Interestingly and noticeably, the recent development with the conspicuous absence of the Vice President in her own county where President Weah began his nationwide tour, coupled with the Agricultural fair, is raising another eyebrow that all is not well between the two senior government officials.
Fortunately for me, last Saturday I was one of the discussants on the ECOWAS RADIO morning talk show- FRONT PAGE, when the issue was raised with press Secretary Solo Kelgbeh, who smartly handled the issue, as he could not deny or confirm any bitter or soured relationship. He only said that she was carrying out some government’s functions in Monrovia, while the President was on his tour. He did not create any semblance that it was not well between the two leaders.
First let me thank my former editor Kelgbeh for his matured and sagacious response to the question posed to him on the matter. As a communicator, one does not have to be as rocket scientist, as we always say to deduce that all is still not well between the two to an extent that his Vice President would stay away at such important gathering in her own county, something that was a good public relations for her as a daughter and Traditional Chief of the county.
Unsurprisingly, the absence of the Vice President during the recent “Natlonal Agro Fair” raised eyebrows. This paper, in its last Monday’s edition on the issue reported that farmers from across the country converged in Bong County, the political seat of Jewel Howard-Taylor but unfortunately, the Vice President did not show up at the three-day National Agricultural Fair organized by her government.
Prior to the Bong County Fair, Veep Taylor was seen at the Armed Forces event on Thursday in Monrovia along with her boss and other dignitaries but conspicuously absent especially on Friday, February 12 being the day President George Weah began his nation-wide tour.
The farmers who were mainly females expressed hope that the presence of Madam Taylor, would have demonstrated leadership and motivation for them especially with her traditional title and her participation with farmers over the years. They expressed their disappointments that their Vice President was not at the event organized by the government which she is a part of acknowledging that her presence would have lifted their spirit and motivate them to do more.
Furthermore, they said Madam Taylor has been one person who has stood with women and that her absence at this very important event to showcase what women can do and how they have improved was like a slap in their faces. The women of Lofa and River Gee were very expressive and said considering their distances, they think the Vice President should have encouraged them and appreciate them as farmers.
They stated that female farmers came to the lime light during the tenure of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and with the election of a female as Vice President, they remain hopeful that women issues will stand out and if Madam Taylor had shown up at the Fair, that would have given them more courage.
However, Madam Fatu Toure, a female farmer suggested that Veep Taylor should find a suitable date to schedule them, so that they, as women farmers can meet with her to discuss their disappointments because it is beautiful if a female is always seen at events that concern women.
Noticeably, Vice President Taylor was neither placed in the official program nor did the protocol mention her, even though it was her county that hosted the Fair.
Considering all of these, it is logical to deduce that something unpleasant is happening between the President and his Vice President who should be working together to achieve whatever goal set.
The simple fact that her name was not even placed in the official program, sent a negative signal. Perhaps, upon receiving this information that she would only be a spectator in her own county, she decided to stay away.
Whatever the situation, what is obtaining between the two is not healthy; there is a need for intervention into this quagmire as the President and his Vice cannot work at variance or be diametrically opposite. There are reasons why the President and the Vice President, during the elections were placed on one ballot.
It showed that they are intertwined and inseparable. This is to say that they have to work as a team jointly and not severally, as we say in law, as disunity can undermine progress.
To close, let me emphatically state that the President and the Vice President MUST resolve whatever differences. Given our idiosyncrasies, there would always be differences and disagreements, but at the end of the day, there must be a common ground for the benefit of all.
Figuratively, it is said that “TEETH AND TONGUE CAN FUSS IN THE MOUTH,” but both of them would remain there to carry out specific functions, as each needs the other.
Therefore, the President and his Vice must see reason for a smooth working relationship, as the continuation of this would trickle down to others, thus atomizing the administration to the detriment of the country.
Lest they forget that TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, MUCH IS EXPECTED.
I Rest My Case.