Is Prince Johnson Still A Kingmaker?

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From both sides of the aisle, presidential candidates Boakai (left) and Weah (right) are courting Nimba County Sen. Prince Y. Johnson (center).

NEC data, public opinion suggest otherwise

With barely two weeks to the runoff presidential election, there are concerns from members of the public whether Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson still has what it takes to swing the electorate of Nimba County to either side in the upcoming run-off election.

Johnson, once dubbed a ‘Kingmaker’ in the 2011 presidential election, appeared instrumental in delivering Nimba County to the Unity Party presidential candidate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her running mate, Joseph N. Boakai.

Johnson, who finished third in that presidential election, supported the Unity Party (UP) in the runoff against the Congress for Democratic Change, headed by Counselor Winston Tubman and Senator George Weah, as standard bearer and vice standard bearer respectively.

As the UP’s presidential hopeful, Vice President Joseph Boakai and his running mate, Emmanuel Nuquay, prepare to go against Senator George Weah and his running mate, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), some are wondering whether Johnson, standard bearer of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), is still influential enough to be able to convince Nimba County’s 279,572 registered voters to support either the UP or CDC.

Both parties have been courting Johnson, who finished fourth in the 2017 presidential elections. On Sunday, Johnson and Weah attended a church service at The Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) led by Pastor T. B. Joshua, a Nigerian pastor, televangelist and philanthropist.

Joshua is known for his popularity across Africa; he has a large online presence with 3,000,000 fans on Facebook.

Statistics from the National Elections Commission (NEC) show that Johnson’s influence in Nimba is dwindling. In 2011, Johnson received 110,735 or 67.7 percent of the votes cast in Nimba County, compared to 107,430 or 53.3 percent of the votes cast in the same county on October 10, 2017.

The total number of registered voters in Nimba County in 2011 were 242,007, compared to 279,572 in 2017.

In addition to the 14-percent drop in votes in 2017, only two of the nine candidates running for legislative seats on the Movement for Democratic Reconstruction (MDR) ticket were won their races, compared to seven in 2011, according to data from the NEC.

The two candidates are Rep. Jeremiah Kpaan Koung, an incumbent of Nimba County District # 1, and Saye Mianah of Electoral District # 8, who replaced Rep. Larry Younquoi. Wilfred Bangura, the party’s secretary-general, was defeated in his bid for the District #3 seat, losing to Joseph N. Somwarbi of the CDC.

Some Nimba citizens and officials interviewed Tuesday said the political climate in Nimba is different in 2017 than it was in 2011, and some held doubts if voters will follow Johnson.

Roger S. W. Y. Domah, District 7 representative-elect, who ran on the UP ticket, said Johnson does not have a lot of influence on the county’s youth. Young people, he said, are more likely to vote the candidate of their choice, not necessarily someone endorsed by Johnson.

Johnson has a lot of respect in the county to influence votes, but most people will vote their own way, he said, adding: “We have more influential people in the county, which now put PYJ in a different position.”

Some young people have accused Johnson of selling their votes in 2011, and that perception could minimize his current influence, Domah said.

“CDC is not really popular in Nimba and this would be a serious problem for his decision,” Domah said, referring to reports that Johnson may be leaning toward CDC because of his appearance with Weah at a church in Nigeria.

Beh Mameah-Gehi, a native of Nimba, said it is hard to say whether Johnson will impact voters in the county during the November 7 runoff elections.

“Some young people have accused Senator Johnson of selling their votes during the 2011 elections to the ruling Unity Party without them benefiting,” he said. “With this issue coming from some of the youth this time, they will decide for themselves, excluding the old ones.”

In an interview on ELBC’s Bumper Show on Tuesday, Bangura said the MDR remains the decider of the runoff election, despite taking fourth place in the October 10 elections.

“We will decide the fate of the upcoming runoff elections, but this requires consultations and discussion. I can’t tell you where we will be going, but we will remain the decider of the election results,’’ Mr. Bangura said.

Author

  • Anthony Kokoi is a young Liberian sports writer who has an ever-growing passion for the development of the game of football (soccer) and other sports. For the past few years, he has been passionately engaged in reporting the developments of the game in the country. He is an associate member of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL). He is a promoter of young talents. He also writes match reports and makes an analysis of Liberian Football.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Everyone seems to have an opinion, like I told my husband that I wanted to get into trading he just about had a stroke by the way he acted about it, but now that I found the code trading system I’m making more money than he is 🙂 Now he’s like go girl, hahaha.

  2. With or without the help of PYJ, we (UP and the Liberian people) are in it to win it.
    This is about GOOD over EVIL.
    Choose civility, choose Joseph Boakai!

  3. I want to see how Prince Johnson would go over to CDC who was given overwhelming support by Prince Johnson’s political enemies in Krah-populated Grand Gedeh in the first round. That will be the end of him politically even in his home county of Nimba. He needs to realize that at some point in life, even all the wealth in the world should not blind one from seeing the clear difference between good and evil, peace and war, and stability and chaos and lawlessness. There is no way Prince Johnson can sell his soul to the Ellen, Robert Sirleaf, Taylor and Weah devil’s.

  4. Sesay Badi, you are very accurate. There are lot of bad blood on both sides. He needs to maintain his dignity by just remaining silent and neutral.

    • Silent? Are you serious? CDC merged with murderous Charles Taylor’s NPP and made his wife Jewel Taylor VP and you want PYJ to not join Boakai? Wow!!! And all the corrupt Unity Party People-Tyler, McIntosh, Robert Sirleaf, Findley-are now CDC TOP MEMBERS-you want PYJ to stay silent?

  5. Weah has high support among the Krahns. Doe helped Weah become what he is today( a football star). It is alleged that Weah has one of Doe’s daughters. Ascending to the presidency would help Weah avenge the Death of Doe. At that height, he is clothed with the authority to appoint the chief of staff and the commanding general of the army as well as the minister of Defense. I see his krahn supporters wanting such appointments. If this happens, I am wondering whether or not they will have pity for prince johnson who publicly cut Doe’s ear before camera. My only bet is that the people of Nimba are safer in the hands of Joe Boakai.

    • You write your last name as Weah so that we can’t know you identity. You people in the diaspora keep bringing up things we have forgotten. Prince Johnson has the right to give his vote to whom ever he chooses. If you can’t help our country pls leave us alone

  6. At the CDC level will be the digestion of the TRC Process, The CDC is open to every Liberians, I will say this openly that We support the safe being of Our President and Every Liberians, CDC is a party of inclusion, If VP Boakai come with a clean heart to CDC today as a Supporter, CDC will accept Him. I will Love to see as many as possible of Our Presidents Alive, They will serve as Advisers in a positive form…. don’t be scary to join CDC because U saw a person with issues or presons You had issues with CDC, come to think about this “why We had a TRC process”, the fish can spoil from the head. We Support Change n Change We will get through CDC for a Better Liberia in Jesus Name.

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