Following nearly nine years of the visible presence of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in the country, with tremendous progress achieved in restoring peace, stability and democracy, concerns are now mounting over roles by the local security sector in expeditiously handling the affairs by protecting lives and property of the state.
Not at all an easy task, in spite gains made over the years at restructuring the sector, recording the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Special Security Service (SSS), the Liberia National Police (LNP), Seaport Police, the Ministry of National Security (MNS), National Security Agency (NSA), Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) and other internal structures, pointers are that more needs to now be done, although not in a quick-fix manner simply because the gradual draw-down by UNMIL is certain.
Having also helped in putting into place other effective mechanisms encompassing the rule of law, human rights and sustainable development concepts that embody the civil society, at least the pace has been set from which to build upon and keep the nation on course that evidently invites substantive growth and development, as already attested by unfolding developments.
From the perspective of environmental science, since this writer is simply a journalist, or to add, agricultural researcher with rice production as another foundation, it becomes common knowledge to deduce that given the current atmosphere in which the bustling and hustling continues, those charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and property be prioritized.
With not much time given for specific attention, the Minister of National Defence, Hon. J. Brownie Samukai, spent some time yesterday morning in highlighting some pertinent matters related to Liberia’s security sector, all of which were indeed in place.
Whilst it would require two successive fiscal year to begin addressing some of the crucial problem plaguing the sector, with appropriate budgetary allocations required and must now be lobbied with friendly partners, just as done over the years, the local security sector must now be attended to in bringing true relief to the people, without which even the reserved or those thrown out of the system by virtue of having conducted down-sizing exercises, resourceful as many still are, will be let down.
Unconfirmed as reports have been, with individual Liberians already pointing to the AFL as been characterized by attrition, meaning that some have begun leaving the army following training and think it is the right thing to do as though an unprofessional organization, it will certainly not become a strange phenomenon to witness lawmakers forwarding a bill to forestall the practice.
As regards other sectors, particularly Immigration, the Police, Internal Revenues and the like who must bear side-pistols, given their proximity of work, as well as the environment, one can only pray that the matter be treated seriously, something that President Sirleaf will indeed not treat lightly, since the economy must be revived.
Already begun by lawless attitude that UNMIL continues to rapidly intervene to quell, security is a must and no longer like before when just anybody formed part of the professional organization, only to tint institutions for no reason other than been parochial, Defence Minister Samukai may just be hitting the chord by now emphasizing the need for college graduates to be enlisted therein, as measure to curbing past excesses that contributed to the anomalies experienced.
Amidst the above and well-calculated out of thorough research, our resourceful personnel cannot and should not be left out of what is ahead, howbeit the positioning that most times appeared been given out of kinship, sectionalism or tribalism.
Now appearing a Bible in which formation of the local security sector requires been geographically-balanced, with expectation that the personnel would take up assignments at various border posts and barracks, the challenge remains strictly that of the Government of Liberia, under Commander-In-Chief, Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Lest it be forgotten, the LNP has since been up to the task prior to ascendancy to the post of Acting Police Director Chris Massaquoi.
Display by some female personnel in controlling traffic at various points would convince Liberians that inasmuch as there have been complaints about few personnel, others are indeed up to the task and dare to suave from the professional path.
Without any sugar-coating, it is truly hell in some quarters that our police officers find themselves. They must survive daily as human beings, even though that does not mean imposing faked-charges to win the day.
As the match to taking full charge of Liberia’s local security sector continues, knowing the mathematics that will certainly not permit all to fare well within the organization, peace, stability and democracy must remain untouchable.