US Embassy Blasts Liberian Senate -Over Leadership Positions to PYJ, Sherman

One can call it meddling or interference, but the United States of America does not want appear to have ears for that. It prides itself as the bastion of civil liberties, freedom and accountability and, more besides, it is Liberia’s biggest donor and foremost diplomatic anchor point upon which this West Africa nation rests. And, as it is said, ‘where one puts in money he puts in mouth’. Even as 54th Senate of the National Legislature elects its committee leaderships, something that complete at its own volition and choice, the United States would not leave it go unnoticed. It has tendered a damning critique for some of those elected to key positions, specifically Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson and Grand Cape Mount Senator Varney B. Sherman. As The Analyst reports, the US embassy near Monrovia has gone out of its usual diplomatic euphemism on Liberian matters and has come out with a rather brutal censure of the Senate over its pick of the two senators.

On Tuesday, May 18, the Liberian Senate elected Chairperson and their assistants to various committees. Amongst those selected were Senator Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba County and Varney Gbotoe Sherman of Grand Cape Mount County.

The results of the senate leadership elections have been talk of the town, with many weighing particularly on Senate Johnson who was elected to the post of Chairperson for Senate Committee on Defense and National Security while Senator Sherman was elected or reelected Chairperson on Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition.

Prince Johnson carries a moral dint at a result of his role in the civil conflict at which time many believed he committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. He’s widely seen to be possible indictee when a war crimes court is established in the country.

Sherman also got a dint for his role in a mining agreement between Liberia and a foreign company—a agreement which international investigation find him culpable for bribery.

Before inks got dry on the reports of the election of these two senators by their colleagues, the United States Embassy in Monrovia issued a very explicitly damning statement for the action by the Senate.

The statement states: “The U.S. Embassy strongly condemns the election yesterday of notorious warlord Prince Y. Johnson as Chair of the Liberian Senate Committee on Defense and Intelligence.  Senator Johnson’s gross human rights violations during Liberia’s civil wars are well-documented; his continued efforts to protect himself from accountability, enrich his own coffers and sow division are also well known.”

The Embassy said the election of Senator Johnson to a leadership role in the Senate, particularly in the area in which he has done this country the most harm, creates doubts as to the seriousness of the Senate as a steward of Liberia’s defense and security.

“The U.S. government is proud of our longstanding partnership with the Ministry of National Defense and Armed Forces of Liberia which will continue — but we can have no relationship with Senator Johnson.”

The statement also turned the Embassy’s venom on Counselor Varney Sherman, stating that the election of Sherman who was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for corruption involving judicial bribery, as chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions, leaves much to desire.

“By giving Senators Johnson and Sherman these leadership roles, the Senate is effectively ensuring that corruption and lack of accountability flourish,” the Embassy asserts further.

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