Many Liberians continue to limit or confine the political influence and activities of Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson (PYJ), who is also the political leader of the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), to his native county. But this no longer seems to be the case as Johnson has appointed a very eloquent and articulate son of Montserrado County (specifically Croizerville), Togba R. Porte, to head his campaign team.
The veteran union organizer, who has over 15 years of union organizing experience under his belt as an executive member (second in command) of the Healthcare Union of New York City, has been charged with the responsibility to ensure that the MDR, “a fast growing progressive political institution,” wins at the polls in October.
Mr. Porte told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview that the 2017 elections is the ideal time for transformation in Liberia. “We need to create a better Liberia and a good atmosphere for the citizenry of this country. The leadership of this country owes it to them. And because we want to commit ourselves to this cause as a party, this is why the requisite people who will ensure that these things are done are being recruited by our political leader,” he said.
“I come with a wealth of experience to this post and I think with my team we would do a very great job for the MDR, ensuring that we liberate our people from these leaders, who instead of serving our people continue to marginalize them.”
He indicated that the entire country needs a total overhaul, including its infrastructure and institutions.
Porte said many partisans and supporters of MDR know Senator PYJ as a man of his word and of principles, adding: “He is a man who does what he says and says what he does. Senator Jonson strongly believes that we need to make our people comfortable in their own country—and this is what we are endeavoring to do upon ascending to state power.”
Porte said the MDR platform is built around the acronym: SHARE – Security, Health, Agriculture, Reconstruction and Education. “Included in our platform is all the solutions that this country needs to be transformed, and the MDR has committed itself to these,” he added.
“I have known PYJ for over 20 years now but we only became close in the past six years and a half; and I have known him to be a very straightforward leader. He is the kind of leader that Liberians need currently. He is a man of his word and a straightforward person. This is why we are coming on board to ensure that his vision for this country is brought on the national scene.”
The MDR campaign manager, who is the son of E. Julius Porte, Sr. of Croizerville—a cousin of the legendary constitutional analyst and pamphleteer, Albert Porte, noted that he and his team are now drawing up their strategies that will ensure that MDR is victorious at the polls, which is just under eight months away.
“We will ensure that our party is victorious and we are employing all the requisite strategies to make it happen. We are good at organizing and we will use these skills to command victory,” he noted.
He said the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration has failed the Liberian people and there is a need for a paradigm shift in the governance structure of Liberia. “Leaders need to be servants of the people and not masters. Leaders need to learn how to stick to their promises. We need to be serious in this country,” he said.
After refuting claims that PYJ’s only stronghold is his native Nimba County, Porte used the occasion to disabuse every critic who feels that way by saying, “We attract our membership from all across the country. People are attracted to our political leaders from all fifteen counties of this country.”
Meanwhile, Porte’s claim that Senator Johnson’s influence or political persuasions are not only restricted to Nimba County was clearly proven in the 2011 general and presidential elections when he surprised the nation by accumulating the third highest votes in the presidential election—making headways for himself, particularly in Lofa, Bong, Margibi and Grand Bassa counties.
PYJ was third behind Madam Sirleaf of the Unity Party and Winston Tubman of the CDC.