In a rather unthinkable comment, Liberty Party Standard Bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, is promising here that if elected President of Liberia in the pending elections, he would recruit criminals commonly referred to as zogoes into the Armed Forces of Liberia, though the new AFL bars drug users and persons with criminal and bad human rights records.
Addressing members of the Liberia Principals Association in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County over the weekend, Cllr. Brunskine, his quest for the Presidency, says one of the best ways to get criminals off the streets is to recruit them in the army, where they will be provided vocational training, and professional skills, which will enable them to become productive citizens in years to come.
He explains that in case of war, ‘zogoes’ will be first point of engagement on grounds that the AFL will be more professional and the government will not allow its professional soldiers to be first line of engagement with enemy forces.
The Presidential hopeful added that many of the criminals in the streets are ex- combatants, who participated in the country’s 14 years civil crisis, and the best way to attract them is reintroducing them to the military, but at the same time, his government will provide serious training and later give them option as to whether they would want to stay in the army or return to private life.
He notes that the recruitment process will be done in line with best international practices, stressing that zogoes are citizens, “They too, are Liberians that deserve better opportunity for brighter future. If we choose to leave them in the streets, other kids will join and the problem may be very worse in the near future,” the LP Standard Bearer warns.
Speaking of his educational policy, Brumskine told the gathering that his administration will recruit graduates from secondary schools and send them in the counties to help with adult illiteracy program, while they would have a unique opportunity to learn the culture and traditions of the people they will interact with. He notes that the graduate exchange program will also buttress government’s effort towards national reconciliation.
Meanwhile, hundreds of citizens, including the Deputy Secretary General for Press and Public Affairs of the Coalition for Democratic Change on Friday, May 12, joined the Liberty Party, ahead of the October elections.
Following his recent resignation from the Coalition for Democratic Change or CDC, MenipakeiDomue joined ranks with colleague KanioGbaiGbala and formally declared membership with the LP of Cllr. Brumskine.
Politicians are moving from party to party in what many describe as trademark of opportunists with selfish motives other than genuine goal towards institution building.
Last week Wednesday, 10 May the former national treasurer of the Liberty Party, Madam Nuwoeh Scott resigned from the LP and pledged her loyalty to the Congress for Democratic Change or CDC of Senator George Weah.
Madam Scott also served as executive secretary to Cllr. Charles Brumskine prior to her exit. Domue, in a communication addressed to Liberia People Democratic Party (LPDP) chairman Moses Y. Kollie on 10 May stated that his decision to quit the Coalition is due to lack of faith in its current political direction, and his inability to redirect that course, adding ,“I have finally surrendered to hardliners within the Coalition”.
Speaking to scores of supporters at the LP headquarters in Monrovia, Domue said his decision to officially join the Liberty Party also resulted from a desire to change course, reexamine direction and embrace a new vision for Liberia.
“We cannot be consistently tribalistic and jealous with the future of this country. We must change course, reexamine our direction, and embrace a new vision”, he emphasizes, and continued, “I have disagreed with this party before and I have done so strongly and there are intellectuals here who mounted the podium with me. If minds cannot be swayed then public dialogue will have no purpose. I am here today because I value wisdom over consistency”.
According to him, there is an ongoing debate about whether or not to return to old ethnic politics so that country people and congo people should go back to war intellectually and politically. “The Liberty Party”, he notes, “has been very clear that it would not endorse such a war. The party says that the country and congo people can do better together. It is a better argument.”
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor- Editing by Jonathan Browne