Liberia: The Audacity Of Ex-Warlord Prince Johnson And His MDR Party

VICTIMS OF LIBERIA’S BLOODY civil war must be turning in their graves following damning assertions from the Movement for Democracy  and Reconstruction(MDR), the political party of former warlord-turned Senator Prince Y. Johnson.

THE PARTY, in a statement Thursday took the US embassy to task after it raised concerns over Senator Johnson’s appointment as Chair of the Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence.

DESCRIBING THE US EMBASSY statement as a travesty of justice, Mr. Johnson’s party went as far as accusing the US of being a hypocrite.

THE US EMBASSY IN MONROVIA on Wednesday slammed Senator Johnson’s appointment, branding  the Nimba County senator as a “notorious warlord whose gross human rights violations during the country’s fourteen-year civil wars are well documented”.

IN A STATEMENT, the embassy, wondered why the Liberian Senate would see it fit to elevate Senator Johnson to a leadership role – particularly in the area in which he has done Liberia the most harm — creates doubts as to the seriousness of the Senate as a steward of Liberia’s defense and security. “The U.S. government is proud of our longstanding partnership with the Ministry of National Defense and Armed Forces of Liberia which will continue — but we can have no relationship with Senator Johnson,” the Embassy said.

IN A RATHER DISJOINTED response Thursday, Senator Johnson’s MDR said the characterization of its political leader by the embassy as “notorious warlord” is an affront to the people of Nimba County in whose interests Senator Johnson was defending during the civil wars.

THE MDR also slammed the US embassy for raising “unnecessary alarm” over the ascendency of Senator Johnson to such committee when he had served similar committee during the presidency of former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and had a cordial working relationship with former United States Ambassador to Liberia Linda Thomas Greenfield. 

IT IS RATHER DISGUSTING that Senator Johnson and his MDR would play politics with an issue that has brought so much pain and suffering to the people of Liberia.

INNOCENT LIVES WERE LOST during a bloody civil war, during which Mr. Johnson, then a warlord with the ruthless and barbaric Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia, wreaked havoc and killed scores of Liberians who had nothing to do with his so-called protection of Nimba or liberation from Samuel Doe.

IN FACT, MOST OF THOSE killed by Johnson and his forces were killed in Monrovia where Mr. Johnson’s base was located.

WHAT DID THE LIKES of Fred Blay, a former minister of Labor in Samuel Doe’s government, Larry Borteh, a former member of the People’s Redemption Council, Michael Doe, a former employee of Hotel Africa, who, according to eyewitnesses, was thrown from a high upper floor to the ground at the hotel, had to do with Nimba County?

WHAT DID Eric Scott, a former Liberian Diplomat at the Liberian embassy in Washington and husband of Mrs. Debbie Scott, the proprietor of the School of Prime System (SPS) have to do with Mr. Johnson’s liberation of Nimba? Why did Mr. Johnson have to kill Tilma Momolue Gardiner, former Senior Security officer for president William V.S. Tubman and Acting Director of Police during the Administration of William Tolbert?

WHY DID MR. JOHNSON AND HIS INPFL have to kill musical icons Tecumseh Roberts, Gedeh Rooster and Robert Toe as well as Madam Angeline Watta Allison, wife of former Defense Minister Gray D. Allison, who was slapped during interrogation and later killed by Mr. Johnson?

WAS THE KILLING OF SAM TODY, a former Managing Director of the National Housing Authority(NHA), also Commissioner of Customs necessary?

WAS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO EXECUTE MR. J. Gbarflen Davies, Jr. Who once worked for the Liberian National Police?

THE LIST IS ENDLESS and the pains and hurt caused by Senator Johnson are enormous. To now sit behind his position as a Senator and try to hide from his role in the civil war, is all the more reason why all Liberians must join the fight for the establishment of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia.

FAILURE TO DO SO will simply be giving a green light and license to impunity and future warlords will not think twice before killing more innocent souls, simply because we allow mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and loved ones killed in a senseless war to go unpunished.

MR. JOHNSON MAY no longer be carrying guns or shouting instructions to his men on the battlefield; but the scars and bloodstains are still visible on the victims families.

MR. JOHNSON MUST UNDERSTAND that no amount of shielding will suppress the painful memories still causing grief and heartache for victims, and the families they they left behind.

THE REALY TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE is allowing Prince Johnson to walk free and live off taxpayers’ money and the real hypocrisy is the audacity of Mr. Johnson and his political party who are trying to politicize a legitimate push for the establishment of a war and economic crime court for Liberia, to the detriment of the innocent lives they took away.

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