This week the Chief of staff of the Liberian Army Gen. Daniel Gen. Ziankahn summoned perhaps Liberia’s best known and respected journalist to his office for correctly stating that personnel from the defence ministry and the army brass were late for the world peace keeping day festivities…memories immediately flashed back to Gen. Samuel Doe military dictator of the so-called People Redemption Council [PRC] who led by military decrees during the 1980S as he rained hell on the Liberian people—infamous and notorious amongst his decrees was 88A, crafted by the brigade to stifle dissent, and harass peaceful citizens. It remains to be seen if Gen. Ziankahn will be held accountable or reprimanded, he is not beyond reproach.
Yes, time is God’s business. So all of God’s people should observe and obey time. It is NOT, repeat NOT reserved for the white or the Chinese man—or woman. So why were most Liberian government officials late for the World Peace Keeping Day festivities, hosted last Friday by the United Nations Military Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)?
Why, in fact, are our people—Liberian people, late for almost everything? What is our problem?
We are sure that it was not because the Liberian officials were ungrateful for the uninterrupted peace we have since 2003 enjoyed in Liberia, thanks to UNMIL.
If not—and we are sure our top military brass intended no ingratitude by their lateness—then why the glaring tardiness, to the utter embarrassment of all present, most especially the few Liberian officials who made it to the program on time?
This clearly indicates that we Liberians have no sense of time, nor appreciation for protocol. How can we ever hope to accomplish anything seriously when time is not embedded in our consciousness?
A young Liberian insurance executive, on return from his studies in the United States in the late 1960s, told his friends, “Time is money.” That was the slogan he returned home with, and made good use of it. In addition to performing profitably on his job as an insurance executive, he built a housing complex
for his mother and a multi-story office complex for himself. He sent his son to one of the top American prep schools and on to an exclusive college in the USA. Unfortunately, this insurance executive died early, but his son is doing extremely well as a businessman in New York.
We say at this point to all Liberians, especially our youth: “Time is money!” Respect time and you will be on your way to a very successful life.
We know Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Daniel Ziankahn Jr. are very serious people. During the Armed Forces Day celebration last February, the AFL Commander-in-Chief, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, took time in her remarks to pay tribute to Minister Samukai and the Chief of Staff for their proficiency and hard work. She, other top GOL officials, the diplomatic corps, other invited guests and the general public appreciated the excellent performance of the men and women in arms, including the Commander of the AFL Band, Master Sergeant Gurley Merchant. The Band,
under her direction, gave a splendid rendition and received a thunderous applause from the Armed Forces Day audience.
And guess what? Time was meticulously observed on February 11, Armed Forces Day. That was as it should be, for in the military, time is of the essence. Which platoon, company or battalion wants to be late in launching a strategic attack? Absolutely none! Time is an essential part of military discipline.
So why was the AFL leadership and other top GOL officials late for last Friday’s occasion, when everyone else, including the host, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, the Diplomatic Corps and all other guests were characteristically on time? We are not asking for excuses, for that would be an insult to the top brass—why? Because there are no excuses in the Army. The sense of discipline is strong in the army. Remember, they say it rains on, never in the army. That means nothing, not even the rain, stops the army. Strict time consciousness is not only their training and philosophy, but also their passion.
We pray that whatever the reason for the AFL top brass’ lateness last Friday—which is, at this point, totally immaterial—this will not, cannot and must not, out of respect for all the other guests present and the sacred recognition of TIME, ever again be repeated