CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF OFFICIALLY TAKES OVER COMMAND AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE ARMED FORCES
Lieutenant General PK Lavahun Receives Flag of Command
and Administration of RSLAF
The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) on Friday 16 September 2022, organized a Pulling Out Parade of the Outgone Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) at the Headquarters Joint Force Command Cockerill Barracks Wilkinson Road in Freetown. This was in honour of Lieutenant General (Rtd) Sullay Ibrahim Sesay former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). As part of the Armed Forces’ culture and tradition whenever the CDS is retired, a handing and taking over Ceremony was organized to usher in the newly appointed CDS. Thus, the new Chief of Defence Staff- RSLAF, Lieutenant General PK Lavahun was officially handed over the Command and Administration of RSLAF as tradition demands.
The Ceremony was well attended by Honourable Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, Senior Management from the Ministry of Defence and Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Heads of Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), serving and retired Senior Military Officers, Inspector General of Police, representatives of other Security Agencies, members of the Fourth Estate, friends and family members, officers, men and women of the RSLAF among others.
The Assistant Chief of Defence Staff Personnel and Military Secretary, Air Commodore MS Kamara gave out the declaration of purpose and welcomed all invited guests. In his valedictory address, Lieutenant General (Rtd) SI Sesay former CDS stated that their batched 1991 were unfortunate because they were commissioned during the war but are the luckiest because his predecessor Lieutenant General (Rtd) Brima Sesay is from the 1991 batch and he also handing over to his successor who also is a colleague of that batch. He thanked His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF Brigadier General (Rtd) Dr Julius Maada Bio, for appointing him as CDS in 2020 to serve the nation with unblemished record. He also thanked Madam First Lady for her unwavering support towards his administration for the infrastructural development of the 34 Military Hospital into a state of the art hospital. Thus, he implored all officers, men and women of the RSLAF to support the new CDS in order to achieve his vision in moving the RSLAF forward.
“I am retired but not tired,” he stated. He also emphasized that he is always ready to give his support and advice whenever called upon and admonished the rank and file of the RSLAF to remain apolitical, law abiding, obedient to the Government and people of Sierra Leone. “I am going to join my civilian colleagues and development partners,” he added.
Furthermore, the New CDS, Lieutenant General PK Lavahun further thanked His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF for the confidence bestowed in him to lead the RSLAF. He also thanked his predecessor for his good leadership and dedication of service in the RSLAF. His priority of work had been given to the General Ranking Officers with a vision statement “RSLAF that remains diligent, accountable and mission –oriented force deeply rooted in professionalism.” He assured all present that the RSLAF shall remain a democratic and accountable Force, loyal to His Excellency and Commander in Chief, the Government and the people of Sierra Leone.
In his Closing Remarks, the Deputy Minister of Defence (DMD) as Guest of Honour, on behalf of the Commander-in- Chief of the RSLAF, the Minister of Defence and the entire MoD/RSLAF Senior Management, heartily welcomed all the guests to the historic occasion. As a mark of transfer of military professional leadership he said, “from one of our finest Chiefs of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General SI Sesay to another very promising fine Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General PK Lavahun”. According to him, changes in the RSLAF are routine administrative procedures which had to take place in order to keep the institution ever evolving. This is done in line with regimental policies, procedures and by the powers of the constitution that laid the foundation of their existence.
He was gratified for the sterling statesmanship demonstrated by His Excellency and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF by expressing his appreciation and assurances of his continued respect and gratitude for Lieutenant General SI Sesay’s exemplary service to his motherland and professional conduct throughout his tenure in office to steer the RSLAF. Equally, the DMD immensely thanked His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the RSLAF and Government for recognizing two distinguished Generals in the RSLAF, Lieutenant General PK Lavahun and Major General D Alpha and appointing them as Chief of Defence Staff and Commander Joint Force respectively.
Additionally, he advised the newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff and the Commander Joint Force stating that they have enormous responsibilities in leading men and women carrying arms and that they are looking forward to an impeccable leadership in a diverse range of parameters. Both Commanders should put Sierra Leone first as they are assuming their various offices at a critical time when the country is facing serious economic challenges, widespread of lawlessness and a worrisome sub-regional spike in a multitude of cross border security challenges like terrorism, organized criminal activities and the forth coming general elections.
The DMD highlighted that there would be an increased in the needed support that would be requested by the civil authorities in strengthening its enforcement capacity. “I expect nothing less than consistency in comprehensive and decisive actions of operations when and wherever these services may be required and as directed by the Commander in Chief of the RSLAF”. He promised to collaborate with his immediate boss in providing the necessary political atmosphere to the Generals to achieve the highest results in furtherance of the aspirations of the Commander in Chief of the RSLAF. They would be given that political leadership in order to improve on the wellbeing of their troops. He concluded by appealing to His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio and his Government to continue to provide support for the RSLAF to enable the incoming leadership to make their mark in the welfare and wellbeing of their followership.
The Ceremony was climaxed by presentation of gifts to the Outgone CDS by the DMD, Incoming CDS and Armed Forces Wives Association and with a Pulling Out Parade of Lieutenant General (Rtd) SI Sesay by all Generals and acting Brigade Commanders.
Credit: J. Bassie Major
Ministry of Defence
Public Relations and Information
Paramount Building State Avenue Tower Hill Freetown