Liberia: PYJ - Second Time Kingmaker

Senator Prince Johnson on the campaign trail (file photo).

If no Liberian had ever thought that a dreaded rebel leader would transition from guerrilla warfare to politics and becomes a kingmaker or a determinant of who becomes Liberia's next President in two runoff elections, that is the unfolding reality with the Standard Bearer of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) Field Marshall Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba County.

Though he came fourth in the first round of the presidential election conducted on 10 October across the country, Senator Johnson has a very firm grip on his native votes-rich Nimba County, obtaining 107,430 votes, the highest obtained by a single political party or candidate from the county.

Thus he has automatically becomes the guy the two parties going for the runoff (CDC & UP) on 7 November want to befriend in order to get the much needed Nimba votes, which are crucial in determining who gets elected Liberia's next President - Senator George Weah or Vice President Joseph Boakai.

Nimba County with a total of nine electoral districts and 279,572 registered voters sits next to Montserrado County, Liberia's most populated political sub-division with 777,503 electorate spread across 17 electoral districts.

Any of the duo securing a significant chuck of votes from both counties plus the third biggest, Bong County in the central region with 208,150 voters, adding other smaller counties would well be on his way to the Executive Mansion, official home of the Liberian Presidency.

And perhaps this is why Senators Weah and Johnson, both members of the ECOWAS Parliament, sought God's intervention on Sunday, 22 October at the Synagogue Church of All Nations or SCOAN in Lagos, Nigeria led by Prophet T.B. Joshua.

Both officials returned here Wednesday, 25 October via the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County outside Monrovia to a sea of partisans and supporters, who had converged to give them a rousing reception.

The MDR leader is reportedly expected to issue a public statement today, according to party spokesman, Wilfred Bangura. Highly an unpredictable personality as exemplified by his political records, which way he intends to go in the runoff is anybody's guess, having earlier frowned at the Coalition Standard Bearer for wasting his people's blood in a violent clash before the poll in Sanniquellie, Nimba County between the CDC and the Liberty Party of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, which left at least two persons reportedly stabbed.

He has been in bed with Weah before, specifically during the 2011 election, but made a 360 degree turn and instead, gave his support to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, then a candidate in the runoff, describing her as "lesser of two evils", a move that saw Weah's CDC came tumbling down to the ruling Unity Party, which won a second term.

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