‘No Vote For Ellen In Nimba’: Candidate Prince Johnson Claims Referendum Victory

Photo credit:Alex Majoli/Magnum for Newsweek

The flag bearer of the National Union for Democratic Progress, NUDP, Nimba County’s senior Senator Prince Y. Johnson says, he will make sure that President Johnson-Sirleaf does not get any vote from Nimba County.

Senator Johnson addressing a number of issues over the weekend said President Sirleaf has lost the confidence of the people of Nimba.

‘She has to go’

“So she has to go, if she doesn’t go, she is now seeing the writing on the wall; there is a national democratic conspiracy to vote her out.”

“People are lying to her, she’s not going to get vote in this country, In Nimba no vote, in Lofa no vote, Montserrado, we’re going to divide the kola; Grand Cape Mount I’m sorry for her,” he said.

Senator Johnson said BHP Biliton and Mittal Steel two large companies operating in the county are not seeking the interest of the people of Nimba. Said Senator Johnson:

“For example you have Nimba that was the target of the Doe regime those days, the war is over now and 80-85% of the combatants are from Nimba and you have Mittal Steel and BHP Biliton operating in Nimba, but you do not even have the sons and daughters of Nimba on the board. They are not employing our people; they imported people to employ them.”

The former Armed forces of Liberia general and former Liberian warlord said Pres. Sirleaf has done nothing to fight corruption during almost six years as president of Liberia.

“The very Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and us charged those governments for corruption, rampant corruption and what have you. Today she is the president of this country and she is not bringing new reforms, but rather she is reforming those same old rascality, that same old corrupt system. ”

“She’s compiling them to the extent that the GAC and the Anti-Corruption Commission indicted many ministers, many ministries for rampant corruption, misuse, mismanagement of public funds and she has failed to prosecute those ministers. She has failed to bring them to book through the court of law,” he said.

Victory for the opposition

Speaking on the issue of the referendum, he said the entire result was a victory for the opposition as Liberians spoke with one voice in rejecting all four propositions supported by the ruling Unity Party.

“What it means is victory for me and the opposition, all of us in the opposition. For me truly, I have not been in favor of the four propositions. You see in 2005 there was political accommodation given to all of us — Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Senator Prince Johnson and others who are now occupying various positions in government, because the constitutional clause on the domicile matter talks about ten years. You have to live here ten years, and we didn’t fit.”

“In 2005 none of us were qualified. So there was political accommodation that led to the suspension of the domicile clause for ten years for peace and stability’s sake. And so we went ahead and contested for various posts.”

“Now that we are senators and we are president we come again and say look, we have to do a referendum either for five years or ten years; if it is five years there are still some people who just came in who are not fit, who are not qualified, he said.

The Nimba County Senator said he thinks the entire referendum was unnecessary: “I think there should be no conditions. Let there be the same political accommodation that was given in 2005, let the political accommodation be given to others; the ten years the five years, to hell with it Let us have a level playing field.”

“Those who want to come now to contest, if they meet the election commission requirements, thank God. The Liberian people are the referees; it shouldn’t be Madam Sirleaf to put forth a referendum to say Liberians should say ten years. If it is ten years she’s not fit; if it is five years we are fit. But others will not be qualified; it is still a recipe for confusion,” said Senator Johnson.

‘Election part of democracy’

He said there should be no residency clause because Liberians in the Diaspora did not leave the country under normal condition.

“It was war; war supported, sponsored, promoted by Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She was our chief sponsor. She sponsored us to remove what we all branded as a dictatorial system and so the war we fought at which time she said we should destroy the executive mansion, is the war in which people fled for their lives and to be able to come back home, it will take time because election is just part of democracy but in itself you have to provide good governance.”

“There is about 85 percent of our people unemployed and so in Liberia 85 percent of people unemployed, people who fled during the war that we brought here, sponsored by Madam Sirleaf, they went to foreign lands where their children are going to school, where they’ve got jobs to do, where they are given asylum by many countries so to leave their jobs, to leave their schools to come here to a country in which there is 85 percent unemployment is unlikely.”

“So unless we create jobs for our people, unless we provide the kind of atmosphere to attract Liberians to return home, we should not put restrictions to prevent people from contesting,” said Senator Johnson.

Bushrod Island fracas and Special Forces call

Commenting on the incident that occurred between his party’s convoy and the president’s convoy about a week ago and the calling of former Special Forces general to support the President’s second-term bid, he said: “She hit my car, because her security car SSS came from behind us blowing the siren by 6:30 in the evening and we parked off the road.”

“We had about a hundred and fifty cars or more in our convoy jubilating because the launching program was very successful and we parked off the road and the SSS car came and crossed in front of my car and hit the other Jeep that was occupied by my vice standard bearer. And then the security people got down from their cars, they took their rifles and pointed at us. Why, are we at war? Ellen sponsored every war in this country. We fought because we thought that there was dictatorship,” he said.

Senator Johnson went on to sound this warning to the President: “So I sent the warning to her as a reminder that respect begets respect, dishonor begets dishonor, violence begets violence but for the sake of Liberia let us promote peace. Let her talk to her security people, it is our taxes that pay them, it is not Ellen’s money that is paying them; they have the right to protect the president but they have the right also to protect and secure our lives and not to use their power to disturb peaceful citizens.”

“And she always is in the habit of calling former generals to join her, former special forces to join her. The next time I hear her calling Special Forces, former generals, I will call the entire former army on my side and even the present army to join the democratic wagon for change.”