|Prince Y. Johnson|
Perhaps what is 2011 Elections’ most paradoxical political talk has come to the fore, with Senator Yormie Johnson, an indictee of war crimes as per the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, criticizing another indictee, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for failing to fully implement the TRC recommendations which, amongst other things, call for a thirty-year ban from politics of some indictees in the country.
Whether this is just a political talk or not, Senator Johnson sounds very upbeat that if elected to the Liberian presidency, he would ensure the full implementation of the TRC report, thanking the crafters of the report, including former Chariman Jerome Verdier, for the report. He also spoke on a wide range of national issues last Saturday at the Convention of his National Union for Democratic Progress party in his stronghold of Nimba. The Analyst reports.
“I would have like for the entire TRC report to be implemented. But unfortunately President Sirleaf decided that her desire to run for the Presidency was more important than implementing the recommendations of the TRC. At her State of the Union Address in January 2010, President decided to trash the TRC report and announced to the world that she was running for President, even though the TRC has banned her for 30 years. By her action, she completely undermined the recommendations for sanctions.”
Those were the words of Senator Prince Y. Johnson, standard-bearer of the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) when he spoke to a huge crowd of partisans in the northern city of Saclepea, Nimba County, where they had gathered for their first national convention.
Senator Johnson, who is indicted by the TRC, told his partisans that he criticized the TRC report because he felt it was not fair to him, since his participation in the civil war was to ensure that the people of Nimba were not being slaughtered.
“I felt then that I was fighting for political freedom. Under my leadership during the war, I protected civilians against brutal warriors. I also said that the ‘gun that liberate should not rule.’ I followed that basic principle and allowed in Liberia the IGNU Government under Dr. Amos Sawyer,” PYJ, as he’s commonly called, said.
“I was therefore selfless to allow another Liberian to take power when I had the opportunity to do so. This is why we have thanked Sekou Damante Konneh, Kabineh Janeh, Dr. Vamba Kanneh, George Dweh, Yaya Nimley and others who also did not take power by force but allowed Charles Taylor to leave Liberia for an interim Government not headed by them. Like me, LURD and MODEL could have used military power to take power but we did not because we love democracy.”
Senator Johnson said the democracy and the freedom of association and press that Liberians enjoy today is because of him and others who refused to take power by force but instead allowed politicians to take power when they (the fighters) had risked their reputation to remove dictatorships.
“But today we are maligned for the peace and stability that we brought to Liberia. This is a measure of democracy, which is our ability to withstand criticism of all kinds,” he said, adding, “Unlike this President that has sued Tom Woiwewu, New Democrat, New Broom and other papers for speaking out, I have never sued a single soul in Liberia for criticizing or insulting me.”
He said as President, he will not sue a single person for speaking their minds.
“I do not like some of the things that newspapers write against me, but I do not have to sue them. That is freedom of expression and speech guaranteed by the constitution. But today papers like FrontpageAfrica and New Democrat have spent money to defend themselves against lawsuits from people who have defrauded the Government. New Broom also got strangulated for law suit filed by the President Sirleaf,” Senator Johnson further said.