13 February 2017

Liberia: 'AFL Personnel Not Politicians' - Pres. Sirleaf

Personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) are not politicians, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said, noting that the professional content of their organization must be devoid of politics and personal preferences.

She noted that the credibility of the recruiting and vetting processes that has been instituted in the AFL for over a decade now must continue without political interference.

President Sirleaf, who is also Commander-In-Chief of the Liberian Army, made the observation in her address during the 60th Armed Forces Day celebration held at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia over the weekend.

The President made it clear that promotions, assignments and rotation of AFL personnel are the responsibilities of the army's "Chain of Command," adding that it must remain so without undue influence and favoritism.

"Let me state that civilian leadership over the AFL must recognize the regimentation of the military through its table of organization and equipment upon which the force is trained, disciplined and deployed," she pointed out.

President Sirleaf said the governance, command and operational structures of the Armed Forces are based on the order of merit and must remain so for accountability and integrity purposes.

She added: "A merit-based professional outfit such as the AFL should remain above the fray of political maneuvering."

According to President Sirleaf, Liberia has come a long way since 2006 in its security sector reform program which has not only seen overlapping agencies combined, but also seen the change of nomenclature, leadership and function.

She indicated that new statutes have been amended and created affecting most of the security agencies in order to enhance their governance structures and operational capabilities.

She named, as examples, the Liberia National Police now headed by an Inspector General and similar subordinate titles and the Special Security Service which has transitioned to the Executive Protective Service with clearly defined governing structure and responsibility.

President Sirleaf also mentioned the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization which has transitioned to the Liberia Immigration Services with an amendment of the statute outlining its new structure and modus operandi.

She indicated that the new Anti-Drug Laws and Firearms Control Act is in consonance with ECOWAS protocol in the region, stating that all of these regulatory frameworks are intended to enhance accountability and provide legal jurisprudence.

"Now that enormous achievements have been made in our security and defense sector reform programs, we can look to the future with renewed confidence in maintaining the peace we enjoy," she added.

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