Senator Prince Johnson Flirts With Benoni Urey in Merger Talks
Monrovia – Rising from the ashes of the 2016 Ganta Declaration, business tycoon Benoni Urey, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson and Nathaniel T. Blama of the Liberia National Union are said to be planning to compact their political strengths for the presidency in the October elections, documents obtained by FrontPageAfrica has revealed.
Report by Lennart Dodoo – [email protected]
“Understandably, said Technical Committee is also charged with the mandate to work out modalities required for the holding of a National Convention to nominate the Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates of the anticipated Coalition as soon as it is approved by the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the soonest possible timeframe” – The joint declaration of intent obtained by FrontPageAfrica
The new coalition, which would be fully minted in days to come, according to the document, would lead to a convention for the selection of standard and vice standard bearers, but Urey is likely to head the ticket, backed by Senator Johnson.
But this would not be the first time Senator Johnson has pledged his support to a political party and later back out. Liberty Party was the first beneficiary of the support of Senator Johnson who considers himself the godfather of the vote-rich Nimba County.
But said assurance of support was short lived, as Johnson, in less than a week, denied granting the party his support, clarifying that he only meant he supports the opposition bloc.
Both Urey and Johnson met in Accra, Ghana recently regarding a merger, where both sides left the meeting feeling confident that a merger would materialize.
On Tuesday, a closed door meeting was held at Sen. Johnson’s party headquarters where representatives of the three parties were present.
FPA was informed that the meeting was held to finalize documents for the merger.
However, in a telephone interview with FrontPageAfrica Tuesday night, Senator Johnson said he knew nothing about the merger and the meeting held at his party’s headquarters.
He said his party’s chairman, out of concern, questioned him about the meeting being held at his office, which also got him wondering what was going on.
“I asked what’s happening there. I’m not aware.”
“He, too, came to find out; then I told them to back off, because you cannot write something, put my name without my consent. If I was part of it, if I know it, if I had given my consent to it.”
“I would have been there today. You don’t push people into something that they’re not aware of. I don’t like that,” Senator Johnson said.
Emphasizing that he has not consummated any agreement with any party or individual, Senator Johnson insinuated that he could not go as vice running mate to an Americo-Liberian.
“I’ve been receiving calls that I have agreed to go under Benoni Urey to be his running mate; for god sake, I am one of the key indigenous sons and continues to preach indigenous leadership as opposed to minority leadership. For one hundred and some years, we have always cooperated with them.
They are in leadership and they’re always taking country boys to be VP to them.
“But I think it is about time we compromise, we politically reconcile so that they can be seen under a country boy, then I would know that Liberia is moving on the right trajectory,” he said.
But the ALP is confident of winning Johnson over, despite his denial of forming an alliance with them.
If this succeeds, it would be the second coalition formed by opposition parties since the failure of the Ganta Declaration.
The Ganta Declaration which was spearheaded by Senator Johnson brought 12 opposition parties together with the aim of forming a formidable force and strategy to throw out the ruling establishment.
However, parties signing up to the pact in no time split amid brewing tension and feud among some major actors – Liberty Party’s Charles Brumskine and Urey.
Two months after the Ganta Declaration, George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) embraced ex-president Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) and ousted Speaker Alex Tyler’s Liberian People Democratic Party (LPDP) in an unforeseen merger branded as the Coalition for Democratic Change. Taylor’s ex-wife who still maintains a high level of influence on the NPP later emerged a running mate to Weah.
Political pundits have expressed concerns over the ability of Urey and Senator Johnson to compromise their egos for the interest of the coalition. Some expressed fears that Coalition might be short lived.
The document obtained by FPA, branded as joint declaration, “… we, the above listed political parties putting our differences aside, in pursuance of the supreme national interest of our Nation, do hereby, today, authorize the Joint Technical Committee (JTC), with its membership from each Political Parties, to embark on formulating a final comprehensive and winnable strategy and bring forward this said plan to the Joint National Executive Committee of the All Liberian Party (ALP), the Liberian National Union (LINU) and the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) for endorsement.”
According to the document, they took into consideration that defeating the ruling establishment and its regime collaborators is the only means of reversing what they termed as “dangerous path upon which our country has been set a course, which perpetuation, if not averted, leads to a mirror image of our ugly past and its domineering one party political system or duplication of the same order”.
The three political leaders observed that pursuing individual objectives and ambitions while Liberians continued to endure failed and inhumane policies and corrupt practices, it was time to embark on a new course of action for the opposition community.
The Joint Declaration: “Understandably, said Technical Committee is also charged with the mandate to work out modalities required for the holding of a National Convention to nominate the Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates of the anticipated Coalition as soon as it is approved by the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the soonest possible timeframe.”