MONROVIA – The Joint Security has expressed with deep consternation and utmost concern a statement attributed to Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson, threatening armed rebellion should the elections be rigged.
This week, it can be recalled, Senator Johnson, a prominent ally of former Vice President Joseph Boakai from the Unity Party, raised concerns about potential election interference by the ruling establishment and has threatened to fight back with arms in the cause of the people.
In a press conference held on Monday, the Nimba County Senator, sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Treasury for ‘Pay for Play’ and corruption, says the impressive turnout exhibited during the launch of the Unity Party campaign is an indication of the people’s resolve to remove President George Weah from power.
“Before the October elections, Liberians are coming out under the banner ‘Don’t Try It’ – any attempt, the people’s power would be exercised like the Arab Spring. You’ll shoot your gun; you’ll kill us or you’ll die. No more fear, Liberians don’t have fear anymore,” Sen. Johnson said.
The Joint Security, meanwhile, said that Liberia is a country of law, and as such, aggrieved parties must continue to seek legal remedies, to issues instead of resorting to violence. The concept of a single individual anointing himself as judge, jury, and executioner must be discouraged, said the Joint Security.
“Senator Johnson must be reminded that Liberians have had enough of suffering during our most recent civil unrest and are no more interested in returning this country to its ugly past.”
“Hence, well-meaning Liberians including political actors, civil society groups, and religious institutions are urged to continue promoting peace and stability in Liberia and desist from engaging in actions that undermine the peace and stability of the state.”
Johnson’s history with Liberia’s civil war
During the civil war, Johnson was notorious for killing anyone who opposed or criticized his actions. When Hare Krishna devotees, who were distributing food to starving people in Monrovia in the midst of the chaos of the civil war, sent him a letter begging him to stop killing people, he personally orchestrated the murder of Hladini devi dasi—born Linda Jury—and five of her students on the bank of the Saint Paul River on the night of Thursday, 13 September 1990.
On September 9, 1990, Johnson’s supporters abducted President Samuel Doe from ECOMOG headquarters in the Monrovia port district. Doe was tortured and executed in Johnson’s custody on 9 September, with the spectacle videotaped and broadcast around the world. The video showed Johnson sipping a Budweiser beer and being fanned by an assistant as his men cut off Doe’s ear.
Johnson later denied killing Doe. Ahmadou Kourouma (who depicted Doe’s assassination in his novel Allah Is Not Obliged) also accused Johnson of war crimes in the form of the abduction and torture of several Firestone executives.
After Doe’s death, Johnson briefly claimed the presidency of Liberia. Johnson’s claim to power ended following the consolidation of rebel power under Charles Taylor. In an attempt by the weak national government to reconstruct Liberian politics, the INPFL was recognized at a conference held in Guinea, where Amos Sawyer was elected president.
Dissecting PYJ’s association with Boakai and his ‘’armed revolution’’ statement
Senator Johnson’s statement of an “armed revolution” during post-election if the elections are ‘’rigged” has been condemned in many quarters, with Liberians describing the statement as a ‘’sad period’’ for the country ahead of next month’s elections. Ayo Bestman wrote: “It’s only in Liberia for that matter you see a character like Senator Johnson will be voted into public office. The country is doomed and will go nowhere once people who murdered thousand of Liberians during the civil war are allowed to remain in power and continue to play a key role in the body politics of the country, while people who suffered the worst are subjected to poverty. Liberia and Liberians will forever regret if they vote Unity Party and Jeremiah Koung, the political son to Senator Johnson.”
Many Liberians believed anything that has the inclination to threaten the national security environment in Liberia should therefore be vehemently rejected and eliminated.
John O. Flomo, a resident of Bong County says, “PYJ and others like him, remain a threat to the national security of Liberia, unabated, since December 24, 1990. The rushed-into an unholy alignment of forces for the Liberia’s presidency by Boakai and PYJ, contains viruses of both potential and actual national security threats capable of reviving tribal and ethnic political feuds; undermining national reconciliation, healing,” he said.
Flomo said such threats do have the potential to jeopardize the peace, tranquility, and stability of the Liberian state – a reecho of similar manifestations of the 14 years of armed conflicts in the ECOWAS Sub-region.
“As national security threats are not imagined, the empirical determinants of threats the UNITY PARTY-JNB- PYJ- KOUNG-Presidential Ticket pose to Liberia’s national security lie in the fact that the rebel general Prince Y. Johnson, chief architect of the current unholy alliance, is a clod blooded murderer; a wicked man, ungodly, demonically possessed and mentally unstable; he is a trouble-maker, a driver of conflicts, a spoiler, and a political destabilizer.”
“By those gruesome acts committed, such characters as Prince Johnson and others should not be seen near state authority in post conflict Liberia. Instead, General Johnson unremorsefully boasts of his war crimes and uses same to cajole the people of Nimba into believing he is their “messiah”.