THE SO-CALLED DREAM TEAM LETTER - RAISING THE STAKES OR A CRUDE WARNING?
HE Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma
The President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
1st January 2009
Dear His Excellency,
Grievances in the Sierra Leone Army: Another war is possible
On behalf of all officers and men of the Detective Reconnaissance Emergency Action Mission Team (DREAM Team) I request that your Government, IMATT, members of the international community and the Fourth Estate investigate the under-mentioned grievances and take urgent remedial actions on them. The DREAM Team is a network of over 850 officers and men in all bases of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces cutting across tribal and political party lines and stands for justice and order in Sierra Leone. The DREAM Team is committed to checking all forms of injustice and the excessive misrule that led to the bloody rebel war in Sierra Leone.
The DREAM Team stands to witness a moment pregnant with ugly occurrences that are unfolding in our RSLAF. As these injustices persists and our DREAM Team grows in numbers day by day this pregnant moment in Sierra Leone’s history might lead to a tragic birth of something else. For a start, we have decided to be anonymous in seeking redress to the many corrupt practices in the RSLAF because if our identity is known our issues of grievance will be lost in hot pursuit of our lives. We deem it wise for all of us to focus our attention on the truth in our message and not us the messengers.
a) The DREAM Team demands that the decision to handpick following cadet officers: Hamin Bangura A; Mohamed Bangura, Joshua Cole, Crispin Bangura, Alpha Jalloh, Alimamy Kamara, Samuel Kandeh, Jonathan Pelham, Mohamed Tarawallie, Foday L Turay to go to Uganda for training be reversed with immediate effect. Eighty percent of these officers are from the Limba ethnic group, the ethnic group of the Minister of Defence. The decision to handpick one tribe for training is against the policies of recruitment of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces. Training officers for the Sierra Leone Army should have a regional, district and ethnic balance reflecting the nation’s interest and not one tribal interest. The DREAM Team calls on the Government to employ the district representative system which will consider the majority tribes (Temne, Mende and Fulla) in all selections for training and promotions.
b) The DREAM Team demands that Government reverses the commissioning of the following officers: 18163429 WO1 Samura Now Captain; 18163195 WO1 Pewa Now Captain; 18163148 WO1 Kamara Now Captain; 18161295 WO1 SESAY Now Captain; 18161543 WO1 Kanu Now Captain; 18162179 WO1 Aitkins Now Captain; 18163195 WO1 Monrovia Now Captain; 18164195 WO2 Conteh Now Lieutenant; 18163156 WO2 Bangura Now lieutenant; 18161436 WO2 Bangura Now Lieutenant; 18163153 WO2 Kamara Now Lieutenant; 18164237 WO2 Kargbo Now Lieutenant; 18164826 WO2 SIAKA Now lieutenant; 18166344 WO2 Bangura Now lieutenant. Again majority of these officers are Limbas, the Minister of Defence’s and the President’s tribes men, many of whom could not read or write. Commissioning these officers flouted all requirements and acceptable procedures of the RSLAF. Their commissioning was done because they were trained in along side the Minister of Defence in 1977, with strong rumours that the Minister of Defence has had sexual affairs with some of them during training. The only way to compensate them now is to decorate them with wasted buttons against military ethics and standards. All these soldiers have less than 5 years to serve in the Army. DREAM Team strongly requests that attention is paid to the growth of deserving young officers in the army.
c) DREAM Team is concerned about the reckless neglect of the welfare of soldiers. Le3.6 billion is allocated for ration for various bases in the army per year. It is sad to note that the Chief of Defence Staff knifes off Le80m per month from the fund for his personal use amounting to Le960, 000, 000 per year.
d) The DREAM Team Requests that the Commissioning of the Minister of Defence’s brother Alias Coachee who was suppose to leave the Army this year on age grounds be reversed. Coachee has exceeded 55 years of age and being a brother to the Minister of Defence is not a qualification for extension of services in the RSLAF. Why is the Minister of Defence bastardising the officer group of the military?
e) DREAM Team demands that the Anti Corruption Commission investigates the sale of scrap helicopter to a wheeler dealer Israeli, Mr. Ziv Morgenstien. DREAM Team is reliably informed that $100,000.00 bribe was given to the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff.
f) The DREAM Team demands that recent illegal promotions of officers to the rank of Major by the Minister of Defence be reversed. Most of the officers the Minister of Defence promoted to the rank of Major have not passed any military course and are far too junior to those that were not promoted. Let me inform the President that some of our current Captains were in the rank of Lieutenant with some of these newly promoted Majors serving under them as corporals, sergeants and staff sergeant. No performance mark was set and met by some of the newly promoted Majors to warrant their promotion ahead of those who had previously exercised command authority over them. Yet competent captains were left out and some incompetent ones were promoted. The DREAM Team strongly demands that this decision be reversed.
g) The Team is also concerned about the disgusting misuse of men and logistics of the RSLAF by the Minister of Defence. In Minister of Defence’s house and office there are over fifty soldiers deployed. In the houses of his friends he has also deployed soldiers instead of using police officers. He has taken another vehicle from the depleted RSLA vehicle state for soldiers who would have to be constantly being around him to provide security. This act promotes thuggery and is an attempt to drag the Army into politics. It is also alarming for the same reasons that the presidential guard has been increased to a company. Another clever way of making the military usurp the powers and responsibilities of the SL police. And if we are asking that the strength of the Army be reduced, we should not be seen using the military in unconventional ways. Soldiers will not be available to do their constitutional role. The last time soldiers were forced against their wish by the Minister of Defence to clean the entire Lumley Beach without reasons. There is VIP protection but there is specific number of soldiers for this task.
h) The DREAM Team would like the His Excellency the President to advice his mother in Makeni to stop interfering with military processes in Teko Barracks with immediate effect. Lobbying for the promotion of Limba officers by the President’s mother is unacceptable.
i) DREAM Team is closely watching a deal that is currently going on between a Lebanese man Mamoud Khadi, the Minister of Defence and the CDS involving $17m for procurement of equipment for peace keeping operations for the RSLAF. DREAM will give the public the information as our Detectives produce their findings.
j) Finally the DREAM Team calls on the President to work with all shades of citizens in the country to end the continuous suffering of our people. Our people are living in abject poverty in Makeni, Port Loko and everywhere in the country and would like to see the real change in their lives that the President promised. We are tired of political manipulations and lies.
These ‘yuki yuki and dabaru’ practices that now characterises the management of RSLAF and the state should stop with immediate effect. We request that civil and political action be taken to resolve this mess to prevent a military solution. We the members of the DREAM Team so love our only Sierra Leone that we have decided to communicate these grievances in ways that are uncharacteristic of a soldier. But when all fails, please don’t be surprised to see us seeking justice in our own way. Our Detectives are currently investigating the police and the Ministry of Finance and Information and have discovered very disturbing findings which will be covered in our next address to the Nation.
The DREAM Team
Embassies/Missions and Multi-lateral and bilateral Agencies
Anti Corruption Commission
Civil Society Organizations
The Fourth Estate