Prince Yormie Johnson For Senator, For President?

By Theodore T. Hodge

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 27, 2004

I read an article by Moses Jolayemi about Prince Johnson’s planned return to Liberia with great sadness and perplexity. I’m in Cleveland and I’m sad and perplexed… Do you want to bet that there are many in Liberia for whom “sadness” does not begin to describe what they feel now? Many will have a number of emotions including sadness, anger, surprise, disbelief and fear, yes, absolute terror.

That Prince Johnson was a drunkard and murderer in Liberia is an open secret. Now Prince Johnson wants to become a senator from Nimba County and eventually president of Liberia? What am I missing? What exactly qualifies this thug for a leadership role? Is anyone out there, or am I the only one disturbed and alarmed by this news article? Well, for the record, I am! It is indeed a sorrowful and shameful day for Liberia, but that’s only my opinion.

According to Mr. Johnson, Chairman Gyude Bryant has extended an invitation to him to “come and be a part of the political process”. Did cutting off President Samuel K. Doe’s ears while drinking Budweiser Beer and smoking marijuana permanently qualify him for the “political process”?

Did Chairman Bryant actually send Vice Chairman Johnson to inform Prince Johnson to “come and join the process of reconstruction”? I hope some clarification regarding this matter will be forthcoming from the chairman and his team. My gut feeling is that it didn’t happen. But with an inquiring and open mind, I await further development on this matter. What exactly must Liberia be coming to? Prince Johnson? Part of the “political process”?

Mr. Prince Johnson claims to be interested in serving his “constituency” in Nimba. Does he have a constituency in Nimba after being away for 11 years? He claims to have his eye on the race for the senate – what qualifies him to be a senator from Nimba? Is it because Doe’s forces killed Quiwonkpa and he killed Doe and ate his ears? Does that qualify him to represent the people of Nimba in the Liberian Senate?

Johnson is said to have converted to Christianity. He is said to have “given his life to Jesus Christ at the Synagogue Church of All Nations, through the teachings of Prophet Temitope Joshua”. According to the article by Mr. Jolayemi, “Johnson was later ordained Evangelist at the Christ Deliverance Ministries in Lagos by Prophet Ekong James Ituem”.

Just for the record, let it be restated that this man left Liberia 11 years ago after a terrible and terrifying career as a soldier-turned-warlord. It is also a matter of record that he killed innocent citizens and terrified many others. Since leaving Liberia, he has converted from heathenism and barbarism to “Christianity” and has been ordained “evangelist” by Nigerian “prophets”… Does that qualify him to represent the people of Nimba and eventually the people of Liberia?

If Mr. Johnson has truly converted to Christianity and has “been ordained an evangelist” by these Nigerian “prophets”, wouldn’t it be logical for him to return home to open a branch of their ministries? Does he intend to practice evangelism in the Liberian Senate and eventually the Liberian presidency? This has reached the height of absurdity ---- again, that’s only my opinion.

I was hoping some well-respected group of citizens from Nimba County would have already written and spoken to disassociate themselves from this hooligan, this ragamuffin. That has not happened, to my knowledge, but there’s still plenty of time to do so, I hope. I am convinced that there are plenty of decent, qualified and forward-thinking people from the great county of Nimba. They need to come out and denounce this shameful attempt to highjack the Liberian nation and plunge it into a tragic nightmare again.

Over the coming weeks, I shall follow the development of this story while I wait to hear how the Bryant administration and the citizens of Nimba in particular, and the citizens of Liberia in general handle this ticking time bomb. I hope the right calls are made, sooner, rather than later. I’m not opposed to Mr. Johnson returning home, but he should not be entitled to any leadership role until he earns the people’s trust. He should not be imposed on the people by anybody. Like he says, he should learn to crawl before he jumps.