Concord Times (Freetown)

Sierra Leone: Soldiers Accommodation Worries CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) yesterday expressed concerns over the perennial problem of accommodation of soldiers.

Maj. Gen. Samuel O. Williams informed newsmen that a military housing census has shown that over 50% of service personnel live out of barracks, a situation he said affects the command and control of the service and invariably undermines civil military relationship.

"The RSLAF, as an entity, is challenged with the perennial problem of accommodation. The intention to erect living quarters for service personnel is a burning desire for both the government and the military hierarchy. Media and civil society advocacy support for such initiatives is desirable," he said.

With regards promotion, Maj. Gen. Williams maintained that the administrative processes of promotion, retirement and recruitment have been falling into scope routinely as guided by the establishment review 2010 to maintain the 8,500 force margin.

He disclosed that officers' promotion has been completed but the promulgation of the results will be determined by the completion of other ranks' promotion exercise and added, "Merit, career enhancement and requirement for career progression underline these processes."

On the issue of the November 17 polls, the RSLAF boss stated that the military is part of the election management body and closely liaising with the police for a free, fair and violent free election.

"An in-house standing elections planning committee has been constituted which is chaired by me. As a way to guide the conduct of service personnel during this election, a special code of conduct has been directed in order to assert our apolitical posture and maintain our credibility both internally and externally," he noted.

Maj. Gen. Williams opined that in the sub-region, the RSLAF is a beacon of success stories in the area of gender mainstreaming as a result of the establishment of a Gender and Equal Opportunity branch.

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