LIBERIA: Defense Minister Declares All Military Facilities As ‘No-Go Zone’ For Politics

Liberia’s Minister of National Defense, Daniel Ziankahn

Liberia’s Minister of National Defense, has declared that all facilities of the Liberian military will not be used for political grounds during the 2023 general and presidential elections in Liberia.

Minister Daniel Ziankahn made the disclosure last Friday, February 11, 2022 during the celebration of the Armed Forces Day at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia, he said the Armed Forces of Liberia will remain apolitical come next year’s election, despite its role in supporting civil authority and other security organizations, to ensure an uninterrupted political process.

Min. Ziankahn, a retired Major General of the AFL, noted that Liberians look up to the AFL to be a protective force rather than an interruptive one.

Defense Minister Ziankahn added that while the country will be entering a political season soon, none of its facilities will serve as a place for political gatherings or display political paraphernalia.

“A few months down the road, the country will be entering a political season, a period that requires all Liberians to demonstrate their constitutional rights to affiliate, campaign, and vote for a person or party of their choice,” disclosed Maj. General Ziankahn.  “While the AFL is prepared to support civil authority and other security organizations to ensure an uninterrupted political process, let me make it clear that the Armed Forces of Liberia remains apolitical.”

Hear him: “Our military facilities will not be a place for political gatherings; and individuals or vehicles entering our facilities will not be permitted to display political paraphernalia; we call on all Liberian politicians to demonstrate love and respect for the Liberian military by abiding by these rules as set forth by the Chief of Staff and the high command of the AFL.

“To the men and women in arms, past, and present, as we honor you today, I encourage you to continue your patriotism and commitment to being the people’s army. It’s a mission that you were called to execute and it demands unparalleled excellence. No doubt our Sub-Region is volatile, from violent Extremism to Coup-d’états. Today, more than ever before, Liberians look up to you to be that Protective Force rather than an interruptive force,” Ziankahn noted.

Meanwhile, Min. Ziankahn has disclosed that the Ministry of National Defense has received funding from the government to renovate various military facilities to decongest the overcrowded EBK Military barracks.

While this funding will assist in providing immediate relief and improve the living condition of “our troops, we still have more to be done,” he said.

“Consequently, additional budgetary appropriation has been made in the 2022 fiscal year to ensure full implementation of decongesting our military barracks to provide suitable and conducive living conditions for our service personnel and their families,” he added. “The AFL has received some command and troop-carrying vehicles which are very essential to enhance the smooth mobility of our troops. ”

The Minister stressed that the ongoing recruitment exercise of the AFL will be a merit-based and rigorous process through which cadets will be chosen. According to him, individuals wanting to enlist into the Liberian military will undergo an independent vetting process, reflecting “our commitment to the respect of basic human rights, integrity, commitment and the core standards of our military values.”

“I want to give special commendation to the outstanding performance of the Liberian contingent serving in the United Nations Multinational Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) as they continue to demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, commitment, and dedication in supporting the people of Mali while performing some of the most dangerous operations in that West African Country. As part of the exercises in preparation to rotate the current Liberian troops, the Armed Forces of Liberia began pre-deployment training on December 28, 2021. This training is being conducted with the support and guidance of ECOWAS mentors, United States Military personnel as well as French and British Special Forces. These exercises are intended to provide strategic guidance, regimentation, and discipline to our men and women in arms as they prepare for deployment,” Maj. General Ziankahn said.

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