U.S. Ambassador Debora Malac has taken a low-blow route of hide & seek diplomacy with a statement reminiscent of the Liberia Governance Stakeholder Survey Report which the Embassy claimed was taken out of context, describing the publication as sensationalism and inappropriate leak. FPA was later vindicated when the Embassy admitted that the Survey Report was indeed a US-sponsored report and stands by its reportage of the Ambassador’s parting shots.
WHILE THE UNITED STATES of America has made a lot of contributions to Liberia’s development, Africa’s oldest republic’s adopted stepfather has also made a number of errors that has come back to bite and haunt the deterioration of Liberia political infrastructures.
IN THE 1980’s, WASHINGTON pumped millions of dollars into the Samuel Doe regime as it fought off Cold War threats from the Soviet Union and embraced Doe who had ended decades of Americo-Liberian rule.
WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR to Washington that their embrace of Doe was a costly error, Charles Ghankay Taylor, a former Director General of the General Service Agency who had absconded with some US$1 million of Doe’s money, mysteriously escaped a high-security prison and later launched a civil war that killed thousands.
AT THE HEIGHT of the war when scores of Liberians lost their lives and many bared their souls before the U.S. Embassy here, America dealt a low-blow suggesting that it could not interfere in Liberia’s internal woes.
THE US SAT AND WATCHED IDLY as Liberians turned their country into massacres camp, as unarmed civilians who even sought refuge at the Grey Stone fence near the United States Embassy in Mamba Point became the target of heavy mortars bombardment from the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).
Drawing Contrasts: From Booth to Malac
ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED Liberians took the mutilated remains of their fellow countrymen before the US protesting the low-key role by the United States in helping to put the carnage in their country under control but the US still did not care about speaking on the issue.
FINALLY, REPUBLICAN President George W. Bush read President Taylor the Riot Act, demanding that the President stepped down to pave the way for peace in Liberia.
WHEN PEACE FINALLY RETURNED to Liberia in 2003 following the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Accord which was preceded by general and presidential elections in 2005, the US appointed a female ambassador to serve under the regime of Africa’s first democratically elected woman President-Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS GREENFIELD was appointed United States Ambassador. While her tenure was not as vocal as her predecessors John Blaney and Donald Booth, Dr. Greenfield was firm on the US position on issues such as corruption and she supported the General Auditing Commission of Liberia during the tenure of former Auditor general John Morlu.
AMBASSADOR GREENFIELD FOR INSTANCE at many public gatherings described corruption as a huge challenge and constantly cautioned Liberians to make corruption an issue of the past.
DELIVERING THE 50TH COMMENCEMENT convocation of the Cuttington University in Suakoko, Bong County on Sunday, June 12, Ambassador Greenfield said: “If I told you that there are no challenges, I would be less honest with you. Because, I very much care about Liberia. I don’t shy away from being critical when necessary. Let me repeat what I have said on many occasions. The one problem that continues to violate your trust and interest is corruption”.
BUT SINCE AMBASSADOR MALAC’s appointment, in July, 2012, over three years ago, the United States stance toward issues in Liberia changed dramatically. In yesteryears, issues the US spoke against strongly including nepotism, corruption and others are now no talk for Ambassador Malac.
AMBASSADORS MYRICK AND BLANEY continue to be remembered for tough-talking against the tyranny of the Taylor rule and the insecurity Liberians faced under Taylor.
THE US WHICH IS KNOWN FOR SPEAKING publicly through its Embassy against ills in the Liberian society shifted its policy toward Liberia under Ambassador Malac as the US envoy constantly said she prefers to talk on issues behind the scenes and not publicly. Even when she does on occasions, sway, she has as in the latest controversy come out ranting that she was misquoted by the media.
‘Probably True’: Malac on Corruption
AMBASSADOR DEBORAH MALAC WILL BE REMEMBERED for saying her stance of diplomacy is the one held behind-the scene which is quite strange to the diplomacy Liberians have seen over the years from US ambassadors to the country. “We have a very frank discussion and conversation, sometimes doing that in public is not the best way to yield results”, Ambassador Malac said in her department comments. Ambassador Malac constantly made the statement about speaking on prevailing issues behind the scenes during her entire tenure of service in Liberia.
WITH THE REGIME OF PRESIDENT Ellen Johnson Sirleaf criticized for practicing Nepotism with the members of the Sirleaf’s family occupying key positions in government, Ambassador Malac has never publicly spoken against nepotism under the Sirleaf regime.
EVEN WHEN LIBERIANS were expressing disappointment over the son of President Robert Sirleaf, serving as head of the lucrative National Oil Company of Liberia, Fombah Sirleaf serving as head of the National Security Agency, Charles Sirleaf as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia and other cronies of the President serving is key positions, the US envoy did not see anything wrong with nepotism that warrants her comment like her predecessors did with previous regimes.
WHILE GLOBAL WITNESS, Transparency International, Financial Integrity and other credible international organizations are reporting about corruption in Liberia, Ambassador Malac says it is “probably” true that there is corruption in Liberia.
PRESIDENT BARRACK OBAMA while meeting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Washington DC offered to help Liberia accelerate the fight against corruption and even promised the US will provide support in fighting corruption but Ambassador Malac still believes the existence of corruption in Liberia is ‘probably’ true. “We want to accelerate… some of the efforts that President Sirleaf had already begun to reduce corruption, and to make sure that prosperity and growth is broad-based, not just in Monrovia, but throughout rural areas” said President Barack Obama when he met President Sirleaf in early March this year.
Flip flopping Malac
IN MARCH 2014, when FrontPageAfrica published a report Liberia Governance Stakeholder Survey Report, the United States Embassy first disclaimed the report but after FPA published the full report, Ambassador Malac described it as an ‘inappropriate leak’.
AMBASSADOR MALAC said the report was sensationalized what was contained in the report, though she acknowledged the paper’s journalistic duty to report on such matters.
SAID AMBASSADOR MALAC: “That report, as it is being sensationalized by FrontPageAfrica, that somehow there is secret information in there, information that we did not want people to see; the issue is more because we hired contractors to come in and do this. It is one person or a group of people’s opinions and analysis based on conversations and information that they have. But we certainly understand why FrontPageAfrica or any other journalism outfit that might have this in their hand will feel that they needed to publish it that is what newspapers do; I mean that is what journalistic outlets do. In our regard, when we have reports that are intended for internal use, we don’t appreciate it when they are released inappropriately or without our knowledge.”
THE AMBASSADOR AGAIN REECHOED on stance of apologetic approach to issues in Liberia when she said. “But I guess my approach just even on a personal level is simply attacking and attacking and saying negative things doesn’t tend to make whoever you are having the conversation with feel incline to do anything so the issue is to present the problem in a way where we have this issue, what can we do together or how can we solve it, or what do you need to do and our opinion is to try to fix that. So, I guess that’s my approach generally. But I can assure you that my conversation with the President and with all members of the government and frankly with anyone that I speak with is usually pretty frank and pretty direct. That’s the way to get information shared and to really understand where people stand on a particular issue, but that can be done in a way that is not antagonistic, because that is not our goal.”
In a recent Farwell speech the US envoy spoke on many issues including security and others and following a FPA publication she issued a statement in which she singled out specific issues, promising to make public the full audio at some time.
THE U.S. EMBASSY DID NOT RELEASE the entire transcript of the Ambassador’s speech, selectively transcribing what it termed the real statement by the Ambassador.
Stated the Embassy - Departing U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, rants in a statement that "A Free Press is Not an Irresponsible Press," in an attempt to take aim at FrontPageAfrica’s report of the envoy’s farewell reception last Thursday.
IN HER STATEMENT, the envoy writes: “Many people seem to be under the impression that a free press means that the media can say whatever it wants. That is not the meaning, though. Free press means that the media is able to report on all events and issues that affect the lives of the public without interference or limitation by the government. However, the basic tenets of good reporting still apply. What are those basic tenets? Accurate, verifiable information confirmed by multiple sources. It does not mean that the reporter can pull together unrelated quotes to make an article reflect his or her personal point of view.”
I recently held a press roundtable to sum up my time here in Liberia as Ambassador for the United States of America to Liberia. I pointed out progress I have seen as well as areas of concern that need the attention of all the people of Liberia. However, Front Page Africa misrepresented both the content and tone of what I said. Especially egregious among the many misrepresentations was a quote attributed to me that questioned the readiness of Liberia's security forces to assume responsibility as UNMIL draws down. This is absolutely false as a transcript from this session will bear out. While acknowledging the work that remains to be accomplished, I also noted progress and emphasized the responsibility that citizenry also plays in ensuring a law-abiding culture takes root and flourishes - in response to two different questions, one on mob violence and one on the UNMIL drawn down. I said:
"As for mob violence, it continues to be a concern for us and others, and I think for Liberians themselves to see how quickly some of these incidents can spin out of control. Again, I go back to this need for personal and community responsibility that each citizen has a role to play in ensuring the security and stability of the State. The government and the security forces have a certain role to play, but they cannot be in every single location. So, it's really incumbent on communities and counties and districts to develop their own mechanisms to ensure that people don't allow these kinds of events to spin out of control. When they happen and they end up in either injuries or death to individuals, or destruction of property, you're only hurting yourselves, you're not necessarily hurting the target of that anger.
Then in response to a different question on the UNMIL draw down:
"We have confidence that over time that the government and the people of Liberia are developing the mechanisms and the systems and the institutions to assume responsibility for their own security. And, that really is something that has to happen. It's been a long time coming. UNMIL has now been here for 12 years, almost 13 years... That's a long time for a peace keeping mission. Over the last several years, their actual role in terms of maintaining security in the country has really been diminishing. You see them around, but they've been drawing down gradually over the last couple of years. So, it's an inevitable process. It's something that has to happen. We work, the UN works, with the Liberian National Police. We, of course, have been working with the Armed Forces of Liberia. We work with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Other partners are working with BIN. They are gradually developing capacity to take on responsibility. We've seen some progress with the LNP. There's a lot more work that needs to be done, particularly at the level of local police officers."
Good reporting is an essential part of democracy. It helps the people understand what is happening in their country and with their government. It enables people to become better citizens and respond to issues that affect their lives. However, the press is powerful, and bad reporting is contrary to the goal of a free press. Bad reporting is incendiary, leading to public discontent and reaction that is not in keeping with building a strong, stable country. Journalism is a powerful tool that needs to be used wisely. When used well, journalism improves the country and the lives of the people. When used poorly, journalism is a destructive weapon. I encourage all of the media outlets in Liberia to use their powerful tool of journalism wisely”.
ONCE AGAIN, Ambassador Malac’s has taken a low-blow route of hide & seek diplomacy with a statement reminiscent of the Liberia Governance Stakeholder Survey Report in which the Embassy said it was not aware of any such report and following the publication of the full report by FPA only to later describe the publication as sensationalism and inappropriate leak.
THE U.S. despite its many contributions to Liberia is once again treading dangerous diplomatic territory in a departure from direct criticisms it says did not work in the past although supporters of former President Charles Taylor would argue that President Bush’s directness to Taylor was the final straw that broke Taylor’s hold on power.
ON SECURITY THE US Ambassador admitted in her statement the widespread wave of mob violence across the country. Mob violence has taken place in several places including the burning of the Red Light police station, the Ganta incident, Butaw and many others but Ambassador Malac says who said the situation is out of control somersaulted in her counter statement saying before it ‘can spin out of control.
THE DIPLOMAT BELIEVES more than seven instances of mob justice-Yekepa, Nimba County, Butaw, Sinoe County, Red Light Paynesville, Ganta, Nimba County, Johnsonville, Montserrado County, Barnesville, Montserrado County and others which led to the destruction of lives ad properties is not an indication that the security situation in the country is diminishing and mob justice is out of control. She expressed confidence in Liberia to take over the security of the state.
HAS AMBASSADOR MALAC silenced America's moral voice in Liberia by unabashedly defending systemic corruption, nepotism and looting of the state resources. Can the departing Ambassador defend that during her tenure Liberia was ranked the most corrupt by TI in 2013, which was carried on the front page of the largest newspaper in America, USA Today? Has any of her secret and behind the scenes discussions led to any tangible improvement in governance and in the lives of ordinary Liberians?
WE BELIEVE IT IS FAR better for an American Ambassador to side with the people than with a government that 81% of Liberians say is corrupt.
FOR MANY LIBERIANS, corruption is not "probably true" It is a fact of life in government and it is because of corruption our nation is least developed, poverty is in the faces of the people and Liberia is ranked second poorest in the world and amongst the top 10 miserable places to live on planet earth.
THIS IS WHY we take serious exceptions to Ambassador Malac’s defense of the indefensible and her unfortunate and flawed label of our publication as “Irresponsible”. What appears to be irresponsible is Washington’s continued toying with Liberia’s political future and the Embassy in Monrovia repeated inconsistencies on issues at the heart of Liberia’s post-war resurgence.
Ambassador Deborah Malac Speech as Transcribed by FPA Reporter
GOOD MORNING EVERYONE:
Thank you for joining us today as you know just under, just over two weeks from now I will be leaving Liberia for the last time, for good after having spent more than three years here serving as the U.S Ambassador.
I leave with great deal of sadness. I have been extraordinarily honored to serve, to represent the United States here in Liberia and I greatly value the friendship and the relationship that I have had the opportunity to develop since I been here.
I traveled to all 15 counties, I haven’t been to every single corner of the country but I have a good effort of doing so and much of that I travelled by road. So to really see some of the challenges that people outside of Monrovia faced the challenges that the government faces in terms of trying to help develop this beautiful country.
So with that I will stop and I’m happy to take your questions:
Robert Clarke: So you are recognized. Call your name and institution
JULIUS JEH, FABRIC RADIO: Madam Ambassador what kind of Liberia did you meet and what kind of Liberia are you leaving?
Ambassador Malac: I have been ah, from the first time I set foot in Liberia I have been particularly touched by the warm and hospitality of Liberians and also touched by the challenges as I said to really continue moving this country in a direction that its needs to go and recovering continuing to recover not just from conflict but from Ebola which also made a mark. I will say I’m sad to be leaving mostly at the time where the economic picture is not nearing its bright as it was when I arrived in the year 2012. And that is largely due to external factors, due to the decrease in iron ore prices, due to the decrease in rubber prices, Ebola settling have an impact on economic growth opportunities and I am confident that Liberians together possess the capacity and ability to work together. We saw it during the Ebola the kinds of power of the community and the grassroots work together to bring development to the country, this is not an issue just for the Government but issues for the people themselves to take part in.
JEH: If the American Ambassador speaks the whole country listens, you are more easy when it comes to why have you not taken stance position on this Government?
AMBASSADOR: We never start out with taking a position against the Government. We have bilateral relationship to nurture and protect. That said, we have very firm discussions. I think if you ask President Sirleaf she has heard several frank conversations from me. Sometimes, doing that in public is not the best way to actually achieve results that said if you go back to the body of work if you will, in terms of conversations, interviews and other interactions with the media, speeches, we been quiet clear to do more to fight corruption.
I have been very clear about the need to look at restructuring the economy to ensure we are moving away from the concession based economy in an effort to build more private sector activities that will benefit greater number of people so there are ways to go about criticizing, criticizing for the sake of criticizing does no good what you need to do is work together to identify problems and figure out solutions.
VARMAH KAMARA OF TRUTH FM: First what do you make of the latest report of transparency International on Liberia and as you leave Liberia the entire Country is characterized by mob violence have this claimed the U.S Embassy attention?
AMBASSADOR: On the first issue (if)the latest transparency point really doesn’t necessarily address the issue or corruption; but it addresses the issue of perception of the population about corruption and I think in that respect it is probably true. I mean as I travel through the country and I talked to people, corruption is an issue that people raised in many different ways which says to me this is not just an issue for the Government itself so solve, everybody, every individual in Liberia has a role to play in fighting corruption in saying something when someone wants to pay for grade at the School level, saying something if you going to conduct a transaction with the business and somebody wants to add a little bit to the bill and you agree to take your cut.
I mean there are things that everybody needs to do. The government needs to do more on the prosecution side; they need to hold, to continue to do a better job to holding people accountable. But there is also a subset of that where the judiciary has to be able to hear those cases and move them. You need hard evidence of corruption simply saying that someone is corrupt doesn’t make them so it is not enough evidence to hold up in the court of law to hold them accountable. So certainly the perception I think is a very accurate report in that regard that people perceive that corruption is an issue and is problem in Liberia. But there has been progress and there needs to be more progress and one of the ways to do that is to continue to report on it, to shine a light on it but to do it in the responsible way to have evidence to have proof indication that someone is engaged in inappropriate activity,.
As for mob violence yes it continue to be a concern for us and others and I think for Liberians themselves to see how quickly some of these incidents can spin out of control but again I go back to the need of personal community responsibility that each citizen has a role to play in ensuring that security and stability of the state.
The Government and the security forces have a certain role to play but they cannot be every single location so it’s really incumbent on communities, counties, districts to develop their own mechanism to ensure that people don’t allow these kind of events to spin out of control because when they come, when they happened and it end up in injuries or death to individuals or destruction of properties you only hurting yourself you are not necessarily hurting the person of that anger.
BETTIE JOHNSON MBAYO, FRONTPAGEAFRICA: I am concerned on the issue of security as UNMIL draws down what do you think?
AMBASSADOR: We have confidence that over time that the government and the people of Liberia are developing the mechanism and the systems and institutions to resume responsibility for their own security, and that is really it’s something that has to happen, it’s been a long time coming, UNMIL has been here a long time now for 12 years almost 13 years, that is a long time for peace keeping mission and over the last several years, their actual role in terms of maintaining security in the country has been really diminishing, they are you see them around they been drawing down gradually over the last years and so it an inevitable process, its something that has to happen.
The UN worked with the Liberia National Police, we of course started working with the Armed Forces of Liberia, we worked with the Drugs Enforcement agency other partners are working with BIN, they are gradually developing capacity to take on responsibilities, we seen some progress with the LNP there is a lot more work that needs to be done particularly at the level of local police officers but we see changes in the leadership that have been positive in the LNP with people who have received professional police training.
It’s a work in progress but we saw some of this the way the Police and the military were able to carry out setting task during the Ebola response , the accompanying of dead body burial, in continuing to skill that up in the field where they need to go.
What we clearly need to see happen is to have a decongestion of Police and security forces out Monrovia because we need to get them closer to the people in the counties but we are confident that this can happen and can happen smoothly but I go back to the point I make twice that it is incumbent on all Liberians to play a role to signal when there is a problem, to work constructively with one another to ensure that the peace and stability I think everyone has come to enjoy more than 12 years really values.
BARON BROWN OF POWER FM: Few days from now you will leave for the United States of America, who is the U.S expecting to work with in 2017 and my second question is this perception in Liberia that our election process have been staged managed by your country meaning your country decide who to become President for Liberia?
AMBASSADOR: hmmmm, I will say it’s very amazing but I will absolutely untrue, the United States government does not endorse candidate we do not endorse a single candidate; we endorse the process, we are very supportive of the democratic process for free transparent elections, the choice of who will be Liberia’s is up to the People of Liberia to determine among those who put themselves forward in the desire to represent you. We as the U.S Government with very few exception will work with anyone who the country elect as their leader, our instances somewhere in the world depending on the policies or things they will be doing. Again we do not give secret handshake, we do not give secret or public endorsement, we do encourage all candidates if I meet with them or the next Ambassador meet them our message to them control your followers, conduct your campaign peacefully don’t create unnecessary tension and behave responsibly, participate in the process, support the process transparently and freely. We will work with anybody that is elected by the Liberian people, what we do hope that whoever is elected is someone who will continue to move Liberia on the path of democracy, free market principles and towards prosperity.
FREDRICK GAYE OF IN PROFILE: During your stay, the Embassy help in strengthening all sectors, when it comes to the media what can you say about it?
AMBASSADOR: We have done a lot of work through the Public affairs section and USAID, we provide training for the media in many different ways and I know that there are other partners as well of Liberia who are also providing assistance of working to build the capacity and responsibility of the media here, I think there has been some improvement but you all have hurt me many times since I been here but there is a fine line between the freedom of the press and printing sensational news making things up, presenting the facts. With the freedom that Liberia has I know member of the Press Union and others will differ with me on this issue but you have a very free media environment here. People can pretty much say whatever they want, they can print it, they can publish it and they can broadcast it and most of the many places I have been in Africa, but with that comes with huge, huge responsibility to do so, to say, to express yourself responsibly. So you have a very responsible role during Ebola in term of putting out good information trying very hard to helping the public what is going on instead of scaring people. Is that kind of responsibility sometimes self-censorship is really necessary to show that there is truly professional media. So investigative reporting doesn’t necessarily equal sensationalizing, sometimes you going to go and an investigation and you really not going find anything other times you will, I will just encourage you all to continue on the path we have seen improvement, there is continue maturation of the media and there is still more to be done.
JOAQUIN SENDOLO OF DAILY OBSERVER: Most times I hear you discussing sympathizing for the government in terms of development looking at the challenges but maybe you have some assumption when it comes to Liberia achieving at the fullest level, so what time can you presume that Monrovia can be develop like Silver spring or Minneapolis?
AMBASSADOR: Haha .. haa ha, That will not be the objective you want for Liberia right I am sure I can put a timeline on it, it comes with so many factors that go into an issue of creating development in a country is not just the government role, the government is not going to bring development to Liberia, the U.S Government is not going to bring development to Liberia.
We will support the government should create an environment to support Liberians to build her own country so it’s a not for example an external shocks can have an impact and effect on the economy and the country, and on the budget in the country, some of those are unpredictable, some of the things are not really behind anyone can tell, but it’s going to take time, it takes time to build, rebuild infrastructure, it takes time to fix educational system, it’s a generational issue, you don’t improve the schools from one year to the next, it’s not just possible, it takes time to educate those children who are coming through the system, so many of these things are long term challenges but its 15 years, 30 years 20 years, I wouldn’t venture I guessed, what you do need is commitment of everyone to work with whoever in Government, all parts in Government but also in the private sector to invest in your own country.
JONATHAN GRISGBY: LIBERIA BROADCASTING SYSTEM: Your Government has been supportive to Liberia over the years especially your 3 years in Liberia, but do you see the support to Security, Health, Education and Agricultural to Liberia?
AMBASSADOR: Let me see if I understand your question, is your question that the investment the US Government has made through our various assistance programs do we always see results from that? I will say yes, a lot of what we do through our assistance program now through the U.S Government this is been the case for the last 15 or 20 years is very little to infrastructure and much more related to capacity, strengthening of institutions because its institutions that are really important in the country it is not that so much who is in the institutions so as the results some are immediately noticeable by the general population as oppose to build a building and then people see it they go ooh we know that the U.S Government build that building. So from our perspective in terms of investment that we have made in the many different areas engage in Liberia we have definitely seen great results, we have seen progress we have seen good results from our program does that mean that everything have move quickly as we will like as there have been much progress as we will hope for, probably not in some cases there is a lot that we been the big investors, we been the largest bilateral partner in the education sector mainly looking at Primary education, despite the concern about the sector we have some progress in that small portion, overall the educational system, we all recognize that there is still a lot more that needs to be done and we cannot be the only one responsible for that ,I will argue that we have made progress, we certainly have help to build for Liberia a very professional Armed forces that understands a road that is under Liberian subject to civilian role that is under Liberian leadership and again intangible in some ways but we are pleased to say that progress has come about.
ALEX TOGBA, NEW REPUBLIC: Peace and reconciliation are primary concern of Liberia but most important Liberians are concern of the issue of the recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation particularly the establishment of the war crimes court, Do the U.S support or take position on the establishment of the war crime court to try perceive warlords?
AMBASSADOR: We do not take position on the issue, is an issue for Liberians to decide, every country that has come out of conflict chosen different ways to work on reconciliation to work on transitional justice to address those issue.
We understand there is a discussion ongoing, there is ultimately a decision for all Liberians to decide and I can tell you that there times I been here I traveled around I talked to different Liberians, when I talked to Liberians I get multiple answer about whether or not that is the right way to move ahead in some ways without a clear majority view about this is course of action whether it is a world crimes court or not to have a court, to pursue other path towards reconciliation it’s very difficult for Government or even as a society to say this is what we are going to do because I am not sure what is discus in Monrovia is necessarily the same view held when you go outside in the counties and talk to the people, they may have, I have seen in some areas far less interesting holding a war crime court and more interesting in greater development, more access to Government services, it really varies, again I know people think is a compact but it is for Liberians to decide. Having a conversation and a healthy conversation disappoint non- violent conversation about alternative certainly something that Liberian should free to engage in at the end of the day country will have to decide what the best for majority of the people.
NECUS ANDREWS, NEWS NEWSPAPER: You are leaving Liberia, you observe the situation in Liberia, what will you point as the challenge to your successor, second do you support or share with Liberians those who committed crimes to be brought to book?
AMBASSADOR: I already giving you my answer on holding people accountable, there are different ways to hold people accountable for actions they may have engaged in and the mechanism for doing that again there are different ways to do it and the people of Liberia will have to decide what the most appropriate way to hold people accountable is.
What I will say to my successor is, I am leaving at an electoral circle and the closure of UNMIL, there are lots of things that will be happening over the next few years that my successor will obviously have to look at and watch carefully, I’m sad to be leaving I would love to be here to follow all that will be ongoing here in Liberia, I will be watching from my next post and paying very closed attention but really to look at this concern of housing security, transition going from the movement of UNMIL peace keeping mission to a more normal UN presence , I mean the UNMIL closing but the UN is going to still be here and will still be doing some of the tasks, perform some of the programming UNMIL has had up until now, Off course the United States Government going to be here with other partners to provide support to the electoral process so and to work with the Civil Society and Organizations and other areas we invest in; it will sort of help the person understand the landscape in Liberia, the challenges, the concerns particularly what I heard from individuals Liberians as I traveled around, I will know the security transition is a concern I will say this we have no doubt in terms of the elections, resources always the challenges and that is the place they will likely need support, the capacity assist we are pleased with the progress of the NEC, there will be individuals who will try to subvert the electoral process.
FABINE KWIAH RADIO VERITAS: I am concerned on the security sector, I heard you saying that our Government is working with the army but of recent you following reports on the police, what do you envisage for the officers that have been trained by your Government are they capable of taking care of Security as UNMIL draw down?
AMBASSADOR: The Armed forces of Liberia role set up in the national defense policies and Government security strategy is not to provide internal security but external security against external threat and I they capable of doing that certainly, fortunately we do not foresee any external threat but we obviously never know that, they do have a role to play in extremist in severe situations they may need to be back up to the back up to the police, but their primary role should not be an internal security role. So it is incumbent on us to work together to build the capacity of the police we understood that the LNP has challenges, we heard about the officers in the street who take bribe and other criticism, they have a long way to go still go by trust with the Communities, one way to start we really working on that issue is to send people out of Monrovia, send them in the communities be there so that people in RiverCess don’t have to wait days before there is a response to something happens, so pushing them out, helping them in the community with people to build the relationship , it’s going to be a challenge, it’s difficult when you have Police officers who are not well pay, all issues come down to resources.
You were right when it comes to progress and more needs to be done. We will continue to engage in working with the Police, other partners working with BIN to develop their capacity to get them out to the border post where they need to be and that is going to take time.