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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Liberia: First Woman to Head Defense

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Retired Brigadier General, Geraldine George, has been appointed as Liberia’s first female acting Minister of Defense following the resignation of Retired Maj. Gen. Prince C. Johnson just ten days after entering the role.

Hours before Johnson was to be sworn into office, the wives of servicemen and ex-servicemen staged a large protest outside the capitol grounds, which spread to barracks near Robertsfield highway, as well as Todee, Zwedru and Gbarnga.

Johnson’s resignation came as the result of the wives’ continued protests demanding a new Defense minister as well as increased pay and better housing for them and their husbands.

The wives set up roadblocks in Monrovia, Gbarnga, Zwedru, which brought much of the Nation to a standstill.

In addition to their initial requests, the wives brought to light the lack of retirement plans for ex-servicemen, as well as sub par practices at military barracks.

Liberian officers speaking to the Liberian Observer claimed, “He [Johnson] was promoted nine times in the army, but he never wanted others to have similar opportunities, so he introduced a new policy to deny others..

After he was appointed COS (Chief of Staff), he changed the policy to five years—meaning AFL (Liberian Armed Forces) officers could only be promoted every five years..

He came, and he drafted his own policy to suppress his subordinates. And he knows that the people he is suppressing are trained army people.”

A statement from the Liberian Executive Mansion on the 12th of February outlines President Boakai’s acceptance of Johnson’s resignation in order to ‘preserve the peace and security of the State.’

So, What Now?:

Peculiarly, George has only been appointed as the acting Minister of Defense, and thus it is unclear if she is set to stay in the role despite being heavily qualified.

The Liberian Ministry of Defense website states that George is a career solider and holds several qualifications including a Master of Arts in International Relations, a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, as well as certificates in Intelligence, Administration of Justice and Public Sector Management.


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