Liberia: Pro-gov’t Journalist Accuses Army Chief of Inciting Soldiers Against Pres. Weah

Pro-government media propagandist, Abraham Godsent Wheon

…. Says his pieces of evidence are circumstantial 

A media propagandist from the ruling CDC has accused Major General Prince Charles Johnson, III, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), of inciting his men against President Weah's re-election campaign.

Abraham Godsent Wheon, a famous talk-show host, claimed that the Army Chief of Staff influenced soldiers to vote against Weah on October 10. 

Wheon made the allegation against Johnson on his show on Freedom FM, which is owned by Deputy Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Sam Saryon.

During an evening talk show, Wheon, host and manager of Freedom FM, claimed that Major Gen. Prince C. Johnson, III, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, is allegedly administering the AFL in a politically biased manner in favor of opposition leader Joseph Boakai. Wheon then urged active-duty soldiers of the AFL, who did not support President Weah in the initial round of voting to switch their allegiance due to perceived inadequate leadership within the Liberian Army.

“Prince Johnson [himself], he [is] already compromised." I don't even have time for him. That human being owns Pah, I finish telling him. I have dossiers of information on him, but tonight I want to focus on this specific issue. Prince Johson, the chief of staff, is involved in a cover-up.

Saryon, the station’s owner, is a senior member of the CDC. 

According to Wheon, the Unity party (UP) declared themselves the winners of the first round of the October 10, 2023 election by distributing blue plastic bags and announcing victories in 13 counties. They just wanted you all to jump in the streets and die for nothing. Because obviously the army was not coming to jibe yor.”

A renowned propagandist of the Weah led administration, Wheon has been vocal about opposition and individuals who do not support Weah. Much of what is being broadcast on Freedom FM is content that promotes the government and denigrates the opposition and other critics of Weah.

“He had 20 commissioned officers — he decommissioned all of them. The military code of justice that can’t be respected in the military because of Prince Johnson. Thank God the military is intact, it is divided,” Wheon said. “Me, this campaign I start on him.”

In a WhatsApp chat with the Daily Observer, the AFL Chief of Staff described Wheon’s allegations as fake news.  “We will respect the will of the Liberian people,” he said.

The accusation made against the military, known to many as the country’s most trusted and reliable security force, has received a lot of public commendation and frustration from people who believe that the military is a neutral body that should not pledge allegiance to any political party. 

“This country will be liberated, and No evil person will survive in this country. We will put all of you outside. Prince Johnson doesn’t have control over the military as we speak,” Wheon said. “So if those of you officers who voted against President Weah, I beg yor, yor don’t mind [Johnson] for nothing, because that’s Joseph Boakai’s man there. 

“Yor please reconsider, because we can guarantee you we will handle that. If there was any reason yor were angry, I beg yor, I hold your foot. Yor don’t get vexed. We will take him on. I will take him on with evidence,” When continued in his campaign against General Johnson. 

Wheon has since retracted his comments, stating reasons why he made the accusation. “I would like to use this opportunity to first of all dispel the thought that whatever information disclosed during any of my shows is sourced by Mr. Sam Saryon, Deputy NSA boss, who is the Chief Executive Officer of Freedom Communications Incorporated. However, there [have] been growing concerns about my recent broadcast relating to the Chief of Staff of the AFL, Gen. Prince C. Johnson III.”

He said his facts against Gen. Johnson are circumstantial and that he has been working to undermine the regime.  

While retracting his accusation, Wheon said “In the broadcast, I stated that owing to circumstantial incidents including the COS audio damning the government’s tuition free action; revealing that people advised him to stage military takeover due to the President’s prolonged stay out of the country and the recent post from Eugene Fagohn that the COS walked out of joint security meeting, it was presumed that he was a partisan personnel and that the military was divided. I sincerely retract this statement and apologize for any embarrassment it may have caused to the integrity of the COS and the military. I also take keen note and respect the Press Statement released by the Press Union of Liberia on this matter.”

Reports later emerged that Wheon’s boss, Siryon, revealed that he was humiliated by the AFL after he was called in for questioning.

“I was arrested and humiliated by the Armed Forces of Liberia,” he is quoted as saying. “I was taken to a room where the Minister of Justice was seated and made to listen to a recording of a Freedom FM broadcast in which Abraham Wheon allegedly made some comments against the army.”

Siryon also disclosed that he was told to have the station retract the broadcast but he “refused on grounds that I was disrespected and humiliated. I was stripped of my clothes and shoes and told them I could not act under duress. I feel so humiliated and disturbed,” he said.