By: Jeremiah Sackie Cooper
Liberia-May 24, 2023: The Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) has described a recent attack on the church of its Political Godfather Sen. Prince Y. Johnson
as calculated and well-organised Assassination attempt by authorities of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC)-led government.
On Sunday May 21, 2023, a group of young people wearing CDC berets and National Patriotic Party (NPP) T-Shirts along with banners disrupted the regular Sunday worship service at the Christ Chapel of Faith Church in the LBS community in Paynesville, a church owned and operated by Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson.
The group of young people chanting the slogans of the prosecution of Sen. Johnson through a war crimes court. “WE WANT WAR CRIMES COURT”.
The protest caused commotion between members of the church and the protesters.
Sen. Johnson and other war criminals have admitted to committing atrocities during the years of civil unrest in Liberia and have further asked for forgiveness in order for peace to reign.
However, the CDC, in a release, has denied any violent act by any of its supporters against Senator Johnson at his church.
“The group appeared to be exercising these rights in a non-violent manner. Even Senator Johnson, against whom the protest was directed, did not say in his interview with the VOA following the protest that it was violent. For the Unity Party to come to such conclusion and accused the CDC is an act of political desperation; so desperate that it now called the former warlord – who they have long denigrated – “a respected religious leader”. This shows how they came up with the unconscionable idea of aspiring to have his protégé within a heartbeat of the presidency”, CDC release added.
Consequentially, the MDR in a statement issued on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, noted that the Sunday’s attack at the Christ Chapel of Faith Church was politically motivated and shows lawlessness.
MDR release further noted that hours before the attack, Senator Johnson after receiving hints of the planned attack from residents of the LBS community, called authorities of the Liberia Nation Police to provide security and prevent the situation but they could did not show up.
The Movement of Democracy and Reconstruction indicated that the refusal of the state security to rescue the situation was as a sign of conspiracy.
The MDR which is a former coalition member of the governing Coalition for Democratic Change, now in collaboration with the opposition political party Unity Party noted that every Liberian are born equal and must be protected under the laws of the country, rather than being denied certain rights due to their political participation.
“It is quite important to reemphasize and register the MDR’s disappointment and frustration in the state security; the Incident was jointly calculated, planned and executed in collaboration with the Liberia National Police-LNP, this is from the backdrop that after residents of the LBS community hinted the Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, he subsequently placed multiples calls to relevant security Actors including the Director of the Liberian Police Mr Patrick Sudue, unfortunately, the police intentionally arrived at the Christ Chapel of Faith Premises two hours after the incident has already occurred”, the MDR release added.
“It is also worth mentioning here that, the recent attack on the Senator, the Godfather of Nimba, Evangelist Johnson and his congregation would’ve been avoided by the Liberia National Police since he alerted the police a little over two hours before the incident”, MDR noted through its release.
MDR at the same time condemned the attack against its Governing Council Chairman and wants the International community to intervene in the matter, with the Liberian government launching a full-scale investigation into the matter.
“The Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) condemns in the strongest terms the May 21, 2023 violent protest against its Governing Council Chair Senator Prince Y. Johnson at the premises of his Christ Chapel of Faith Church in Paynesville behind the Liberia Broadcasting System-LBS.The Movement for Democracy & Reconstruction wants to use this medium to call on the International Community including the American Government, the European Union, the ECOWAS Commission and the African Union to Intervene. We want the international Community to join us in calling on the Weah led Government to conduct investigation into the May 21, 2023 disruption at the Christ Chapel of Faith Church”, the release said.
Authorities of the MDR thinks the refusal of Senator Johnson to support the second term bid of the Weah-led government is exacerbating the wave of attacks on him
Sen. Johnson now supports former Vice President Joseph Boakai of the Unity Party.
The MDR said that if nothing is done to stop the attacks, they foresee harm coming to the Nimba County Senator.
“The Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) notes with deepest concern that, threats on the life of Senator Johnson are becoming consistent since he withdrew his support for the second term bid of the footballing President George M. Weah.
Ladies & Gentlemen of the Press, the issue of establishing a War Crime Court should not be politicized by regime collaborators as a way of silencing critical voices including the Nimba County Senator” the release revealed.
However the MDR backs the Senator’s participation in the 14 years of civil crisis in Liberia. “Nimbaians whom Senator Johnson represents at the Legislature are people who majoritively were equally victims of the 14 years of civil unrest, they too, like any Liberian that was affected by the War deserve Justice. Even Senator Prince Johnson deserves justice; oh yes! His mother was brutally murdered in cold blood.
Sen. Johnson’s participation in the Liberian Civil War was a result of extreme marginalization, killing and intimidation of Nimbaians over the Country; more than that, Sen. Johnson as a revolutionary Leader felt the need to liberate his people”, the release stated.
Prior to the MDR release, and in response to the Protest, Sen. Prince Y. Johnson announced during a press conference that he will gather over 500 men including Ex-combatants to protect the premises of his church every Sunday in an attempt to stop the protesters.
The Nimba County Senator has since accused Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, Vice-President Jewel Howard Taylor, President George Manneh Weah and several top government officials of masterminding his attacks at the Church Premises.
Meanwhile, Calls for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes court in Liberia begun since the Sirleaf-led administration up to and including the Weah-led government.
Following the 12yrs rule of Madam Sirleaf, the Court’s establishment failed. Victims of the years of war in Liberia anticipated the court’s establishment based on Pres. Weah’s strong advocacy for Justice and peace.
Six (6) year and there is no sign of the War and Economic Crimes Court’s establishment.
In 2017, Sen. Johnson support the presidential bid of Pres. Weah, something analysts believe stalled the Court’s establishment based on the strong ties Sen. Johnson and Pres. George Weah had.