MONROVIA: Every nation’s Armed Forces Day is a moment to charge and recharge patriotic sensibilities and to demonstrate military power and excite citizen recruitment. This year’s speaker at celebrations marking the 63rd anniversary of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) made a moving, spirited speech which not only put the listening nation on the edge of seats but also underscored the nationalistic instinct that comes with the vocation of national security which the AFL provides. Of particular concern to the Anniversary Speaker was the role of women not only as members of the national armed forces but also as leaders—something she believes a number of gallant female soldiers had sought for over the years but which still remains a point to ponder and push within the national security architecture. The Speaker, who is Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), lavished adorations upon Liberian soldiers and law enforcement officer and rallied national support for them. The Analyst reports.
Liberia’s 2020 Armed Forces Day Speaker, Hon. Mary Taryonnoh Broh, has commended the leadership of the Army and the President of the Republic for upholding their constitutional duty of protecting the meets and bounds of Liberia, particularly in the absence of international stabilization force as was the case for nearly 20 years prior to the selection of the Weah government.
“Hon. Minister of Defense, Major General Daniel D. Ziankahn, Jr. (Rtd), Chief of Staff, of the Armed Forces of Liberia, Major General Prince Charles Johnson, III, we applaud you for a job well done with the Military of this Nation,” Madam Broh asserted February 11, 2020 at the Barclay Training Center at the celebrations of the 63rd Anniversary of the national army.
She however warned against discrimination in the army, particularly subjecting of women soldiers to sexual harassment, sexual abuse, bullying of females and marginalization of females in the AFL.
“We implore you to do everything within your power to increase the number of women in leadership roles at both the officer and non-commissioned levels,” the GSA Director General said, adding: “Your Excellency, President George Manneh Weah, today I ask you to join your voice with mine to call on all women of Liberia to volunteer their services to every sector of our nation. Let us not restrict our service to our families or to our jobs, but render our services to our communities, to the hospitals, to schools, and other areas around us in need of our support. This call is not only for the women in the military but to all women in this great nation.”
“I remember some time ago in both high school and college we had the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) Program. This important program prepared students for the Military. We should revisit that program and ensure more women are encouraged to join this program in preparation for life and leadership in the military.”
She called on Government to create an environment that will retain women and improve their opportunities for leadership in the military and beyond.
“We should strive to incorporate more women into peacekeeping missions. When we consider the number of years women have been a part of the AFL as Women Auxiliary Corps, we can do much better,” Madam Broh noted, reflecting on the role of females in the AFL over the ears.
“Let us look at the performance of our top women officers in the Military, Brigadier General, Geraldine George has made history as the first woman to make the rank of General in the AFL, and the first to serve as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL,” the AFL Day Speaker asserted further. “She was commissioned in 2006 as second Lieutenant, and worked hard to climb the ranks and attended all of the staff colleges. Today, Brigadier General George stands tall among the senior officers of the AFL. And as I have heard, she is a “hard nut to crack”. I can definitely relate, and I salute her outstanding accomplishments!”
She also recognized Major Hawa Kamara, Assistant Chief of Staff for Communications who was commissioned in 2008 as second Lieutenant, and worked hard to achieve her rank, attended the staff colleges and serve admirably currently.
Madam Broh also paid tribute to Captain Grace Samolu, Executive Officer (XO) of the Liberian Coast Guard (LCG) whose hard work and dedication allowed to achieve the rank of Captain to be counted among the senior officers of the Liberian military.
The women in strategic positions in the peacekeeping missions in Mali, Sudan and South Sudan are serving as Military Observers, Battle Watch Captains and Logistics Operations Specialist. I believe their selection for these important and often dangerous missions was based on their high performance in the AFL.
She recalled that all of these women went through the training just like every man they serve beside today.
“The training and the rigor did not deter these valiant women, rather they endured and succeeded. This tells us that indeed women are capable of not only serving in the military, but leading the Military,” she said, lamenting that some of African countries remain beholden to tradition, and may see the ascendency of women in the military as taboo.
“We are now in the 21st Century, and women are thriving in almost every role imaginable. We see women serving in combat as Pilots in the military and commercial sector, plumbers, masons, and carpenters, mechanics, and astronauts,” the GSA DG said, noting that women are more than capable and deserving of full representation in leadership roles throughout the Military.
She added: T”oday, I ask you all to consider how we can Incorporated Women into Liberia’s Security Sector. I am convinced that there is value in balancing gender roles and representation in our Armed Forces. Today, I will Focus on the Roles of Women in the Armed Forces of Liberia.
She hailed the Liberian army for its outstanding contribution to national peace, asserting that further that “we can boast of a military that has educated, intelligent and well-disciplined men and women.”
“We too as civilians have the responsibility to ensure respect for the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia. Gone are the days when they were referred to as “NOCO”, gone are the days when they were referred to as uneducated. Let us be reminded that they are the ones who risked their lives to ensure the nation and its people are protected. They deserve to be respected!”
Bio of Mary T. Broh
Madam Mary T. Broh, a native of Liberia, West African, returned home in 2005 after Thirty-Three years in the diaspora to give back to her country and help empower the youth to volunteer and be patriotic.
In 2006, Madam Broh was appointed by Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to serve as coordinator of the Special Project of the Ministry of State.
Shortly after the completion of this project Madam Broh was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Legislature as Director of Passport of the Republic of Liberia.
In 2008, because of her ability to transform institutions, Madam Broh was re-assigned by the President as Deputy Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA).
In February 2009, Madam Broh was selected by the President to serve as Acting Mayor of the City of Monrovia. At the Monrovia City Corporation, Madam Broh instituted clean-up measures that included city-wide litter reduction campaigns aimed to increase public awareness of litter, sanitation and overall public health. Her leadership was very successful in the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Programs.
On February 28, 2013, Madam Broh resigned from her post as Acting Mayor of the Monrovia City Corporation. In accepting her resignation, President Sirleaf said, “we will all miss the dynamism, commitment and integrity of Mary Broh who worked tirelessly and passionately to transform the City of Monrovia”.
In March 2013, Madam Broh was appointed by Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed to serve in the capacity of Project Manager within the Program Implementation Unit (PIU) for the Omega Village Project. Within the same year in July, Madam Broh was again called upon by the President to served as Chairperson of the Investigative team at the Bureau of Vital Statistics. After the investigation, Madam Broh was charged with re-structuring the entire application procedure in terms of irregularities in the processing system.
In 2014, Madam Broh was appointed Head of General Services Agency charged with the responsibility to manage and implement the Fleet Management Policy of the GSA, restructure the Bureau of Quality Control, Standards and Regional Services, maintain Public Buildings, manage and control Government of Liberia assets along with local authorities.
In November 2015, while serving as Director General of the General Services Agency, Madam Broh was again called upon by the President to head the Presidential Task Force for the Beautification of Monrovia and its environs.
In January 2018, after the inauguaration of H. E. President George Manneh Weah Madam Broh was again appointed to continue her service as the Director General of the General Services Agency, Republic of Liberia. This ladies and gentlemen is due to her hardwork and commitment to duties assigned her.
Madam Broh has achieved success and admiration of friends and foes in every capacity she has served; and because of her leadership style, she has been branded “the clean-up lady, correction fluid, and General Broh”.