-Why Queen Johnson’s appointment raises eyebrows

By Jerromie S. Walters

Early December 2023, the Liberia National Police declared Unity Party partisan Peaches Queen Johnson and several individuals wanted for an investigation into the death of Joshua Solomon, a supporter of the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC). 

On January 6, 2024, the Liberia National Police with immediate effect dismissed the then Chief Inspector of Police, who was also the  Chief of Technical Services of the Liberia National Police, Ithamar Harding of Unit 187, for facilitating the escape of murder suspect Peaches Johnson.

Unity Party stalwart, Peaches Johnson who is also known as the rescue queen was arrested on Friday, January 5, 2024, at the Red-Lion entertainment center in Central Monrovia, where she had gone to amuse herself.

According to ex-police spoke-man, H Moses Carter, while in root to the headquarters of the LNP,  she was driven off in the vehicle operated by senior police officer Ithamar Harding. “While in route to the headquarters of the Liberia National Police to have Madam Johnson face investigation, she was driven off the LNP headquarters  in the vehicle operated by one of our senior police officers Ithamar Harding, and as a result, absconded the scene here at the headquarters of the National Police.”

Since her sudden disappearance from police custody, there has been no update from the Liberia National Police regarding her status since she has been known to be a fugitive. There has also been no formal notice from Queen Johnson, the UP or the LNP as to whether or not she has submitted to a police inquiry.Shockingly, it has been reliably established that Johnson has been appointed as Director of Records at the National Port Authority ( NPA).

Earlier, it was predicted that she would have become a free citizen upon the ascendancy of the Unity Party (UP) to state power. Since it became known publicly, President Boakai has been criticized by some Liberians, while his critics say he has rewarded Ms. Johnson for what she was accused of. Also, efforts to further acquire from the Liberia National Police (LNP) on Johnson’s status through calls to the Police Spokesperson didn’t yield fruit.

In December 2023, the LNP issued an arrest warrant declaring Pitches Johnson wanted to face investigation for her role involving the death of Joshua Solomon who was beaten as the result of electoral violence that erupted between the Unity Party and the CDC in September 2023, and later died from internal bleeding.

According to the LNP, since declaring Miss. Johnson wanted to undergo investigation, she never responded to the call of the police, nor has the Unity Party turned her in for said investigation. “Since declaring Peaches Johnson wanted, she has never responded to our call. We wrote the Unity Party asking them to turn Miss Johnson in but since that communication, the Unity Party is yet to respond to the police.”

While the arrest warrant was issued by the LNP to have Peaches Johnson face investigation, the unity party in November 2023 appointed her as a member of the inauguration committee, overseeing the inaugural activities of Liberia’s 25th president Joseph Nyumah Boakai.

Joshua Solomon’s Tragic Demise

Joshua Solomon, a 35-year-old model and beauty pageant trainer, succumbed to injuries sustained during the just-ended electoral political campaign. A clash between supporters of the Unity Party and the Coalition for Democratic Change near the Vamoma House resulted in Solomon being brutally attacked on August 11, 2023, around the Unity Party’s campaign office in Sinkor.

Solomon, a member of the former ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of ex-President George M. Weah, was in the wrong place at the wrong time, wearing a beret with the CDC’s insignia. In a video that went viral, Solomon struggled to escape an onslaught of attacks with deadly objects, eventually seeking treatment at a local health center. Three months later, on December 1, he succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.

A medical report from Fredai Medican and Eye Clinic in Paynesville detailed Solomon’s injuries, including a concussion, severe bruises, physical trauma, encephalitis, and mild dislocation. The report’s authenticity is yet to be confirmed.

Queen Johnson in the Spotlight

As news of Joshua’s death spread, accusations arose, with some pointing fingers at Peaches Queen Johnson, a vocal female supporter of the Unity Party, as one of the ring leaders caught on camera in the brutalization of the deceased fashion model. In videos circulated on social media, Johnson is seen attempting to restrain Solomon amid the attack.

While calls for Johnson’s arrest and prosecution flooded social media, she challenged accusers to provide evidence of her role in Solomon’s demise. However, Liberians had a lot to say. “Now, she Peaches Johnson is doomed to live with THE STIGMA OF BEING A CRIMINAL, A MURDERER, AND A KILLER, AS HER CHILDREN STRUGGLE WITH THE STIGMA OF BEING THE CHILDREN OF A CRIMINAL, A MURDERER, AND A KILLER.”

Another Liberian related in dismay: “So what other evidence is there to prove that the accused are guilty when the video of the brutal attack on the young man is trending on social media? What evidence must be produced to prove that those accused are guilty of this gruesome act? Unless people involved in such despicable and dangerous acts are dealt with in accordance with the law, this will continue and more and more people will fall victim to this barbaric act. We cannot normalize this crazy in our country.”

The Lofa scenario

It can be referenced that the Tenth Judicial Circuit Court inVoinjama City, Lofa County, recently dropped all charges (murder, criminal mischief, criminal conspiracy, criminal solicitation, disorderly conduct and obstruction of highways, possession and sale of physical objects for lethal use) levied against Josiah Saahkeh, Peter T.O. James, S. Njamilah Borngoui and several others.

They were charged with the above crimes and sent to court based on their alleged involvement in the September 29, 2023,political crisis that resulted in the loss of two lives in Foya City, Foya Statutory District, Lofa County. While the matter was still in court, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai Sr, President of the Republic of Liberia, designated Josiah Saahkeh as Foya City Mayor, Peter T. O. James as Foya Statutory District Superintendent, and S. Njamilah Borngoui as Foya Administrative District Commissioner. 

Following their nomination with other local leaders of Lofa County, the Liberian Senate didn’t confirm them due to the gravity of their case before the court. According to Arthur Kowah, Chief of Office Staff in the office of Senator Momo Cyrus, senator of Lofa County, the three nominees were asked to get clearance from the court before being confirmed by the Liberian Senate. Kowah told journalists that the decision of the Senate was based on a concern raised by Rep. Thomas Fallah, Representative of Electoral District 1, Lofa County, who vowed previously that under no condition, Josiah, Peter, and Borngoui would be confirmed due to their alleged involvement in the lost of lives in Foya during the 2023 General Elections.

Rep. Fallah said, that confirming the nominees in question to serve their respective posts will be like rewarding them for the atrocities they committed. “Liberia is a country of laws and we say no to impunity”. He added. On September 29, 2024, in Foya, a brutal clash between CDC and UP occurred, resulting in the loss of two lives ( males). Following the police investigation, Josiah Saahkeh, Peter T.O. James, Njamilah Borngoui, and several others were charged with multiple crimes as mentioned above, and were sent to court. 

The defendants on many occasions argued that the state had no evidence against them; accusing the former ruling CDC of indicting them falsely for political reasons. The Court has however, on May 27, 2024, dismissed said case and restored the defendants’ rights and liberties of the individuals.

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