Investigation being conducted into the disruption of the Sunday service at the Christ Chapel of Faith Ministries of Senator Prince Y. Johnson suggests that the group of youth who stormed the church were indeed of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), but loyalist of former Chairman James Biney, who recently pledged his support for an opposition victory in the 2023 general and presidential elections.
On Sunday, May 21, 2023 a group of youth wearing NPP regalia stormed the church of Senator Prince Johnson in Paynesville, holding placards, chanting battle cries and calling for a war crimes court for the former warlord. Fearing for their own safety, the congregation, which had gone to the church to worship, began to flee the scene.
Immediately, Senator Johnson called a press conference and informed newsmen that the scene was masterminded by President George M. Weah, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, Monrovia Mayor Jefferson Koijee and Maritime Commissioner Lenn Eugene Nagbe. He warned that he is not out for instability but vowed to protect his church with 500 men to avoid the reoccurrence of the disruption.
Responding to the allegation, Mayor Koijee said the situation was designed by Senator Johnson and other members of the opposition block as “scare political tactics” intended to instill fear and make citizens panic ahead of the presidential and legislative elections in the country.
Also, Vice President Howard-Taylor condemned the attack on Senator Johnson’s church, denied any involvement in the attack and maintained that she stands by what she signed onto: upholding the peace and unity of the country.
Amidst these accusations and rebuttals, investigation conducted by the Hot Pepper revealed that the attack on PYJ’s church was led by Peter Bleedi, Jr.
According to unconfirmed sources, Bleedi is a militant of VP Taylor and an employee of the Ministry of Mines and Energy. According to them, VP Taylor is making frantic efforts to have him appointed as an assistant minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, the Hot Pepper’s investigation suggests that Bleedi is the NPP Youth Council’s National Vice Chair for Press and Publicity, a former employee of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, and now a staffer in the office of former NPP Chairman, James Biney. He became a legislative staffer after the 2020 midterm election, when James Biney won a senatorial position and recruited him to his office.
The NPP is currently engulfed with political confusion, with Senator Biney heading one of the groups and VP Taylor heading the other. The rift has been on-going for a while, with constituent parties of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) intervening, but without any fruitful result.
As it stands, VP Taylor is seen to have won the political warfare of the party and taken full control, while Senator Biney was recently heard giving his support to the opposition at a program marking the honoring of Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence by the Senate staffers, even though he still considers himself a member of the NPP.
If it can be ascertained that Bleedi is a loyalist of Maryland County Senator Biney, then it can be argued that the scene at Senator Johnson’s church was masterminded by individuals who did not mean well for Vice President Taylor and the CDC.
Elections are about five months away, and politicians are on their heels to get the support of the electorate, but these forms of political chicaneries have the propensity of derailing the hard-earned peace and stability of the country.
What is more troubling is a response emanating from the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) stating that on May 17, 2023 an operative of the Executive Protection Service (EPS), whose name was withheld, walked into the residence of Senator Prince Johnson and informed him of a planned attack on him by Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor.
Even though, the MDR had such information which is a national security threat, the political institution failed to publicly make known the information. More besides, Johnson openly invited Vice President Howard-Taylor, who is the Standard Bearer of the National Patriotic Party (NPP), and the general public to his worship service on Sunday, leaving critics to wonder as to whether the allegation is actually true or was the invitation part of the calculated plan to frame the VP and the CDC.