25 March 2013

Liberia: PYJ Defies CDC Arrest Notice -Maintains April 12 Protest is 'Coup D'état'

Photo: The New Dawn
Senator Prince Johnson on the campaign trail. (file photo)

Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, who is also former leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), alarmed a week ago that mass people's action slated for 12 April 2013 is a coup plot against President Sirleaf in disguise. He said he also knew those behind the planned demonstration but failed to name names. In reaction to the alarm, the Congress for Democratic Change said Senator Johnson should be arrested to disclose details and if Government failed to arrest him, the CDC would amass people's action to contain him. But the Senator has defied the CDC threat, insisting that the planned April 12 protest in the name of demonstrating against corruption and political failure is actually a coup d'état in the making against Government. The Analyst reports.

Nimba County Senior Senator Prince Johnson has defied a citizen arrest warning issued by CDC Chairman Gorge Solo.

On March 21, 2013, CDC National Chairman George Solo threatened to effectuate a citizen arrest on Nimba County Senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson who earlier accused the CDC of planning to use the planned April 12 demonstration to stage a coup d'état against the Ellen led regime, a charge the party denies.

Senator Johnson for his part earlier alarmed that he got a hint that the April 12 planned demonstration was being organized by certain political parties in order to overthrow President Sirleaf's government, but refused to say who the plotters were.

Mr. Solo said at a press conference last Thursday: "Senator Johnson, first of all, when you start to make comments or insinuate that it is political parties that are supporting these actions, when the group doing the action has clearly indicated that they are Civil Society, they are not hiding; you know them. When you insinuate that political parties are behind a plan demonstration and why the political leader of CDC Ambassador Weah who is a peace Ambassador has not spoken is unfortunate."

In an exclusive interview by telephone with the Analyst, the Nimba County lawmaker termed the CDC call for his arrest as irresponsible, further accusing Mr. Solo and others as troublemakers who want to foment chaos in the country.

Out of growing curiosity, Senator Johnson told this paper that he decided recently to contact the CDC and others to ascertain what was unfolding. As a result of his growing curiosity, he launched series inquiries with the CDC hierarchy.

Johnson further explained: "When I called George solo, he answered me and said yes, the ambassador said I should speak to you. He asked, 'do you know why we have not spoken and we will not talk Senator?' I said no. He replied me and said this government is damn corrupt; this government is full of massive exploitation; they are selling our oil; they are selling our resources and the Liberian people are prepared for them right now. So who are we talking to?"

He added: "Then I said George Solo, is that what George Weah said you should tell me? I do not believe it. What I'm hearing does not sound true to me. But if I may go by what you say that the government is corrupt, isn't the same corrupt money that they gave George Weah--US$5 million from it--to operate as Peace Ambassador? You say the government is corrupt but you accepted a position from the government that is corrupt. Are you, too, not corrupt? Who appointed you? A corrupt President appointed the standard-bearer of a party. Are you not corrupt? If you don't want to buy from the devil, why go to his store?"

He warned the CDC and the youths in particular not to venture in such protest without saying what would happen if the demonstration were to go on as planned.

The Nimba lawmaker said: "George Solo is irresponsible because no responsible party chairman will wear earrings like fig, a punk! So, you cannot incite our children to jump on the streets. And it will not come out. So we know what's dancing inside there now. It is not Civil Society people but rather it is a CDC coup because we were addressing a Civil Society letter when we contacted George Weah, and he asked us to contact you and you are giving a CDC position. I call upon all Liberians, motorcyclist, shoeshine boys, marketers and others to denounce any form of violence and resolve to dialogue as a means of settling our problems. There is no government, including this one, without a challenge. Let us address our problems peacefully and not violently."

Though the Ministry of Justice has not officially commented on the planned April 12 march, it is however gathered that such a protest would not be welcomed by the Government. What such a standoff will lead to remains a matter of uncertainty.

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