AFL Recruitment on Hold

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– Says Defense Minister designate Ziankahn

Defense Minister-designate Daniel D. Ziankahn is contemplating placing a temporary moratorium on the recruitment of soldiers into the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) until the living conditions of those currently in the service are significantly improved.

“This new AFL Administration has to ensure that we cater to the welfare of our soldiers by improving their living conditions before any recruitment exercise. Bettering the lives of our servicemen is our utmost focus for now, which means the recruitment process of the AFL is on hold for now,” said Ziankahn who is still awaiting confirmation.

He spoke yesterday at the symposium  officially commencing the 61st celebration of Armed Forces Day.

The symposium was held under the Topic: Safeguarding the military’s integrity during democratic transitions to promote peace and stability,’ and was held at the Monrovia City Hall.

“I will not encourage the Chief of Staff of the AFL to recruit even a single soldier when the  lives of others that are currently serving their country  are not improved. We have to ensure quality life for the soldiers. Therefore, there is no need to have a very huge army that won’t have a better life.”

The Defense Minister-designate rhetorically asked how can a new batch of officers be encouraged to come in when the current ones lacked basic necessities that should be provided them, adding, “how can you recruit soldiers when the living conditions of others are not improved; there are no good health facilities, good insurance, electricity, logistics among others? I simply mean, there is still much work needed to improve the lives of the soldiers, not hundred percent but to a certain point that others will see an improved working environment for the soldiers.”

Ziankahn explained that the decision to place the recruitment process on hold is not about having the largest number of troops, “but about having an improved environment for soldiers to serve their country very well as ‘A Force for Good.'”

He called on the government to provide the necessary support, including budgetary allotment, to the military to enable them to work smoothly.

The program brought together several panelists including representatives from the Liberia National Bar Association, the Kofi Annan Peace Keeping Mission, and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, whose Minister, Samuel Tweah, was represented by a proxy.

In his discussion on behalf of Finance Minister Tweah, the Senior Economic Advisor-designate to the African Development Bank based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast admonished members of the AFL to be neutral in the country’s politics.

Rufus Darkortey cautioned that the military should remain politically neutral by abstaining from politics and campaigns, adding: “The neutrality of the military will ensure the security sector reform of Liberia was carried out as a requirement for the success of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA).”

He noted that in an emerging democracy such as Liberia combining popular government and civilian control of the military is usually challenging, therefore, government should ensure that the military must not defy authority.

Darkortey stressed that in many former autocracies, the military had been deeply involved in politics, and sometimes preyed on society instead of protecting it. According to him, the military can help to sustain democracy and peace by assuring a highly trained, educated, and competent military force. He emphasized that the AFL should align its operations as suggested so as to support the Commander-In-Chief, George M. Weah’s vision for sustainable development.

The panelists called for a budgetary allotment for the military that will enhance the growth and improve the well being of the military to fully serve the nation. They also warned the army to be transparent and accountable to ensure a better army.

The Chief of Staff designate of the AFL, Prince C. Johnson, also assured that the new leadership of the army will ensure an improved environment for the soldiers. He disclosed that the keynote speaker for this year’s Armed Forces Day celebration is Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin.

Activities leading to the Armed Forces Day celebration include the symposium; Friday – Jumaa Service at the Smell No Taste Mosque in Margibi; Saturday – cleanup campaign at the Binyan Kesselly barracks; Sunday – service at the Good Shepherd Church on the Old Road; and Monday – the official program at the Barclay Training Center (BTC).

Authors

17 COMMENTS

  1. A realistic remark from a reportedly motivated soldier; and AFL isn’t mobilizing for war, one would suppose.

    Incidentally, during a press conference on September 4 (?) 2003 given in Monrovia by retired US Major General Jacques Paul Kleine, then Special Representative to the UN Secretary General and Coordinator of UN Operations in Liberia, he said the following:

    “The key challenge as we demobilize is all these young people – many without education, traumatized and coerced into fighting – to find them meaningful employment and reintergrate them into society. ‘As for the United States, the most useful thing is to take on the reconstruction of a small Liberian army, rebuilding it and making it professional and reflecting all the ethic groups and structures within Liberia’ “.

    Of course, which invites the question: Does AFL reflect “all the ethnic groups and structures within Liberia”? Because that mandate was based on insight gained from long experience of peace-keeping/ conflic resolution efforts all over. Simply put, the army is a main possessor of instruments of state violence, and no responsible African country wants to concentrate all that fire power in the hands of few ethnic groups, or leave the bulk of Security Sector management with one or two.

    Granted that under EJS we’ve blessedly enjoyed relative peace amid poverty and anxiety of the vast majority, it is prudent, and a best practice, to think about ‘war’ in times of ‘peace’. The new Minister of Defense is talking of the welfare of soldiers without which morale deteriorates. Additionally, their wives took to the streets for misapplied funds; all these demands, plus post-election plans and expectations signal that the new administration should identify and incinerate all indicators of financial waste: Burn, not recycle.

    Lest we forget, to be grateful like the prodigal son to World Bank and others doesn’t mean that getting bailed regularly is a realistic financial policy. Some Liberian economists even believe it created the sort of dependency which got us stuck in backwardness for centuries. As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

    Let God guide the Weah government and save the state.

    Without question, we deserve peace with justice that will make us all shareholders in the resources of Mama Liberia, hence willing stakeholders in its security and protection. It’s the essence of that often – referenced ‘social contract’ between governors and governed. And when both parties are faithfully in compliance, tranquility and peace reign supreme; not adversarial relationship between press and political elites, police versus populace, mistrust, abuse of power, and ceaseless street protests. Eventualities and “distractions” which, by the way, drive businesses and jobs away – we rebuke all.

  2. The unconfirmed minister of defense, Mr. Ziankhan is up to a good start. Ziankhan would like to recruit new men and women in the military at an undisclosed future date. Although he is not yet confirmed, Ziankhan notices that important changes are a must at the Ministry of Defense which he will head pending his confirmation. Ziankhan does not want to add dirt on top of dirt. He wants to let people know that he’s the new guy on the block. That’s all good.

    For reasons unknown to me, I like military issues. I will use this opportunity to ask questions. Questions that others will deem provocative. So let’s cut straight to to the chase:

    1. Does Liberia have a missile system?

    2. Does Liberia have a battlefield tank?

    3. Does Liberia anticipate having a jet fighter?

    4. Does Liberia have a naval patrol boat (s)armed with rockets/guns or short range missiles?

    5. Does Liberia have a special brigade that could penetrate enemy defenses or a specialized commando unit that could subdue a terrorist group during the event of an emergency and

    6. If we do not have any of the above fighting gear, what are we waiting for?

    I know of Rufus Darkortey, formerly of Cleveland, Ohio. If he is chosen as one of Mr. Weah’s appointees, it must be said that the new president is also up to a good start. Darkirtey is a good guy.

  3. Corrected

    The unconfirmed minister of defense, Mr. Ziankhan is up to a good start. Ziankhan would like to recruit new men and women in the military at an undisclosed future date. Although he is not yet confirmed, Ziankhan notices that important changes are a must at the Ministry of Defense which he will head pending his confirmation. Ziankhan does not want to add dirt on top of dirt. He wants to let people know that he’s the new guy on the block. That’s all good.

    For reasons unknown to me, I like military issues. I will use this opportunity to ask questions. Questions that others will deem provocative. So let’s cut straight to the chase:

    1. Does Liberia have a missile system?

    2. Does Liberia have a battlefield tank?

    3. Does Liberia anticipate having a jet fighter?

    4. Does Liberia have a naval patrol boat (s)armed with rockets/guns or short range missiles?

    5. Does Liberia have a special brigade that could penetrate enemy defenses or a specialized commando unit that could subdue a terrorist group during the event of an emergency and

    6. If we do not have any of the above fighting gear, what are we waiting for?

    I know of Rufus Darkortey, formerly of Cleveland, Ohio. If he is chosen as one of Mr. Weah’s appointees, it must be said that the new president is also up to a good start. Darkirtey is a good guy.

  4. By United Nations standards, Liberia meets three distinct requirements after being 150 years old to be categorized as a peripheral or least developed country (LCD). Here are those standards:

    1. Low income (a three-year average gross national income of less that $905 USD per capita)
    2. Human resource weakness, based on indicators of nutrition, health, education, and literacy
    3. Economic vulnerability, based on instability of agricultural production, instability of exports of goods and services, and a high percentage of population displaced by natural disaster, for example.

    What have contributed to many of the societal woes of many sub-Saharan countries including Liberia have been the misdeeds of autocratic or dictatorial regimes.

    What does a military government needs to oppress its population? Military hard ware. I am not saying that a nation does no need an army to protect its borders. However when its comes to advance weaponry and an increase in the military budget, it is not time for that yet. Liberia is an example that keeps this old saying very much alive because of its history of tribal bigotry and the visible scars of war. That saying is, “The inhumanity of man to man.”

    I suggest that the government of Liberia allocate money to strengthen the economy; improve the nation’s agricultural capacity; improve education, health care and invest in sustainable industries.

  5. Paul got it right, especially the concluding paragraph. A well-trained and well-equipped squat team should help with a terrorist attack. It isn’t something we expect every day, and a people’s government isn’t going to provoke a Boko Haram effect. So giving missile systems and jets to African armies who, more often than not, turn their weapons on citizens would be a dismaying leap of faith.

    Reportedly, the Coast Guard received a boat/ cutter from the US, or something to the effect – and three or more of those are urgently needed to patrol our territorial waters. Frankly, we must have some type of 24/7 Radar Command Center for sea and air visuals, which is simultaneously in communication with sentry guards and mobile patrols near the three spurious borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ivory Coast. These national necessities a country funds for herself instead of sourcing them out to any foreign country, we will get there… by and by.

  6. My reply……

    1. Al-Qaeda brought war to America. The intelligence services of the US were surprised that a terrorist organization could use the nation’s airplanes as missiles to wreak hovac on its soil.

    2. Boko Harem is relatively new. In recent years, Boko Harem has become a major internal threat to peace and stability in Nigeria. As a consequence of Boko Harem’s threat, the Nigerian government was forced to purchase a little more than $500 million dollars to buy jet fighters and other military gear from the US.

    3. Isis has destabilized the middle east. There are no ifs and buts about that. As a consequence of Isis’s destabilization scheme, the US and its Western allies’ economic interests have been threatened. Had the US and its Western allies stayed on the sidelines and watched the destabilization drama of Isis, Irag would have fallen. Russia didn’t want to be left out of the equation. Russia therefore entered the unstabled theater to protect its interests in Syria.
    The above mentioned countries are richer/weathier than Liberia. Their intelligence agencies did not foresee the threat.

    So here comes Liberia. The question needs to be understood in a unique way.

    Does Liberia have to wait for a catastrophic event to occur before action is taken? Should we sit as dead ducks and do nothing because of our poverty?

    I read about the patrol boat that our Coast Guardsmen use. The said patrol boat is unable to interdict a fast moving boat off the shores of Liberia. It will be suicidal for our Coast Guardsmen to engage any terrorist group that fires its guns in a city like Harper, my area of origin. With one patrol boat sitting on the Atlantic ocean in Monrovia, when will a slow unarmed patrol boat reach in Harper city?
    My point is simple, but yet important to ponder. We really don’t need any sophistication, but we need something to protect ourselves when we are threstened.

  7. Placing hold on recruitment in military should not had been publish; nor the news of
    such action should never had gone across the border of this country for security
    reason. The new Minister-designate should know now that there are some information
    he does not have to publish for security reason. But, let me extend my congratulations
    to the Major-General for his preferment.

  8. African or non African, they will not know our secret heritage;Civil or military.
    Peacekeepers need to return. If Liberia is now at peace, if military must reunite and secret heritage secured, why should foreign organizations be involved in such panels about improvement in Liberia’s military standards? while at U.N. had sanction imposed on common Liberians instead forcing the sanction on tyrants. We must know when this peace mission should be over. As you can see, from our self governed election, the Executive branch of the Liberian government is capable of keeping its own peace. This formula proves that strangers come in for piece instead peace when we fight among ourselves. No more will this happen. It is only Liberians who can solved their own problems. As soon as these peacekeepers leave, the Liberian Army should go to camp to fully organize. The room is the place for traditional Army stability. Do not forget what our chief and elders who founded the LFF left for the AFL. As soon as the new civil Defense is confirmed, let the people of Liberia be informed. Do not answer this box.
    Gone to silent majority.

  9. I’m willing to join in the armed forces of Liberia to share my dream with my Liberian brother, my dream is to became a soldier man that is my mission on earth, I pray that my dream come true, you can contact me #0770437736/0880694707.

  10. I want to join the army
    I am now in Mali, Bamako. Here is my call:+22392570073 and the call of my parents: 0886950424/077312256. Please contact me if the recruitment process resume

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