LIBERIA: Who’s Behind Jewel Howard-Taylor Removal, As Crisis Overwhelm Charles Taylor’s Owned NPP
Inside sources within the former ruling party of detained Charles G. Taylor, the National Patriotic Party (NPP) have hinted the GNN that plans are underway to remove its political leader, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor who has been considered as the founding mother of the party.
The National Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2017 formed a coalition with the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), and the Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) with the sole objective of winning the 2017 elections. However, report said the decision to remove Madam Taylor will take place during the upcoming NPP convention.
According to the report, Madam Taylor may likely be replaced by Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe, a stalwart of the party during former President Charles Taylor regime.
The NPP National Convention as scheduled some time ago but had to be rescheduled to February 2022 due to unresolved issues within the party. The NPP is part of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change government headed by President George Weah.
In 1997 when Edwin Snowe was chairman of the youth wing of the NPP known as National Patriotic Youth Council (NPYC), he was regarded as one of the brainchild of the party who ensured their political leader and standard bearer, Charles Taylor emerged as President of Liberia following a bloody civil war that lasted for years.
It is said Snowe as a youthful leader of the NPYC and a closed confidante of NPP leader Charles Taylor back in 1997, even ventured into other rebel-held territories and physically campaigned to convince rebel fighters of ULIMO-K, ULIMO-J, Lofa Defense Force (LDF), Liberia Peace Council (LPC) among others to elect his boss, NPFL leader and NPP standard bearer Charles Taylor to the presidency.
And so it came as no surprise when NPP standard bearer Charles Taylor was elected to the presidency in 1997 with about 75% of the votes with a little over 700,000 Liberians going to the polls to exercise their civil liberties. Those who followed Snowe’s activities as NPYC leader in 1997 hailed him for his bravery and tenacity to propel so many young people in Liberia to cast their votes for his boss, Charles Taylor.
It is also said Snowe was invited by the United States Embassy in Monrovia following the 1997 Special Presidential Elections conducted by the Henry Andrews (deceased) under the auspices of Special Elections Commission (SECOM) with support from ECOWAS and other international partners that saw Taylor emerge as President of Liberia.
IPNEWS reliably learned that the purpose of that 1997 meeting at the US Embassy in Monrovia with the then Ambassador Bismarck Myrick was intended to prevail on NPYC leader Snowe to urge his boss, President-elect Charles Taylor to ‘disengage his support for the Rebel Revolutionary Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone headed by Foday Sankoh (deceased) in the rebel war in that country because it was an interest of a another world power’.
The US Embassy had observed that Snowe had played in a key role in mobilizing the youth to vote for Taylor so he was favored by Taylor and thus any piece of advice Snowe would offer him regarding the war in Sierra Leone, the then President-elect would listen but the rest is now history.
Fast forward to 2003 when President Taylor was about to move into exile in Calabar in Nigeria following another round or rebel war that threatened his government, and after former United States president George W. Bush told him to step down to save his people from further dying, Snowe again showed loyalty to his boss and returned to Liberia from the United States where he was undergoing undergraduate studies having been awarded academic scholarship by the Federation of International Football (FIFA). Snowe was president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) when FIFA awarded him the scholarship to study in the US through its human resource capacity development program.
Snowe told Liberians and NPP partisans that he had to cut short his studies to return to Liberia because his boss, Taylor needed every support around him during his most difficult period, when he had to relinquish state power despite his tenure not expiring to his Vice President to save his people from dying and his country from further blood bath. Mr. Snowe was also Deputy Managing Director for Operations at the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) and a former son-in-law to President Taylor, when he had to come back home to show support to his boss during dark days of his presidency when being forced to go into exile to save his people and country.
When Taylor left and Vice President Moses Blah became president for a duration of two months, Snowe despite still serving as DMD/O at LPRC, became a closed aide to President Blah, and it is believed that during this time he negotiated with him to be named on the slot of Government of Liberia as Managing Director at LPRC for two years following the setting up of an interim government in Ghana, through the Accra Peace Accord.
By the end of the two years as Managing Director at LPRC, Snowe was dragged to court for alleged financial malpractice by the new government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf after an ECOWAS audit indicted him. But in the end, the former LPRC MD’s name was cleared of any wrong doing and financial malpractice at LPRC during his two-year tenure as MD.
When the interim government headed by Charles Gyude Bryant (deceased) tenure ended Edwin Snowe sought a legislative seat and was subsequently elected Representative in Montserrado County, and later elected Speaker of the House of Representatives by his colleagues in 2006. By then he turned his back on the NPP and went into the elections as in Independent candidate.
When Snowe fell out with President Sirleaf and subsequently resigned as Speaker of the House, he later mended fences and joined Mrs. Sirleaf ruling Unity Party (UP), a move that made him to regain favor with the president and he became a darling boy of the Sirleaf’s administration during her second term as president.
After Sirleaf tenure ended, Snowe changed course this time moving to western Liberia in Bomi County where he was elected Representative for Senjeh District #1 in 2017 and having reportedly served his people well, he was again asked by them to seek a senatorial seat in the 2020 Midterm Senatorial election, which he overwhelmingly won and now serves for a 9-year term as an Independent.
It has never been a public record where Senator Edwin Snowe returned to the NPP as a partisan and a former stalwart of the party during the Taylor’s regime. But IPNEWS gathered it is some higher ups in the party who are lobbying Senator Snowe to return to the NPP, where he is promised the standard bearership for the 2023 election.
Those NPP partisans who are lobbying Snowe to return are of the belief that the Senator is a closer buddy to President George Weah, judging from their football days as a football icon and LFA president, when Mr. Weah also served as Technical Director of the Lone Star.
Our sources hinted that those NPP partisans denounced the current Vice President of the CDC-led government and standard bearer of the NPP, Jewel Howard Taylor for allegedly being at loggerheads with her boss, President Weah, and to avoid such scenario in 2023, they prefer an NPP stalwart who has a good working relations with President Weah, and Senator Edwin Snowe fits the bill.
It can be recalled the NPP for several months was embroiled in an internal wrangling involving its Chairman James Biney and Standard Bearer Jewel Howard Taylor, over legitimacy. It came a time where the party went to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to have the matter resolved but in the end all hands were reportedly put on deck to move forward since the party was now part of the ruling CDC.
Even during the 2020 midterm senatorial elections, the NPP fielded a candidate in Maryland County, in James Biney, where it already had a seated Senator who was seeking re-election. Senator Dan Morias had no choice but to go as an Independent because the NPP had sent in the name of James Biney to contest the seat in 2020, which Biney won as Senator and now serves.
There were also times where NPP chairman James Biney and Standard Bearer Jewel Howard Taylor were at loggerheads, over reports that Biney was being accused by some NPP partisans of trying to turn/sell the party over to the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) to make the Coalition for Democratic Change stronger. But Biney denied all those allegations stating the NPP would remain a party within the coalition framework.
It remains unclear whether the NPP has actually resolved its inner wrangling as reports have it that the party is planning to have its National Convention next month, February. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the NPP National Convention will be in the midst of reported wrangling among the hierarchy of the former ruling party.
Fast forward to 2022, a year to the all-important 2023 presidential and legislative elections, there are impeccable reports within the NPP inner circles, according to our sources that there are plans to replace the party current standard bearer, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor with Bomi County senator Edwin Snowe, because some partisans and hierarchy members do not find favor with standard bearer Taylor, who at some point in time following her ascendancy as Vice President of Liberia was accused of being at loggerheads with her boss, the President of Liberia.
The sources hinted IPNEWS that those NPP partisans and some hierarchy members want to denounce the current Vice President of the CDC-led government and standard bearer of the NPP, Jewel Howard Taylor for allegedly being at loggerheads with her boss, President Weah, and to avoid such scenario in 2023, they prefer an NPP stalwart who has a good working relations with President Weah, and Senator Edwin Snowe fits the bill.
The party is said to be divided within with some hierarchy and die-hard members going either sides of Standard Bearer Jewel Howard Taylor or Chairman James Biney, whose tenure reportedly expired a long time ago but still acts as Chairman.
There are other top stalwarts of the NPP, including its former chairman emeritus Cyril Allen, former standard bearer Dr. Roland Massaquoi, who the sources hinted are not in the thoughts of those who want Snowe to replace Ms. Taylor as standard bearer of the party for the 2023 elections. The Snowe fanatics say he is closer to the President than those two stalwarts so they prefer to replace Mrs. Taylor as standard bearer, if their reported plan is to come to reality.
Those who reportedly supporting James Biney are opting to replace the party standard bearer Jewel Howard Taylor with Bomi County Senator, Edwin Snowe, who is an original member and stalwart of the party following its formation in 1997. Though unconfirmed our sources hinted that Snowe has been asked to bankroll the entire operations, which is reportedly in the tune of thousands of United States dollars, to have him replace VP Jewel Howard Taylor as Standard Bearer of the NPP for the 2023 elections. Accordingly if Snowe replaces VP Taylor as NPP Standard Bearer, he will automatically be named as Vice Standard Bearer on the ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) in 2023. And if President Weah is re-elected Snowe then becomes Vice President of Liberia.
The sources also veiled that Chairman James Biney has been trying to convince Standard Bearer Jewel Howard Taylor for the NPP to withdraw from the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) due to being sidelined since ascending to state power. But standard bearer Taylor, who serves as Vice President of the CDC-led government had been reluctant to follow suit for reasons undisclosed.
It is said at a recent meeting of some NPP hierarchy, Standard Bearer Taylor confronted Chairman Biney and told him in the face that it was he who met her recently to ask her withdraw the NPP from the CDC since she and the party were being marginalized by CDC hierarchy who believes the Coalition belongs to only them alone.
According to our sources, Chairman James Biney was speechless at that meeting when he was confronted by Mrs. Taylor over claims to withdraw the NPP from the Coalition before the 2023 elections. It is however unknown at this moment if the NPP has any intention to withdraw from the Coalition as there are reports that the ruling CDC is meeting with stakeholders to derive new agreements on how each member party of the Coalition will come to benefit if the CDC is re-elected in 2023.
The ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) comprises the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of president George Weah; the former ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) of Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) of former House Speaker Alex Tyler. In 2017 they came together to democratically oust the former ruling Unity Party of former Vice President Joseph Boakai, having won 14 of the 15 political counties of Liberia.
Senator Snowe: ‘Don’t Want Be President Weah Running mate in 2023’
During the post legal battles of the 2020 midterm senatorial elections sometime in 2021, former Grand Cape Mount County senator Victor Watson once accused Bomi County senator Edwin Snowe of meddling in Cape Mount County politics because he (Snowe) want to consolidate control in Western Liberia (Bomi, Grand Cape Mount & Gbarpolu Counties respectively) because he wants to be a running mate to President George Weah in the 2023 presidential and legislative elections.
Sen. Snowe at the time had called on defeated Cape Mount Senator Victor Watson to accept the results of the 2020 Midterm Senatorial elections in the county because it was very clear that Alternative National Congress (ANC) candidate Simeon Taylor had won the election. Snowe even disclosed that President Weah during his visit to Cape Mount urged defeated Senator Watson to accept the result and move on, but he was adamant which reportedly led to bloody clashes in Cape Mount.
In the end, the Supreme Court of Liberia ruled in favor of Simeon Taylor as winner and he now serves as Senator of Grand Cape Mount County.
But in reaction to the defeated Cape Mount Senator, the Bomi Senator refuted claims by him that he (Snowe) wants to be a running mate to President Weah in 2023 that is why he was reportedly meddling in Cape Mount politics.
Snowe disclosed at the time that he and President Weah had been close friends for many years, dating back when he (Snowe) was president of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) and president Weah was then a player and Technical Director of the Lone Star. The Bomi County Senator said his friendship with the President even grew further when Mr. Weah was elected as Montserrado County Senator, while he (Snowe) served as Montserrado County District #6 Representative for two six-year terms.
The Bomi County Senator then said he was only interested in a peaceful settlement of the then political crisis in Cape Mount to avoid bloodshed indicative of clashes to that took place between defeated senator supporters and senator-elect at time, Simeon Taylor supporters. “I don’t want to be President Weah running mate in 2023”, Senator Snowe told the media back then.
Political pundits are keenly watching the reported internal wrangling within the NPP that is not yet out in the public on a higher level and how it pens out as the party prepares for its National Convention in February 2022.