With the court in The Hague meeting this week to determine his final fate, convicted former President Charles Taylor’s farewell remark, “God’s willing, I shall be back,” continue to linger in the minds of family members and key allies who flocked a church in Congo Town over the weekend invoking the Divine Intervention for his return.
“We are convinced that with the intervention of God, Dr. Charles Taylor would come back to Liberia,” said Sen. Sando Johnson, spokesman for the Taylor family.
The convicted former Liberian leader, sentenced to 50 years’ imprisonment for his role in the Sierra Leone civil war, is set to hear his final judgment in an appeal case filed against his conviction at the Sierra Leone Special Court.
Analysts say if the court grants his quests, Mr. Taylor could escape the trauma of spending his entire life in a London Prison while a refusal would see the reversal. Though Mr. Taylor has chosen the appeal court to seek his freedom, members of his family and key loyalists believe that the only hope left for the once feared President’s return to Liberia is God. After being cornered in Monrovia in a ferocious military attack by a little known rebel movement, President Taylor hesitantly accepted an offer by African leaders to camp for an asylum. At a brief airport ceremony, the reluctant President was heard telling Liberians, “God’s willing, I shall be back.”
He spent more than two years of asylum in Nigeria’s Calabar State only to be chased and arrested later near the border with Cameroun and brought back to stand trial in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He has since appealed against his conviction and sentencing to 50 years of imprisonment. The verdict of his appeal this week is expected to determine his final fate.
In a sermon at the Dominion Church, Bishop Isaac S. Winker, President and Founder of the church, who derived his message from the Scriptures of 2 Chronicles and Daniel, described Taylor as an “anointed leader for Liberia.”
He said Taylor as a leader ” had Liberians in mind” in whatever he wanted to do but that Liberians do not however treat their leaders with respect.
“May God bring our leader back to us in Jesus name!” prayed the charismatic clergyman as his congregation roared “Amen” in response.
Bishop Winker emphasized that the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is trying Taylor, the first former African leader to stand before the court, was established to silence African leaders. He said those who conspired against Taylor did so for the oil reserve in the country.
He called on those who conspired against the former Liberian leader to repent or face the wrath of God. “You have to repent otherwise, God would teach you a lesson,” he stressed.
At the Church also, where several other Taylor loyalists including, Cyril Allen, Benoni Urey, Cocoo Denis and John T. Richardson converged to pray for a man who was once seen to have milked their breads with honey, Mostserrado District 6 Rep. Edwin Melvin Snowe, told journalists that he prayed for God’s divine mercy and healing to rest upon the former leader.
“Taylor was my former father-in-law; I offered prayer that God would grant him healing, that God would bring him back. I definitely want to see him back to Liberia,” Rep. Snowe said.
Another Taylor fanatic, former Margibi County Rep. Richard Sahr Gbollie told the New Democrat that he was full of hopes that Mr. Taylor would be freed by God’s grace.
He noted that to allow the will of God in the country, Liberians must begin to respect their leaders.
In spite of all the huge turnout of Mr. Taylor’s loyalists and family members, Sen. Jewel Howard Taylor, Mr. Taylor’s former wife was conspicuously absent throughout the special service. She however turned out later at the end of the prayer, making clarifications that she had just returned home from “out of the country.”
“I was not here, I went out of the country,” Sen. Taylor told journalists upon arrival at the Church premise.