The President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, George M. Weah, says the welfare of the troops remains a priority of the CDC-led Government while pledging to ensure that the children of military families receive a quality education.
Making the statement on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, during the celebration of the 63rd of Armed Forces Day, President Weah directed the Minister of Defense, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to work out modalities for the immediate renovation of all schools within the military barracks and develop the necessary plans to consolidate these schools under a single district, to be called “Armed Forces of Liberia School District.”
According to him, under these arrangements, qualified administrators and instructors will be provided and supervised by the Ministry of Defense, and monitored by the Ministry of Education.
He said the government will continue to engage bilateral partners to support its efforts in the revitalization of the new AFL Agriculture Company, and the consolidation of the military schools.
“We are proud of the versatility of our Armed Forces, and the diversity of skill sets and capabilities to be found among its membership. Through the Army Corps of Engineers, they have participated in civil works of all kinds, including the construction of their own barracks, as well as the 14 Military Hospital. They have launched massive clean-up campaigns across the length and breadth of our country. And they are now going to be actively involved in our agricultural programs,” President Weah said.
The President also acknowledged the AFL for skills its members have in Agriculture and said with their collaboration the government can succeed in its quest to revamp the Agriculture sector.
“I’m hereby instructing the Minister of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFL to begin the immediate development of a policy framework for the re-activation of the Armed Forces Agriculture Company. This should also include the identification and assessment of all lands belonging to the Armed Forces of Liberia that are arable and feasible for agriculture productivity,” President Weah said.
The AFL Day event was graced by both local national and international personalities, including Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers, President Pro-tempore Albert Chie, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia, members of diplomatic and consular corps, and other dignitaries.
On January 26, 1957, the Liberian Legislature passed into law an Act establishing February 11 each year as Armed Forces Day, to be celebrated as a holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Strategies to Incorporate More Females in the Security Sector; AFL in Perspective.”
According to President Weah, female representation in both the public and private sectors of the country is very low, and the AFL is no exception. Indeed, this is reflective of the global situation, where women representation in government and the private sector is also low, but with very few exceptions.
“As Liberia’s Feminist-in-Chief, I have set my Government on an irreversible path to break this glass ceiling. We have made more appointments of women in leadership in our Government than ever before, including the first female Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL, and promise to do more in the coming years,” President Weah said.
He extended special thanks to Liberia’s neighbors, especially the Republic of Guinea for the support to the AFL MINUSMA operation; and the Government of Cote d’Ivoire for the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Armed Forces of Liberia, which is geared towards safeguarding our respective countries.
However, President Weah said Liberians recognize that there have been many challenges confronting the AFL in the past twelve (12) months, including housing, welfare, logistics, and compulsory savings.
“As Commander-in-Chief, I have been personally engaged in the search for lasting solutions to these challenges. I have visited the military base where, incidentally, I once lived with my uncle, Robert Bobowleh Wulateh Wreh, and have engaged in direct dialogues with the officers in arms with the aim of hearing from them in an open forum about their concerns and needs,” President Weah said.
He said as a result of these and other interactions with members of the military at various levels, many of these concerns are now being addressed.
He pointed out the renovation of existing military barracks to facilitate the de-congestion of the current facilities as one development being undertaken by the government. Additionally, President Weah said “we will seek further support from Government to modernize and expand the barracks with paved roads and proper sports and recreational facilities.”
He also extended the Government’s appreciation to all of the foreign guests and dignitaries who traveled from afar to attend the ceremony.
Acknowledging the role of Mary Broh in Liberia’s development process, President Weah said “Mary, we recognize your good judgments and recommendations in connection with ways to increase female participation in the AFL and in other security sectors. This has given us much food for thought, and we have taken due note of them,” President Weah said.
Usually, at such celebration, personalities whose roles have impacted the AFL and Liberia at large are honored with some of Liberia’s distinguished awards, and the 63rd commemoration of AFL Day had that done.
“As Commander-in-Chief, AFL, it is my pleasing duty to duly recognize and congratulate this year’s Distinguished Service Order Award recipients,” President Weah said.
Those honored included Lieutenant General Obed Bomah Akwa, Chief of the Defense Staff of Ghana; Lieutenant General Lassina Doumbia, Chief of Defense Staff of Cote d’Ivoire, Lieutenant General Namory Traore, Chief of Defense Staff of Guinea, Lieutenant General Brima Sesay, Chief of Defense Staff of Sierra Leone, Colonel Ebenezer O. Oduyebo of the Nigerian Army and Colonel Wasiu Adesola Bakare of the Nigerian Army;
Others were Lieutenant Colonel Eromosele Christian Lawani of the Nigerian Army, Lieutenant Colonel Issahaku Beyotiem Mohammed of the Ghana Armed Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Momoh Sellu of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, His Honor Philip A. Z. Banks, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia and Madam Mary T. Broh, Director General, General Services Agency.
“By your invaluable services rendered the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Liberian nation in general,” President Weah said, “you have brought honor and credibility to yourselves, your families, and your respective countries. Congratulations!”