EDITORIAL: Ending the Troubling State of Insecurity

NO DOUBT, SECURITY of lives and properties remains one important yardstick for measuring the effectiveness and seriousness of any government anywhere in the world, Liberia being of no exception. With the lingering security challenges and the inability of the security apparatus of the Liberian government to guarantee safety and security in the country, the questions that bother everyone in Liberia today are: “can there be security?” Is security of lives and properties achievable?

UNFORTUNATELY, THE RECENT attack on the residence of Cllr. Gloria Musu-Scott, former Chief Justice of Liberia that claimed the death of her niece and injuries to others, has further pointed out to the deteriorating state of insecurity in the country, a challenge the government must give serious priority.

WHAT MADE THE situation so alarming is the fact that as a high profile citizen in the country who has contributed so much to governance with the three branches of government, having served as Minister of Justice, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Chairperson of the National Elections Commission and a Senator from Maryland County, much was expected that she could be the least person to fall victim of state failure to provide adequate security for its citizens and foreigners alike.

THE EVENT THAT led to the gruesome murder of her niece and the heinous attack on others did not occur in secret, talk less of the government being adequately informed well ahead of time before the evil doers struck. When she was attacked in succession on the 8th and 9th of February of 2023, Cllr. Scott raised the issue and formally complained to the Minister of Justice and the Inspector General Police. Sadly, no action was taken but curiously enough when calamity struck with the death of her promising niece who was a graduating student at the Starz University and injuries to others from the last attack on Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the government took a faint decision to assign police officers to her residence to provide security.

IN THE LIBERIAN parlance, this was “Medicine After Death”. Surely this was an avoidable incident that would have been prevented if the government had summoned the will to provide the much-needed security she deserves as a prominent citizen who had paid her due to the nation’s growth and development.

APPARENTLY, THE SECURITY situation in Liberia appears or at least has remained insurmountable, leaving many to argue that the government has not done enough by not confronting the situation head on and dealing with it decisively; while others have argued that the situation has a political undertone or inclination calculated to serve the interest of certain political gods who can willingly wreak havoc on their victims and go with impunity.

THIS IS CONCERNING, scaring and threatening. And that is the angle we are flagging the issue of the deteriorating state of insecurity which no doubt one can safely say is attributed to the failure of the government to fulfill its minimum obligation to its citizens, that is the provision of adequate security to lives and properties. Why we may not be categorical to link the government to this attack just as the many others before this which have also equally resulted to unresolved deaths in the past, the attitude and approach of the government when these unfortunate instances happen give everyone the room to convincingly belief that there could be every iota of truth that the government is involved.

THERE ARE ENOUGH reasons why we should ask: why is the government not providing security cover for its citizens? Why is the government not investigating some of the cases that have clear clues of organized murders? Why has the government not been able to take preventive measures to avert some of the calamities like the attack on Cllr. Scott when alarms were raised to alert the government so as to take preventive measures? How sure are the citizens that minus some of the challenges the government may have in funding the security infrastructure of the country, that the government has demonstrated or will demonstrate the political will to combat the rising cases of insecurity in the country?

INDEED, THE ANSWERS to these crucial questions are germane to attaining peace and security especially at the time this country has entered its electoral season. It is high time that the government steps up its game and addresses the state of insecurity that may cause an implosion during this political season if not properly handled. It cannot sit down supinely and see its citizens to be killed recklessly and assume a partisan posture.

IN ADDITION TO what others have said in the premise, we wish to call on the government to first take corrective measures by investigating all past unresolved deaths including the recent one on the residence of Cllr. Scott, with the view of punishing those who may be liable for these heinous crimes. This will indeed serve as a deterrent as well as restoring confidence in the people.

THE SECOND STEP will be to institute a robust security mechanism that will provide a non-partisan security cover for the citizens through proper funding for security, appropriate and requisite recruitment of the right personnel and provision of the tools they will work with. That is the only assured channel available to the government right now as a way of protecting its citizens and their properties.

BESIDES PROVIDING SECURITY to the citizens, the presence of adequate security in the country is an impetus to attract foreign investment, as no serious investor will go in a country to do business when his or her life is not first secured ahead of injecting millions of dollars in the economy. For Liberia, which has been battling rising rates of unemployment among its youthful population which is also contributing to rising crime rate in the country, it cannot afford to lose out on this important obligation to the citizens.

WE CANNOT OVEREMPHASIZE the importance of security because it is almost impossible to be truly productive if the citizens, including their properties, are not secure. An insecure and dysfunctional nation has no infrastructure base, no economic base, no reliable workforce. A state must secure itself first and guarantee its own sovereignty before it can hope to become active and productive in international relations.

THE GOVERNMENT MUST step up its game to address the failing state of insecurity in the country before we get into a disturbing situation where the citizens out of frustration and desperation will opt for self-defense and security thereby rendering the country ungovernable. Let us avoid this ugly path; but the responsibility squarely rests with the government to provide true leadership that will protect all citizens, and not just a few persons that subscribe to its rulership.

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