EJS Recaps Support for AFRICOM
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reiterated her support for the establishment of the United States’ Strategic Command Post for Africa (AFRICOM) in Liberia, amidst public fears and concerns that the US-AFRICOM may be putting Liberia’s territories at risk.
Critics had argued that the US-AFRICOM may just be using Liberia as transit point to carry out US strategic missions on the continent and elsewhere, which they believe may consequently make Liberia a vulnerable place.
But President Sirleaf argued, “I don’t see it as a force that would incite violence or militarism. I see it as a force that would train our own military personnel, giving them the capacity to do things.”
In a chart with journalists in New York last Friday, September 28, 2012,the Liberian leader argued further that while there was protest about this before, she thinks in light of drug trafficking, child trafficking and piracy in Liberia and surroundings, the presence [of AFRICOM] is much appreciated today.
“…Because it [AFRICOM] has good effects of promoting infrastructure development for the country and training military personnel not only in Liberia but also the sub-region and beyond,” said President Sirleaf.
She insisted that the US is Liberia’s number one partner on the question of foreign governments’ contributions to Liberia’s reconstruction and development efforts. She named security, health, education and institution-building and infrastructure sectors as prime areas of the United States’ assistance to Liberia.
A dispatch from New York said President Sirleaf however named other partners, including the People’s Republic of China, Germany, Norway, other traditional partners and multilateral institutions that are also assisting Liberia’s reconstruction drives.
Notwithstanding, the Liberian leader has expressed hope that the value of ownership participation can be inculcated into Liberians. She observed that too often, Liberia gets support and as a result, citizens tend to get complacent and let their partners determine their destiny and dictate priorities.
She however warned, “That has to change. Liberians have to take responsibility for their country’s development.” President Sirleaf believes that if such message can be sent to Liberia’s younger generation, who will be assuming leadership over the next few years, then the sustainability of government’s effort will be secured.