News / Africa

Former Rebel Leader Endorses Liberian President

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (L) addresses a crowd of supporters outside offices of her party on the outskirts of Monrovia, October 15, 2011.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (L) addresses a crowd of supporters outside offices of her party on the outskirts of Monrovia, October 15, 2011.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is heading to a run-off election with the backing of a former rebel leader from the country's civil war.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Prince Johnson are not an obvious political match.

She is a Harvard-educated economist and former minister of finance who has worked for the World Bank, Citibank, and the United Nations Development Program. She just shared the Nobel Peace Prize.

He is a former rebel leader best known for a video in which he drinks beer while his men torture the former president. A born-again Christian preacher who found God during exile in Nigeria, his career in the Senate has been spent largely campaigning for former combatants from the war.

Prince Johnson joined other opposition candidates Saturday in denouncing vote results as fraudulent and demanding the dissolution of the electoral commission.

He told reporters that it is a sad day for Liberia when a president who has advocated justice and accountability - who refused to accept her Senate election in 1985 because the vote was rigged - is now the one to rig elections.

But when President Sirleaf failed to top 50 percent of the vote, her party sought Johnson's third-place endorsement for the run-off. He agreed, calling her the lesser of two evils.

“Senator Johnson believes in adaptation. That's what I believe in. I adapt myself to a system that I know is working for the good of the people and the country. And so if I said something before, I have the right to change,” Johnson stated.

Johnson says he chose not to endorse second-place finisher Winston Tubman because the former justice minister's supporters want him tried for war crimes.

Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission called for charges against Johnson for his time atop a rebel group that controlled parts of the capital early in the war. The commission said he should be barred from public office for 30 years, as should President Sirleaf because she raised money for Charles Taylor rebels.

President Sirleaf testified that she raised about $10,000 for Taylor but stopped when his rebels began committing human rights abuses in their march on Monrovia. Johnson says there is no evidence of his committing war crimes, noting that the video of Samuel Doe's torture does not show him killing the former president.

Jerome Verdier led Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “Prince Johnson committed crimes in the war in Liberia. He had arms. He rebelled against the state and killed people. So if Prince Johnson is not punished, what stops Prince Johnson from starting another round of conflict? What stops another Charles Taylor from doing something of the same kind? What stops another Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from resourcing and financing another group to come out against whosoever wins the elections? So we seem not to be making progress on the fundamental issues that matter simply because there is no political will,” he said.

The truth commission's report was submitted to the legislature, where there has been no action.

With Johnson's endorsement, President Sirleaf faces Tubman in a run-off November 8th.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More