Prince Johnson Days In Nimba County Are Said To Be Numbered, As His Popularity Declines

Senator Prince Y. Johnson

Senator Prince Yormie Johnson, a onetime fearful rebel general and considered in his home county, Nimba County as the ‘Godfather’ who cannot be challenged in any form and manner is said to be having serious confrontation with his kinsmen in recent time.

Recently some prominent citizens of the county accused the ‘Godfather’ of fueling confusion in the county for his alleged involvement in the recruitment of armed men to cause chaos against anyone who refuses to support him ahead of the 2020 senatorial elections.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with our Nimba County Correspondent in Ganta City, Samuel Q. Duo said Senator Prince Y. Johnson is no more the ‘Godfather’ of the County, and that his moral over the past months has declined due to his utterances against his kinsmen bringing them to public disrepute.

“We can now brag that Senator Johnson regular habit of intimidating us is over, we are no more afraid of him; those days when we were frightened wherever he comes to Nimba are over. We will use our descriptions as to who we want for the pending 2010 senatorial elections county,” Duo speaking further said.

Prince Johnson; the one time fearful rebel general

Prince Yormie Johnson, a former rebel leader, played a prominent role in the First Liberian Civil War, in particular capturing, torturing, mutilating and executing President Samuel Doe, who had himself overthrown and murdered Liberia’s President William R. Tolbert Jr. in 1980.

Born in Tapeta, Nimba County, was in 1971 brought up by his uncle in Monrovia, while living in Monrovia, he joined the Liberian National Guard (LNG), which was transformed into the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) in the aftermath of Samuel Doe’s 1980 overthrow of President William R. Tolbert.

He rose to the rank of Lieutenant, receiving military training in both Liberia and the United States, where he was instructed in military police duties in South Carolina. A stern, often draconian, disciplinarian, he served as aide-de-camp to Gen. Thomas Quiwonkpa, the Commanding General of the Armed Forces of Liberia, and accompanied him into exile in 1983, after Quiwonkpa was accused of plotting a coup against Doe.

He  later allied with Charles Taylor as part of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), serving as the NPFL’s Chief Training Officer.[4] Taylor’s fighters crossed the border from Ivory Coast and began operations in Liberia on Christmas Eve, 1989.

An internal power struggle resulted in Johnson breaking off from the Taylor-led NPFL and forming the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL). Despite intervention in the civil war by the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), INPFL forces captured most of Monrovia in the late summer of 1990.

During the civil war Johnson was notorious for killing anyone who opposed or criticised his actions. When Hare Krishna devotees, who were distributing food to starving people in Monrovia in the midst of the chaos of the civil war, sent him a letter begging him to stop killing people, he personally orchestrated the murder of Hladini devi dasi—born Linda Jury—and five of her students on the bank of the Saint Paul River on the night of Thursday, 13 September 1990.

In September 1990 Johnson’s supporters abducted President Samuel Doe from ECOMOG headquarters in the Monrovia port district. Doe was tortured and executed in Johnson’s custody on 9 September, with the spectacle videotaped and broadcast around the world. The video showed Johnson sipping a Budweiser beer and being fanned by an assistant as his men cut off Doe’s ear.

Johnson later denied killing Doe. Ahmadou Kourouma (who depicted Doe’s assassination in his novel Allah Is Not Obliged) also accused Johnson of war crimes in the form of the abduction and torture of several Firestone executives.

After Doe’s death Johnson briefly claimed the presidency of Liberia. Johnson’s claim to power ended following the consolidation of rebel power under Charles Taylor. In an attempt by the weak national government to reconstruct Liberian politics, the INPFL was recognised at a conference held in Guinea, where Amos Sawyer was elected president.

Johnson was forced to flee to Nigeria to avoid capture by rebel forces supporting Taylor, and was not involved in the Second Liberian Civil War. While in Nigeria Johnson became a Christian and reconciled with the Doe family through the intervention of Nigerian T. B. Joshua.

Johnson returned to Liberia in March 2004, following the resignation of Taylor as president and the installation of a transitional government. He stated his intention to return to politics, though he briefly left Liberia again on 7 April due to death threats he had received from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group. In the 2005 general elections, Johnson contested and won a Senate seat representing Nimba County. For a period he served as the chair of the Senate’s defence committee.

In the June 2009 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established as part of the 2003 peace deal, the TRC recommended Johnson’s inclusion on a list of 50 people who should be “specifically barred from holding public offices; elected or appointed for a period of thirty (30) years” for “being associated with former warring factions.”[12] Johnson labelled the recommendation a “joke,” noting the absence of several other combatants from the list, and vowed to resist any charges brought as a result of the report.

In January 2011 the Supreme Court ruled in Williams v. Tah, a case brought by another person recommended for disqualification in the TRC report, that the TRC’s recommendation was an unconstitutional violation of the listed individuals’ right to procedural due process, and that it would be unconstitutional for the government to implement the proposed bans.

Johnson ran in Liberia’s 2011 presidential election as the candidate of the newly formed National Union for Democratic Progress party. He placed third, with 11.6% of the vote; the election was won by the country’s former president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

In the June 2009 final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was established as part of the 2003 peace deal, the TRC recommended Johnson’s inclusion on a list of 50 people who should be “specifically barred from holding public offices; elected or appointed for a period of thirty (30) years” for “being associated with former warring factions.”[12] Johnson labelled the recommendation a “joke,” noting the absence of several other combatants from the list, and vowed to resist any charges brought as a result of the report.

In January 2011 the Supreme Court ruled in Williams v. Tah, a case brought by another person recommended for disqualification in the TRC report, that the TRC’s recommendation was an unconstitutional violation of the listed individuals’ right to procedural due process, and that it would be unconstitutional for the government to implement the proposed bans.

Johnson ran in Liberia’s 2011 presidential election as the candidate of the newly formed National Union for Democratic Progress party. He placed third, with 11.6% of the vote; the election was won by the country’s former president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Source: Wikipedia

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About Cholo Brooks 13336 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.