Sen. Johnson Fractures ‘Council Of Patriots’
Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson is still an advisor to the June 7 protest group, but said the ‘Council of Patriots’ should count him out of the street action it has planned in the month of July.
The group announced recently that it would further stage an anti-government protest on July 24 ahead of Liberia’s celebration of 172nd Independence Day, but changed plans after a statement from the United States Embassy near Monrovia frowned at the protest, calling the timing “misplaced.”The diplomatic mission further said that any such action “would instead convey a lack of commitment to national development.”
But speaking to reporters at the Capitol Building recently, Senator Johnson said the schedule for a possible renewed protest was “not right” therefore CoP cannot have his support as during the June 7 action.
“During a meeting, members agreed to stage a protest from July 24-26 and I made it very clear that the date was not good because it is around the Independence Day celebration, a historic day in Liberia,” the Bomi lawmaker said.
“I vowed not to do anything to undermine the July 26 celebration, and will also not take responsibility for anything that might happen to the contrary before and after,” he added.
The government of Liberia had warned there could be consequences for anybody attempting to disturb events marking the country’s most important day.
Meanwhile, Sen. Johnson has made it clear to his colleagues in the CoP that it is usually during the Independence Day celebration that lawmakers and central government and stakeholders dedicate development projects.
President George Weah expects as guests at least five West African heads of state, including Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari and Cote d’Ivoire’s Alassane Ouatarra for this year’s July 26 event.
Since the “Save the State” protest assembly in June, which has been hail as generally peaceful, the CoP continues to be rocked by internal wrangling that usually results in some key members breaking ranks.
There have been accusations and counter accusations of misappropriation of funds over the post-June 7 protest “financial report.”
In one case, former Montsorrado lawmaker Rufus Neufville left the CoP to form what he calls “Independent Council of Patriots,” after which a small political group, “Economic Freedom Fighters of Liberia” turned off its light against the protest group.
Also, another senator and adviser to the group, Margibi’s Oscar Cooper, said it was time he focused on the work his constituency sent him to do at the Capitol Building. He quit CoP.