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Unbecoming Attitude of Ex-soldiers

Unbecoming Attitude of Ex-soldiers

Time has passed when we used to say the issue of the Wounded In Action (WIAs) a faction of the ex-service men of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces protesting to have payments of their benefits should be treated with the utmost interest it deserves.

Equally it does not deserve the latter, the right, though aggrieved, no matter what, to hold up the laws of the land to ransom.  In place of these two points, we hereby factor that the government is obliged to pay the ex-servicemen their dues, which guarantees them the right to protest.

Equally many of us thought negotiations would have been the preferred method of settling the indifference and a simple statement the Minister of Defence should have used in quelling their indifference should have been like this: “My ministry was going to verify and determine how the face value of your (the ex-service men) claims would be, whilst we continue to consider your situation with keen interest for equitable benefits”.  This would have simply calmed down the rioting order of the aggrieved party; but it has to be stated here that the minister’s utterances on the national broadcaster fashioned him the public flogging – even though it was unfortunate.

We are looking at the right for these ex-soldiers to also demonstrate, but it was not salient for them to have beaten and assaulted the Minister of Defence.  However, overall analysis would have to give so many facts about the state of being of the ex-soldiers.  First of all they were classed as mentally imbalanced and chronically ill.  Whether this is/was correct is quite another apprehension, but from the look of things the manner in which they used to carry out their desperate demonstrations to the point of stripping naked in full view of the general public could be a justification of unsteadiness and mental bugging due to lack of maintenance. Some equal sides of the story have been very much pathetic as a couple of them have gone for years, since 2008, without jobs and have got no means of making monies to sustain their various livelihoods and those of their families.

Some family dependants of these ex-service men have decoupled, thus stroking them in a more state of pandemonium.  Inasmuch as the Minister of Defence was disrobed in public, the fact still remains that to err is human.  The government could still intervene and settle the issue once and for all.  We are not against serving the moral principles right of setting a precedent, what we are merely saying is that the government should try and set such precedence on normal human persons.  What is happening to those aggrieved ex-service men is what simply one could describe as a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experience; they are not themselves in that they need society’s piety.  This is more or less saying that the judiciary should temper justice with mercy on the seven accused persons brought before the law court with accusations of beating the Minister of Defence while serving his patriotic statesman duty on the fateful day.

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  • I think the issue of making payments to Ex-soldiers due to them has not received the utmost urgency it truly deserves. This has been a chronic problem in Sierra Leone when it come to fulfilling its obligations of paying pension benefits by the Government of S. Leone. This is in no way a justification of the lawless action by the ex-soldiers against a public servant but rather an unfortunate reminder of the government’s failure to meet its obligation.
    In my opinion, the government’s decision to bring the culprits to justice was a ploy to appease the victim of the lawlessness perpetrated by the ex-soldiers and not to deter lawlessness. For goodness sake, how can you charge to court a man or group of men you have categorically classified as chronically ill or mentally unstable? The government must act swiftly in order to bring this unnecessary saga to an end especially at a time when fears over national security are looming pending the outcome of the November polls.

    24th August 2012

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