Thursday, August 07, 2003

Who will replace Charles Taylor?

Rebels reject the two men in line to take over once Taylor steps down. Though Vice President Moses Blah is legally the next in line, Taylor has said he might bypass Blah for the Speaker of the House, Nyundueh Monkomana.

A technicality could determine the succession - Taylor accepted, then rejected Blah's resignation during the June crisis without getting formal approval from Congress.

And who are the candidates ...
Candidate 1: Moses Blah

Vice President Moses Blah, 56, was a feared general in Taylor's faction during Liberia's last 1989-96 civil war with the title of inspector general in charge of discipline - reputedly a euphemism for executions.

... Last month, Blah was arrested for 10 days on charges of conspiring with Americans to overthrow Taylor. But he puts the incident down to a misunderstanding.

... He says Taylor has not told him who he will choose - but adds that under the constitution, the job should pass to him.

Candidate 2: Nyundueh Monkomana

... Monkomana, 55, met Taylor as a student in the 1970s in the United States. Both were active in Liberian exile politics, and when Taylor launched his uprising, Monkomana joined his parallel government, first as a county representative and later as labor minister.

While he never fought in the war, when it was over, he briefly served as chairperson of Taylor's political party, before running for the legislature.

... Besides having key support among Taylor's military, Blah is also stronger politically than his rival. Monkomana's reputation has suffered through repeated allegations of corruption.

Two years ago, he resigned over accusations he lied about graduating from New York's Columbia University in 1975. But the House reinstated him.