These were the words of the Director of Planning and Inter-Agency Relations at the Office of National Security (ONS), Francis Langumba Keili. He was outlining the state of the current security sector apparatus and its readiness to nip in the bud any potential security threat.
Speaking on AYV’s Wake Up Sierra Leone programme on Monday 7th January, 2018, the Director of Planning and Inter-Agency Relations, Francis Langumba Keili went on to state among other things that as a country, “we must not forget that even our post-independence history has been a chequered socio-political one.
He also said: “We all know that after Independence during the one-party state, the kind of security architecture that we had was merely geared towards regime protection; it was not a people-centered security apparatus. And those are some of the causative factors of the war – there was a huge confidence gap between the citizens and the governors; and also a huge confidence gap between the security sector and the citizens at that time.”
He added that one of the offshoots of the rebel war – our post-conflict era was to have a complete restructuring of the security architecture so that it deals with the totality of the governance spectrum within the state and that for this reason the ONS imbedded human security as part of its security discourse.
“We’ve moved from regime protection to a people-centered security where economic security issues, lack of access to justice, lack of access to educational opportunities, corruption, human rights abuses – these are all part of our security sector discourse. Because based on our threat assessment; 90% of our threats as a country are human security-related. We are not really expecting any external aggression from Liberia or Guinea as the case might be” Mr. Keili informed AYV.
He said: “Most of our politicians do not realize that they are contributing towards the destabilization of the state. By your pronouncement, by your inciting statement, it will even lead to a call to arms.”
He added: “So what we are now trying to do as a security sector is to balance the question of ensuring national security and at the same time ensuring the civil liberties of individuals are respected.” He warmed however that individuals having freedoms does not mean they can indulge in things that can bring the state to a state of redundancy or a state of lawlessness.
He went on to say that the security situation is always in a ‘catch 22 situation’. “When the APC was there, the SLPP was crying that the security sector apparatus was more geared towards regime protection of the APC. Now the SLPP has come and the APC is crying.”
He said that as a security sector, “we should ensure that we remain above suspicion and remain above reproach and we should be purely professional in our duties, adding that they should not be guided by political considerations. “By being professional, if you are real security sector professional actor, you should not take political sides; you should only be guided by the law.”
He warned security sector workers to be apolitical as that would greatly assist them in conducting themselves in the performance of their duty. “I can tell you that if you really want to be professional, don’t even join any political party. I don’t belong to any political party and as long as I am in the security sector as a professional, I will never belong to any political party so that when I’m ready to do my national service, I am guided by national considerations; I’m guided by what the law postulates I should do.”
“Social scientists have postulated that societies who have gone through conflict especially conflicts related to resource, related to governance, if those structural defects that precipitated the conflict are not addressed within twenty to twenty-five years, the tendency for that society to relapse into conflict is very great,” he warned.
He recalled however that President Kabbah came, he made a very conscious and deliberate effort towards national cohesiveness, adding that all of the post-conflict institutions (democratic and oversight institutions) were established by President Kabbah for good governance to take root.