‘We’ll Turn PJY Over For War Crimes’ -UP Plots to ‘Appease USA and International Community’?

MONROVIA : The monkey hardly leaves behind its black hands, so a Liberian parable goes. Unity Party is at it again. When the International Community, back in 2006, needed the head of ex-president Charles McArthur Kankay Taylor, and there were doubts if a Liberian would turn over another Liberian, it took the Unity Party to do so. The UP administration signed onto the deal, surrendered a Liberian president to a foreign court, the War Crimes Court. President Taylor was canned, subdued and bounded away. Unity Party’s dragnets are turning onto yet another Liberian, who has survived arrest and war crimes prosecution in the last decade. Leaks from a WhatsApp chatroom unveil virulent comments from senior UP stalwarts about their determination and plan to give up Nimba County strongman Prince Yormie Johnson to face international tribunal for war crimes. The motive for this latest UP decision, as The Analyst reports, is to appease the international community which allegedly harbors disgusts for the party’s association with the Senator.

Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson or PYJ is in trouble waters. Towards possible runoff in the 2023 elections, former ruling Unity Party has hatched a plan to surrender the “kingmaker” to the international community to face war crimes prosecution if they win the elections.

Prince Y. Johnson killed an incumbent Liberian president, Samuel K. Doe, on camera and is widely credited for the broad-day execution of thousands of Liberians during the heydays of the Liberian civil war.

He has long been a suspect of egregious atrocities, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, but has managed to evade arrest and prosecution since the end of the civil war in 2003. He just won his third 9-year senatorial term since 2005.

But when the former ruling party regains power by winning the 2023 elections, the PYJ luck might end. What they could not do in their first 12 years in power is something they are now planning as an appeasement of the international community for harboring PYJ in their system.

Stalwarts who are chief advisors to the UP Standard-Bearer Joseph Boakai were caught discussing the fact of the Nimba County Senator in case they win the pending elections.

“We will indict him for war crimes and turn him over to the ICJ (International Court of Justice) for the allegation he faces for killing 250k Liberians,” wrote a UP stalwart in a Campaign Strategy WhatsApp Chatroom.

He added: “Once we don’t have Prince Johnson around, we are save. The Nimbaians are fools to believe that we will allow our son and President to sleep in bed with a murderer. We have no choice but to preserve our government and people.”

Though one or two discussants in the UP Campaign Chatroom indicated they had a different point of view on how to deal with the PJY factor, a majority of them said it was necessary to keep an UP administration clean of PYJ in order to save its international image.

Said the first discussant who introduced the PYJ topic: “The history of Prince Johnson is well known that we have used him to deliver Nimba, although the percentage is low, our anticipations we cannot let him lose. We have agreed as a prospective cabinet and Amb. Boakai to deal with the Prince Johnson agenda within the first 100 days in our administration.

“This will be our way of [appeasement] to the US government and the international community who are angry with us for keeping PYJ around to support us.”

He said a UP government will “indict him and turn him over to the ICJ for the allegation he faces for killing over 250k Liberians. Once, we don’t have Prince Johnson, we are save.”

More discussants in the chatroom, except for a few ones, were unanimous in their view that Liberia, under a Unity Party Government, will be uncompromising in their repulsion of the likes of the Nimba County Senator who committed heinous crimes against unarmed civilians, including babies and pregnant women.

While their colleagues were pleading for a pause on such a sensitive discussions at these sensitive times regarding PYJ prosecution, as they had not won elections and need the Nimba vote, others said it was necessary to flag the caveat in advance because those who killed during the civil war would not go with impunity, and the minds and hearts of high-ups in a UP government needed to be prepared for it.

It is the opinion of some that though Prince Johnson survived the first 12 years of the Unity Party administration and six years of Coalition for Democratic Change administration, he would highly likely not survive if UP wins for the second time.

First Cabinet List leaked

Also unveiled from the UP Campaign Chatroom is a purported list of what is to be the initial cabinet appointments should former Vice President Boakai wins the pending runoff.

The leaked list of UP’s would-be cabinet include: Tornolah Varpilah, Minister of Agriculture; Amin Moda, Minister of Commerce and Industry; Alaric Tokpah, Minister of Education; Slyvester Nyumah, Minister of Finance and Development Planning; John B. Fello, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Madam MacDella Cooper, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Others on the leaked list are: Sando Sherman, Ministry of Health of Social Welfare; Jerolimek M. Piah, Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism; Moses W. Vah, Ministry of Internal Affairs; Cllr Benedict Sannoh, Ministry of Justice; Cllr. Neto Z. Lighe, Sr., Ministry of Labor; Sando D. Johnson, Ministry of Mines and Energy, and Stephen Zargo, Ministry of National Defense.

Still others include the following: Cllr. Cooper Kruah, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications; Roland Giddings, Ministry of Public Works; Jacob Kabakole, Ministry of State; Rev. J. Luther Tarpeh, Ministry of Transport; Cllr. Cole Bangalu, Ministry of Youth and Sports; Patrick Honnah, Presidential Press Secretary.

Regarding Autonomous Agencies as per the leaked list of supposed UP officials in case of win, here are the following nominees: Joseph N. Boakai, Jr., Liberia Maritime Authority; Chris Massaquoi, Liberia National Police; Brownie Samukai, Liberia Petroleum Refining Company; Armah Jallah, National Port Authority; Stephen R. Johnson, Internal Audit Agency; Mo Ali, National WASH Commission, and Dorr Cooper, National Transit Authority.

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