History would indeed remain replete were it not to be mentioned of the tremendous strides made in the immediate 22 years of the national existence, since they have indeed been fraught with catastrophic events generating the thrust from lapses that had occurred within the local security sector at the expense of kinship and willful embarrassment.
Purely history but worth remembering the earlier efforts of the West Africa Peace Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), even though later reported to have been masterminded by a Ghanaian strategist who was succeeded by Nigerian Major General Joshua Dogonyaro, succeeding Field Marshals are still recalled for their bravery, loyalty and commitment to the “organization,” howbeit the loss of men in the process, especially during “Octopus.”
Finished as mission of ECOMOG appeared, although later termed as been unfinished, especially with anti-forces conglomerating in various forms and manners to oust from power the Proportional Representation System-government of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, in spite earlier been head of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL)-turned National Patriotic Party (NPP)-led government, the truth cannot be hidden that whilst the latter may have made significant strides at stabilizing conditions in the country, the destabilizers in their numbers and from various traditional persuasions, could not permit the vision to take full hold.
Resulting into another catastrophic event that witnessed the abrupt presence of fighting forces in Liberia, operating under various nomenclatures as though not ever having been part of an overthrown administration, ordinary Liberians have had to become prime victims, leaving very great pretenders to cajole others into believing that their armed-struggles were meant to redeem the citizenry other than self-seeking through persuasive rhetoric.
With many homes, towns and villages broken down, leaving the herculean task of national reconstruction up to government, at least it can be evidentially stated that notwithstanding the current detention of Liberia’s 22nd President, Charles Taylor, in Great Britain for some 50 years, his administration had put into motion processes leading to thereto, inflammatory as the environment appeared.
To this end, a United Nations Mission to Liberia (UNMIL) was designed by the United Nations Organization (UNO) with the objective of bringing the faulty-misunderstanding to an end and as well helping to pull civilians from such sad state of affairs.
Since 2003, UNMIL has since made significant impact upon the lives of the citizenry, with its first Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein, fully demonstrating his expertise at disarming, demobilizing, rehabilitating and reintegrating the lost into various communities of their own.
Succeeding representatives of the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon that have included Ambassador Alan Doss and Ellen Margrethe Loj, with Ambassador Mustapha Soumare now collecting bits-and-pieces in rounding up the successful mission, gradual draw-down by the force now remains major preoccupation of Liberians and residents-alike.
Unarguable that the presence of UNMIL in Liberia has also been characterized by extreme challenges, with reports of armed robbery, ritualistic killings, hijacking, pick-pocketing and other crimes filling the media, whatever attempts have thus far been made over the years by the professional men and women of the Mission ought to only be described as been appreciable.
Daring to however remain passive amidst the gradual adaptation to the cultural way of life of the Liberian people, UNMIL has, since its presence in the country, continued to extend its empowerment programs in various sectors, with institutions involved into democracy, human rights, sustainable development, infrastructural development, health, education and other areas immensely benefitting.
In recent months, however, and apparently evolving from continuous reports of the draw-down by the multinational peacekeeping force, very unusual events have begun occurring in society as though programmed to undo the doings of government in the name of politricks and not politics. Since provided the hope by UNMIL that the local security sector was been given needed attention, through the provision of requisite training as exemplified by the number of personnel trained over the years in the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the Liberia National Police (LNP), Seaport Police of the National Port Authority (NPA), the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) and other relevant parastatals, though still unpleasing to some sectors of society, one only needs draw lessons from the old proverbial sayings that “Rome was not built in a day’s time.”
Largely attributed to the practice of the newly-restored democracy in the land in which freedom of speech and expression have even extended to the Oval Office of Liberia, as though it is without traditional or cultural practices, with the Liberian culture secretly but responsibly distinguishing “sinners” from “members” of whatever cultural groupings one intends to affiliate or associate with, the draw-down by UNMIL cannot be considered instantaneous but one requiring that the breathing space provided allow our local security sector to take serious queue from the pre-war era.
Currently, the 2012/13 National Budget is being reviewed by the National Legislature, with experts invited thereto in helping provide justifications that would eventually lead to the creation of the needed impacts.
Yes! There are the concerns for the prioritization of the Agriculture, Mining, Oil, Power, Commerce and Industry, as well as other sectors. But can’t Liberians think that without the preservation of national security, everything is doom?
For many years now, down-sizing has since taken place in the local security sector with constant demands made for back-pay and other immunities. Resourceful as many of those down-sized truly are, it is only the matter of time in re-employing them in the system in view of the importance attached to the sector.
Such, however, cannot continue to come in the form of threats to the Liberian people, having practically learned from the past that has allowed many to now know what “self-defense” is all about. No longer a guess or masquerading affair, drawing experiences from ECOMOG and UNMIL over the decades, mathematical reflection in the current budget before the National Legislature for passage will indeed tell how far the nation fares following the total pull-out by the multinational peacekeeping force.