Liberia: Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson Contemplates Withdrawing Support from Pres. Weah

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MONROVIA – Unarguably, Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson is a major straw that President George Weah needs to continue holding onto to stay afloat – politically – but Sunday’s sermon from the warlord turned preacher suggest that the President may be standing on sinking sand.

The marriage between Johnson and Weah was ordained in Nigeria in October last year when the pair visited T. B. Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations where they were prayed for by the preacher man.

Prior to their departure for Nigeria at the time, there were speculations that Prophet Joshua was courting Senator Johnson to throw his weight behind Senator Weah.

Sen. Johnson had often described Prophet Joshua as his “spiritual father”.

The Sermon

Johnson told his congregation on Sunday that he would be traveling to Nigeria to consult whether he should continue his support to President Weah or not.

Prior to the runoff election in 2017 which gave President Weah a massive victory to the presidency, he and Sen. Johnson attended a church service at T. B. Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations, where they were both prayed for by the preacher man.

Sen. Johnson, however, believes the President is now in bed with people who were opposed to his presidency during the election campaign.

In his sermon, Sen. Johnson said, “You’re now the President but your regime from its beginning is characterized by so so demonstrations, so so trouble, why? Are we asking ourselves why? Are you asking yourself why is it so? Yesterday “Country Giant moving, opposition give way. The people are now saying, they’re calling us, all of us country devil. Why?” 

Johnson used his pulpit to tell President Weah to “stop witnessing Chelsea and Barcelona games. You’ve been set aside to lead.” 

He said the people who overwhelmingly supported and voted for Weah feel betrayed by their neglect by the Weah-led administration. 

Senator Johnson further questioned why would the people of New Kru Town who were very supportive of Weah and recently benefitted from the construction of concrete structures for inhabitants of zinc shacks that gutted by fire in the area as a gesture from Weah vote massively against his CDC candidate.

He also lashed for President Weah for failing to go back to the Synagogue Church to give testimonies for his victory in the election. 

Amazed by Weah’s Estates

Still on the pulpit, Sen. Johnson recalled that past leaders of Liberia were deeply involved in acts of corruption which, according to him, was evident by buildings they erected in Liberia and abroad. He said, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf being conversant of that fact, having declared corruption as a monster, refused to build houses for herself during her presidency. 

He, however, wondered why President Weah who came to power less than two years ago, would amass gigantic structures and claim that he got the money “from the football field”.

“In Liberia, philosophically we say seeing is believing so, if you had your own money before from the football field and now you’re being accused of financial malpractices, but then you’re building so many houses, the old lady who can ‘but the thing the people saying that’s true.” He insinuated that it was ill-advised for President Weah to have erected so many buildings during the early years of his presidency.

Vision of Ouattara-Gbagbo Scenario

The Nimba County lawmaker, a former warlord, who is record for saying that if Weah is elected President of Liberia, the country would return to war did not mince his words on the pulpit when he said ‘God’ gave him a vision that if Weah is not careful, Liberia would experience Ivory Coast’s Ouattara-Gbagbo scenario.

civil war was fought in Ivory Coast between 2002–04 between the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and the rebel Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire (New Forces), representing Muslim northerners who felt that they were being discriminated against by the politically dominant and mostly Christian southerners.

After northern candidate Alassane Ouattara was declared the victor of the 2010 Ivorian presidential election by the country’s Independent Electoral Commission (CEI), the President of the Constitutional Council – an ally of Gbagbo – declared the results to be invalid and that Gbagbo was the winner.  Both Gbagbo and Ouattara claimed victory and took the presidential oath of office

“If we don’t mind, I see the Gbagbo and Ouattarra scenario in 2023; that’s what I see,” Sen. Johnson said on the pulpit on Sunday. He added, “In order to protect our dynasty we’ll fight back and make the Supreme Court to rule in our favor.”

He advised Weah not to listen to the few that he trusts and led the wrong way, adding that it was such that led to the fall of former President Samuel K. Doe.

Why Is PYJ Important to Weah?

The Nimba County Senator some may say is the lord of Nimba County. The county is the second vote-rich county in the country. From the numbers, a win in Montserrado, Nimba and perhaps three out of the remaining 13 counties projects you for a comfortable lead in elections in Liberia.

In the 2017 elections, through the influence of Sen. Johnson, President Weah for the first time won the Nimba County votes, accumulating 73,434 votes which represented 57.1 percent of total votes cast in the county.

In the first round of that election, Prince Johnson who contested the presidency accumulated 53.5% votes from Nimba County. This represented 107, 430 votes which catapulted him to come fourth place in the first round of the election.

Montserrado County which has, since 2005, been a stronghold for President Weah seems to be reconsidering its overwhelming support to the President and his CDC, evident by the just-ended by-election in the county. Should Nimba also be taken away from him, chances of returning to the presidency in 2023 would be like the proverbial camel passing through the eye of a needle. 

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