Liberia: “Weah Must Go!”

Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County.
Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County.

….. Says Senator Prince Johnson as he rallies support in Nimba for the election of former Vice President Joseph Nyumah to the Presidency

Senator Prince Johnson, a former confidante and political ally of President George Weah, has claimed that the president has “messed up the country.”

George Weah must go! We voted for George Weah and Jewel Howard Taylor, but in six years they have messed up the country,” Johnson told his supporters in Karnplay, one of Nimba’s large towns.

According to him, Weah should not take any credit for the road construction in Nimba because the contracts and the funding were secured when Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was still President.

Nimba is the second most populous and vote rich County after Montserrado and has, as of 2005, served as a key battleground county to decide who becomes President of Liberia.

Johnson also wields significant influence in his political and traditional ‘godfather’ role in the county, having won presidential runoff elections for former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and lately, President Weah.

He added that Weah and his circle of officials broke down the foundation that was built by the former ruling Unity Party of former Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai who is seeking, for the second time, his election to the office of President after failing in his first attempt in 2017.

Johnson broke away from Weah when, according to him, the President failed to deliver top Ministering positions as well as other key government positions for his people in Nimba. But Weah, on the other hand, claimed that Johnson’s demands were more personal than they were in the interest of the people of Nimba.

Senator Johnson is on record for criticizing and terming the performance of the former ruling Unity Party as dismal. At the time, he decried his now best partner, Joseph Boakai, who he now says is the best suited for the Presidency to rescue the country.

There are no known available details now as to what could be the agreement between him and Boakai, but he engineered the selection of Senator Jeremiah Koung, also of Nimba County, to become Boakai’s running mate on the ticket of the Unity Party.

Johnson told his supporters that it was a mockery to the people of Nimba that President Weah provided only one minister proper position at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications for the County, which he said is not as relevant nowadays as it used to be in the past.

Who is posting letters these days? There is technology and in seconds if not minutes, communications are sent across the Oceans,” he said, adding that the agreement entered into with Weah six years ago required the President to yield to the people of Nimba four minister proper positions, five assistant minister positions, as well as directors and ambassadors to countries representing Liberia in the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government.

While Weah did not refute Johnson’s claims, he said the Nimba Senator is self-centered and his fight is not for the people of Nimba as he claims.

Counsellor Cooper Kruah, Johnson’s kinsman and political collaborator in his Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) political party, was appointed Minister of Post and Telecommunications, the position he held until his replacement by President Weah on May 2, 2023. Cllr. Kruah was replaced with the appointment of Atty. Worlea Saywah Dunor, another son of Nimba who once served as a Representative for his district in the 53rd Legislature.

Senator Johnson is the founder and former political leader of Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), a political party that contested the 2027 elections and emerged as the third runner-up to Weah’s CDC.

At a campaign rally message in Karnplay, which was also attended by UP standard bearer Boakai and his running mate Koung, Johnson told his people to not reelect Weah because he has failed to remit to Nimba its development funds given by ArcelorMittal.

He noted that while the natural mineral resources of the country primarily belong to the government, there was a mineral development agreement (MDA) signed during the administration of former President Sirleaf, in which it was agreed that Counties in which multimillion dollar concessions operate should benefit US$1.5 million each in every fiscal year once there are still operations carried out by those companies. However, since Weah became President, Johnson said, Nimba is yet to receive its development money.

LAMCO used to take the iron ore from our mountains without giving our people anything. The Central government took everything then. But after the war, President Sirleaf and her Vice President then, now standard bearer of the Unity Party [whom] we support for the Presidency today, put this system in place for our people to directly benefit but Weah has refused to give you your US$9 million over the six years,” Johnson said.

He alleged that Weah has stolen the money for his personal benefits and the benefits of his close confidantes in the CDC.

He stole our money and built big houses; 49 condominiums for himself. So now the iron is going and Nimba County’s US$1.5 million each year is also going. Don’t vote for him again. He has failed us and we cannot trust him furthermore with our power,” Sen. Johnson said as his supporters cheered.

Regarded as a tribal hero in Nimba, Senator Johnson himself is seeking reelection to his third 9-year term as Senator of the vote-rich county. He was hailed by his tribesmen for having saved them from annihilation when he captured and killed President Samuel Kanyon Doe in 1990. Yet, the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report reveals that the warring faction led by him committed some of the worst human rights violations during the civil war.

After his warring career, Johnson shed his fatigues and became a pastor.

Yet, in 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department placed a sanction on Senator Johnson, for, among other things, influencing governance in Liberia through ‘pay to play’ deals executed at ministries and agencies of government. He is banned from entering the United States and having access to all U.S. amenities.

At the rally, Johnson went on alleging that President Weah sanctioned the (alleged) mysterious deaths of the auditors and other professionals from the Liberia Revenue Authority, Central Bank as well as the three young who went missing under the watch of Moses H. Ahossouhe (Proprietor of St. Moses Funeral Parlour) and never found.

It can be recalled that on October 17, 2020, Robert M. Blamo, Jr., 29, Siafa Boimah, 34, and Bobby S. Gbeanquoi, 32, reportedly drowned in a river in Fuama district, lower Bong County when a canoe they were allegedly riding capsized while returning to their respective homes.

It was reported that the three young men went to do a “piece of job” at the Oriental mining company owned and operated by Mr. Ahossouhe and one Mr. Abraham S. Samuels. It was reported by Mr. Ahoussouhe that the three young men drowned.

Also speaking at the rally, Boakai told the people of Nimba to vote Weah out so that the country can be rescued from “poor leadership, massive corruption and ineptitude.”

Source: Liberian Observer

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