LIBERIA: As Lofa and Bong Elders Gathered to Elect VP Boakai for President 2017, Sen. Prince Johnson Vows To Thwart Effort

Dozens of elders of both Lofa and Bong Counties over the weekend resolved to elect Liberia’s current Vice President, Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai as Liberia’s next President in the upcoming 2017 general and presidential election.

The elders from Lofa County over the weekend converged in Gbarnga, Bong County to prevail on their colleagues on the possible election of VP Boakai in the 2017 election, a request which was overwhelmingly endorsed by their colleagues in Bong County.

Both counties’ elders in their separate remarks joyously noted that Vice President Joseph N. Boakai who they described their preferred choice for Liberia’s next president as a ‘Man of principles’ stressing, “His hands are clean, therefore, we believed he can be a good leader to replace President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2017,” the elders in their joyous state of mind said.

But for his part, Nimba County senior Senator, and former rebel leader, Prince Y. Johnson see the move of the elders to endorse Vice President Boakai as a complete fritter on their part, noting that he will do all in his powers to thwart the presidential bid of Vice President Boaka.

Speaking on a local radio station over the weekend, Senator Johnson now an evangelist who runs his own church said he will use all means to defeat the presidential bid of VP Boakai, who he said has helped to destroy Liberia in its mismanagement along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Prince Johnson, who contested the 2011 presidential elections, is currently without a political party after he was forcefully ousted from the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) under whose banner he contested the presidency in 2011. His kinsmen from Nimba see him as a liberator voting him as senator twice -2005 and 2011. While serving as a sitting Senator, Johnson in 2011 founded the NUDP and contested the Presidency, finishing an impressive third behind the Unity Party and the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC).

Due to the huge population of Nimba County, Senator Johnson and his NUDP became the kingmaker with both UP and CDC scouting Johnson’s support. The Nimba strongman settled for the UP of sitting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, describing President Sirleaf as the lesser of two evils.

After Johnson’s support to Sirleaf, serious confusion broke out in the NUDP with members of the party’s Executive Committee accusing him of taking money from the UP for support, something that led to the expulsion of senator Johnson from the NUDP. The NUDP was later delisted by the National Elections Commission for failing to meet certain requirements.

Following the collapse of NUDP, Senator Johnson contested the 2014 special senatorial election which he won as an independent candidate and he remains. The lure of Nimba’s vote-rich status continues to make Johnson a hot political commodity. With reports emerging of a new political party, reportedly dubbed, the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Johnson appears to once again fortify his base in hopes of remaining an influential figure in Liberian politics.

It has been learned that Senator Johnson is in the process of completing the formation of MDR to aid his political quest in 2017. Sources have also hinted that the new MDR of Senator Johnson is in serious negotiate with other political parties to form a merger to contest the 2017 presidential election on one ticket.

Wilfred Bangura who is expected to serve as Secretary General of the new MDR told a local daily that the party is only waiting to be certificated by the National Elections Commission at a time that electoral body will be ready to dos so. On the issue of the party forming a merger with the Unity Party, Bangura said the MDR when certificated will remain open to all well-meaning political parties and individuals that have similar goals as the MDR.

Effort to get a word from the office of the Vice President via mobile phone and visits at his office proved unsuccessful, as his Press Secretary could not be reached. Detail will follow in our subsequent posting.

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