ppreciable of the continuing efforts by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in championing the safety and security of the nation-state, as manifested over the short years by its continuing presence in the country, coupled with its involvement in the training of personnel of various local security structures, it is increasingly becoming the popular views of the public that until the practical performances of those benefiting from the exercise are verified and certified as been professionally worthy, the multi-party democracy being nurtured could short-live on account of non-compliance to norms that must be strengthened through the full application of the rule of law.
Not in the least anticipated by the Liberian people, as well as residents, however, and notwithstanding the featuring of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the Liberia National Police Force (LNP) over the months are been prominent in the training offered under the Security Sector Reform (SSR) program being assisted by DynCorp, the United States, Nigerian and Liberian governments, the two institutions are not sufficient enough to handle the security situations in the country when UNMIL shall have left the country, something recently underscored by former Interim President Dr. Amos Claudius Sawyer.
It therefore becomes an imperative that other para-military institutions be revisited as means to setting the right tone before the departure of the multinational peacekeeping force from Liberia in 2011.
Evidently and not at all a hasty decision of government to have extended its down-sizing exercise to the local security sector, for reasons which many have termed as good, since it bordered on budgetary constraints and proven excesses of some personnel, some thing highlighted at workshops of professional organizations and institutions over the years, specifically the Liberian National Law Enforcement Association (LINLEA), headed by Colonel Cecil B. Griffiths.
The high resourcefulness of the fora held over the years, with salient recommendations leading to the full restructuring of the local security sector unmistakably becomes quite useful to whatever plans may now and henceforth be afoot in improving the sector.
Dependent upon the continuing assistance of international partners in the training process, coupled with government's ability to attract resources domestically to help sustain the level of professionalism anticipated by the public following the departure of UNMIL, and perhaps old as it may come to be described but very practicable in the developing context, a model used by the great United States of America, for example, in the setting up of its Army following World War II is worth careful study for consideration.
Historically, at the peak of enrollment in the War, the Army which stood at over eight million witnessed a demobilization exercise that reduced its strength to a little over five million, comprising three great commands including Air Forces, Ground Forces and Service Forces.
The old distinctions of infantry, cavalry and artillery disappeared. It was not until in later years that the enlistment of women was authorized in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) for service.
Strange as it may have appeared to many of the demobilized of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) from the period of the interim leadership of Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant, evolving from a Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) drawn up in Accra, Ghana in 2003, it initial implementation by Defense Minister Daniel Chea that later saw current Defense Minister Hon. J. Brownie Samukai completing the exercise under the Commander-In-Chief Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had been wrongly viewed as rendering those demobilized as misfits and undesirables.
Expected to have proven an examination to the affected personnel in proving their loyalty and commitment to the State, by exhibiting high degree of discipline and respect for superior officers, the initial stage and later months proved problematic as compared to the demobilized police officers.
Retirement benefits becoming primary demands, friendly governments including the United States, Great Britain and the People's Republic of China (PRC) are credited for their timely understanding of the problems that existed in helping the democratic government gradually offset its obligations to the demobilized personnel, most of whom sacrificed their lives in defense of the nation during the past civil crisis, with continuing support to the rebuilding of a professional army still forthcoming.
Pragmatic as the decision to conduct the compulsory exercise is now being viewed, the setting up of a Board on Veterans Affairs comprising highly-trained retired officers, aging as they may be but highly resourceful, among whom are Generals Kpinkpah Y. Konah and J. Hezekiah Bowen, both former Chiefs-of-Staff, it provides hope and as well challenges the demobilized in maintaining their integrity and extending courtesy to civilians as well, since they could be found useful in other areas contributory to the rebuilding process of the society.
Better still, some could become good trainers and members in the years ahead, should government decide to reintroduce the militia program throughout the country.
On the question of other para-military institutions receiving adequate training, identified as they are and with recent assurance given by the United Nations Under-Secretary for Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy, to continuously support UNMIL's operations in the country, there abounds certainty that the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Ellen Margrethe Loj, is poised along with other experts of her team to consider in toto the honest wishes of the Liberian people who can no longer afford to have the democracy restored to be infringed upon by any person or group of persons.
Suggestive of this columnist, a professional journalist and an eyewitness to events of the past civil crisis, as an input, it would indeed have great and good psychological impact on the lives of the population, tried as it has been over a decade to actualize the plan but became economically and financially crippled, were government, through support of international partners, to erect a building on Capitol Hill within the proximity of the Executive Mansion, Temple of Justice and the Capitol Building to pictorially display events of the past civil crisis at all stages leading up to the point of the restoration of democracy.
Preferably, the building could be named in honor of former United States President William Jefferson Clinton for several reasons to be provided, with wings named in honor of world leaders who immensely contributed to the process and thus becoming a very great school in training citizens on processes required in occupying the highest seat in the land, something that must be democratic as opposed to ruthlessness or violence, since the latter have always short-lived.