‘Unity Party’s Victory Could Make Prince Johnson President’ – VP Howard-Taylor Rips UP Apart
MONROVIA – Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor said owing to ex-VP Joe Boakai’s “poor health”, a victory for him comes October could land Senator Prince Y. Johnson the Liberian presidency.
Speaking at an event at the Capitol on Thursday, she said it is an open secret that Amb. Boakia is not well, and if elected and dies in office, power will be shifted to Senator Johnson, a political Godfather of Senator Jeremiah Koung, Boakai’s running mate.
“This team that they are putting together on their side – Boakai-Koung team, we all know that the Vice President is not well,” she said.
“Everybody knows. And I just want ask the press people one question. God forbid, people elect Vice President boakia as President of Liberia, and he dies in seat, who will be president? [crowd answers Prince Johnson] So, we [are] coming to make Prince Johnson President? You need to think about it very carefully.”
Senator Johnson, a former rebel leader, has emerged as one of the most influential politicians in post war Liberia, thanks to huge support he enjoys from his vote-rich native Nimba County.
But his role in Liberia’s brutal civil war – orchestrating the death of a sitting president (Samuel Kanyon Doe) and committing other crimes continues to haunt him. He is among several Liberians including VP Howard Taylor’s ex-husband, former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor that were recommended by the erstwhile Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to face prosecution for crimes committed during the war.
Once a political ally of President George Weah and the Coalition for democratic Change (CDC), Johnson was instrumental in Weah and Howard-Taylor’s emphatic victory during the 2017 presidential elections.
In late 2022, he severed ties with the President and crossed over to Amb. Boakai. In a quickfire arrangement, the Unity Party Standard Bearer Handpicked Senator Koung, the MDR political leader and standard bearer as his running mate.
The ticket is said to have sent the ruling establishment into a frenzy. To make matter worse for the CDC, Senator Nyonblee Karngar-Lawrence and Darius Dillon pledged their support to the Boakai-Koung ticket.
Vice President Howard-Taylor, speaking about the Boakai-Koung ticket for the first time, cautioned Liberians that are backing the Unity Party to think deeply before making any decision.
She made the statement at a forum organized by a group of legislative staffers in support of the re-election bid of President George Weah and her. The action of the staffers, dubbed themselves Majority bloc, was in counter reaction to some of their colleagues who had pledged their support to the Unity Party a day earlier.
The Pro-Weah group, condemned their colleagues’ ‘unruly behavior’ and said majority of them have decided to support President Weah and the Vice President.
The pro-Unity Party staffers named salary cut, massive corruption, mysterious deaths and the proliferation of drugs abuse as some of the reasons they are turning away from the CDC-led government.
The staffers, celebrating Senator Karngar-Lawrence as the ‘true Rescue Mother’, said they were inspired by her “selfless decision” in endorsing the UP and pledged their commitment to rally all Liberians including their families and friends to join the ‘mission to rescue Liberia’.
But in respond, Vice President Howard Taylor said the staffers were coerced by the opposition lawmakers to pledged their support to the Unity Party. The Vice President mocked the UP and its affiliates’ ‘Rescue Liberia’ mantra, saying they are not up for rescuing Liberia, rather, they are up for rescuing themselves.
“There is no rescue mission from the other side. If you say you want to rescue somebody, stop talking all the plenty things and show what you have done,” she said.
She said under President Weah, Liberia has experienced huge transformation including pavement of roads, improved health and education, as well as a stable economy. The greatest of them all she said, is the securing the peace and promotion of freedom of expression.
The event was also attended by top lawmakers of the ruling party including Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Senators Saah Joseph (Montserrado County), Joseph Jallah (Lofa County), Reps. Acarous Gray (District #8, Montserrado), Johnson Gwaikolo (District #9, Nimba County) and Matthew Fair Play Joe (Grand Bassa County), among others.