Monrovia — It has been eight years after the first post war democratically elected President of Liberia was sworn into office and the restructuring and remodeling works of the national army set into place. Liberia now finally has its first postwar national Army headed by a Liberian Chief of Staff who has now taken over from the Nigerian caretaker Major Gen. Suraj Abdurrahman.
Brig. General D. Daniel D. Ziankhan was commissioned at the 57th Armed Forces Day celebrations on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 by the Commander-in -Chief President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Brig. Gen. Ziankhan took over officially from the outgoing Nigerian Commanding Officer in Charge Maj. Gen. S. A. Abdurrahman. Another Liberian, Col. Eric W. Dennis was also commissioned Deputy Chief of Staff while Col. Prince C. Johnson III, became Brig. Commander of the AFL.
Then came the moment of excitement when S.A. Abdurrahman the outgoing Chief of Staff, turned over to the new Chief of Staff, as the whole audience witnessing the program went wild with cheers. Upon receiving the flag from Gen. Abdurrahman the incoming Chief of Staff Ziankhan, turned the flag over to Maj. Cooper Makwee of the AFL according to the protocol of the army.
'I am confident'
President Sirleaf said this year's theme: 'Enhancing the capabilities of the Armed Forces to meet contemporary changes', underscored the need for the new army to be robustly trained, disciplined and equipped to carry out their mission.
"I have faith and confidence in your ability to carry on this mission; I have faith as evidenced by your successful execution of the mission to our southeastern and northeastern borders during operation restore hope one two and three," she said.
Continued President Sirleaf: "Due to commitment last year that Liberian will take command of the AFL with the advice and consent of the Liberian Senate, we have today just appointed Brigade Gen. Daniel D. Ziankhan as the new chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia. He Replaces Maj. Gen. Abdurrahman, who served diligently as the Commanding Officer in Charge of the AFL for the past seven years. Gen. Abdurrahman's Leadership and commitment to the AFL was truly extemporary. I want to once again personally thank you for all that you have done for the Armed Forces of Liberia and our Country."
The president challenged the newly appointed officials to maintain the regimentation of a professional military and their leadership must exhibit a commitment to duties and obedience to constitutive authority. And they must demonstrate that they are ready and capable to lead.
Outgoing Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer of the AFL, Maj. Gen. Abdurrahman, has been helping to develop the new Armed Forces of Liberia as a force for good, for the past seven years.
Maj Gen. Abdurrahman, at the program, said he was happy to have helped the new Army and has no doubt that the new Army as a force for good can carry out its duties well.
"I want to thank the new Army and the people of Liberia for accepting me to help in the reconstruction of the new Armed Forces of Liberia who I have no doubt can carry out their duties efficiently."
Defense Minister Brownie Samukai said the President directed that the Armed Forces be a force for good, instructed that it must restore the confidence of the Liberian people in the Armed Forces.
"You demanded that our Armed Forces must reflect the geographic landscape of our Country without any form of bias. You also tasked us to set transparent, accountable and higher standards for entry into our new Armed Forces based on the order merit. You called for a military that is robustly trained, prepared to defend our territorial integrity and as a matter of policy ensure that not one inch of our territory should be used to destabilize our neighbors. I am proud to report madam President that our new military is ready to carry out its mission."
Women not left out
Minister Samukai said about forty seven percent of the staff at the Defense Ministry consists of women and the Ministry of Defense is very gender sensitive. Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, who served as keynote speaker of the celebration, said the army today is a vital part of the agenda for transformation; which is one of the challenges in securing the full integration of our security sector.