Liberia: Disappointed Prince Johnson Begins Plot against Unity Party Signaling An Early Fallout with the Regime

webnexttech | Liberia: Disappointed Prince Johnson Begins Plot against Unity Party Signaling An Early Fallout with the Regime

MONROVIA – Amid the fervor of the 2023 election campaign, Joseph Boakai’s decision to align with Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson stirred apprehension. Many feared that Sen. Johnson might wield excessive influence over the presidency, particularly with his ‘godson,’ Jeremiah Koung, selected as Boakai’s Vice Presidential candidate. This alignment even led to the great divide between Boakai and his long-time ally, Benoni Urey, who was vehemently opposed to Mr. Alexander Cummings of the ANC’s presidency in support of Boakai’s presidency. For Boakai, teaming up with the former rebel general turned politician and pastor was a top necessity for winning the presidential elections, as Sen. Johnson could easily sway the majority of votes from his vote-rich Nimba towards the Unity Party. And indeed, Sen. Johnson delivered Nimba. Boakai obtained 74.14 percent of the votes in Nimba County. Unarguably, the Nimba votes caltapulted him to the presidency. PYJ’s Motive Vs. JNB’s Intent The trend of events during the elections campaign revealed that the Nimba County Senator had three motives for agreeing to support Boakai after his fallout with the incumbent, Weah. Sen. Johnson’s fallout with Weah stemmed from his frustration with the regime during its latter days when he could no longer exercise influence and carryout his usual pay-for-play for which he was sanctioned by the United States Department of Treasury. Pres. Weah at the time became adamant on Sen. Johnson’s requests, especially, when his attempts to plug some kinsmen and women in specific government positions fell flat. Coming onboard with Boakai and having his ‘godson’ as the running mate to Boakai signalled the dawn of a new beginning for him. This allignment presented what appeared to be perfect opportunity for Sen. Johnson. In his view, 79-year-old Boakai is too old and frail to lead, hence, Koung as Vice President would have to perform many presidential tasks. This would have given him, Sen. Johnson, the leverage and protection he’d always wanted from sitting governments. Beyond that, Sen. Johnson also viewed his allignmet with Boakai and having Jeremiah Koung as running mate an opportunity for Nimba to eventually produce President in the future when Boakai eventually fades out. In a leaked audio that emerged during the election campaign, Senator Johnson is heard saying: “We’re fighting for Nimba County to take the lead, and Nimba will win in the name of Jesus. Bassa is with us, Gbarpolu with us, Bomi with us, Lofa with us, Bong County with us; what is your problem, and you’re on the radio on me? My brother, what have I done, you got to change.” He went on to add, “We’re fighting for you. When y’all turn to this man [Weah] against our prayer for Nimba to produce Vice President – this old man is old, he took Koung to be his Vice President when he wins, isn’t it Koung that would be doing the job for him? Can he go everywhere? No!” So, just when many believed that Boakai was in for a doom by ‘dancing with the devil’, the reality is becoming to set in and this is creating even more frustration for Senator Johnson. Boakai dealt Sen. Johnson a big blow on the very first day of his presidency when he announced the establishmemnt of war and economic crimes court. Sen. Johnson, known to be a former notorious rebel that committed heinuous attrocities and human rights abuses during the civil war is always infuriated at the mention of war crimes court. Pres. Boakai’s decision to call for the establishment of war crimes court is inconsiderate of how the establishment thereof could affect his strong political ally. Some political pundits say Pres. Boakai used Sen. Johnson as a pawn and stepping block to get the presidency. During an interview on Truth FM early this month, Sen. Johnson lamented that President Boakai no longer takes his phone calls amidst discussions for the establishment of the War and Economy Crimes Court in Liberia. He revealed that there has been no communication between him and the Liberian leader since President Boakai met with Allan White, a war crime court advocate. “Mr. Boakai has even refused to pick up my phone because of his connection with the Allan White group, as he feels that I am a war criminal. But we are watching. They want to do something clandestine against us, and we are not going to accept that,” Senator Johnson said. He added, “My people in Nimba County were killed in cold blood, and we fought in defense. We gave you votes, and you want to go after us? We are not going to accept that. My people in Nimba are listening to you, and you think they are going to sit here and turn me over to you to give me false charges on things that I never did before?” Strategizing against Unity Party In response to what he perceives as marginalization and to reclaim his waning influence, Senator Johnson is reportedly strategizing to oppose the Unity Party in the upcoming by-elections. This calculated move, driven by his desire to regain political agency and relevance is tilted towards ensuring that the party’s preferred candidate in the pending senatorial by-election does not win. In a bombshell leaked audio, Senator Prince Johnson was heard saying the would support the former County Inspector, Mr. Mark Gblinwon over Twayen, because of UP’s stance for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes in the country. Senator Johnson said: “I am calling on Nimbians (natives of Nimba County) of like minds to join the campaign against the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court because there are laws in Liberia that forbid the establishment of such court. Supporting Nya would be endorsing the War and Economic Crimes in Liberia because he is a member of the UP,” he said. Like Twayen, Senator Johnson also indicated that he would oppose Nimba County District #5 Representative, Samuel Kogar, who is thought to be one of those interested in the vacant senatorial seat. He said Rep. Kogar has over the years been disrespectful to him despite bringing to the political limelight in 2011. Sen. Johnson claimed the people who are now around President Boakai do not want him to succeed and have been advising him wrongly. “I’m sorry for Koung; because in 2029 Koung is the potential leader they see, they’re blocking him. The took all the ministries, all the public corporations and gave MDR one little Ministry of Labor,” he lamented. Feeling betrayed by his ‘son’ Koung Senator Johnson, in the leaked audio, expressed disappointment in the Vice President Jeremiah Koung for his failure to consult him (Sen. Johnson) on critical decisions including appointments. He said VP Koung, whom he sees as his son, doesn’t seek advice from him anymore; something he said may hurt Koung’s ambition, moving forward. Sen. Prince Johnson said he was particularly disappointed in Vice President Koung for recommending “his own people” to President Boakai for appointments in government without consulting him . “I am feeling sorry for Koung because the Unity Party people see him as a potential successor to Boakai in 2029, so they are doing everything possible to subvert that. Koung himself is sending his own people all over in government without even saying to me “Papay, send some of your people too for appointments.” Senator Johnson said Nimbians are angry with President Boakai over his refusal to give top governmental positions, despite receiving the most votes from the county in the 2023 presidential elections. He alleged that President Boakai’s top governmental positions are going to counties such as Bong, Lofa and Grand Bassa, that failed to produce the votes to make Boakai president. The potential fracture of support in Nimba County could lead to a broader crisis of legitimacy for the Unity Party, raising questions about its ability to maintain electoral supremacy against resurging opposition.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments