Liberia: PYJ Called Rep. Koung’s Senatorial Quest “Greedy”, Yet Throws Support Behind Him
MONROVIA – Less than two months ago, Senator Prince Y. Johnson flaunted his support for the Senatorial bid of Nimba County District 1 Representative, Jeremiah Koung, stating the county would more to benefit when he becomes Senator, but an audio recording which has now gone viral on social media reveals that Sen. Johnson once described Rep. Koung’s quest as an act of “greed”.
Report by Lennart Dodoo, [email protected]
Senator Johnson in that recording wondered why Rep. Koung who is a member of his political party would want to contest against the incumbent Thomas Grupee and others while he’s yet to complete the tenure for which he was elected by the people of District 1 in the county.
Sen. Johnson: “Jeremiah Koon who’s in my party – I’ve not come to the party to tell anyone that I support him. Principally, I tell you this: to be too damn greedy is not good. We elected Jeremiah Koon in 2017 up to 2023. Why does he want to remove Tom Grupee, for example? Why does he want to contest against anybody, for example? [If] you don’t know me, study me, I’m a principal minded person.”
Further in the audio which is said to have been recorded earlier this year, Sen. Johnson stated that, Rep. Koung is the co-chair on the House Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and by this, he is financially equipped, therefore, he should spend some of the money.
It is not clear what the Senator meant by that.
However, Sen. Johnson is no stranger to flip-flopping during political times. Some political pundits believe his support for whichever candidate is driven by where the cash is or where is protection against prosecution for any of the atrocities committed during the Liberian war is guaranteed.
Sources informed FrontPageAfrica that at the beginning of the process, Sen. Johnson expressed his support for Sen. Grupee’s reelection but the table has turned.
Suddenly, Rep. Koon appears to be Sen. Johnson’s favorite for the December 8 special senatorial election in the county.
In a telephone interview with OK FM in Monrovia late June, Sen. Johnson lashed at former Senator Saye-Tayor Adolphus Dolo who is fighting his way back into the Senate after losing his seat in 2011 special election and also claimed that the incumbent Thomas Grupee hasn’t done much for the county.
The incumbent-Senator, Thomas Grupee, who was supported by Sen. Johnson against Dolo who was the incumbent at the time, has lost some team since he won the seat in 2011 but remains a force in the county, thanks to his strong support in his main base of Boe, Quella, Buuyao and Zoe Geh.
“Jeremiah Koung who’s in my party – I’ve not come to the party to tell anyone that I support him. Principally, I tell you this: to be too damn greedy is not good. We elected Jeremiah Koon in 2017 up to 2023. Why does he want to remove Tom Grupee, for example? Why does he want to contest against anybody, for example? [If] you don’t know me, study me, I’m a principal minded person.”– Senator Prince Y. Johnson (MDR, Nimba County)
At the dedication of the J. W. Pearson High School Annex Two and other development initiatives undertaken by Rep. Koung in June, Sen. Johnson expressed that Nimba County would have more to benefit should Rep. Koon become Senator.
“When this boy is voted as Senator, the county will benefit a lot in terms of development, see what he is doing in the district, his hand marks are everywhere,” Johnson stated.
Johnson went on to throw jabs at the other contenders in the race, he says have done nothing tangible for Nimbaians.
CDC Not Contesting against PYJ’s Candidate
Interestingly, while ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) has played deaf ears to a member of the Coalition, the National Patriotic Party (NPP), calls that there should not be primaries in counties where a member of the Coalition already has a sitting Senator, the Chairman of the CDC’s primaries committee disclosed in Nimba County on Saturday there would be no primary in the county as the Coalition would endorse whoever Prince Johnson’s Movement for Democratic and Reconstruction puts forth.
“We have conducted primaries in 14 of the 15 counties in Liberia, but we’ve come here to inform you that the CDC will not have any primary in Nimba. Whosoever that will win the MDR primary will be endorsed by the CDC,” the chairman of the CDC primaries committee said.
Koijee noted that the decision is based on Senator Johnson’s political support to CDC since the runoff presidential elections that brought President George Mannah Weah to power.
Currently, according to him, the CDC has a collaboration with three political parties in Liberia and the endorsement of the MDR Candidate might serve as pathway for collaboration.
“It is no secret that Nimba County is important in the political arena of Liberia and is no doubt, that Senator Johnson is the father of this county who continue to support the CDC, so it will be necessary to also do likewise,” Koijee who is the Mayor of Monrovia noted.
“We have conducted primaries in 14 of the 15 counties in Liberia, but we’ve come here to inform you that the CDC will not have any primary in Nimba. Whosoever that will win the MDR primary will be endorsed by the CDC.”Jefferson Koijee, Chairman, CDC Primary Committee
PYJ the Influential Factor
Sen. Johnson’s influence in the political decision-making in Nimba County cannot be underestimated.
By the numbers, Nimba is the second largest county in Liberia in terms of population. Before the civil war in 1989, there were over 313,050 people in the county according to the 1984 census. The most recent census increased to 462,026.
In 2005, Johnson secured 81,820 votes for 33 percent of the votes en route to clinching his seat in the Senate.
Six years later, Johnson put his name on the presidential ballot and came in an impressive third, securing 139,786 votes for 11.6 percent, most of those votes coming from the vote-rich county.
Johnson’s numbers were equally impressive in the 2017 presidential elections as he secured 127,666 votes and garnering 8.2 percent of the votes, enough for a fourth-place finish.
The stats that never seem to go unnoticed is the fact that in each of the last three elections, except for 2005, whoever Johnson endorses in the second round, has gone on to win the presidency.
In 2005, Johnson stood behind George Weah, who lost his second-round duel to Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. But in 2011, the Senator’s support was pivotal to Sirleaf’s second round victory.
Similarly, his support of Weah in the 2017 took Weah over the top on his way to the presidency. “Judging from the result of the just ended first round or our presidential elections and analyzing the results further, the majority of the Liberian people voted for change; the message therefore was loud, clear and unavoidable,” Johnson said after throwing his weight behind the football icon.
The Senator went on to explain that his support of Weah was in keeping with the Ganta Declaration signed in September 2016, in which opposition leaders committed to ensuring an opposition victory for change in the 2017 election to unseat the ruling party.