Liberty Party Standard Bearer Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine is planning to set the bar very low for recruitment into the Armed Forces of Liberia, disclosing his intention to recruit criminals a.k.a. zogoes, into the military as a way of taking them off the streets. He believes this is the only way that criminals across Liberia would be rehabilitated and giving skills that would make them productive citizens.
But the presidential and Commander-In-Chief hopeful is clearly ignoring criteria or standards for enlisting into the new AFL, which include basic secondary education, non-drug users and people with no criminal and tainted human rights records, among others.
Cllr. Brumskine made the assertion over the weekend in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County when he addressed members of the Liberian School Principals Association, arguing that in an event of conflict or war, hoodlums and hardcore criminals recruited in the military would be the first to get in the firing line rather than professional members of the army.
The Liberty Party's security policy statement presupposes that if elected in October, an LP-led government would have no alternative approach in addressing Liberia's huge social problems other than recruiting misfits and gangsters into state security forces at the expense of standards and ethics.
Brumskine wants Liberians to believe that criminals roaming the streets most of whom are ex-combatants, who committed hideous abuses here, including massacres during the country's 14 years civil war, could be recruited in the army while ignoring professional standards. We disagree, and want to draw the LP standard bearer's attention to last week's mutiny by militias loyal to Ivorian President AlassanOuatarra in demand of salary and bonuses promised them by the President.
Such scenario could erupt here under a Brumskine Presidency if criminals were enlisted in the AFL with the promise that they would receive skills training and be allowed to return to private life. We believe the state could initiate comprehensive rehabilitation programs for zogoes and other misfits without enlisting them in our military, which should contain our very best. We call on Brumskine to rethink his strategy for removing criminals off the streets.
He should be told in no uncertain terms that the AFL is not a dumpsite for miscreants as experience has shown that when a Commander-In-Chief embarks on such method of recruitment for the army, discipline and standards would jump thru the window, leaving behind mere gun-toting and bloodthirsty men and women, whose primary objective is to satisfy their personal aggrandizements as the expense of defending the state and its people.
A professional army is the pride of any nation and therefore deserves the very best in terms of training and professional conduct, but when a would-be C-I-C decides to compromise standards for political gains then there is cause for concern as Cllr. Brumskine's recent assertion in Buchanan seems to indicate.
The current benchmarks for enlisting into the AFL should be upheld and further strengthened by any aspirant that would emerge as the next President and Commander-In-Chief, including the Liberty Party standard bearer so that our men and women in arms would serve with distinction both at home and abroad and bring pride to the Motherland.