The Standard Bearer of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) Senator Prince Yormie Johnson brags here Thursday, 26 October that he enjoys deciding the presidency of Liberia after declaring support for Coalition for Democratic Change Standard Bearer, Senator George Weah in the November 7 runoff poll, but a kinsman of Sen. Johnson, prominent Human Rights lawyer Tiawan Gongloe, opposes the endorsement.
“Though we did not achieve our dreams, but we always enjoy the honor to decide the presidency of Liberia. I therefore urge you all to keep alive, we will get there in God’s own time. We must lend our support to elect that government that will be for the people, of the people and by the people,” Senator Johnson says in a news conference Thursday.
But Cllr. Gongloe told O.K. FM, a local radio station that the votes of Nimba County are non-transferable, noting that Senator Johnson, who just arrived in the country on Wednesday from Nigeria, did not consult with the people of the county before declaring support for Senator Weah. “Weah cannot get the votes expected from the Nimba people”, he says.
He argues that Sen. Weah is unfit for the presidency and Liberia does not want a leader, who will be tutored on the job. However, speaking at his party headquarters in Monrovia, Senator Johnson explains that he toured all 15 counties during campaign for the first round of election and is more convinced than ever that Liberia needs change and a new government with a new vision.
He notes that roads linking the counties are deplorable and impassable, adding “I believe that Liberia can fix this problem through the introduction of the toll gate system. I am also convinced that Liberia needs security – this includes food security, job security and health security.”
Johnson, who is poised to become kingmaker in two successive elections, stresses that the next government needs to stop importation of rice and invest in mechanized farming in order to make the country self-reliant in food production.
“I know that no one party can solve all these problems alone, that is why we must all join to make the Liberian dreams a reality. We must also continue to promote the doctrine of freedom of speech and civil liberties for all Liberians and strangers within our borders,” he continues.
He intimates that during the first round, majority of the Liberian people voted for change, adding, “The message therefore, was laud, clear and unavoidable.
“Pursuant to a historic meeting of opposition political parties I called in Ganta, Nimba County in September of 2016, which gave birth to the Ganta Declaration, we committed ourselves to ensuring an opposition victory for change in 2017 presidential election. After holding a broad based consultation with stakeholders and partisans from across the country and our stronghold in Nimba County, including executives of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction and with their approval and consent, I have resolved to remain committed to the spirit and intent of the Ganta Declaration of which was the convener, host and architect-in-chief.”
He declares, “Consistent with this belief, I am therefore honored today to announced to the Liberian people and the world at large, that with abiding faith in God and love for my country, my full and unflinching support and collaboration to the Coalition for Democratic Change and the candidacy of Senator George Manneh Weah as President of the Republic of Liberia in the forthcoming presidential run-off election scheduled for November 7, 2017.”
He has been in bed with Weah before, specifically during the 2011 election, but made a 360 degree turn and instead, gave his support to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, then a candidate in the runoff, describing her as “lesser of two evils”, a move that saw Weah’s CDC came tumbling down to the ruling Unity Party, which won a second term.
It however remains to be seen whether this time around, the CDC would succeed in pinning him down up to the November 7th runoff in order to get the desperately needed votes from Nimba and other counties to win the presidency.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne