His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma who appointed the first woman to be a Brigadier in the whole of West Africa, has vowed to do even more to bridge the gender gap in the various regiments of Sierra Leone’s Armed Forces (RSLAF). He made this statement while delivering a speech during commemoration of the Armed Forces Day Celebration at the Wilbeforce Barracks Hockey Pitch on Monday 18th February 2013.
President Koroma said as Commander of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone, he is committed to enlisting women into the RSLAF as either officers or within the other ranks; all with the aim of narrowing the gender gap in the military.
He told gathering of military oficers that the Armed Forces day is set aside to commemorate the bravery and hard work of late colleagues who laid their lives for Sierra Leone to have peace and also to remind all citizens of the need to exhibit patriotism.
His government, he said, is proud of the RSLAF as they have been an agent of international peacekeepings. He said a battalion to the peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) will be leaving for Somalia in a week’s time. He proudly boasted of Sierra Leone personnel serving with excellence as officers and advisers in various parts of the world.
He also promised that his government will continue to equip RSLAF to meet the growing demand in meeting national and international assignments. He thanked the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Peoples Republic of China, The Peoples Republic of Nigeria, Ghana, IMATT and all other government and agencies for rendering support to the RSLAF.
He further informed that the RSLAF have established an Agricultural unit and a Tailoring unit so as to strengthen the human resource base in the military.He boasted of a recent bumper harvest by the Agricultural Unit whilst the tailoring unit trains personnel to be much more prepared for work after they de-list from the military.
President Koroma also spoke of the military involving itself in various self-help infrastructural projects all geared towards preparing them for the challenges ahead as military personnel.
As training is the hallmark of professionalism and fortification into the military, President Koroma furthered that, French Language has been included into the training curriculum of the RSLAF so to get them well prepared to serve in any international assignment.He used the forum to inform that his government was able to conduct one of the most transparent and peaceful election ever held in the country which was all due to the effective, outstanding and professional performance of the RSLAF during the process.
President Koroma said the RSLAF has over the recent years now proven to be loyal to democratic ideals.He then reminded the officers that RSLAF is a well disciplined and unique institution which standards the personnel should maintain. He finally thanked them and wished them a peaceful celebration.
Before the President’s speech, awards were given to some serving personnel for diligent long service to the force free from blemish for over 16 years. Two retired officers were given long and diligent service awards.Special meritorious awards from the President, the Minister of Defense and Chief of Defense were also presented to deserving military personnel.