Liberia: Pres. Weah Assails Sen. Johnson over Assassination Allegation

Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County.


President George Weah has blasted Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba County for claiming to be a government target for assassination.

Johnson, the founder of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), has accused the President and his party of plotting his assassination in response to his decision to withdraw political support from the government.

But Weah refuted the accusation and labeled Johnson a  blackmailer, saying, “If you do not want to work with us, get on the side, we have other people.”

“You are manipulating people every day. Give me this and give me that. Are you infallible? We are not working with you again, you can go anywhere you want to go,” Weah noted, while preaching at his Forky Klon Family Church along the Roberts International Airport highway yesterday.

“You say the Government wants to kill you,” he said.  “Do I look like someone that can kill somebody? You forgot to know that those you killed already may be running behind you. We are trying to make sure that everyone is at peace. We are not afraid of anybody.”

The assassination accusation was originally advanced by Johnson's party, which presented no proof. According to the MDR, their intelligence originated from a trustworthy high-level government person.

Johnson, a former notorious warlord who helped the Weah secure vote-rich Nimba County in the 2017 election, corroborated his party's assertions on February 2, only hours after the party conducted a news conference in that respect.

However, Johnson has focused much of his criticism on the President's refusal to appoint more people from the Nimba, a voting bloc that is particularly strong.

However, Weah's party has denied this, saying the Senator, who was important to Weah winning the election five years ago, is once again doing so for his own selfish gain. Weah has appointed few officials from Johnson's party to Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial posts, with the most notable appoint being Cllr. Cooper Kruah, who is now the Minister of Post and Telecommunication.

The Nimba legislator remains the political 'godfather' of his county, with a large political following, and has played critical roles in two consecutive elections in Liberia. His support for former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the 2011 election run-off and for Weah in 2017 were critical to both presidents gaining power.

But, all efforts by Weah and his party to mend their broken relationship with Johnson appear now to be impossible, judging from the President's outburst.

According to Weah, he has tried sitting with Johnson to talk but has been left surprised by the Senator's recent public utterances, which included assassination charges.

Weah then noted that  Johnson’s demands are outrageous and counterproductive to the forward march of “their friendship and, as such, he is not willing to give in.”

“Since we speak on a table now, the Senator is going around and telling people that we want to kill him. If you don’t want to work with us, go one side. There are people who want to work with us,” the President said.

 “This Coalition brought everybody on board. Those that are on the job when we remove them from their families we will suffer. It is about other people’s livelihood too,” he added.

Meanwhile, Weah has described some members of the ruling party who have left,  as just “They are talkers who do not have the quality; and do not have leadership.”

“These are people who are not successful and this is why they are angry. They will continue to criticize,” he said as his audience applauded.

He gave an analogy stating that he is aware that even in professional football matches, not everyone supports fellow team mate(s) but fighting together for the success of the team matters and is the most important thing to do.

“Some parties believe they have labored over the years but were rather denied jobs or given far more low jobs that can barely provide enough for them.

“When we formed the CDC, some got angry and I said I could not be the leader. I did not run away because I am not a runaway person. Even when you give me sweeping work in this CDC I will be here,” Weah said.

He added that “a president told me in 2011 why are you leaving your ticket for this person and you are the most popular person but I told him it was the decision of the party.”

Weah was talking about Cllr. Winston Tubman, who emerged in 2011 as the standard bearer of the Congress for Democratic Change and to whom Weah served as running mate.

Weah thanked all his supporters who were present at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium in Monrovia and many other rallying points to nominate him to run for a second term of six years.