After losing hold of his first brainchild, the National Union for Democracy Party (NUDP), Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson (PYJ) has again formed another political party, the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).
This comes as the country moves toward the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections with more politicians emerging to contest the presidency and some forming new political parties.
A political commentary noted that most political parties in Liberia are built around individuals who also serve as sources of funding for their operations, not as institutions.
For example, Senator Johnson, a former rebel leader of the defunct Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), is among the few popular politicians with huge followings. His large following is due to his origin from voter-rich Nimba County.
But Johnson, who contested the 2011 presidential elections, is currently without a political party after he was ousted from the NUDP under whose banner he contested the presidency. His kinsmen see him as a liberator voting him as senator twice, in 2005 and again in 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 kingmaker, with both UP and CDC courting Johnson’s support.
The Nimba County strongman settled for the UP of sitting President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, describing the President as “the lesser of two evils.”
After Johnson gave his 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 in exchange for their support, which he denied. The confusion, however, led to his expulsion from the NUDP.
The NUDP was later delisted by the National Elections Commission for failing to meet certain requirements. Following the collapse of the party, Senator Johnson contested the 2014 special senatorial election, which he won as an independent candidate. The lure of Nimba County’s vote-rich status continues to make Johnson a hot political figure. With the emergence of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), Johnson appears to once again fortify his base in the hope that he would remain an influential figure in the political sphere.
Yesterday, the Daily Observer 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 to this newspaper that the new MDR would be in negotiations with other parties for a possible merger.
Wilfred Bangura, who is expected to serve as Secretary General of the MDR, confirmed that the party is only waiting to be certified by the NEC. On the issue of the party forming a merger, Bangura said the MDR, once certified, will remain open to all well-meaning political parties and individuals that have similar goals as the MDR.