News / Africa

Former Rebel Leader Endorses Liberian Incumbent For President

Liberian warlord-turned-presidential candidate Prince Johnson campaigns in the village of Demeh in Bomi County, in the West African country September 14, 2011.
Liberian warlord-turned-presidential candidate Prince Johnson campaigns in the village of Demeh in Bomi County, in the West African country September 14, 2011.

In Liberia's presidential election, the third-place finisher has endorsed incumbent President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Tuesday. She will face former justice minister, Winston Tubman, in a run-off in November.

Former rebel leader Prince Johnson is not a traditional politician. Although grateful for his endorsement, the Sirleaf camp is not likely to use his actual announcement in a campaign commercial.

“Well, the thing is that, if you have two evils, you choose the lesser one. She is the lesser of two evils. And she has only six years to go. I would prefer six years to supporting anyone for 12 years,” Johnson said.

Senator Johnson has spoken publicly of using his third-place endorsement to gain positions in a new government. He acknowledges President Sirleaf has made no promises.

“Well, she hasn't offered anything, but what we are most interested in is power sharing," he explained. "What percent will be given to our people. We have to provide jobs. We have to be sure of the former combatants, the former soldiers."

So why did Johnson endorse President Sirleaf and not former justice minister Tubman, with whom he joined Saturday in denouncing election results and calling for a fresh vote?

The senator says it is because Tubman supporters wants him tried for war crimes.

“That camp doesn't reflect reconciliation. It is a camp of the southeasterners," Johnson said. "I don't see people from Nimba. I don't see people from Bong County. I don't see people from Cape Mount. Many of those in that camp have been advocating for war crime codes against us."

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for war crimes charges against Johnson for his time atop a rebel group that captured and tortured the former president Samuel Doe.

Johnson says he did not endorse Tubman because Tubman's running mate, the former football star George Weah, refused to join a Johnson-led ticket because of his inclusion on the TRC list of war crimes.

“When I was in need of a vice standard bearer to work with me as we planned to run for the presidency we talked to George Weah, Ambassador Weah. He refused to be my second simply because I am on the TRC list. And he went to join Winston. He refused to join me,” noted Johnson.

President Sirleaf was also on the TRC list for helping to fund Charles Taylor rebels at the start of the conflict. The commission recommended that she be barred from politics for 30 years. The TRC report has been presented to parliament, where there has been no action.

In a nationwide address late Monday, President Sirleaf congratulated Liberian voters for discipline and tolerance. She thanked local religious leaders and international observers for calling on all political parties to refrain from acts that might threaten the peace.

“We condemn acts of violence and destruction and call upon all Liberians to refrain from violence and threats as we prepare to - once again - exercise our political franchise by voting in a run-off election which we are certain will be equally free, fair, and transparent,”  Sirleaf said.

President Sirleaf won 44 percent of the vote. Tubman carried just over 32 percent.  And Johnson won less than 12 percent.  So a Johnson endorsement might give the president  the majority she needs in a second round.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid