Liberia polls: Is Weah conniving with convict Taylor?

George Weah: Eyeing Liberian presidency. FILE |NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Liberian football legend and presidential hopeful George Weah has been named in an alleged connivance with jailed former leader Charles Taylor.

Local media reports on Tuesday cited a former UN court official accusing Taylor of seeking to influence the outcome of the 2017 elections in favour of Mr Weah, who is said to be cooperating with a former wife of Taylor.

Mr Weah is running for president and he is thought to be one of the leading contenders.

Special court

Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, Charles Taylor’s estranged wife, is expected to serve as Mr Weah’s running mate in elections slated for October 10, 2017.

Former chief of investigation for the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone Alan White was quoted by the Liberian paper the FrontPageAfrica claiming to have received information from “credible sources” that the jailed Taylor was seeking to help Mr Weah win the polls.

“He’s been in discussion with Senator George Weah who recently signed an agreement to join forces with Jewel Taylor – Taylor’s former wife – to support seeking the presidency and the vice-presidency. George will be at the top of the ticket,” - Mr White was quoted saying.

Civil war

Taylor is serving a 50-year jail term for his part in the 11 years civil war in neighbouring Sierra Leone. He was convicted for aiding the Revolutionary United Front rebels carry out some of the worst war crimes ever. He is serving his jail term in the UK.

Mr White alleged that Mr Weah promised Taylor that there would be no war crimes court in Liberia and Sierra Leone if he wins, and that he would help ensure his jail term was reduced, the paper reported.

And the former football star is also thought to be hoping to reap millions of dollars, allegedly buried by Taylor before living office and subsequently being jailed.

Rebel faction

Mr Weah is the head of his Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party which has been reported to have merged with two other opposition parties, including Taylor’s former National Patriotic Party (NPP).

The third party in the resulting Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is the Liberian People’s Democratic Party (LPDP).

The NPP evolved from Taylor’s former rebel faction called the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL).

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