Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, dubbed as a notorious Liberian warlord, finally quits his post as chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence, over a month after the United States government opposed his appointment to the committee.
On May 19, the United States government through its embassy in Monrovia strongly condemned the election of Senator Johnson, leader of the defunct rebels Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence.
“Senator Johnson’s gross human rights violations during Liberia’s civil wars are well-documented; his continued efforts to protect himself from accountability, enrich his own coffers and sow division are also well known,” a statement issued in Monrovia on May 19, 2021, by the U.S. Embassy here read.
The United States noted that the Liberian Senate would see fit to elevate the former rebel leader to a leadership role – particularly in the area in which he has done Liberia the most harm — creates doubts as to the seriousness of the Senate as a steward of Liberia’s defense and security.
However, Senator Johnson in a communication addressed to Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie and Plenary dated June 05, says his resignation follows series of consultations with chiefs, elders, youth groups, and permanent individuals.
According to him, high-profile individuals convinced him to step aside and focus on his own reelection bid and that of President George Manneh Weah, ahead of 2023.
“I wish to profoundly thank you, distinguished colleagues; from the bottom of my heart for your tremendous support over the years; I have had the opportunity to serve the great people of Nimba County. You have elected me on many occasions to represent this august body at the ECOWAS parliament where I was privileged to serve the post of deputy speaker at the regional parliament and in this Senate as chairman on National Security, Intelligence, Security, and Veteran Affairs on white ballots,” the Senator’s communication continues.
According to him, over the past weeks, his residence, both here and in Nimba County have been inundated by high profile visits paid him by chiefs, elders of Nimba, and other stakeholders from a broad spectrum of his kinsmen who have twice elected him to represent them in the Liberian Legislature, adding that they have never questioned his suitability and capacity to continue serving them, for which his gratitude to them is immeasurable.
“After giving much pondering to the matter and in consultation with my family, I have decided to honor their request. I, therefore, resign my post as chairman [for] the committee on National Defense, Intelligence, Security and Veteran Affairs of the Liberian Senate effective today.”
PYJ notes that Liberia’s traditional partners for more than two centuries, including the United States, have resolved not to support the committee as long as he chairs, pointing out that Liberia is bigger than any one man.
“The army which is my alma mater needs support at this critical time of the nation’s recovery, and I will never want to stand in the way of support to the army in particular and Liberia in general. In the same vein, I equally cannot afford to put the Liberian Senate at odds with the United States of America. We respect the U.S. and will do everything to work with [them] in ways that will improve relations and foster national development”, the INPFL leader explains.
Meanwhile, a motion from Maryland County Senate J. Gble- bo Brown was made Tuesday, July 06, 2021, that the letter of resignation is accepted by Plenary, which was overwhelmingly voted for.
Meanwhile, Senate President Pro-Tempore Chie has appointed Lofa County Senator Steve Zargo, who had recused himself for PYJ to get elected as chair of the defense and intelligence committee, to act, pending election for a new chair.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/america-condemns-pyjs-election/ By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor, Editing by Jonathan Browne