By : Laymah Kollie
Monrovia -February 12,2024: The 67th celebration of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL)has been cancelled due to numerous protest by wives of Army men across Liberia. The women have setup major road blocks at various points of entry into the Country and counties capitals.
According to the women, their action is intended to seek government’s attention in withdrawing Gen. Prince Charles Johnson lll, from the post of Defense Minister.
Major point of entry blocked by the women include: the Robert International Airport, Edward Beyan Kesselly Barrack in Schlieffen , Bushrod Island, Bong mines Bridge in Bomi amongst others. Army Wives outside of Monrovia are also protesting in Grand Gedeh and other parts.
It can be recalled, the women in a petition to the Liberian Senate recently referred to Gen. Johnson (Former Chief of Staff of the Army) as modern pharaoh, power-drunk and dreadful; as such calling for the rejection of his confirmation by the Senate.
Their quest yielded no results as Gen. Johnson was formally confirmed on 9th February by the Liberian Senate.
This resulted in the intensity of their actions, which led to President Joseph Boakai calling for a low-key celebration of a day that is usually widely celebrated in the country.
A release from the Executive Mansion on 11th February called for low-key celebration of the occasion on grounds of the women’s grievances being expressed through protests.
The release stated that the President on the eve of the celebration met with the women to listen to their grievances.
In their discussion, “the women highlighted challenges they are currently experiencing at the Edward Beyan Kesselly Barracks in Schlieffen. These include retirement benefits, low salary, corruption, lack of adequate insurance, education, poor housing, lack of electricity, social services, and their general welfare. They stated these challenges have lingered on too long enough without redress as the military leadership have remained indifferent”
Adding, “For his part, the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, His Excellency Joseph Nyuma Boakai Sr. reassured the women that their grievances would be thoroughly investigated with a view to finding redress where possible. He would constitute a committee to probe into the matter and provide report in a week time. In the interim, the Liberia Electricity Corporation has restored electricity at the EBK Barrack, upon the orders of the Commander-In-Chief. The President has also declared the Linda Thomas Greenfield School at the EBK Barracks tuition free
The National Legislature in 2008 legislated the National Defense Act which declared February 11th as a day of celebration for the Arm Forces of the Republic of Liberia.
The Armed Forces Day celebration is also in recognition of the vital role the Armed Forces of Liberia plays in defending and protecting Liberia’s Territorial integrity and its people from foreign aggression and upholding the social and Political Liberty of the people of Liberia as enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Liberia.