In the heart of West Africa, Liberia stands as a nation striving to overcome the shadows of a brutal civil war that ravaged its land and people. In its pursuit of democracy and stability, Liberia now faces a new threat – the reemergence of a controversial figure from its past,
Prince Johnson. A former warlord and leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL), Johnson’s history of violence and human rights abuses poses a grave danger to Liberia’s democracy.
What is particularly alarming is his alliance with Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party, which not only threatens to disrupt the peace but also jeopardizes Boakai’s candidacy and the progress Liberia has made in its post-war journey.
Prince Johnson’s Violent Past:
Prince Johnson’s name is synonymous with the horrors of Liberia’s civil war.
His involvement in the killing of former President Samuel Doe and numerous other atrocities, including the infamous videotaped execution of a captured enemy combatant, stands as a stark reminder of the brutality that engulfed the nation during those dark times.
Such actions raise serious questions about Johnson’s respect for human rights and the rule of law, both fundamental pillars of any functional democracy.
The Alliance with Joseph Boakai:
As Liberia approaches the pending October elections, Prince Johnson’s alliance with Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party raises significant concerns.
While political alliances are a common part of democratic processes, Johnson’s involvement in Boakai’s campaign has been marked by threatening and divisive statements aimed at his constituents.
These actions not only undermine the democratic principles of free and fair elections but also pose a direct threat to the peace and stability of Liberia.
Johnson’s Influence on Unity Party’s Policies:
Despite his violent past, Prince Johnson has managed to secure a position within the Unity Party, leveraging his influence to promote his own interests rather than those of the Liberian people.
One of the most concerning aspects of this influence is his advocacy for amnesty for warlords involved in human rights abuses.
Such a policy, if implemented, would undermine accountability and reconciliation efforts, should Boakai’s candidacy succeed.
Divisive Politics and Ethnic Tensions:
Prince Johnson’s ability to mobilize support along ethnic and regional lines is a potent force in Liberian politics. However, it is also a double-edged sword that can further fuel existing tensions within the country. This divisive politics hinders the development of a unified and inclusive democracy, making it difficult for Liberia to move forward from its troubled past.
Undermining Progress and Public Trust:
Johnson’s controversial past and his continued alliance with the Unity Party send a dangerous signal to the Liberian people.
They suggest that individuals with a history of violence and human rights abuses can still wield significant influence in shaping the country’s future.
This erodes public trust and confidence in the democratic process and paves the way for the emergence of other authoritarian figures in a nation already grappling with its history.
|Prince Johnson’s involvement in post-war Liberian democracy poses significant dangers, not only to the country’s stability and peace but also to the candidacy of Joseph Boakai.
His violent history, support for policies that undermine accountability, and divisive politics threaten to hinder the consolidation of democracy and hamper efforts for national reconciliation.
Liberia’s democratic institutions, civil society, and international partners must remain vigilant and work tirelessly to ensure that individuals like Prince Johnson, with questionable democratic commitment, do not impede the progress of post-war Liberia.
Liberians have a patriotic responsibility to vote for a future that rejects the shadows of violence and embraces the light of peace and progress. The country has indeed had enough of him already.
Authored by: Atty. Samora P. Z. Wolokolie, Ph.D., CA, CPA, CFE, FCFIP, FFA (UK), FIPA (Aus.)