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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

President Koroma Demonstrates Glittering Example of Military Leadership
By Captain Saio S. Marrah - Expert in International Relations and Security Studies
Apr 3, 2013, 17:02
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On the 25th March 2013 at the Peace Training Centre, the Commander in Chief of the RSLAF, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma addressed 835 Battle Prepared officers and men/women - while 15 were already in Kenya on essential duties. Our 850 battle ready soldiers will be deployed in Kismayo, Tabda and Bobley in combat teams within Somalia. When I critically assessed the farewell address of the Commander in Chief of the RSLAF, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, I can't stop marvelling at his military ingenuity.

 

President Koroma's cogent and coherent admonishment to his soldiers is remarkably telling and is inherently depictive of a true Military General endowed with the persuasive power to lead even the most reluctant soldier. His address is reminiscent of a Military General well acquainted with the traditional principles of leadership. The President's address encapsulates the cornerstone of Army Leadership Doctrine. His address provided a framework for leaders to care for soldiers and encouraged his military commanders to understand their soldiers and look out for their well-being. President Koroma demonstrated a key military professionalism of keeping soldiers informed and developing a sense of responsibility in the men and women of the RSLAF.


Captain Saio S. Marrah (Rtd)

In his short but vivid address, he encouraged officers to ensure that the task is understood and the mission accomplished with a job well done. The president wasn't shy to inculcate team work and comradeship among officers and soldiers and deploying troops in accordance with their capabilities. Empathy within the context of caring for soldiers is directly related to being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well-being of your subordinates and this was clearly demonstrated in President Koroma's address to his gallant soldiers.

 

Role of military Commanders

 

Care of soldiers' basic health needs and prevention of unnecessary exposure to danger is the leader's ultimate aim. Maintenance of a soldier's welfare and morale is morally binding if not compulsory on the part of the battle front commander. Building cohesion and comradeship at section level and above is the beginning of victory in Somalia and elsewhere. Good leaders must also understand and look out for the human needs of their troops if they are to be properly cared for. These needs are categorized as physical, security, social and spiritual.

 

Empirical military historical data indicates and personal experience confirms that good leaders are concerned more with the well-being of their soldiers than they are with themselves. Good military commanders endeavour to give their time, energy, thought, and counsel to teach and help their subordinates to live up to their potential. At the end of the road, leaders should motivate soldiers by rewarding individual and team behaviour that supports overall tasks and missions. On the flip side hitherto, penal codes or punitive actions must be meted out against soldiers who behave in a manner that is inconsistent with the military code of conduct.

 

Assuaging the welfare concerns or problems of your soldiers so that they can concentrate on their mission is a father-like responsibility of a successful military commander. The pinnacle objective of a battle field commander is anchored on his/her ability to ensure your soldiers are properly cared for and have the essential tools they need to succeed in any given situation. That you truly care about your soldiers, indicate that you are deeply concerned about all aspects of their lives which obliged you to prepare them for battle and for life in every way possible.

 

Any military expert, who carefully evaluates President Koroma's address to the 850 strong soldiers poised to be deployed in Somalia, will agree with me that he provides an excellent example of a great military leader epitomized by the four factors of military leadership.

 

The president's address was punctuated and inter-connected with the conventional four factors of military leadership which are as follows; the followers (that is the soldiers), the leader (that is the commissioned officers), communications (that is the means of adequately and honestly passing information or developments down to the least private soldier) and the situation (that is explaining the challenges and hazards of the would be area of operation). This is an invaluable if not an enviable quality of president Koroma worth emulating by military and commanders.

 

 He wisely assessed both the military situation (in Somalia) and his soldiers' attitudes and values in the context of international peacekeeping missions and succinctly tailor his address that comprise; discipline, caring for soldiers, astute leadership, chain of command, comradeship, morality and ethics and the unflinching ambition to succeed while not underestimating the "enemy".

 

 President Koroma's leadership style coalesced with his "action pass intension" doctrine has contributed greatly to re-professionalise and sky-rocket the moral standards of the RSLAF there by detribalising the institution in a phenomenal manner. President Koroma exemplifies the ultimate in caring for soldiers. I salute you sir!


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