Maada Bio: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 February 2018
Colleague serving officers, men and women of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, I salute you all in the spirit of the esprit de corps on this momentous day of commemorating the end of 11 years civil war in this country.
On this day, we have the opportunity to reflect on our role as professional Force. The RSLAF is an institution that is apolitical. Thus, our service to this country and fellow compatriots must be worthy of professionalism and consistent with our role in a democratic society.
I believe that a lot of you serving in the RSLAF today admired and valued the sacrifices and bold decision we made to fight for this nation and its people at a time when many other Sierra Leoneans were running away.
A lot of our colleagues were killed in the war while we are lucky to be alive today. Not that we are better than those who were killed in action but by the grace of God we are still alive.
I’m therefore humbled to call on anyone reading this message to pause and observe a minute silence for our gallant colleagues who were killed in their efforts to defend the territorial integrity of our beloved country and its citizens. We REMEMBER…them
Today, I’m not an active service professional like you, but I’m certainly one of you in another sphere of serving our country in this democracy we collectively ushered in our country at a time needed most under my leadership.
We made that collective decision mindful of the fact that politics is not the business of service personnel. That single act of us guiding and respecting the transition from military rule to a democratic governance not only put our country on the world stage but added much value to the reputation and credibility of the RSLAF.
I want to use this opportunity once again to salute you for the confidence and obedience you paid to my influence of leading you to a safe destination. A destination that brought respite to our country in general and to you in the RSLAF in particular from the destructive civil war.
I feel humbled and obliged to say I’m aware of the the challenges the RSLAF is grappling with today. After the capacity building the SLPP government then offered the Force through the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) restructuring programs there still appears to be serious challenges within in last ten years, ranging from conditions of service to housing and to retirement packages.
As one of you, I pledge that such misery will certainly be a thing of the past under my government after March 7.
I’m also aware of the need to maintain and strengthen a professional, robust, well-equipped and well-resourced military for the maintenance and sustainability of peace, security and development and to enhance its effectiveness in international peacekeeping operations.
My vision to upgrade the RSLAF including other security sectors to a functional and viable security institutions the nation can be proud of is espoused in our Manifesto dubbed as the “People’s Manifesto”.
I hereby encourage all security forces to at least go through page 61 of the said Manifesto in order to see the plans I have for you. Realistic plans.
As March 7 draws closer my hope is that you are not dragged into the politics of the country. But if in any case the need arises for your services to be solicited by way of Military Aid to Civil Authority (MAC-A) be inspired by your oath and do the correct thing in the interest of peace and human dignity as a Class A security sector in the country.
Let me conclude with the advice of Von Schulenburg to Maurice Saxe when a young man, 1709 “On foot, on horseback, on the bridge of a vessel, at the moment of danger, the same man is found. Anyone who knows him well deduced from his actions of the past what his future actions will be”
I’m Rtd. Brg. Julius Maada Bio your former head of state, commander-in-Chief and your first Chief of Defence Staff. I led you in the past to a successful destination.
Though many who want to lead you today, were running away from making the decision we made to fight for this country, ushered democracy and showed the way to lasting peace are today playing politics with the sacrifices we made under my leadership, I still trust in your ability like I did in the past to judge things correctly.
Once more I wish you all a fruitful Armed Forces Day.