Warlord now Kingmaker? Prince Johnson’s support of Ellen angers his own party

All is not well within the National Union For Democratic Progress, Since the endorsement of the Unity Party a move which serves as a catalyst for delivering Vote-Rich Nimba County to Incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf by the Party’s Standard Bearer Senator Prince Johnson has caused a stir in the party.

Senator Prince Johnson

The man dubbed by many as potential kingmaker for the reelection of incumbent Ellen Johnson sirleaf has come under huge criticism from members of his party, the National Union For Democratic Progress, of misleading the party in pledging support to the ruling Unity Party in the Presidential Run-off election slated for November  8.

Gbawou Kowo, National Chairman of the party says Senator Johnson tricked the party’s executive committee into believing that there was an agreement between him and the UP that for job creation as reward for pledging the party’s support to the UP.

“Few days ago the National executive committee met to support his position in support of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf reelection. However, the reason he gave on which the national executive committee agreed to support him, when they went to verify, the information was misleading and not true…..,” said Kowo.

Kowo, in a mobile phone interview with FrontPage Africa Saturday morning, said as a result of the misleading information provided the party in return for its endorsement of Johnson Sirleaf for the runoff election, the party is set to reconsider its decision of support to the UP.

“……So the National Executive Committee is going to reconvene to review it because he told the national executive committee that there was job creation of provision of jobs in the discussion between him and the Unity party; that information actually is not true,” he said.

Continued Kowo: “ There has been no time there was a discussion between him and the Unity party as to the issue of jobs, so that is misleading the entire party so the National executive committee will convene tomorrow hopefully by 7:PM to review all of the information that Senator Johnson provided, because now it appears that he has withheld material facts from the national executive committee so in other words he has been providing misleading information to the national executive committee on which the decision was made and because of that the national executive committee is about to reverse the decision to support him or the Unity Party.”

The NUDP national chairman accused Senator Johnson of engaging in what the party calls Anti Party Activities and as a result could risk suspension or expulsion from the party by the party’s national executive committee in the absence of a convention mandating it to do so.

Said Kowo: “Our constitution is very clear when it comes to conduct of officials of the party, the thing is, in recent days Senator Johnson has been engaged in what is described by our constitution as anti party activities and that could subject him to suspension or expulsion.”

“Now, the decision to suspend or expel is not rested upon the national chairman or an individual official of the party– that has to meet the approval of the national executive committee; which in fact is the highest decision making body in the absence of convention. Senator Johnson has been accused for Anti Party Activities, advocating criminal anarchy and criminal malevolence…”

The support of Johnson, who came third in the October polls, is crucial to the reelection bid of Sirleaf as he received more than half of the votes in vote rich Nimba County where he hails from; the endorsement of the UP candidate has not been without preconditions from supporters of the NUDP in Nimba.

It can be recalled that Senator Johnson, upon endorsement of Sirleaf, met with his kinsmen including traditional and opinion leaders in Nimba County at which time several demands were made as precondition for full endorsement.
But President Sirleaf in a recent interview with Truth FM a local radio station said there is no such thing as a concession to demands coming out of the camp of the NUDP in exchange for votes from Vote-rich Nimba County.

The UP stalwart said she leaves the decision to vote her for a second Term with the Liberian People. She said people will vote for her based on the level of work she has done. This recent stance by the national chairman of the party raises concerns for the NUDP support which many see as the deciding factor for a clear victory for the incumbent in the runoff.
It seems the political wrangling within the NUDP is about to deepen with claims and counter claims from both sides of the divide. Kowo is accusing the NUDP standard bearer of desecrating the party by removing furniture from the party headquarters without the knowledge or consent of the National executive committee.

“…As we speak the senator has desecrated the party Headquarters, he has removed furniture out of the party headquarters and transferred the party headquarters without informing the national chairman and the national secretary general and officials of the party; that’s anti party activities. If Senator Johnson does not desist his expulsion from the party is likely,” he said.

Responding to Kowo’s allegations Senator Johnson in an interview with the former country director of New Narratives a project supporting female journalists in Africa, Emily Schmall, said Kowo’s assertions are far from the truth.

Said Senator Johnson: “Well it is laughable; we have 23 members of the executive committee of NUDP twenty of them agreed and so we took the decision, those who did not agree they have their democratic right to choose whatever side they want to go on. I am also surprised that having brought onboard the son of Grand Gedeh, a Krahn fellow to move our party forward in pursuit of national reconciliation, I was surprised when I discovered that he was playing double standard game. He was the chairman of NUDP while at the same time with CDC. “

The man who refers to himself as kingmaker for the Johnson-Sirleaf’s reelection drive said his decision to endorse the UP met the approval of the party’s executive committee adding: “We carried out a lot of consultation with our party executives in our county of origin and our supporters around the country and they said we should put our support for Ellen and so we gave the support, unflinching support.”

He said Kowo is no longer Chairman of the NUDP as he has pledged his support for the Congress for Democratic Change, CDC, in the runoff election. Sen. Johnson confirmed that he is still in talks with the UP for the 30% NUDP representation requested by his party for endorsement of Johnson Sirleaf.