Defense Minister Brownie Samukai has angrily reacted to plans by Liberty Party (LP) political leader Cllr. Charles Brumskine to enlist psychopaths, drug addicts, rights abusers and streets criminals commonly known as Zogoes into the Liberian army should he wins the 2017 votes; terming the LP’s policy proposal as “reckless and totally irresponsible.”
The defense chief told the New Democrat Friday that Brumskine would invite chaos into Liberian Society via his “deceptive” political machination that would that would ignore the standards and values of the national army.
“We will use the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) as a vehicle to assist with the development of our country. We will establish auxiliary units, such as the Agriculture Battalion, the Engineering Battalion, and the Medical, in which Zogoes and other troubled youth, as well as the average young Liberia, who may so desire, to be trained as carpenters, painters, masons, electricians, plumbers, farmers, medical technicians, among others.,” Cllr. Brumskine said recently in Ganta, Nimba County after winning his party’s nomination to contest the scheduled October 2017 elections.
But Samukai has said the plan is a violation of the act that created the national army.
“I call this an elitist mentality on the part of someone I consider as a renowned lawyer, a future C-I-C of the AFL. It is unprofessional and unwarranted for anyone to enlist drug dealers, drug smokers and street dwellers to be recruited into the army,” he said.
A statement from the Ministry National Defense said “in no unmistakable term totally disagrees with any and all future Commander-In-Chiefs who harbor the desire of conducting political recruitment of “Zogoes” into the Armed Forces of Liberia. Such action on the part of any future leader has the propensity to summarily dampen the professional content of the force and it points to a deliberate breach of the legal requirements for eligibility for service in the AFL and the Method of recruitment as articulated in sections 7.2 and 7.3 of the New National Defense Act respectively.
Additionally, applicants have to be approved by the Joint Personnel Board (comprising One representative each from the Civil Society, the U.S. Government, the United Nations Mission in Liberia and chaired by the Minister of National Defense.
The Ministry of National Defense further views the call for recruiting Zogoes into the AFL by the Political Leader of the Liberty Party as a flagrant disservice to the efforts of United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States as well as other bilateral partners, particularly the United States Government which have over the years invested both human and material resources aimed at creating a professional, properly trained and equipped security apparatus that is a political and subordinated to the constitution of Liberia.
Section 7.2 of the Eligibility for service in the AFL States amongst other things that applicants shall possess a minimum not less than a high school diploma or equivalent vocational education, and meet the professional, medical, and other fitness qualification of the AFL.