Delivering the key note address on the occasion marking the 2016 Armed Forces Day celebration at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia on Thursday, Ambassador Kamara proposed a robust communication strategy aimed at addressing public perception on the departure of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
She emphasized that the strategy when implemented will help clear doubts, as well as reconstruct public trust in the Liberian security apparatus.
Minister Kamara stressed the need for the consideration of all strategic and tactical issues relative to ensuring a seamless transition from UNMIL, including remaining committed to government’s development objectives.
She says “we must devise a comprehensive communications strategy to change what seems to be a common perception among Liberians that the country’s future is fragile and the departure of UNMIL will precipitate violence and conflict”.
Ambassador Kamara further stated that “this is a psychological conundrum that we have to quickly address through communicating shorter and clearer messages to our people about the transition and what it means for the country”.
“Many Liberians think that by June 30 this year, Liberia’s relationship with the UN will come to an end and that there will be absolutely no UNMIL personnel left in Liberia. Some Liberians do not believe that we have the ability to secure ourselves,” said the Foreign Affairs boss.
Continuing, she said “We must make our people understand; even if it means communicating in local dialects, that there will remain a reduced UNMIL presence of military personnel and civilian police beyond June 30 and that security responsibilities once performed by UNMIL will now be solely in the hands of state security”.
“Our people have to know that they too have a responsibility to respect the authority of our law enforcement institutions and remind them that the officers at the police depots are Liberians, and together we can all be security for one another”.
The Liberian diplomat emphasized the need for the military to exercise liberties respectfully and responsively, mindful of the rights of others. “The military has a part to play in inspiring confidence, and the best way to do this is to enhance its community-based approaches and instill an organizational philosophy of public service and sensitivity to civil society”, she noted.
She named land rights, sustainable livelihoods, women and youth empowerment, bridging inequalities, supporting entrepreneurship and providing stimulus for small and medium enterprises to thrive, instituting strong early warning system, and decentralization, as key for long term cohesion and stability during the post UNMIL era.
“The transition of UNMIL has placed our nation at a crossroads. We are being closely watched by the international community, to see if the years of reform and investments in democratic processes, including security sector reform will yield sustainable peace. Our partners have high expectations of us. We must not fail them, and we must not fail ourselves,” she concluded.
The United States Mission in Liberia has been in Liberia since 2003 to help restore peace and tranquility to the country after 14 years of civil war. Their mandate expires June 30, 2016.