Ex-warlord boosts Sirleaf's vote bid

2011-10-19 08:44
Monrovia - Ex-warlord Prince Johnson, who came third in Liberia's presidential polls, on Tuesday announced he would back Nobel peace laureate and incumbent president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in a run-off election.

The former rebel leader said he feared being prosecuted for war crimes if the main opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate won the vote and implemented the recommendations of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

"I have decided to join the Unity Party because the CDC officials have said that they will do everything to implement the TRC recommendations," Johnson told AFP.

"Because I do not want to go to The Hague [where the International Criminal Court is based] I prefer dealing with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is also indicted by the TRC."

The ICC has no investigation under way into Liberia, but a separate Special Court for Sierra Leone is trying Liberian former warlord and president Charles Taylor in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, Winston Tubman, who came second with 31% of votes and will face off against Sirleaf in a second round of voting on November 08, said he still believed he could win Johnson over to his side.

"I am still talking with him, and I believe that he will give us his support. The negotiation is going on well. He has not yet told us that he is not coming to us," he told AFP.

Key player

Before the elections Johnson said he would support the CDC in an eventual second round, and on Tuesday he said: "I am adaptable ... I can change at any time."

Johnson emerged as a surprise kingmaker after October 11 elections, which Sirleaf won with 44%, with 97% of votes counted. Her re-election bid could receive a significant boost from Johnson's 11.8% of the votes.

Alvin Wright, analyst and lecturer at University of Liberia, told AFP last week that the result of the run-off would boil down to negotiations, and neither party would hesitate to "negotiate with the devil" to win.

"When it comes down to it really you're looking at the negotiation skills of both parties - who is going to come and sit at the negotiating table to give him what he wants? Don't forget he's a key player, he holds the balls right now to say whether Unity Party can get into the chair or whether CDC can unseat Unity Party."

Sirleaf, who made history when she became Africa's first elected female president in 2005, jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize shortly before the October 11 election for her work in rebuilding the country and boosting women's rights.

While a darling of the international community, she has faced criticism at home for her failure to implement the TRC report which highlights her shady ties to Taylor and suggests she be banned from office.

The same report names Johnson - a former rebel leader who was infamously filmed ordering his men to cut off the ears of dictator Samuel Doe - among those who should face prosecution.

Sirleaf says she initially backed Taylor's efforts to overthrow Doe - which sparked the country's first civil war in 1989 - but became his fierce opponent when the full extent of his atrocities became clear.

Fragile democracy

Johnson, a former lieutenant of Taylor who broke away to form his own rebel faction, told AFP in a recent interview that "Madame Sirleaf was our strong supporter".

While Sirleaf initially promised to serve only one term, she has said she needs more time to continue rebuilding the "broken country".

The second post-war elections are seen as key to cementing a fragile democracy which still relies heavily on an 8 000-strong UN peacekeeping mission.

The United Nations and observers praised the first round vote as smooth and peaceful, however opposition parties including the CDC threatened to pull out of the process, claiming the vote had been tampered with.

Tubman has since confirmed he would take part in the second round election.

Claims of fraud raised tensions in the country still emerging from 14 years of back-to-back civil wars claiming a quarter of a million lives that finally ended in 2003.

Read more on:    icc  |  prince johnson  |  ellen johnson sirleaf  |  liberia  |  liberia elections  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.