–From Alan White
The Chief Political Strategist for the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), Professor Wilson K. Tarpeh says the party cannot confirm nor deny allegation made by Alan White, former chief of investigation for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone that Ambassador George Weah has had discussions with former President Charles Taylor.
Mr. White alleged that former President Charles Taylor might be trying to interfere in the 2017 presidential and representatives’ elections in Liberia by holding discussion with Mr. Weah.
But speaking during an interview with the VOA, Prof. Tarpeh said the party hopes that Alan White will provide evidence to substantiate the allegation.
Tarpeh said the CDC cannot confirm nor deny that such a discussion with Taylor may have taken place.
However, he challenged the former chief investigator for the UN backed special court for Sierra Leone to prove his allegation by providing evidence.
“We cannot confirm or deny that such a discussion with Taylor may have taken place. I’m sure Mr. White will have his evidence to prove that. It still remains an allegation that we cannot confirm or deny. What we can say is that the Congress for Democratic Change has been in discussion with a number of opposition political parties to form an alliance or a coalition for the purpose of the ensuing 2017 elections,” he said.
White told VOA that, “there are allegations that Taylor has been in discussion with Senator George Weah, who has recently signed an agreement to join forces with Jewel Howard Taylor, Taylor’s former wife, to support seeking the presidency and the vice presidency. George Weah will be on top of the ticket…and part of those discussions is to ensure that there is never a war crimes special court for Liberia.”
However, in his rebuttal argument, Professor Tarpeh said the Congress for Democratic Change did not sign any agreement per se with Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of Bong County.
He said his party and two other political parties — the National Patriotic Party and the Liberia People Democratic Party — signed an agreement to work together for the 2017 elections.
“According to an agreement signed, the Congress for Democratic Change is supposed to produce the standard bearer and the standard bearer will have to pick his vice standard bearer, who will not come from the Congress for Democratic Change. So, there is no agreement. We are aware of that; we signed an agreement with Senator Jewel Howard Taylor as an individual,” Tarpeh said.
Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which looked into the causes of the country’s civil war, wants restorative and retributive justice for those who participated in the war.
For example, the commission recommended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and 49 other Liberians to be subjected to public sanctions for their association with perpetrators of war crimes.
But since the publication of the TRC final report in 2008, there have been allegations of a lack of political will to implement the report.
In his interview with VOA, White said he knows of two presidential candidates, who have publicly been supportive of retributive and restorative justice – Vice President Joseph Boakai and businessman Benoni Urey.
Professor Tarpeh said White’s comments back up the CDC’s belief that he (White) is spreading information that is not true.
He defended the CDC’s association with the party of former President Charles Taylor and that of former speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex J. Tyler, who has been indicted for corruption.
“My answer to that is that we don’t see anything wrong with it. First, Mr. Taylor was charged with a crime for which he is serving. The institution he belongs to, which is the National Patriotic Party does not necessarily mean the NPP is involved in the criminal act. So you cannot ascribe evil or criminality in dealing with the National Patriotic Party. Again the same analogy.
Mr. Alex Tyler is a member of the Liberia People Democratic Party, a former speaker, who has been accused of a crime. Under our laws, if you are accused you are presumed innocent until you are proven guilty,” Tarpeh said.