Just on the brink of the government of Liberia officially taking over all security responsibilities handled by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for nearly 13 years, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has challenged newly commissioned Justice Minister Frederick Cherue, to ensure that the ruling Unity Party hands over a peaceful and stable Liberian state to the next administration that will be elected in 2017.
She said Minister Cherue, in collaboration with his colleagues and heads of the various security agencies, should lead a process that will ensure that the country remains on the right trajectory that the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has achieved as the government heads to the finish line in just over a year.
Commissioning the Minister and his Deputy for Economic Affairs, Harrietta G. Badio, at a brief ceremony in the Cabinet Room of the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs on Thursday, President Sirleaf acknowledged that Minister Cherue and deputy Badio were taking on grave responsibilities at the best and worst of times.
“Minister and madam minister, you take on grave responsibilities in the best of times because with your leadership, working with your colleagues, you will be guiding the process of leading us to the finish-line, keeping peace in our country.”
She said Cherue is doing so as UNMIL hands over the national security responsibility to local authorities tomorrow, placing him in the position to lead the process of stabilizing the country.
“Worst of times because when administrations begin to come to an end, there are lots of challenges; and again, you will be called upon to help to address those challenges to ensure that this country remains stable and peaceful, that we are put in a position that will enable us carry out our development activities,” said the President.
President Sirleaf told the two MOJ officials that the government does not subscribe to what she called the “lame duck concept,” adding that government will not renege in carrying out its development initiatives.
A lame duck in politics is a government official, usually the president, whose successor has already been elected. “We are going to be doing everything we can and pushing forward as we have been doing before in the past twelve years to ensure that we reach the finish line accomplishing as much as we can within the capabilities and resources that are available. And we ask you to work with us to achieve those objectives.”
Minister Cherue, in a very brief statement, said he is ready to help the government achieve its goals. “I and my colleague are taking oath on the eve of UNMIL turning over security responsibilities to the government of Liberia. This is an honor. After the UNMIL turnover, MOJ becomes the chair.”
He called on his colleagues to ensure that they live up to the expectations of the President and the Liberian people by keeping the country safe during the post-UNMIL era. He promised commitment and pledged to provide sincere services to the Liberian people and state.
“Madam President, I will justify the trust and confidence reposed in me,” he said, praying that God being his helper, he will live up to the confidence reposed in him by the Liberian people through the President.
All of the heads of the various security agencies were present at the commissioning ceremony. They include Minister of National Defense, Brownie Samukai; Police Director, Chris Massaquoi; Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Lemuel Reeves; Drug Enforcement Agency, Anthony Souh; National Fire Service Director, G. Warsuah Barvoul; and Executive Protection Service Director, Frank O. Nyenkan . Also present was National Security Advisor to the President, H. Boima Fahnbulleh.