By Reuben Sei Waylaun
The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) is reportedly planning to pay its political supporters particularly those who are recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for prosecution for their alleged roles in the atrocities committed against the state and its people.
Charles Taylor, Prince Yormie Johnson, Alhaji Kromah, Sekou Damate Konneh
Controversial Nimba County Senator, Prince Yormie Johnson alias ‘PYJ’, Charles Taylor, Roosevelt Johnson, Alhaji G. V. Kromah, Representative George Boley, Thomas Yaya Nimely, Sekou Damate Konneh, Francois Massaquoi among others are persons recommended for prosecution for gross human rights violations and war crimes by the TRC.
Senator Prince Yormie Johnson:
However, Senator Prince Yormie Johnson remains a strong political figure in his native Nimba County and Liberia at large. He once established the National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) and now Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR).
He contested the 2017 presidential elections and later supported now President George Manneh Weah which guaranteed his victory with almost a landslide over Joseph Nyuma Boakai of the then governing Unity Party (UP).
Since this election, Senator Johnson remains one of the closest ‘political godfathers’ to President Weah.
It is alleged that the Liberian leader placed 65% of every appointed position in Nimba County in the hands of Senator Johnson for Recommendation at his wish, something many citizens of the county have perpetually complained of.
Senator Johnson is the former head of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL) that is on record of destroying lives and properties during the war years in the country. President Weah is said to be careful of any decision regarding the establishment of war and economic crimes as demanded by Liberians.
Representative George Boley:
Representative George S. Boley of Grand Gedeh County electoral district two once served as head of the defunct Liberia Peace Council (LPC), a warring faction that committed heinous crimes during the war years in the country.
The Konobo district lawmaker is one of the influential citizens of Grand Gedeh County. Grand Gedeh County is one of those counties that heavily supported President George Weah ensuring his victory in the 2017 presidential and legislative elections.
Representative Boley is said to be one of the admirers of President Weah and the president is not prepared to take any decision that will hamper his second term bid in that part of the country.
Representative George S. Boley formerly of the Liberia Peace Council (LPC)
Alhaji G.V. Kromah & Sekou Damate Konneh:
Alhaji G.V. Kromah, the University of Liberia (UL) Mass Communications Lecturer is the former head of the then The United Liberation Movement for Democracy (ULIMO-K) was a rebel group that participated in the First Liberian Civil War (1989-1996 and is a member of the mandingo ethnic group, one of the 16 tribes in the country.
Sekou Damate Konneh is the former head of the then Liberia United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) and a member of the Mandingo ethnic group, one of the 16 tribes in the country.
Large portion of this group heavily voted for the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) which ensured the victory of President George Weah in 2017 elections. Implementing the demand of the other citizens would jeopardize the second term ambition of the president.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf:
Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf once admitted at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearing that she gave US$10,000 to convicted former Liberian President, Charles Ghankay Taylor for so-called ‘humanitarian services’ although Taylor was the head of the then National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), a rebel group that caused lots of carnage in the country between 1990-1996.
They are recommended by the TRC for prosecution, through the establishment of war and economic crimes court in the country.
The TRC submitted its findings and recommendations in 2009, after hearing from everyone concerning instabilities in the country between 1979 to 2003, but the recommendations are yet to be implemented even during the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Some of those Liberians who committed heinous crimes and escaped to Europe and United States of America have been tried and some convicted for their roles in the country’s civil war.
They include Mohammed Jabateh alias ‘Jungle Jabbah’, Martina Johnson, Agnes Taylor, Chuckie Taylor among others.
Formeer President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Liberians Demand Establishment of War and Economic Crimes Court or full Implementation of the TRC’s Recommendations:
Recently a petition for the establishment of war and economic crimes court was submitted to the Legislature, but from all indications, it seems the petition is dead on arrival.
CDC Government Position on the Citizens’ Demand:
The CDC led government through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICTA) has distanced itself from the demand of the citizens by ignoring their call for the establishment of war and economic crimes court in the country.
It can be recalled Deputy Minister Fahngon, told journalists that such demand is not a topmost priority for the government yet.
“We are not ignoring the calls for a war crimes court; it’s just that we want to focus on the things that matter most to the Liberian people right now and one of the things is the TRC except that it is not at the top of the list right now,” Fahngon said.
He validated his statement that it would do no good for Liberians when a war crimes court is established while the bulk of Liberians do not have jobs and access to basic services and amenities.
Many political pundits and human rights organizations are of the opinion that the establishment, would help end the culture of impunity which has permeated the society and at the same time help the country reconcile.
“The government position is very clear, at no point in time that this government said to anyone that we will not encourage a war crimes court, or we will encourage a war crimes court,” he said.
In opposition, the current chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), Mulbah Morlu was in the forerunner of advocacy for the implementation of the TRC recommendations.