Monrovia – Former President Charles Taylor has terminated the services of Senator Sando Johnson as his official spokesman, replacing him with a former bodyguard, Isaiah Kamara Paye.
Making the disclosure at the residence of the former President in Congo Town, his wife, Mrs. Victoria Taylor, said she was instructed by her husband to announce the replacement of his longtime confidant, Sando Johnson.
She citied issues bordering around the Bomi County Senator’s exit from the National Patriotic Party (NPP) as well as other trust issues.
Mrs. Taylor said the replacement was also intended to allow Johnson focus on his job as a lawmaker at the legislature.
Efforts applied to reach Sen. Johnson for a reaction Wednesday did not materialize.
“When your sons and daughters grow up and at a particular stage or point in life, you don’t have that level of control over them anymore."
"It is their decision and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Mrs. Taylor said as she spoke of the resignation of Johnson from the NPP, which prompted his replacement as spokesman of the former first family.
“He had decided to move on because he no longer had certain beliefs in the NPP or maybe trust in the NPP if I can say."
"If you no longer trust that you can work with somebody or you can continue with that job or that party; as a partisan you no longer believe what you used to believe and you feel that something is going on that you dislike, then of course you’ll make your own choice – you decide on what you want to do and I think this is the case with Sando Johnson,” Mrs. Victoria Allison Taylor, wife of former President Charles Taylor.
Describing Sando Johnson as a son to Taylor, the former first lady maintained that Sen. Sando Johnson was one of few persons who stood with her husband when so many of those who were his loyalists were turning their backs on him.
Sando Johnson, Charles Taylor’s now former Spokesman
According to her, Taylor and Johnson still maintain a cordial relationship.
“Sando is one of those that really stood up for the former President when people in this country refused to stand up for the truth; when they turned their backs, Sando was there."
"We’re Christians and we ought to be grateful, Sando was there and he remains a son. It’s not like there’s a rift or confusion between him and Sando [but he] remains that son and that’s it,” she said.
Sen. Johnson, who is a founding member of the NPP, resigned from the party in November, announcing his affiliation with the All Liberian Party (ALP) which was founded by another former loyalist of Taylor, Benoni Urey.
Senator Johnson, who previously served NPP as vice chairman for administration, told Capital FM in Monrovia that his decision to sever relations with the party was prompted by failure of the national executive committee (NEC) members to include him when taking major decisions at the detriment of ordinary partisans.
Johnson cited the refusal of the party’s NEC to continue an open dialogue for the inclusion of other opposition political parties on the now seemingly sealed three-party Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC).
He made specific reference to a clause in the coalition’s document that gives the Congress for Democratic Change of Senator George Manneh Weah the power to nominate the Presidential and vice Presidential candidates.
“Those are the two most important positions in the coalition,” Sen. Johnson argued. “If the decision to choose them is allotted to the CDC, what role will the NPP play?”
Taylor Likened to Biblical Heroes
The young wife of the former President expressed optimism and faith that her husband will return to Liberia soon, while aligning his incarceration parallel to that of Daniel in the Holy Bible who was thrown in the lion’s den but came out unharmed.
“Joseph who was lied upon and jailed but later became prime minister, Peter whose jail gates broke open, and Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison and later became the first black President of South Africa.”
Questioned whether her husband feels betrayed by his loyalists who, instead of joining forces with the NPP, are forming new political parties.
“Betrayal is part of life, that’s all I can say.”
New Spokesman Ready for Work
Taylor’s new spokesman, Isaiah K. Paye, said he got in contact with the former President at aged 19 and has since been a son to Taylor."
Isaiah Kamara Paye, Charles Taylor’s new Spokesman
"Mr. Paye was one of 16 body guards that escorted Taylor to Nigeria where he exiled until he was arrested on March 29, 2006 in that country and turned over to the Special Court for Sierra-Leone.
“I’m prepared to make clarifications against whatever allegations that would be levied against the former President and his family,” he said.
Answering to question about Taylor’s 50-year sentence, the new spokesman said, “The issue about former President Taylor is spiritual, just watch and see - it is spiritual.
What makes his issue spiritual is that it was God that brought former President Taylor and made him President, so if he was removed from power, it is only God that we can ask, so that’s what makes his issue spiritual.”
“I want to leave the Liberian people with this parable,” the new spokesman said.
“There was a farmer who had a nightingale (a song bird) and its duty was to sing every morning, afternoon and evening. This farmer had a rice farm and there were some rice birds that used to go on the farm to eat the rice.
But nightingale’s was to always sing to awaken the farmer when the birds were around, but this day nightingale flew along with the birds on the farm and the birds started to eat the rice.
From a distance the farmer decided to fire at the birds; when he gave the shot all the birds were killed. When he went there and started to check their mouths, all the birds had rice in their mouth except for the nightingale. This is just a parable that I have for the Liberian people that they should watch and see.”
Explaining the parable, Mr. Paye on a rather brief note said, “Everything evil said about President Taylor let them watch and see whether it is true.”