Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 June 2018:
President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has promised the country’s soldiers that his administration will review their conditions of service and strengthen the military, so that it can become more effective in protecting and securing the country’s territorial integrity.
According to State House Media Unit report, the president made this promise whilst addressing soldiers taking part at this year’s Passing Out and Commissioning Ceremony for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Force (RSLAF), at the Benguema Training Center.
The president, who was a former military chief, affirmed that officers could perform better when their welfare was well taken care of.
As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he said that his government was concerned about the poor conditions of service of soldiers and promised to provide the necessary support that would enable them to perform their tasks efficiently.
“Since my assumption of office, I have been briefed about the serious nature of the challenges the RSLAF continues to face, like the unrevised Terms and Conditions of Service. I have already paid premium attention to the issue of poor and inadequate accommodation facilities.
“The military is under-resourced. As one of your own, I know exactly how these challenges can undermine capacity in the force. Let me once again assure you that my administration will do all in its power to ensure that these challenges are gradually addressed,” he assured.
President Bio also used the opportunity to thank international partners for their support in capacity building and enhancement of military personnel in the country, adding that his government would continue to support capacity building of officers, as well as modernise the institution.
“As I continue to solicit your support, my government is committed to ensuring adequate investments in basic domestic training as a key foundation to advancing professional training,” he said.
The President also praised the entire membership of the RSLAF for the professional manner in which they had conducted themselves, especially during the just concluded elections.
He added that his government is looking forward to their professional support for his New Direction Programmes.
In keeping with his depoliticization of state institutions mantra, the president admonished the graduating soldiers that their business in the military was to provide security to the people and not to engage in politics.
He said that military officers should not allow themselves to be influenced by politicians, irrespective of personal relationships.
“In the new world today, the role of the military is to support the development of democracy and democratic consolidation. Therefore, in a democracy, the military must remain apolitical. The military has no business in politics and politicians must take politics out of the military,” president Bio reminded the soldiers.