Former Minister of Public Works, Samuel Kofi Woods, has commended the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) for it numerous efforts in fostering peace and reconciliation in the country and abroad.
Atty. Woods’s commendation was contained in a speech he delivered yesterday during programs marking the 58th anniversary of the Armed Forces Day at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia.
Under the theme, “Enhancing the Capabilities of the Armed Forces of Liberia in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations,” he said the AFL has to be commended for the new thinking and a vision built on a strong premise that will certainly transform the force into a modern army to fulfill the principles based on both domestic and international standards.
He commended the AFL for contributing to many successes in and outside of the country, particularly its “star peacekeeping role” in the troubled West African country of Mali. “I must advise, however, that if you are applauded abroad you must seek to win the hearts of your citizens at home,” the rights activist admonished.
“The recent out-break of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease necessitated the debate about the new role our military should play. This new role means that we should ready our men and women in arms not only to carry the gun but to have the brain power to assist our people when they are victims of natural disasters, a health epidemic or other mishaps; as happened and is happening in our country in regards to EVD.
“We need engineers who can build and maintain our road networks, we need doctors and nurses who can go to the remotest parts of our country and attend to the sick wherever they reside. We need teachers who are committed to the education of our children; these are all roles that can be played by our army.
“This new army must engage our people in ways that add meaning to their lives in terms of attending to their needs. This will certainly endear them to our people. Therefore, the capacity building that is so much talked about needs to find expression with the rank and file of our national army. The men and women who join our armed forces need to develop leadership skills and abilities. This is one of the many ways our State can invest in its citizenry,” he urged.