By Kadiker Rex Dahn, MA, M.Ed, PhD
When the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) came to power during the 2017 elections, almost all of CDC’s insiders and collaborators were chanting, “This is our time.” This phrase, “This is our time,” does have multiple meanings. Whether, it is the CDC and collaborators’ time to loot the national cake for self-aggrandizement, and by having close incompetent lieutenants in strategic positions to implement plans, maybe are some of the intended meanings.
A government that is for all, including those who voted against to claim that “This is our time” at the alienation of majority of the citizens, was a recipe for failure.
In addition to hardliner CDCians, two notable characters that made themselves look like they were powerful were Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor and Senator Prince Johnson of Nimba County. The utterances of these two individuals in their respective counties of origin were divisive and sent a clear signal that Vice President Taylor and Senator Johnson were egocentric.
Certainly, the political pendulum was up with Vice President Taylor and Senator Prince Johnson when they claimed “This is our time.” Now that the political pendulum is swiftly swinging, the political marriage between Taylor and Johnson on the one hand, and President George Weah and his cohorts on the other, may be falling apart where trust and honesty are lacking.
We will argue in this article that Jewel Howard Taylor and Prince Johnson, as members of their coalition, should and will need to fight their own fight for the battle that lies ahead of them, because non-Coalition members will not intellectually come to their defense in the midst of the perceived political pendulum.
A pendulum is a “weight hung from a fixed point so that it can swing freely backward and forward.”
In this context, when we speak of a political pendulum, we are trying to insinuate that when the CDC came to power, Vice President Taylor and Senator Johnson as two of the makers of George Weah, “had leverage” in making decisions for good or bad to President Weah.
Vice President Taylor is on record in Bong County for saying that anyone, especially those from the opposition wanting job in the CDC’s Government, must cross carpet to the CDC, having failed to realize that she was the Vice President of Liberia, and therefore Vice President for all Liberians.
Jewel Taylor in such utterance, became divisive and wanted the residents of Bong County to worship her. She went as far as removing commissioners and chiefs their respective appointed and or elected positions because, she perceived, these commissioners and chiefs were not members of the CDC.
Vice President Taylor, we thought, had more political experience and was more educated than President George Weah, and her level of reasoning, we thought, could unify the country.
As a result of the divisive politics in Bong County, many of the residents are uneasy, hoping to vent out political vendetta against Vice President Taylor were she to again contest for public office.
Now she and the CDC, which she once claimed to be her own while alienating her kinsmen from Bong County, are no longer bedfellows. We hear in the media of a strained official relationship between the Vice President and President Weah. We also hear that the office of the Vice President has been alienated and, most often, she buys fuel for her vehicles. We also hear whether true or not, that she is not consulted on the issue of governance.
Instead, governance decisions are made by President Weah, and his cohorts of trusted incompetent lieutenants. We also hear that the Vice President and President Weah, are no longer on speaking terms.
It is also alleged that Vice President Taylor sometimes leaves the country without the acquiescence and approbation of the President.
Considering these many ugly developments, it is no longer bread and butter within the CDC, where once upon a time, Vice President Taylor claimed that “This is our time.” We will also say it is your time of suppression and alienation, Madam Vice President.
Senator Prince Johnson
Similar behavior and actions of Vice President Taylor were also exhibited by Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba County to the extent that he wants to be the only “rooster” in the town. Moreover, his strong dislike of the intellectual class is unimaginable. Senator Johnson has marks on almost every serious and talented academician in Nimba County.
Like Vice President Taylor after the 2017 election and inauguration of President Weah, all previous appointed officials in the County were removed, and replaced by the recommendation of Sen. Prince Johnson to President Weah. Those of us from the opposition were not allowed to serve in the government. This author in particular was told by Prince Johnson to return to the United States because, according to him, as long as he is a senator of Nimba County, and member of the Ruling Coalition, he will not work in the Liberian government.
We thank Senator Johnson for such stance. Like the brothers of Joseph in the Bible, they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. In the case of the intellectual class in Nimba County, our Senator meant evil, but God meant it for good because, in our opinion, this is ,a government that can taint good characters.
Senator Johnson was very tough on those who oppose the CDC’s government. At one point he said members of the Council of Patriots will die and that they were from the belly of the devil. He told Nimba citizens not to join the June 7 Protest, because the intent was to remove President Weah from power. He even accused Representatives Larry Younquoi and Samuel Kogar, both from Nimba County, of being the ringleaders of this perceived coup. He was disproven based on the peaceful outcome of the protest. Now, Senator Johnson, the “Man of God,” has somersaulted, and now is singing Hallelujah praises to the founding members of the Council of Patriots (CoPs). What contradiction, naivety and inconsistency!
The praise of the CoP has landed Senator Jonson in trouble with the Executives of the CDC, where Jefferson Koijee, a hardliner of CDC with rhetoric such as “flesh and blood”, has vowed to impress on President Weah for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes Court. Speaker Bhofal Chambers appears to lend support to such an endeavor.
The Traditional Council of Elders has endorsed the establishment of such a Court. President Weah, upon recommendation on the just ended national economic dialogue, has written the Legislature for action.
In the October 1, 2019 edition of the Daily Observer, the newspaper reported that 51 lawmakers had signed the resolution for the establishment of the War Crimes Court.
As we say in Liberia, John’s palm oil has wasted on John’s rice. Like Vice President Taylor, Senator Johnson is a member of the Coalition where, few weeks ago, he asked Nimbaians to leave their respective political parties and either join CDC or his Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).
Nimba County’s intellectual Class refused to cross carpet for job-seeking opportunities, and that is our position then and now.
Be that as it may, it seems the political pendulum that brought the marriage between Senator Prince Y. Johnson and CDC is falling apart. If this proposition is true, the Intellectual Community of Nimba County that Senator Johnson fiercely hates will not take pen and paper to defend him. In fact we maintain that this is an international decision and, as intellectuals, we expect the rule of law to reign supreme, for we cannot and will not be a hindrance to international justice. We are not members of the MDR or the Coalition and, with that, we mean the battle is all his.
PYJ needs to fight his own fight. In the same way, we say to Vice President Taylor that we are not members of her Coalition, and therefore, will not intellectually defend her against her own Coalition and Government. Just as Prince Johnson has been urged to fight his own fight and cry his own cry, so Madam Vice President, we urge you to do likewise in the midst of this perceived political pendulum.
In the Cause of the People, the Struggle Continues!!!!!
About the author: Kadiker Rex Dahn holds two Masters and a PhD in Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Oklahoma. He respectively served as a Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Director General, National Commission on Higher Education. He is a member of the North America Scholar Consortium, membership with the Highest Honor. Contact: [email protected]