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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid