Wednesday, October 27, 2010

AFRICOM NOT HEADING TO LIBERIA: U.S. Brass Says Relocation Plan ‘Was a Mistake’

By Precious Seeboe
Source: FrontPage Africa
Monrovia -

Addressing an inquiry about any further plan to have the United States African Command Center known as AFRICOM to Africa, the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities, J. Anthony Homes, was clear that Liberia’s dream to have the headquarters re-located to the country will never come to reality.

He further indicated that there are no more plans to move the AFRICOM headquarters from Germany to any part of the World.

“AFRICOM will remain in Germany. There is no plan to relocate it to any other country”, the Ambassador said during his lecture to the foreign service students.

Ambassador Holmes who directs the Command’s plans and programs associated with health, humanitarian assistance and demining action including others, told foreign service students at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that earlier plans to relocate the Center to Africa was a mistake.

Liberia became the sole African nation who volunteered to host the AFRICOM headquarters but former US President George W. Bush announced the headquarters will be based in Germany, rather than in Africa.

As he addressed the Third Ambassadorial Lecture Forum of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute on Tuesday October 26, 2010, Ambassador Holmes told students that there is virtually no security threat in Africa that is conducive to a unilateral solution, citing regional faults that are usually tied in with the African conflicts.

The Ambassador added, “We want to engage with virtually every country in Africa but of course we don’t have the resources to do that. So, we pursued a positive approach for this engagement. There is virtually no security threat in Africa that is conducive to a unilateral solution. Almost every one of them has a regional solution.”

Few days after it was decided for the US African command center to retain its headquarters in Germany, the Liberian Leader expressed disappointment over the US’ decision.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had expressed her government’s desire to host AFRICOM, and made several representations to US government officials on this issue.

Some Liberians had expressed concerns over the military installations that the US has had in the country in the past but with no benefits to the country. They thought it was necessary to have an awareness of some of the benefits the country would stand to gain if the AFRICOM headquarters would be constructed

On the eve of his visit to Liberia in 2008, the former United States President had said the United States would seriously consider Liberia as the headquarters for the new African command AFRICOM. But a last minute decision to have the headquarters remain in Germany left Liberia’s hope of serving as the host-nation of AFRICOM in the dark.

Bush had said AFRICOM was aimed at assisting African countries in strengthening capacities to deal with traffickers and terrorists with a main purpose of promoting peace, security and common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa. Since its creation last year, it has been headquartered in Germany.

The need to have AFRICOM headquartered in Africa was met with misperceptions by many Africans who thought it was a plan to invade the continent. This prompted President Sirleaf’s response at the time when the post-conflict country was vying for providing a place for the command’s headquarters. She said the true intent of AFRICOM was being misunderstood by many including Liberians, who saw AFRICOM as a military force to be based in Liberia for military purposes.

As Liberia had just begun re-building its new Armed Forces at the time, the President said contrary to misconception, AFRICOM is intended to conduct training of African armies to give them the capacity to intervene in conflicts around AFRICA.

AFRICOM is one of six of the US Defense Department’s regional military headquarters which was declared a fully unified command on October 1, 2008. Locations of the other five regional commands and their locations include US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, its European Command located in Stuttgart, Germany and Northern Command located in North ColoradoOn the eve of his visit to Liberia in 2008, the former United States President had said the United States would seriously consider Liberia as the headquarters for the new African command AFRICOM. But a last minute decision to have the headquarters remain in Germany left Liberia’s hope of serving as the host-nation of AFRICOM in the dark.

Bush had said AFRICOM was aimed at assisting African countries in strengthening capacities to deal with traffickers and terrorists with a main purpose of promoting peace, security and common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa. Since its creation last year, it has been headquartered in Germany.

The need to have AFRICOM headquartered in Africa was met with misperceptions by many Africans who thought it was a plan to invade the continent. This prompted President Sirleaf’s response at the time when the post-conflict country was vying for providing a place for the command’s headquarters. She said the true intent of AFRICOM was being misunderstood by many including Liberians, who saw AFRICOM as a military force to be based in Liberia for military purposes.

As Liberia had just begun re-building its new Armed Forces at the time, the President said contrary to misconception, AFRICOM is intended to conduct training of African armies to give them the capacity to intervene in conflicts around AFRICA.

AFRICOM is one of six of the US Defense Department’s regional military headquarters which was declared a fully unified command on October 1, 2008. Locations of the other five regional commands and their locations include US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, its European Command located in Stuttgart, Germany and Northern Command located in North Colorado

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Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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