9 June 2017

Liberia: PYJ Promises 'Democratic Coup d'État'

The political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconciliation (MDR), Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, has promised to stage what he called a 'democratic coup d'état' at the ballot box this year to bring an end to minority rule in the country.

The Nimba Senator, who emerged third in the 2011 presidential elections, said he is prepared to 'dance' with Vice President Joseph Boakai, the standard bearer of the Unity Party, to ensure that a 'Kountryman' (non Americo-Liberian) takes the nation's presidency.

"I visited my spiritual friend, brother and father, Prophet T. B. Joshua and he told me, as he did in 2011, that I am a potential winner. But knowing that Joe Boakai, who is from the majority class (non Americo-Liberian) as I am, is in the race and most suited for the post than any of us, I will work with him," Sen. Johnson said Tuesday at a press conference held at his party headquarters in Congo Town.

"Boakai is not the Unity Party. He is in the Unity Party," Johnson said, adding that the VP is his 'elder' and as such he is not prepared to disturb the electoral process by standing for the presidency, while the UP standard bearer is also in the same competition.

Recently a war of words ensued between the standard bearer of Liberty Party (LP), Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, and supporters of the UP standard bearer, VP Joe N. Boakai, over the 'congau-kountryman' rule in the country. This divisive political campaign which is again creeping into Liberia's political discourse as the country struggles to see the transition of an elected president to another in over 40 years is a dilemma that needs to be tackled.

Some pundits have argued that Sen. Johnson's decision to abandon his political ambition to become the next president of the country is to get protection from the UP should the VP win.

The Congress of Democratic Change (now in a coalition called Coalition for Democratic Change) of Sen. George M. Weah, has vowed to turn over all accused war crimes perpetrators to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to face prosecution, should they win the presidency in October.

Meanwhile, Senator Johnson said political leaders and their followers who think that purchasing luxurious vehicles for their political campaigns will guarantee them victory are seriously mistaken.

"Cars will not vote for them; so they are wasting their own time and dreaming the wrong dreams," he noted.

Concerning the failed coalition between his political party (MDR) and the All Liberian Party (ALP) of businessman turned politician Benoni Urey, he said Urey's refusal to serve as his vice standard bearer brought an end to the proposed coalition.

"I have been tested at two main elections in this country but Urey has not been tested at any elections, not even for a city mayor position," he pointed out.

Speaking further, Sen. Johnson accused Mr. Urey of a plot to kill him and his counterparts when Urey surreptitiously planned a coalition meeting with him in Accra, Ghana a few months ago.

"A few months ago, I received a communication from the ALP through one Alex Whapoe asking me and a few of my party executives to honor an invitation to Ghana for some political discussion. When we accepted, Mr. Whapoe, who was at that time in the United States, sent us our plane tickets. But in short, there came more than three changes in the plane tickets," he said, noting that after Birdview, the last ticket that came for him and his three counterparts, Moses Ziah, Cllr. Cocker and Moses Bangura, were from Air Maroc, which always depart late in the evening.

The lawmaker said while in Ghana, he and his colleagues were not lodged at a hotel as expected but at a house surrounded by gangsters.

"After following all security measures, mainly with our information at the Kotoka Airport that Airport West is our place of lodging, but now found ourselves in a strange place, we called the driver who dropped us earlier in a small vehicle and he thinking we may have left something in the vehicle, returned and I ordered him to take us to a hotel I know in Accra. Alex Whapoe denied booking the previous place for us but I demanded that he pay for our lodging since it was he who invited us," he said.

Sen. Johnson said a meeting which he and his fellow delegates attended was also attended by former BBC reporter Robin White and a colleague only identified as Jeff.

"It shocked me to see not Urey or Alex but the two white guys only, even though we were told that Urey's business partners were there to meet with us to discuss political matters," he said.

Johnson added that Urey was present the following day for the next meeting; and at that meeting, Robin White told him (PYJ) that Washington (USA) wants Urey for president in Liberia because Donald Trump is a businessman, as Urey is.

"White was forcing us to sign papers in an agreement to be sent to Urey on a merger but we refused and told him that anything considering coalition discussions should be done in Liberia," he said.

Of late Sen. Johnson said he got to know that the car that picked them up from the Kotoka Airport to the strange location in Accra was one of Mr. Urey's daughter's vehicles, when Senator Sando Johnson introduced him "to a young girl."

Speaking on the speculation that there are officials of the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the country to arrest him for allegedly killing somebody (unnamed) during the 1990 war, he said it is completely untrue.

"If the FBI wants to extradite anyone for investigation and subsequent prosecution, they liaise with the government of the country of the person who might have committed a crime. In fact, their work is never in the news until it is accomplished," he said, adding that he is a statesman and as such, no one can just walk in and take him away for any reason.

"To say a few words, Dr. Robin White told me in Ghana at our failed meeting that if I accepted to work with Urey as his deputy the war crimes court to be established will only look into cases that occurred from 1995 to 2003 but I told him that there should be no need to exclude unless I am the only one who committed atrocities in this country," he said.

PYJ said his decision to support Boakai's presidency is not for financial gain, as Urey did by trying to lure him into a "dubious deal," to which he disagreed.

"Now it is about the future of our country. We need to decide for ourselves how we will manage our own resources rather than mortgaging them as this regime and others did. We are conscious that our people are suffering and there must come a permanent change beginning with the October elections," he said.

He emphasized that the country's leadership, the Presidency, must not continue with those he called "the very few."

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