United States Ambassador Deborah Malac has underscored that there are still challenges to be met related to the civilian- security sector, as the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) draws down its troop.
Making the observation during a tete-a-tete with journalists at the US Embassy in Monrovia recently, Ambassador Malac said that besides the Armed Forces of Liberia— (AFL) whose upgrading her country has contributed to immensely to defend the state, the Justice system, Liberian National Police (LNP) and the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization (BIN) have some lapses that need correction.
She stressed that Liberia has more border points that are porous while pre-trial detention and injustice are still prevalent in the judicial system.
She indicated that there is a need to still train more police officers and build their academic capacity in order to demonstrate leadership.
Ambassador Malac further identified economic opportunity and justice as key to sustaining peace and security amidst the withdrawing of UNMIL from Liberia.
For the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Ambassador said much has been done to improve it as evidenced by the transition of the army highest position from a Nigerian to a Liberian.
Although she said others things are still needed to be done, she admitted that the AFL from all indications has gained a solid foundation on which government can expand to build up; considering discipline in the AFL as one basic constituent expected of the security sector.
She further noted that AFL in post-conflict Liberia is one security institution well disciplined in line with the expectation of the international community.
Ambassador Malac, who commented on diverse issues in accordance with questions from journalists, asserted that corruption in Liberia takes collective efforts to fight and not government alone.
According to her, corruption is not only in government, but in schools and other private areas.
She said that in order for the ill to reduce in the society, students and teachers must stop the sale of grades in schools and focus on sustainable learning that will help future development.
She also suggested the establishment of strong institutions that will have systems to guide the behavior and attitude for better performance in workplaces and financial sector.
The US Ambassador also acknowledged that building institutions and fighting corruption and other ills in a country totally damaged by war was quite challenging, and that it takes many years to do.
She indicated that it will take over ten years to actually achieve the development goal of the country and that people should not expect much to happen soon.
Ambassador Malac’s comment on corruption is not the first to be made in recent days amidst public outcry.
It can be recalled that EU Liberia Delegation Ambassador, Attilio Pacifici recently described corruption as “Cancer” in Liberia that needs collective fight.
Ambassador Pacifici further indicated that Liberians took less time to destroy their country and will take more time to build; urging that they (Liberians) should not expect the building of the country to be done overnight.