MONROVIA – The United States Embassy in Monrovia has expressed serious disappointment in the Liberian Senate following the election of former warlord Prince Y. Johnson as the chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security.
Senator Johnson was elected to the post on Tuesday may 13, 2021 on white ballot after Senator Steve Zargo of the Liberty Party withdrew from the race at the eleventh hour despite being assured by members of the collaborating Political Party of their unflinching support for the position.
However, barely 24 hours after the election of Senator Prince Y. Johnson, the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia in a statement stated that while U.S. government is proud of its longstanding partnership with the Ministry of National Defense and Armed Forces of Liberia which will continue — they can have no relationship with Senator Johnson.
The U.S. Embassy: “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. That the Liberian Senate would see fit to elevate him to a leadership role – 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 United States also raised concern over Cllr. Varney Sherman who has been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for corruption involving judicial bribery, remaining as chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions.
several individuals including Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon (Liberty Party) have expressed dismay over the ascendency of Senator Johnson as head of the Senate Committee of Security and National defense.
Senator Dillon in a Facebook post also expressed his disappointment on the withdrawal of Senator Steve Zargo (Lofa, Liberty Party) from the race after being assured of their unflinching support for the position.
“Notwithstanding, we will not relent in our fight for accountability and justice by and through the growing calls and demands for establishment of a War and Economic Crimes Court for Liberia to bring violators of the public trust to justice. God remains our guide and strength!” Senator Dillon stated.
According to Dillon, the election of Senator Johnson as the Chairman on National Defense and Security is troubling and can best be described as a stab in the fight for accountability.
The elections for some leadership positions became necessary after the December 8, 2020 special senatorial elections where some members of the Senate’s leadership were unable to retain their various seats in the Senate.
As per the Senate rules, elections for leadership positions are for six years. However, those elected on Tuesday will serve for three years. This means, they will turnover power in January 2024.
Despite calls from the US Embassy Near Monrovia to the Senate to rethink their decision, several individuals have given a opposing view to the US Embassy resent Statement, one of such individual is the Leader of the No Position Citizens of Liberia Alex S. Konah who took to his social media page asking as to whether the Prince Y. Johnson who served as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Security and National Defense during the administration of former President Ellen J. Sirleaf is different from the Prince Y. Johnson that was recently re-elected to the same position.
According to him if the US Embassy truly stands for the peace and security in the country they should have declared no confidence in the election of Senator Johnson as head of the Senate committee on security and national defense during the administration of former President Sirleaf.