Thursday, 5 May 2011


“My main reason of resigning is that Senator Johnson is taking this party to be his personal property. And political parties are not personal properties of people. And, because he is my god friend, he and myself are Senators, I want us to remain on course and this is why I am withdrawing to allow him take his party to see how far he alone will carry this party”.

Senator Abel Momolu Massaley, senior Senator of Grand Cape Mount County

Julius Kanubah, (+2316586240)

The rising political upheaval in the newly established National Union for Democratic Progress of Nimba County Senator and Presidential aspirant Prince Johnson has apparently plunged the Party into disintegration with yet strong evidence of dictatorial tendency still within the once-feared warlord.

Senator Johnson who in January of 2010 announced his Presidential bid has now been left in the cold with the resignation of key officials of the Party.

The latest is Johnson’s chosen Vice Presidential running mate Senator Abel Momolu Massaley, senior Senator of Grand Cape Mount County and executive of the National Patriotic Party and ally of detained former President Charles Taylor.

Senator Massaley, a seasoned Legislator and Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, has for some time now, been in a row with his Presidential running mate, Johnson over the legitimate leadership of the NUDP and the running of the Party.

Letting go all ties

Amidst the differences, Massaley has finally let go his ties with aspirant Johnson by declaring his immediate withdrawal of all financial, moral and membership support to the NUDP.

Said Massaley, in an interview with FrontPageAfrica Thursday: “I want to use this medium today to tell you the press and the Liberian people that I’m going to withdraw all my finances. I’m withdrawing all my financial support because the philosophy on which we are building the party, that philosophy is being miscued. My membership is also withdrawn meaning I will no longer support it as a key financier behind this party as I have made a lot of contribution to the registration of this party and contribution toward the membership drive”.

In announcing his resignation, Senator Massaley revealed that in solidarity with his stance, the entire support of the Western region of Liberia which he has lured to the NUDP will resign.

“My main reason of resigning is that Senator Johnson is taking this party to be his personal property. And political parties are not personal properties of people. And, because he is my god friend, he and myself are Senators, I want us to remain on course and this is why I am withdrawing to allow him take his party to see how far he alone will carry this party”.

The resignation announcement by Senator Massaley has definitely also thrown his Vice Presidential bid into complete jeopardy though the Grand Cape Mount Senator claimed he knew his alliance with former rebel General Prince Johnson could have collapsed.

“The reason why I did not look at Senator Johnson’s face to reject his decision to name me a Vice Presidential running to him was that I though he is a Senator like myself who was elected by the people who have a very high sense of judgment. So when he said he wants to be the President of this Country and I should help assist him in the process, I interposed no objection but I know [knew] down the line that Senator Johnson was going to fall”.  

Dictatorial Tendency: Gloomy portrait of PYJ

Commenting on whether Senator Johnson is a good presidential material, Massaley was blunt to openly paint a gloomy picture of the characteristics of the once feared rebel field-Marshall, the Nimba Senator and Presidential aspirant.

“For the short time that we have spent together interacting with each other, he [Senator Johnson] has some dictatorial tendency. I told Senator Johnson the fact you are not the incorporator of this party you are not the leader. The fact that they [NUDP] called you political leader, the Election Commission does not know that nomenclature. Those are nomenclatures of appeasement and that you are imposing yourself as standard bearer”.

Massaley rejected suggestion that he was now leaving the NUDP presumed political leader and Presidential aspirant Prince Johnson in the cold, insisting that he told the resigned Party Chairman of the NUDP Emmanuel Lomax that Senator Johnson has a despotic tendency.

“I’m not going to tell the Liberian people whether they should vote for Senator Johnson or not but I took my decision to withhold my financial support forgetting about the Vice Presidential issue. I’m not leaving Senator Johnson in the cold. He is still my friend. I told Lomax long time ago that I suspected the dictatorial tendency of Prince Johnson but he did not really believe in me because he felt I was trying to use my leverage to overturn things. But thank God today he himself has come to the realization that what I foresaw long ago were all truth”.

The former political ally of Senator Johnson explained that his departure and those of others from the NUDP which was created after President Sirleaf declared her 2nd term bid in 2010 will be a clear disintegration of the NUDP as more resignations will follow. “Now you can see Prince Johnson has thrown himself down”!

Tribal demeanor

The issue of tribal politics playing in the NUDP has also been in the air with mounting criticisms that Senator Johnson was planting and imposing his kinsmen from Nimba into the party to ensure total control and authority over the party. Massaley confirmed the existence of such tribal demeanor in Prince Johnson which he said was repeatedly being discussed in the NUDP’s circle. “I don’t want to be personal with people of Nimba County because even some of them raised concern that the party should not be tribalized. They are well-meaning people from Nimba County, some of them raised concern that we cannot tribalize a political party that is supposed to be seeking state power. Such party, according to them must reflect geopolitical representation.

Massaley acknowledged that Nimba County was a vote-rich territory and that there will be a battle for the votes in the 2011 elections but that in his words should not amount to Nimbaians taking over the party structure of the NUDP as other regions needed to be represented.

“We do agree that Nimba County is a very large County in terms of population and a lot of people will compete for the support of that County. But in the competition it does not mean everybody from Nimba County must be the one now to take the lead in the NUDP”.

No time to castigate

After more than a year of close ally with Senator Johnson who some view as being unpredictable, Massaley refused to provide information on the lessons learnt from his interactions with the former leader of the Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia (INPFL). He explained: “My decision is not to castigate Senator Johnson in any way. I’m not here to castigate him. I’m giving you my position as a far as our interactions are concern, relative to coming together and bringing-up a political arrangement that could deliver the goods for the Liberian people and all of these kind of things. And, I told Senator Johnson on repeated occasions, that Senator Johnson the military we all once served in is not like politics. In politics your own son can disagree with you. You can disagree to agree and that at the end of the day, your disagreement and agreement must leave the organization in tact so that progress can be made”.

Lawsuit threat: Eyeing $30K back

One critical issue raised by Senator Massaley is the huge amount of resources he pumped into the NUDP with the hope of ensuring it becomes a vibrant and viable political institution that will help to shape the leadership of Liberia. But now he says the thirty thousand US dollars (US$30, 000) which he [reportedly] spent on the NUDP will be legally pursued to ensure his money is returned to him.

“I’m saying that I’m going to withhold all my financial support and in fact there are lots of finances the party owes and I’m going to demand them. I spent more than thirty thousand United States Dollars. Chairman Lomax can attest to this; the Secretary General D. Y. Hne, all of them can attest to it”. Both Emmanuel Lomax and D. Y. Hne are now former officials of the NUDP with the latter being the first to tender-in his resignation few Months ago while Lomax left the NUDP barely two days now. The key behind their resignations has been the interferences in their jobs and the unilateral decisions of Senator Johnson who they branded of being a dictator.

“I will sue the party if I can’t get my thirty thousand US dollars. I put the money in the party in consideration that we all will operate on the basis of understanding. But that is not the case now. I want my money back from Prince Johnson and the NUDP else I will go to Court with the matter”.

The rift between Senator Johnson and his hand-picked Vice Presidential running mate Massaley intensified during the illness of the Nimba lawmaker. Senator Johnson had declared that Massaley as a running mate was not concerned about his health condition because as his political ally he failed to visit him to show sympathy. Like Senator Johnson suggested it seems Massaley was paying back as Prince Johnson himself had refused [reportedly] to visit the ailing Secretary General [now formerly] D. Y. Hne who was hospitalized for days.

Eye for an eye?

“The battle line is … when Senator Johnson got sick…eh… when D. Y. Hne got sick first as Secretary General I made it first clear to Senator Johnson that D. Y. Hne is sick, let’s pay him a visit the entire Party Executive Committee. No one visited this man. I was the only one who visited him and consoled him and even aided him in underwriting some of costs of the hospital. That is the solidarity that should exist! For me I believe in principles because I believe in the version of the Ten Commandments that says do unto them as you would like them to do unto you. If you are sick, if someone is sick and the person is very closed to you and you can’t visit the person, why you think when you sick other people should visit you”?

Though Massaley was clear in justifying his apparent decision not to visit Senator Johnson who was seriously ill and had to go for advanced treatment, he declared that “the NUDP political leader is medically fit”. The Grand Cape Mount Senator also disclosed that he remains a partisan of the National Patriotic of Jewel Howard-Taylor but that he was in discussion with Dew Mayson’s National Democratic Coalition, Charles Brumskine’s Liberty Party and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s Unity Party. He ruled out any move to the Unity Party but said a deal with any opposition party was a probability though without certainty and no return to Prince Johnson’s NUDP.

The string of resignations in the NUDP now leaves Prince Johnson’s presidential bid in a serious limbo. Political observers say it will take time and effort to lure individuals of the same mind to the NUDP where Prince Johnson is thought to be the only decision maker and final arbiter. Critics of the former warlord say it appears he has not parted from his guerrilla posture as a revel commando who sees himself as a dominating force and dictator. With the elections drawing near, time is running out for Johnson to put his divided house in order as his declaration to democratically unseat the incumbent President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the most formidable candidate lingers in crisis.