Foday Mansaray, popular mortgage banker, business magnate and community activist , comments on new allowances for military families in Sierra Leone.

Is this all we can do for someone who gave all his life for his country? This government gave all the wealth of Sierra Leone to Sandline mercenaries to restore them in power and now they want to be commended for what? Our Military has such an impeccable record at Sandhurst Military Academy in England that the British are asking: “what can we do for this Island once called home away from home for key players to end colonialism in Africa?”
As a matter of fact Sierra Leonean Soldiers have so much morale and courage they we were placed on the frontline of the Burma war (despite few in numbers), which is commonly referred to as 2nd world war. Our men in uniform were well respected and adored by even Nigeria, the African Military superpower! Whether it is building roads by the Army Engineers, or defending freedom and safeguarding our territorial integrity, they have served honorably.
This  SLPP government has the audacity to dismantle years of hard work of our military system and replace it with Mercenaries under the auspices ECOMOG and a tribal militia called Kamajors to defend our nation’s interest. The humiliation continues by summarily dismissing high ranking personnel and anyone who does not subdue to the failed policies of the SLPP. How do you expect to uphold morale when you continue to dismiss well-trained soldiers and replace them with local hunters who do not even have a basic training in civil defense?
Our soldiers have been relegated to the lowest pay in the world. Even the recent allowance increase announced by the finance minister cannot buy a bag of rice – compared to the 70s and 80s, when a private soldier gets a bag or 2 of rice, and many other amenities. With such incentives, our soldiers were not only loyal to serve their country but more importantly, they were a productive part of our economy and society. The former president of the Gambia, His Excellency Dauda Jawara, during a visit to Sierra Leone, was so impressed with the military he had to commend them – for building roads, bridges and maintaining our infrastructure – rather than waiting for a war that will never come. Although the latter did occur, it is important to note that the very SLPP fueled and financed the unfortunate situation to gain power at the expense of shedding the blood of poor and innocent Sierra Leoneans.
Morale in the military is very low today. The military barracks, a disgrace to military life. Wilberforce barracks is no longer the place it used to be. The last time I visited the barracks, it was in such a deplorable state that I had to shed tears for our fathers who worked so hard and remained loyal to our country till death.
The SLPP government believed that suppressing these loyal soldiers of Sierra Leone by bringing Nigerian soldiers to take over the security of the country was the way to go. Have you ever seen a Sierra Leonean flying a Nigerian plane as pilot? No offense to Nigerians or Ghanaians, but why is it that this government continues to put Ghanaian and Nigerians in sensitive positions (such as Port Authority) when we have better and qualified Sierra Leoneans for the jobs?
Fellow Sierra Leoneans, please join me in sending a message to Berewa that there is no room for apprehension or poor judgment in Sierra Leone. No more business as usual. The Vice president had his chance to prove he can lead Sierra Leone. He had his chance to also rule as the chief law enforcer, but what has he done? He has only succeeded in mortgaging our political sovereignty by continuing to beg for more foreign handouts to finance his campaign.
Solomon Berewa cannot help our men in uniform at this eleventh hour. He has no solid plan to move Sierra Leone from being the recipient of foreign handouts to self sufficiency. May God have mercy on him for continuing to deceive our people!
Sierra Leone needs a fresh start. She needs a strong and vibrant leader to take advantage of the endless international contributors and stakeholders to rebuild Sierra Leone just like any other country coming out of war.
closing, it is certainly not our fault as sierra Leoneans to be dragged into war or falling down; but certainly, it is our responsibility to get up to defend the truth and the future of sierra Leone by voting for the only candidate who has earned the respect and admiration of 75% of sierra Leoneans and the international community. That person is no other than our next president of Sierra Leone – the young, vibrant and dynamic Ernest Bai Koroma.
The struggle continues unabated.
Foday Mansaray
Concerned Sierra Leonean.

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