PYJ’s end game
By Thomas Domah/Nimba County
Senator Prince Yormie Johnson’s Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) party goes to convention today, Thursday, 22 December in Ganta City, Nimba County where the warlord-turned politician is expected to step down as political leader.
The Senator is expected to turn over the mantle of authority to Senator Jeremiah Koung, a kinsman, amid repeated dissatisfactions being expressed by the outgoing MDR leader about political treatment received from President Weah’s ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, which the party strongly supports.
Of late, Sen. Johnson, sanctioned by the United States Treasury Department for corruption, including votes buying, has complained of lack of attention from the ruling establishment specifically, provision of jobs to MDR partisans despite personally leading President Weah to Nimba county during the 2017 elections and asking Nimbaians to elect Mr. Weah as President.
Today’s convention is expected to bring together MDR partisans from across the country to chart a new course for the party under a new leadership.
The MDR is an offspring of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) which Senator Johnson founded in 2005 and contested for the Presidency that he lost, but gave support in the runoff to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who emerged victorious.
PYJ’s decision to relinquish leadership in the party comes amid increasing warnings from the United States Government to Liberians not to elect sanctioned officials, as the U.S. will not work with them.
Sen. Johnson resigned as Chair of the Senate Committee on Defense, Security and Intelligence after Washington announced that it would not work with him because of his involvement in corruption.
Addressing a Press Roundtable event on Monday, 14 November with visiting Acting Assistant Secretary for Global Public Affairs, Elizabeth Trudeau, at the U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, Ambassador McCarthy reminded that it was important to draw attention back to the Treasury Department’s statement, specifically its notification that persons that engage in certain transactions with three sanctioned former officials “may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action”, and that “Unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilities a significant transaction for any of the individuals or entities could be subject to U.S. sanctions.”
He said this stance by the U.S. Government applies not only to those who transact with McGill, Cephus and Tweahway but also with Senators PYJ and Varney Sherman.
Meanwhile, many Nimbaians have expressed reservations about Senator Jeremiah Koung taking over the party, accusing him of abandoning several projects he initiated in the county. Editing by Jonathan Browne
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