US-AFRICOM Conference Staged in Ghana, March 20, 2010

AFRICOM to sharpen skills of military

The First United States – Africa Command Inspector General (IG) outreach conference opened at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) with the aim to help African military leaders champion standards, performance and also illustrate how the work of the IG system contributes to the fight against crime and corruption.

The conference, which ends on Thursday, would provide a platform to discuss IG’s missions, principles, organizational structures, operations, challenges and best practices of the system in the various countries.

Col. Ron Baldinger of the US Air Force explained the IG system as a military commander’s tool to instill, maintain accountability as well as professionalism. He said it allowed the military commanders to also ensure soldiers and their families got a venue for exposing violations coupled with wrongdoing when all other avenues had failed.  “The IG is the means by which a commander can monitor forces for compliance with established standards and policies”, he said.

Facilitators of the three-day conference were drawn from both the military and government agencies in the US, France, Sierra Leone along with members of the African Parliamentarians’ Network Against Corruption (APNAC) to share their IG experience with over 23 countries represented.

Col. Baldinger hopes that after the conference on Thursday, the participants would take away with them, the general knowledge and best practices of the IG systems.

In his remarks, the Commandant of the KAIPTC, Air Vice Marshal Christian Edem Dovlo urged all participants to exchange ideas with both the facilitators and their fellow members. He linked some of the KAIPTC’s core principles and values to the IG, mentioning professionalism, excellence, honesty, integrity and accountability. Its other functions include the creation of platforms for sharing experience between “our armed forces and other regional and international bodies and we believe that this IG conference will go a long way in satisfying these”, he emphasized.

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