Soldiers’ wives had set up roadblocks to express their demands for two days, and were demanding the departure of Prince Charles Johnson. Celebrations planned for National Armed Forces Day have been canceled. The new president Joseph Boakai raised the subject in a message to the nation this Monday evening, February 12.
Soldiers’ wives have been protesting for two days. Blockades were erected, first near one of the country’s main barracks, in the suburbs of Monrovia on a road leading to the international airport, causing long traffic jams. Then, makeshift roadblocks appear on other roads, elsewhere in the country. To the point that National Armed Forces Day celebrations are canceled.
President Boakai, who is facing his first crisis, three weeks after his inauguration, met some of these women who denounce pell-mell: salaries too low, lack of social security, school fees too high for their children and corruption within the armed forces, among others. They demand the resignation of the new Minister of Defense whom they hold responsible for a drop in the salaries of soldiers returning from Mali.
Prince Charles Johnson therefore presents his resignation. The president accepts it. In a message to the nation this Monday evening, he promised that the grievances would be examined. The day before, he had ordered electricity to be restored in the barracks where the protest movement began and the school located within its premises to be free to appease the spirits and prevent the movement from spreading.