MONROVIA – Amid the recent coup in Niger, the Chief Staff of the Liberian army, the Armed Forces of Liberia, Maj.-Gen. Charles Johnson III is recommending the reduction of presidential guards in order to drastically reduce the unforeseen coups in the subregion and to prevent more incidences of Coup d’etat.
The Liberian Army Chief of Staff made this known while speaking with journalists on Thursday on the sidelines of the joint delocalized meeting of the ECOWAS Parliament’s Joint Committees on Political Affairs, Peace, Security, and the African Peer Review Mechanism, Judicial Affairs and Human Rights, Social Affairs, Gender, and Women Empowerment in Monrovia.
He said that member states must be mindful of how much control the military has, following the Coup d’etat that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger from power on Wednesday.
Johnson had earlier delivered a paper on the topic “The Role of the Armed and Security Forces in Political Government: The Cases of Mail, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, Lessons to be Learned and Prospects.
“My second recommendation was the issue of Presidential guard or elite forces that has direct control over the commander in Chief.
“So, if you look at what is happening even in Niger yesterday, it is the Presidential guards. And look at our history in Liberia, we have seen the issue of Presidential guards being misused.
“The Peace and Reconciliation Report of 2008 says that the Special Anti-Terrorism Unit was involved in a lot of alleged atrocities according to the report.
“That is why I emphasized that we need to be mindful and allow the military to have this control.
“When you have this political interference into the command and control of the military, like having a Presidential guard, the Commander in Chief selecting somebody to head it instead of allowing the CDS, Chief of Defense Staff DS to go through that process or having somebody to control, then it becomes a problem.
“Because the CDS or the Chief of Staff has no control over the unit because he takes direct control from the Commander in Chief”, he said.
Johnson III said that there is no justification for any military coup no matter the situation.
“No justification for all the military coups that have been happening, absolutely not,” Johnson added.
The Liberian Major General also advocated for dialogue with the embattled countries, noting that sanctions were not the best way to resolve such crises.
He said that terrorism will not be adequately fought if the countries are kept aside, adding that suspending them poses more threats, especially with border countries.
“So, my last recommendation is that we need to dialogue. We cannot fight terrorism if we suspend these countries.
“I have a border with Guinea, we need to protect that borderland between Liberia and Guinea. If our heads of state go-ahead to sanction them, can you still allow me to work with Guinea?
“Because if I am not working with Guinea it is going to be difficult. That is why I recommended that we still need to dialogue”.
Johnson III said that the military must stick to its mandates of protecting the nation and not interfere in governance. Source: GNN