Nimba elders gang on PYJ
-As beef with Weah intensifies
By Lewis S Teh
The elder council of Nimba County appears to have ganged up against the man regarded as the county’s godfather-Prince Y. Johnson since his words of war began with President George M. Weah few weeks ago.
The elder council at a press conference on Friday, termed as gross disregard recent accusation by Senator Johnson that President Weah and the governing CDC had planned to assassinate him.
“We the citizens of Nimba County are not in favor and we are not part of the statement made against President Weah by our senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson”, the elder council says.
Addressing a news conference, the senior advisor of the elder council, Retired Major General Albert Gounkato Zoegwah Paye, aka “Zoegwah” said, the attack by Senator Johnson is meant to undermine the development of Nimba.
“We the people of Nimba County specifically, the elder council are embarrassed with the allegation meted against President Weah; we are peaceful people”, he says.
The Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction party of Senator Prince Yormie Johnson alarmed here recently that it has received intelligence from a “highly placed source” of an alleged attempt by the ruling Coalition government of President Weah to assassinate the senator, who is also founder of the MDR.
Addressing a news conference in Monrovia on Thursday, February 2, attended by several executives of the party, including Sen. Johnson, Sen. Jeremiah Koung, and Vice Chairman Mensco Wolloh, the party said it has called on the international community to investigate the alleged threat on its leader.
Mr. Wolloh said Sen. Johnson is an institutional person, who has been advocating for the people of Nimba therefore, there is no reason why someone should go after him.
“We received intelligence from highly placed source that there is an attempt to assassinate Senate Prince Y. Johnson”, the MDR Vice Chairman revealed.
But General Paye, a senior commander of the disbanded National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) rebels of jailed ex-President Charles Ghankay Taylor, notes that the people of Nimba strongly believe that Sen. Johnson’s allegation is gross disregard and insubordination to President Weah, adding that such statement doesn’t only go to the President as an individual, but also to the State, and “it’s against that we thought to rebut his statement.”
“We told President Weah that we the people of Nimba County are prepared to give him one round victory in the pending October 10 presidential and legislative elections.”
“I’m a retired soldier, who served the Armed Forces of Liberia; the problem with the senator is that he doesn’t respect Nimbaians and we are fed up with his reckless attitude. He can’t continue to act as if Nimba County is his personal property.”
According to the ex-rebel general, PYJ’s reckless attitude began immediately after confusion broke up between slain President Samuel Kanyon Doe and the late General Thomas G. Quiwonkpa in the 80s that eventually led to the 1989 rebel invasion of the country, sending hundreds of thousands of Liberians into exile, and over 250,000 others killed, including women and children.
The late General Quiwonkpa was Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia immediately after the military coup that toppled President William R. Tolbert, Jr. in 1980. He was one of the 17 enlisted men that led the coup under the command of then Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe.
However, due to excesses from Doe, he parted company with the Doe regime, but returned to the country on November 12, 1985 with an abortive coup in which he was killed.
From there, Doe developed mistrust against the people of Nimba and started going after them in apparent reprisal, sending thousands to exile.
‘Zoegwah’ narrates that while in exile, they (Nimbaians) established a force that returned with a mission to liberate their county from Doe forces and that was how the problem began.
He says upon entering the town of Butuo in Nimba, they met a herbalist named Nathaniel Kebbeh, who received them and made bullet proof charms for them prior to their departure for the frontline, but PYJ allegedly killed the herbalist.
He continues that Sen. Johnson went so far again for no reason and started killing some of his kinsmen, including Guopue Kaibea, Nelson Gblair, Peter Gblair, Moses Kwayon, and Morris Bia, among others.
“All these things has been kept from people; we had no intention of exposing him because we are brothers from the same county, but to jeopardize our county by attacking the President, we are fed up.”
“I’m senior advisor of the elder council of Nimba County and if our senator had any problem with the President, he should have come to us to seek advice, but at this crucial time when the country is going to elections, he’s attacking the President. We the people of Nimba especially, the elder council, we will not allow it.”
According to him, PYJ’s accusation against President Weah is meant to create chaos and put the county in confusion, adding that Nimbaians are civil-minded people, who have tasted war and don’t want it to repeat.
He further notes that Senator Johnson is using his divisive strategy to confuse the people of Nimba, saying “We are happy with the development across Nimba: the roads being constructed by this government is something that we hold dear to our hearts, and we will not sit and watch Senator Johnson to halt our development.”
He reveals that since his election as senator in 2005, Sen. Johnson has not gone to his hometown for 18 years because he is afraid of his dealings – the ghost of those innocent lives het took will haunt him.”
Sen. Johnson has been enjoying unlimited political power from Nimba characterized by massive support among his people since 2006 – a feat that has practically given him leverage in the national political space and positioned him as a kingmaker in recent Liberian polity.
These successes have made him a political “Darlingboy” for both the former ruling Unity Party of ex-President Sirleaf and President Weah’s governing CDC, though it appears that he is losing grip of the latter.
A political marriage consummated with the CDC in 2017 that helped propelled President George Weah to the Presidency has gone sour in recent months with Johnson withdrawing his support. Editing by Jonathan Browne
Oh, my! Pap Zoegwah!
A very good man and a very humbled person!
Thank God Pap Zoegwah that you are there!
People like you fought for freedom!
Yes, it is the right thing to do to reverse Senator Johnson’s errors
Not taking side thoug, yMr Weah has stood against any war crines court as advised by Madam Sirleaf and it is unfortunate why the senator went so gutter!
Thanks that Papa Zoefwah is around to put things in order!
Nimba is a special and a great county!