By Lincoln G. Peters
Nimba County Senator and political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) Prince Y. Johnson says he and his supporters have halted support to the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
Over the weekend, the former warlord said the decision is prompted by the government’s alleged failure to give jobs to the sons and daughters of Nimba County in line with an alleged political agreement reached in 2017 to back President George Manneh Weah.
“Once again my fellow citizens of Nimba and supporters in Liberia, and around the World, we like to take this time to inform you that the agreement we signed with the CDC has come to an end!” said Mr. Johnson.
“So, for and on behalf of the great people Nimba and all partisans of the MDR Political Party, we are now constrained to make this pronouncement that we are “HALTING OUR POLITICAL SUPPORT” to the Coalition!” Senator Johnson posted on his Facebook page.
Senator Johnson’s claim against the government and his subsequent decision to halt support to President Weah has come at a strategic political period when Liberia is gearing up for presidential and legislative elections.
Over the past elections, Johnson has always faced accusations of trading Nimba votes to politicians.
He accused the CDC government of failing to adhere to the November 2017 agreement signed with the party when it gave its political support.
Senator Johnson claimed that in the alleged agreement, they signed up for top ministerial posts, managing director posts, and some ambassadorial positions to be given to Nimba.
He said the agreement called for President Weah to appoint sons and daughters from Nimba County to occupy these top positions.
“Since the CDC-lead government came to power in 2018, we are yet to see sons and daughters from our beloved Nimba County in those top senior positions we agreed upon and signed a document as evidence,” Senator Johnson said.
“The citizens of Nimba have for the past five years been knocking at my door for the president to appoint them, and we have used all diplomatic means and have consistently engaged this CDC-lead government,” Johnson explained.
He said nothing is working to get redress and make his people who struggled during the campaign period happy.
In his post, the Nimba Senator emphasized that as a former general in the army, “We believe in agreement and don’t like to betray what we have agreed upon.”
“So, we ask you to remain calm until we can later inform you about where to go,” he told his supporters.
Reacting to the Senator’s statement, several Nimbaians have called on local radio stations in the county accusing their lawmaker of always using such strategy to solicit money from other parties or individuals for his gains.
They recounted that in 2016, Senator Johnson with the political leader of the All-Liberian Party, Mr. Benoni Urey, met in Ghana and Johnson allegedly agreed to support ALP.
Also, they said in the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, Senator Johnson pledged his support to the Coalition for Democratic Change.
They said his action is not strange and the Senator can not be trusted.
According to them, Alternative National Congress (ANC) political leader Mr. Alexander B. Cummings recently donated cash to Senator Johnson’s Polytechnic University College.
They alleged that Johnson is having negotiations to switch to the ANC.
The President of the Nimba University and College Students Association, Printiss Domah enjoined other lawmakers and citizens to honor the US government’s recent warning to financial institutions and individuals against doing business with sanctioned former and current officials.
Senator Johnson is axed by the list and the students called on the lawmakers not to allow him to head the pending caucus sitting.
Continuing, he said if the lawmakers do not listen to their call, they will stage a protest when the caucus gathers.
Recently the United States government, through its ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Michael McCarthy, warned individuals and financial institutions against doing business with former and current officials of the Government of Liberia (GOL) who have been sanctioned by its Treasury Department.
The former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel McGill, Solicitor General Syrennius Cephus, and the Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) Bill Tweahway were sanctioned for acts of corruption.
The sanctions fall under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
Others sanctioned include Senators Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount and Prince Johnson of Nimba counties, respectively.