While sounding a serious warning to his kinsmen in his native Nimba County not to cast their ballots for the governing Unity Party standard bearer Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai because he’s too old, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson finally names his running mate here on Wednesday, 5 July.
She is Ms. Audrian Smith Forbes of Edina, Grand Bassa County. A former presidential candidate, who came third in the first round of the 2011election, Sen. Johnson is standard bearer of the newly founded Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR.
He became kingmaker in the last runoff election and eventually gave his support to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who get a second term in office. Little known politically, Madam Smith, who could hardly pronounce the party’s name, sat uncomfortably as standard bearer Johnson presented her to the party.The MDR leader is the second presidential candidate naming a female as running mate after Coalition for Democratic Change standard bearer Senator George Weah picked ex-First Lady Jewel Howard Taylor, as his vice standard.
Ms. Taylor also a senator, is the former wife of jailed former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor, currently serving a 50 years sentence in Britain for aiding and abetting RUF rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Speaking at his party headquarters in Congo Town outside Monrovia, Sen. PYJ, leader of the disbanded rebels Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia or INPFL, emphasizes he’s not a politician, but a former army general who have come to redeem poverty-stricken Liberians. According to him, his decision to vie for the presidency is for redemption, not self-seeking gains as being portrayed by others.
The MDR standard bearer, who is being investigated for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity for his role during the Liberian Civil War, argues that his records speak for him unlike some politicians, who abandoned politics and went on their farm, but didn’t plant a single bitter ball. His comments are in apparent reference to Presidential hopeful Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine of the Liberty Party, who following his second defeat in 2011, told Liberians that he was leaving politics to go on his farm to live private life.
“They told you that they were resigning from contesting for the presidency, and went on their farm, but today, they cannot show anything that looks like bitter ball; some serve Agriculture Minister, but they cannot show agricultural achievements. They’re pretending to know the challenges of this country. These are liars,” he branded his opponents in the race, including Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, current standard bearer of the governing Unity Party.
Still on his opponents, he says those running to Nimba for votes are fooling themselves, bragging that Nimbaians are always there for him. “Ask President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, she appointed many people from Nimba in her government, thinking that our people will vote her, but during the Election Day, they came behind me. That should serve as warning shot to those fanning in Nimba County for votes. They can’t take their guts out for strangers and leave their son in the wilderness,” PYJ concludes.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne