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Teko Barracks surrender to ‘Soldiers for Change’

Teko Barracks surrender to ‘Soldiers for Change’

Soldiers of the Fourth Infantry Brigade at Teko Barracks (in photo) in Northern Sierra Leone on Friday October 28th, 2011 surrendered themselves to the new foot soldiers of President Ernest Bai Koroma’s ‘Agenda for Change’.

This meaningful event occurred after the battle prepared Executives of the Attitudinal and Behavioral Change (ABC) Secretariat gently engaged them on the ramifications of negative attitudes and behaviors on national progress.

Addressing the military officers, the National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of the ABC Secretariat, Madam Nanette Thomas specified that their prime responsibility is to protect Sierra Leone’s territorial integrity and her citizenry.  These functions for which members of the Regimental Sierra Leone Arm Forces (RSLAF) pledged to perform Madam Thomas reflected have most times been neglected for serial involvements in national politics. This she stressed did not only strangle the country’s peaceful governance to economic prosperity, but in the same way endangered the RSLAF’s image nationally and internationally.

ABC National Coordinator and Second-in-Command, Nanette Thomas addressing the soldiers at Teko Barracks in Makeni

The National Coordinator accentuated the vitality of the army in the protection and maintenance of sustainable social, economic and political growth of the country.

“The army is a noble profession! Its makeup must comprise of individuals whose participation in politics needs to be latent and objective. The RSLAF should have learnt this from their past involvements in politics”, she pointed out and added that the aspirations of few officers that caused the overthrow of constitutional governments have severely dented the image of the institution. This bad reputation she opined has discouraged a lot of young talented citizens with panache from enrolling into the profession.

Madam Thomas highlighted that the outright disregard for traffic rules, drug abuse, misuse of army locomotives, harassment of harmless civilians, auctioning of military paraphernalia to criminals and political involvements as major bad manners and deeds that have tarnished and are still wrecking  RSLAF’s public image.

The National Coordinator and Second-in-Command of the ABC Secretariat insisted on the officers who possess these negative attitudes to speedily cease from exhibiting them at the detriment of the RSLAF in particular and the nation in general.

She further touched on the intricacies involved in the change from bad to positive attitudes and behaviours. Madam Thomas confirmed that the process of change from bad attitude is not an easy one. She reiterated that although change is a process it can be done if the individual is prepared and willing to accept it. She stressed that a mirage of factors has caused a lot of problems in Sierra Leone, and we should all be ready and willing to accept change to contribute to the economic development of Mama Salone.

Madam Thomas educated the soldiers that change is an instrument for upward mobility to success and development. “It is because of this success factor that President Koroma has empowered the ABC Secretariat to deracinate bad attitudes and behaviors from within Sierra Leoneans”, she said and revealed that her institution is doing this by engaging citizens at institutional and communal strata. She identified distorted thinking within RSLAF as the chief deterrent to the institution’s structure.

According to her, because soldiers poorly manage their finances, relationships, environments, spiritualities and health, the army’s image  remains inundated by the magnification of trivial issues, destructive labeling of others, imperative thinking, mind reading and antagonistic divisions.

Madam Thomas however commended the soldiers for championing the campaign against HIV/AIDS and their luster performances in foreign peace missions. She encouraged the soldiers to demonstrate positive attitude at all times irrespective of whatever circumstance they find themselves.

Brigade Commander talking to his officers at 4th Infantry Brigade

In his response, the Commander of the Fourth Infantry Brigade, Major Lavahun depicted the ABC Secretariat’s sensitization drive as a laudable and inspiring undertaking. He came clean on   how negative attitudes and behaviors have preoccupied the army from its legal responsibilities. Major Lavahun assured the ABC Secretariat that RSLAF has become and will remain being a loyal constituency of the “Agenda for Change”. He reminded the soldiers present about their vow to serve the nation. This task Major Lavahun outlined cannot be performed when most military personnel are not prepared to drop bad behaviors for progressive ones. He therefore encouraged his officers to surrender to President Koroma’s “Agenda for Change”.

The Second-in-Command of Teko Barracks, Major Mohamed B. S. Kamara dilated on the obligations RSLAF owes Sierra Leoneans. He therefore insisted on the soldiers attached to Teko Barracks to be utilizing tax-payers’ money for its intended purposes. He maintained that the citizens’ financial and moral support must be directed towards defending rather than annoying someone. According to Major Kamara soldiers should not allow themselves to be left behind in the ‘Agenda for Change’. He called on them to embrace the ideology the ABC Secretariat is promulgating. He beseeched them to start demonstrating this by showing their commitments and readiness to forego whatever is inimical to national development. He enticed them to join the ABC Club that is going to be established in the barracks because according to him the club will immensely help in molding officers who continue to demonstrate negative attitude and behaviours regardless of their ranks.

By Aminata Tholley & Momoja Lappia

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