-Beyan Kota Proposes
The President and Chief Executive Officer of Liberia Christian Association of the Blind wants the mission of the Armed Forces of Liberia redefined.
Speaking as one of the panelists at the recent Armed Forces 62nd Anniversary symposium organized by authorities of the Ministry of National Defense, Sir Beyan G. Kota underscored the need for the Army Forces to be streamlined and its mission redefined.
Kota stressed that it was cardinal that the mission of the AFL be redefined if it is to defend the national sovereignty, avert extremism and respond to natural disasters, with support from the UN, ECOWAS, AU and international partners.
Dwelling on the theme:” Sustaining Peace and Security in Liberia Through Capacity Building & Provision of Welfare for the Armed Forces of Liberia”, Kota said not only the mission of the nation’s army ought to be redefined, personnel of the army capacity need to be strengthened to put them on par with their counterparts globally.
Furthermore, Kota voiced that as a way of redefining the mission of AFL, the goal of the country’s defense policy must include a military that is a non-political, accountable, capable and affordable.
According to him, the new army in turn, should be modeled to meet its mission, adding,” If there is no clear need for a large externally facing military, government should streamline its armed forces to make them more efficient and responsive to the actual security needs of the country.”
Pointing a key element of this process, the CAB boss noted, is developing national security strategies that bridge the gap between foreign and domestic threats.
Kota is of the belief that one of the problems faced by many African governments, including the Government of Liberia (GoL), is what to do with their militaries when they are not engaged in combat.
He cited the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) as a case study or most African militaries, has not had to defend its country against an external aggressor for a long time, but said the GAF with its professional skills, has supported domestic security agencies when needed as well as participated in various international peacekeeping operations in the world, and responded to national disasters, among others.
On support to soldiers development, Kota sees the current disrepair of rolling stock, the lack of appropriate equipment, and the shrinking capacities of the air forces and navies can present an opportunity for many African militaries, lest to mention the Armed Forces of Liberia.
To accomplish this, the CAB President/CEO opined, priority must be given to strengthening the manpower of the AFL, developing individuals and units that are competent, compassionate, and respectful as well as focusing on education and training of the men and women of the army for advancement or promotion.
Also, Kota called for the roles of the military and political actors to be defined as well because, as he puts it, the dynamic of politicians seeking military support suggests that weak democratic institutions provide an opening for opportunistic politicians to engage in the manipulation of the military.
Kota, in his expose during the 62nd Armed Forces Day Symposium convened at the Monrovia City Hall, asserted that an active and informed civil society, similarly, enhances the entrenchment of democratic values and deters military adventurism in society.
With this, stated Kota, coups are likely to fail where civil societies are active and involved beyond elections in countries with Liberia not excluded.
Touching on a free media, the CAB top executive said the press is essential for facilitating a broader public dialogue on security issues and military affairs, adding,” Such a process also builds confidence between society, the state, and the Armed Forces of Liberia.”
Meanwhile, Sir Beyan G. Kota used the occasion by hailing former Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for having made great strides toward rebuilding civil society in Liberia, a country torn by war, through the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law in 2010 to enhance transparency and accountability.
He said through the media, the general population was opportune to learn of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) process and educated, regarding rule of law and the role of the military as protectorate of the nation and human security reached the citizenry through radio programs and newspaper publications.