AFL Chief of Staff Reiterates Readiness to Deal with ‘Politicians’

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COS Johnson: "Our soldiers are professional trained to maintain the country's peace."

Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) Chief of Staff, Major General Prince C. Johnson, III, has reiterated its readiness to deal with people, particularly “politicians” who continue to make political utterances on issues relative to the security of the state, as doing so, without knowing the consequences, is tantamount to undermining the country’s peace.

Gen. Johnson’s warning came in the wake of a series of comments on radio phone-in show by people claiming to be politicians, but who are “absolutely ignorant of the inner workings of the military and the security sector of the country.”

He spoke on Monday, December 10, at the start of a two-day training for journalists under the title, “Defense Correspondents.” Gen. Johnson said that there are lots of “well-informed politicians,” some of them presuming to have close ties with state powers, but do not know the serious security implications of what they say on various media outlets, including radio phone-in programs.

“We are sometimes taken aback when we hear people, who are close to state powers, making remarks that could jeopardize the country’s security, particularly the AFL,” Johnson said.

He further stated that politicians tailor their views on issues of national concern to get votes, though, at some point, they might be right; but the majority of their comments are intended to gain them popularity.

It may be recalled that on November 26, the Chief of Staff assured Liberians and foreign residents of the AFL’s readiness to deal with any threat in the aftermath of the establishment of the war crimes’ court in the country. This followed what the AFL considered as a statement of threat in so-called ‘self-defense’ and ‘big mouth talk’ of anyone feeling threatened for their actions in the civil war.

Gen. Johnson then said, “Nobody can reverse our gains to peace, because we are trained to deal with any security threat, issued by a former warlord or whoever.”

At Monday’s event, Gen. Johnson said it will be fair enough on the part of journalists to contact relevant authorities within the military or at the Ministry of National Defense before reporting on issues of sensitive security nature to the public.

According to him, when there is any security issue, journalists should make it their duty to contact some former security experts in the country to get the appropriate information on related issues.

He said when information pertaining to the movement of troops is not properly handled with adequate knowledge, it could eventually lead to serious security implications, adding that politicians and other stakeholders should be speaking on issues they are well abreast of instead of commenting based on mere sentiments.

On the role of the media, Gen. Johnson said building partnership with the media, looking at the critical role it plays in information dissemination, is important in that the partnership between the media and the military remain cordial so that the public understands what the army is doing in terms of improving the livelihood of the citizens.

He said if information going out there pertaining to security is sent out wrongly, there could be chaotic consequences to undermine the country’s peace.

The two-day training aims to strengthen relations between the Liberian media and the AFL and to foster a better working relationship.

The gathering also seeks to discuss how the media, the AFL, and the Defense authorities can foster a better working relationship in the months and years ahead, with the media being used as a channel in reaching out to the public.

The MoD and the AFL see the media as a critical partner in the discharge of their duties. As such, a cordial and harmonious working relationship is important in helping the ministry and the AFL deliver on their statutory mandate.

Several topics, including “Understand the Military Environment,” “National Obligations in Handling Security Information,” the “Role of the Media in Reporting Security Issues,” and “AFL Legal System,” were discussed at Monday’s gathering.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Great to have such assurance. The AFL is one of the highly disciplined institution of govt today. We are proud of the leadership, the men and women in the AFL for the lever of integrity you continue to demonstrate since the SSR. Thanks to you to our army.

  2. This is the kind of thing we should find in the Liberian army’s camp. Inviting information and security to get some in camping training from the AFL. Tell the people. Do not answer me.
    Gone on the civil side in silence.

  3. Mr. Chief of Staff, it is very important that you understand the inner workings of politics and leave that with the Executive branch officials and workers. You are a military personnel and a servant of the people and much is expected of you. It is very threatening when you as a military officer telling politicians that they will be dealt with. You are a soldier that is paid to defend the country, and not to put fear into the citizenry.
    Leave politics with the politicians and concentrate on how your men can be placed in a modern and civilized military. Please do not make us to think about the eras of Samuel K. Doe and Charles Taylor.
    You are not clothed with the authority to begin to make statements as a military man. Leave that part with officials at the Defense ministry. Making statements about national security should not come from you as a soldier.
    As a trained soldier you are not a policy maker. Your position is to follow instructions given to you by the commander in chief of the army and then your superiors, such as Defense ministry officials.
    Gone are the days when soldiers were Justices of the peace and lawyers and judges. Gone are those days that soldiers were always involving themselves in Liberian politics. Your concern should be how to defend the state and its people and not only the government. As a soldier your duty is to obey and obey and obey!

    • We Liberians have, problem. We feel we know too much even in areas we are familiar with. Did hear the statement that the general is addressing? Politicians who had killed thousands of Liberians during the war are threatening to end the security of the country I they are taken to war court. Is that not enough reason for the AFL to frown on such person. We to give our selves to reading for good contributions on social media.

    • Perfect analysis..a soldier even in his defense should always wait for order to speak. Minor threats can turn to major threats and create mutiny among the lower ranks.

  4. It would seem that our perennially adversarial and partisan media outlets prefer remaining lapdogs to their own political advocacy than watchdogs of societal ills. For example, with reckless abandon, they’ve been rabble-rousingly championing establishment of a war crime court in a fragile country, so a report about two days training for “defense correspondents” tellingly morphed into “AFL Chief of Staff Reiterates Readiness to Deal with Politicians”. Such an innuendo-loaded headline, most likely a response to some question, exemplifies confirmation bias, which is defined as “the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypothesis”.

    Needless that say, one is left pondering what a home-bound military in an embryonic stage, not currently engaged in defending its territory against foreign invaders or fighting wars abroad doing with “military correspondents”. Which begs the question, who suggested the idea and paying for this PR training?

    Perhaps, we should remind ourselves that access to military installations ought to be restricted, and methods of operations classified, therefore, shouldn’t be divulged to those without the need to know or as practiced elsewhere specific clearance. In as much as each component of the Security Sector has jurisdictional independence, I’m hoping that as a collective, they would look into the wisdom of a press-embedded army just for public relations. One can understand media-PR with LNP or the Judiciary. Does AFL have capacity to restrict unwanted intrusion, suspicious contacts, spying, and so on? By the way, that’s how the US military which trains our top brass would think: Security of its facilities and activities.

    • mr moses you should know about this since you were a part of the doe administration . How do you sleep at night knowing that people were tortured and killed under your watch at the NSA? Are you safely in america enjoying yourself? You cant hide my brother we all remember your ascent to power . there are graves out there for you to see. want some pictures?

  5. Mr. chief of staff, don’t mixed politics with security please before you get caught in the web my brother. In our country Liberia, we don’t have politician only sycophant.

  6. It has nothing to do with politics or sycophancy, he is a soldier, not spokesman for government, otherwise, a savvy agenda-driven press would entrap him “in the web”.

    PS
    (When journalists become covert commenters of their own news content, it suggests readers are holding them to account, Amen!)

    • are you saying he is so stupid that he is gullible. wow, it seems as if you are admonishing him and being condescending and the same time. a man like you sylvester moses with blood on your hands should shut the f#ck up and think and REPENT.

  7. Mr AFL Chief of Staff, it is not your place to so-called deal with politicians…..that’s why we got the police and other law enforcement entities. You are not the Police Director of Liberia..know your role as a military person prescribe by the law of the land.

  8. Thanks Gen Johnson to put to bed the rubbish coming from the notorious so called Senator Prince Johnson who is so frightened of his own deeds. Myself from Nimba and nobody there thinking of such again. We are tired of their foolish war and will never go back there and with AFL here we are happy.

  9. It is getting boring for the leadership of AFL , they smelled blood on the streets. Usually they rightfully start with the politicians . They getting blood thirsty by using any kind of excuse. This is to test the reaction of both the civilian population and the politicians. Better check his power .

  10. It’s quite unfortunate and disturbing that a Military General will issue threats to politicians and citizens as though we are under a military dictatorship. The last I checked, Liberia has enjoyed 12 years of democratic electoral processes and have in place, a leadership command chain. General Johnson is not the official spokesman, neither is he the Minister of Information or the Press Secretary to the President of Liberia to issue such unwarranted threats. This general is either power drunked or does not understand his role in a democratic society. He needs a competent constitutional lawyer to explain is roles for better understanding and coordination. His utterances are getting out of line and dictatorial. He needs to stay in his lane and allow the democratic system to function under normal democratic tenants. The power of democracy lies in the freedom of expression in what ever shape or form. If any person, persons or institution feels aggrieved by any freedom of expression by any person or institutions, the courts are instituted in a democratic space to settle those issues and not the military.

  11. THE AFL IS A WEAK ORGANIZATION when the UN was here , Liberia was safe. You clowns dont know WTF to do. If prince johnson holler all of you will run like the cowards you were for the last 12 years hiding behind the UN.

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