New terms and conditions of service have been approved by the government for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).
This was disclosed yesterday by the forces’ spokesman, Brigadier Alfred Nelson-Williams, during a press briefing held at the Defence Ministry in Freetown.
Brigadier Nelson-Williams stated that the terms and conditions of service themselves “[are] a holistic package but as at now due to financial constraints on government certain crucial issues were looked into,” while disclosing an increment in rice allocation from Le41, 000 to Le65,000 monthly.
This means, “both the current transport allowances (Le40, 000) and the new rice allowance will be incorporated into the basic salary for all personnel to beef up terminal benefits (gratuity and pension).”
The Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (DCDS) further informed the media that, “all ranks of the RSLAF are now entitled to pay allowance of one month net salary of payment annually,” and indicated that, “from Warrant Officer Class 1 to the highest rank are entitled to pay domestic assistant on monthly basis.”
This according to the DCDS, “is to discourage the deployment of service personnel to act as Bat-Men,” and lauded President Tejan Kabbah and his government for their support to the army.
Commenting on the would-be role of the army during the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, Brigadier Nelson-Williams said, “it transcends voting rights to other duties in support of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) for elections.”
Brigadier Nelson-Williams went on that, “following a request from the SLP and it be so desired by the appropriate authority, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces may be deployed to support the police through the provision of specific Military Aid to Civil Power (MACP).
Explaining further he said, “the MACP does not deal with the employment of the RSLAF in support of the civil power in conditions of relative peace, stability and normality,” and opined that there were media speculations that the army would not be neutral during the elections as evident in enhancing NEC’s mobility through the provision of vehicles.
“We unequivocally deny this assertion and emphasize that the RSLAF will not meddle into the conduct of the general elections come 11 August 2007,” he noted, stressing further that, “as our constitutional roles are clearly defined, as we have admonished our men to steer clear of politics in any form and under any guise.”
However the DCDS stated that, “as stipulated in the codes of conduct for RSLAF personnel during elections, we will ensure that all soldiers who registered on Election Day exercise their franchise in civilian dress, and not in uniforms neither in barracks across the country”.
The military spokesman affirmed further that although their role was usually contingent, they were fully prepared for any assistance in area of control or any problem beyond the police, if the need arose.