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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid