Liberia’s vice president dismisses claims of return of Charles Taylor

Howard Taylor[/caption] Liberia’s first female Vice President, Howard Taylor has dismissed assertions that she will use her office to pursue an agenda of ensuring the return of Liberia’s former leader, Charles Taylor who is her ex-husband. Perceptions are rife that her being in office can influence the return of the former leader who has been jailed for war crimes. Jewel Howard Taylor told 3FM in an exclusive interview that she has no such agenda. “Crimes are indeed not transferable. I’ve had to remind people that during the war I was not even in Liberia. This is something many people do not know. Many think I was a gorilla in the war; I was not,” she explained. According to the former first lady, because her name is Jewel Howard Taylor and by her association with former president Taylor, “some of the negativity that people felt towards the former president are transferred to me”. Admitting she’s had to work hard to get over those sentiments especially through prayer, the Vice president added that “despite being elected vice president, some countries are still not sure about what to do or how to react”. She however was emphatic that “the onus is on me, I intend to work with my people and government, to put my best foot forward and be the best Vice president that Liberia has ever had. Hopefully over time I’ll win the hearts and minds of those who think that she’s on a ‘Taylor agenda. I’m on a Liberian agenda, I’m on a developmental agenda and I’m on a women’s agenda”. When asked about what she expects her relationship with the USA and UK to be, the Vice president said that was a challenging feat she had to surmount. “That’s a challenge and my office and I have been thinking of engaging more with them. They are not trusting so the onus lies on me. I have to work hard to prove them wrong and hopefully over time, they’ll come to accept me for the Jewel Taylor that I am”. The 54-year-old politician was elected senator of the Bong county, the nation’s third most populous county, on the ticket of the National Patriotic Party (NPP). She then chaired the Senate Health and Social Welfare Committee on Gender, Women and Children. While her husband was president, she held a number of official posts in the Liberian government, including Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Liberia and President of the Agriculture Cooperative and Development Bank (ACDB) and Mortgage Financing Underwriter of the First Union National Bank. She also focused on educational, health and social projects. In 2006, she divorced the ex- Liberian leader after he fled to exile in Nigeria. She has since denied knowledge about the atrocities ordered by her ex-husband, Charles Taylor, during Sierra Leone’s civil war, there are views that her being in government can influence the return of the former president Charles Taylor. But the Vice President maintains that is not true. She insisted what is currently on her agenda is national development and women empowerment.

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By Mercy Catherine Adjabeng | | Ghana]]>