Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai
Pres. Sirleaf’s Longstanding Confidence Humbles Samukai
By Ballah M. Kollie
MONROVIA, February 11 (LINA) – Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai has lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the continuous confidence reposed in him to serve as Minister of National Defense.
“Thank you very much Madam President for trusting and believing in me to serve as Minister of National Defense,” he said.
Samukai was appointed by Africa and Liberia’s first female president when she ascended to power in 2006.
Minister Samukai showed humility in his remarks at the 60th Anniversary of Armed Forces Day held at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia.
“Under your leadership Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf this will be my last time standing here in this capacity,” he noted.
He recalled: “Eleven years ago you appointed me as Minister of National Defense and mandated me to oversee the restructuring of the AFL into a professional force reflecting the new dispensation of our emerging democracy.”
He referred to the time of his appointment as “a critical period” especially when citizens needed to be reassured that the AFL would not be politicized.
“With financial and logistical support from the U.S. Government, an irreversible process was launched, but being transparent based on the order of merit without any undue political influence but with the national desire for geographical representation,” he noted.
Minister Samukai described the new army as one that is bound by discipline, constitutional duty, institutional principles, integrity, professionalism and loyalty as well as having the capability to defend the country’s democracy and support the nation’s development goals.
He disclosed the setting up of the AFL Inspector General Office for the purpose of ensuring accountability and professionalism.
According to him, the new office will serve as a watchdog to maintain the integrity of the command within the AFL in compliance with all rules and regulations.
“To our men and women in arms, for the past 11 years I have had the privilege to serve you as your Minister of National Defense. This journey has not been easy as it took all that I have learnt during my 39 years in public service to achieve the achievements made at the ministry,” Minister Samukai said.
He praised their courage, discipline, commitment and hard work, all of which, he said, was instrumental in his success.
“Your bravery has made me humble to respect the oath you have taken to serve our country and your preparedness to make the ultimate sacrifices if need be,” he told the AFL officers.
Meanwhile, the Liberian leader and Commander-in-Chief of the AFL has assured Minister Samukai of her commitment to honor him as the longest serving Cabinet Minister under her watch.