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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora