Resignation of Liberia’s Defense Minister.. a Symbol of Weakness for the New President?

2 Min Read

In Liberia, newly elected President Joseph Boakai faces the first major crisis of his presidency just three weeks after taking office. A few days after his appointment, his Defense Minister, Prince Charles Johnson, was compelled to resign on Monday, February 12th.

A Chaotic Start to the Presidency

On Monday, February 12th, Joseph Boakai, Liberia’s new president, was compelled to part ways with his Defense Minister, Prince Charles Johnson. Johnson’s resignation came in the wake of protests by soldiers’ wives, who held him responsible for a decrease in their husbands’ salaries.

Prince Johnson’s resignation comes barely days after his appointment, leaving a void within the government, which remains incomplete three weeks after Joseph Boakai’s inauguration. Boakai had to cancel Monday’s celebrations of the national day dedicated to the armed forces, a first in twenty years.

Abdullah Kiatamba, a political analyst, views this as a sign of chaotic governance by the new president. “Joseph Boakai succumbed to street pressure. This could have been avoided. He could have invited these women to the table early in their mobilization and even suspended Prince Johnson’s appointment. But he did not. This problem existed before Prince Johnson. These women had the same grievances during the time of George Weah [the former president, from 2018 to 2023]. They suffer and deserve compensation,” explains the expert.

“This crisis escalated and spilled onto the streets. Boakai found himself destabilized. He remained passive and asked his vice president to intervene. The vice president went on a trip, leaving the situation unresolved. Then, Boakai canceled the day dedicated to the armed forces, unheard of in twenty years! Later, he forced his Chief of Staff to resign. It’s a sign of weakness, and people are starting to wonder if he is capable of managing crises. Can he prevent them before they escalate? For his first major test, it was a debacle,” he concludes.


Share this Article
Leave a comment