5 February 2013

Liberia: Truly, We Must Give Back


At the last Extraordinary ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State in the Ivorian Capital, Abidjan, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, like others, committed the country to the Mali peace mission. In so doing, she pledged a platoon of soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia to the Mali mission, with the hope of coordinating with the Liberian Legislature.

Upon her return home on Saturday, January 19, 2013, the Liberian Leader announced her Abidjan commitment, regarding the country's contribution of troops to the West Africa state of Mali on peace-keeping mission.

Hours following the President's announcement, some members of the Liberian Senate took to the airwaves to critically except the decision with constitutional arguments in terms of violation- something the House of Representatives detested, this time, as unfair to the President of Liberia.

In its support to the President on Constitutional ground, the House argued that as chief foreign policy implementer of Liberia, President Sirleaf was never in the wrong to commit Liberia and later consult the Liberian Legislature. It was also important for members of the Senate who may have had problem with the commitment/pronouncement by the President to exercise restraint since it was during the weekend before "Jumping into conclusion" when the same Constitution of Liberia empowers her as chief foreign policy implementer.

But again, in their own wisdom as "House of Elders", the Senators reconsidered their decision to drag their concurrence with the House of Representatives on the matter January 14, 2013) following an official communication from the President by seeking clarity from the Ministers of Justice, Defence and Finance on the deployment, including the legal and financial implications. Now that the Senators, in their regular session on Tuesday, January 29, 2013, voted to concur with the House, they must also be hailed.

While some of the Senators may have initially been too hasty in their utterances on the decision/pronouncements, clarifications from the relevant authorities on the "what and how" of t5he deployment of Liberian troops to Mali were also very important for better understanding and further explanation to the people of Liberia during and after the deployment.

We are totally in agreement with the Senators and Representatives that the decision to approve the deployment of troops to the international peace mission to Mali was in the best interest of Liberia, owing to the huge contributions by countries of West Africa, including the "very Mali" to the peace we enjoy in our country today after years of conflicts.

Even though the departure of our soldiers for the mission is contingent upon meeting basic legal and financial requirements, we can only hope that the process is accelerated so as to avoid unnecessary delays in the deployment. Truly enough, our country is in total readiness to give back to Mali which formed part of ECOMOG, the West African Peace-keeping Force to give us peace.

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