Military Hospital in Sight

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Defense Minister Daniel Ziankahn (L), Maj.Gen Prince Johnson, III (R) and President Weah (C) before receiving the colors (flags).

– President Weah

By Gloria T. Tamba, William Harmon, and Alvin Worzi

The new Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) administration has promised to restore prestige and dignity in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) with the establishment of a specialized modern hospital solely dedicated to the welfare of officers of the country’s military.

President George Manneh Weah said his administration will raise the necessary funds to ensure that this modern health facility is built to carter to the healthcare of the gallant men and women of the (AFL) and their families, although he did not say how he intends to raise the required funds.

He also promised to improve housing and education, and to revamp the aviation sector in the army, among others, to enable them do their work.

Speaking at the 61st Armed Forces Day celebrations in Monrovia on Monday, the President noted that the welfare of the military remains one of his administration’s major priorities.

He said it is sad that there is no specialized healthcare facility for the AFL in the country. “It is well-known that there are no specialized medical facilities for the AFL. Our heroes, returning wounded to Liberia from peace missions abroad, have to be evacuated to other countries for the specialized medical treatment that they required,” he said, adding that at times, they are abandoned in barracks or are left to languish in private wards with no attention.

“I want to inform you that I shall seek funds to build a hospital exclusively for the use of the army and other security forces. This will be the first ever military hospital built in Liberia,” President Weah said to rounds of applause.

He said the hospital will be equipped with the most modern facilities, and will be staffed by highly trained medical personnel. “It will also be a teaching hospital to train our men and women in arms in all medical disciplines,” he assured them.

President Weah assured the army that his administration will be committed to building an army of professionally trained soldiers, who are well paid, highly educated, and comfortably housed and cared for medically to the highest standards.

“We will ensure that the military is well equipped to carry out their functions as a force for good that will defend their country,” he said.

The AFL program, which was held at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia, was held under the theme, “AFL—a force for good promoting stability and reconciliation in Liberia.”

Historically, the President said officers of the AFL have been overlooked, devalued and looked down upon, all of which he promised will change during his administration.

“It is common knowledge that historically in Liberia, the army has always been looked down upon as the bottom of our social pyramid with no respect, and has always been seen as a dumping ground for the uneducated and the poor.

“Today, I want to tell you, and assure you, that under my command, all of this will change,” President Weah said.

“In the past, you have been referred to as “Nocos” disrespectfully. Under my command, you will not only be respected, but you will be one of the main drivers of our ‘Change for Hope’ agenda.”

He said the AFL, as a professional institution, should have the best doctors, pilots, engineers, and specialists in training and teaching.

“I am committed to creating a conducive environment within the army to ensure that it will be a career home for Liberian professionals,” he noted.

The President said the theme of this year’s celebration reflects sincere commitment to maintaining regional stability while at the same time promoting peace and reconciliation at home.

“This theme further demonstrates a clear path towards our development agenda. With peace, reconciliation, and regional stability, we can realize the great potential of our young.

“As the  Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, I will seek funds to build a modern health facility which will be the first ever medical facility built in Liberia to address the needs of our military and it will be a teaching hospital with well qualified doctors that will also train the soldiers and save lives,” President Weah declared.

He instructed the Minister of National Defense, Daniel Ziankahn, to begin an immediate assessment of all military housing facilities and report to him within the shortest possible time to enable the government to understand and begin to find lasting solutions to the problems facing the army.

“The lack of housing is one of the primary problems faced by our military personnel as their families have outgrown the existing facilities, and there is an urgent need to address this problem,” he said.

The Commander-In-Chief of the AFL pledged his unflinching support to the army as the country continues to expand on its democratic gains as they all succeed in their mission and constitutional duties.

He lauded the Minister of Defense, Daniel Ziankahn, and Chief of Staff Major General Prince Johnson, III, and said that he trust their abilities to improve the army for the betterment of the country.

Defense Minister Daniel D. Ziankahn thanked President Weah for his preferment as Minister of National Defense to serve his country.

He assured the president and citizens that he is willing and prepared to work tirelessly by ensuring that the army is improved to serve their country.

“The welfare of the AFL remains my top priority and my commitment to the military remains unbending,” he said.

Authors

15 COMMENTS

  1. In the US, there are Veteran Hospitals! The Liberian army comprise less than 5,000 men and women. Won’t it be a wonderful idea for the anticipated military hospital to be built in the next five years or so? I am interested in finding ways in which our schools nationwide could be powered with good teachers, a full set of textbooks for all students and increment in teachers’ pay. An increment will boost teachers’ morale.
    I mean yeah, a hospital for our service men and women is kind of good, but our public schools nationwide should be looked at as priority number one, compared to a military hospital. Right?

    For now, let our service men and women and their dependents go to all hospitals nationwide with ids. Yeah, id cards!

  2. Dear ALL,
    Why a military hospital? Let us try to improve the health care delivery system before talking about a hospital for the military, police and other members of the security sector. A hospital is not only the building, it is the equipment and personnel that make a quality hospital; such as specialist for almost every areas, that is what is important!Let support the graduate school in medicine, that is operational by the Ministry of Health, opened under the Minster-ship of Dr. Walter Gwegale and others to be able to produce Specialists in many areas in health, then we talked about creating hospitals for military, children, women,etc.
    Let be strategic in our planning and implementation for resource maximization.
    Thanks.

  3. Congratulations Ellen, can you please use that award money to build a presidential library for Liberia. I’m pretty much sure that you don’t need that award money for living expenses. Please make us proud!

    • Ok..wait , I taught this guy was the sitting senator from that county? So why he didn’t give out buses then? Is this the new way to implement policies? Where is he gong to get the money from? Do we have a government watch dog or ethics department? Somebody please help me here.

    • You are right on the money. Please tell him I want some soup for the rice. Oh, please tell him also that I want some tissue for my restroom.

  4. Significant goals, providing a hospital for the security sector won’t be a wasteful expense. Our MRU neighbors have military hospitals or clinics. However before outfitting AFL with more military hardware, a comprehensive review of recruitment in the last ten years must be carried out to know its ethnic and sectional composition.

    And why is such a process necessary?

    Because the UN, which has been invlolved in peace-keeping missions all over the globe since the 1950’s, mandated that in 2003 for post-sectarian -civil war Liberia. The mandate was espoused during a press conference given by retired US Major General Paul Jacques Kliene, then assigned to Liberia as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General; it instructed composition of AFL to reflect the ethnic and sectional diversity of the country.

    The rationale is simple, you don’t want an ethnic group or region to monopolize or control the instruments of state violence: Potential threat to national security.

    That was why upon ascending the presidency, EJS not only disbanded personnel of AFL, but also overhauled the whole national security apparatus. She even allowed the paranoia of her loyalists to lead into changing the Tubman days’ name ‘SSS’ to ‘EPS’ of the agency protecting her and other VIP’s. Anyway, if the Weah government believe reviewing the composition of AFL to ensure compliance with the ethnic balance mandate is unnecessary – that’s okay.

  5. And so my question is this……If an ethnic balance in terms of recruitment cannot be attained, should we not enlarge our military?

    Realistically, Nimba and Bong counties are larger than the counties of Kru Coast, Gee and Maryland. Given that reality, it is very highly unlikely that the US General’s recommendation can be embraced in today’s world. Furthermore, my firm assessment is that General P. J. Kliene was being illiberal when he presented his proposal. I can guesstimate that Gen. Kline knew a whole lot about Pres. Samuel K. Doe. Jokingly, the AFL was referred to as the Krahn army during the Doe years for obvious reasons. As a native son of Grand Gedeh, a reasonable number of servicemen were Krahn derivatives. Of course, that wayward strategy was inelegant. Sadly, Liberians paid the ultimate price dearly. Based on Doe’s faux pas, Gen. Kline may have presented his proposal.

    I think that the significance of education must be stressed. Example, in a developed country like the US, recruitment of service men and women will cause no headaches if a majority of enlistees hail from New York. Trump is a true blue New Yorker. Based on what we are faced with in Liberia, if a majority of Kru natives enlist in the upcoming recruitment phase, many people will raise their eyebrows. Why? Because a good portion of our people are illiterate and because our current president is a Kru guy. Is this how things ought to be, having lived over 170 years now?

    Finally, Gen. Kline was right 8 years ago. Not anymore.

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