Noellie Marionette-Chambertin: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 September 2021:
By 1996, it was becoming increasingly clear that ending the war would require tacit diplomacy and a genuine desire by the Sierra Leone Government and its international allies to negotiate with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). A key proponent of this theory was Rupert Davies, a Sierra Leonean career diplomat attached to the Sierra Leone High Commission in London, at that time.
In his Case Study undertaken under the ‘Extended Programme in Peace-Making and Preventive Diplomacy’ organized by UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research), and the International Peace Academy in New York, Davies postulated; ‘The de-facto situation on the ground is that neither the Government nor the RUF can attain total victory in this senseless war against the civilian population. The War could go on forever like a swing of the pendulum, each party taking its turn to gain the upper hand.’
Davies further wrote; ‘It is absolutely unrealistic and over simplistic to imagine that it is possible to achieve sustainable peace without making concessions to the RUF.’
This situation apparently brought Omrie Golley into the conflict, and events leading to the peace process during the latter part of 1995 and early 1996.
Senseless killing of civilians, torching of homes, amputations had become common features of the war with most of the country overtaken by rebel forces. Government forces could not retake swathes of territory occupied by rebel forces, even with the assistance of the British and other sympathetic governments.
In fact, the situation had become so protracted and difficult, that mercenary fighters from South Africa, Mozambique, and other countries who had no knowledge of the terrain where airlifted in to aid the war effort, with no appreciable benefits to the overall military situation on the ground.
The presence of mercenary intervention was especially galling to Golley, as it was with numerous Sierra Leoneans, both in and out of the country.
Writing in the Third World Quarterly ( Vol 20 No 2, pp 319-338, 1999), a Sierra Leonean, David J Francis (now the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, in the current Bio Government), wrote a powerful piece, critically assessing the involvement of private military companies like Sandline International, Executive Outcomes, and the Gurkhas in the war in Sierra Leone, arguing that these companies, in the guise of providing national security, were merely lining their own pockets, thereby accentuating international exploitation, calling it: ‘the new face of corporate neo- colonialism’.
The situation in the country at this time was desperate, with no end in sight. Golley was in London in early November 1995 when he decided, against the wishes of his family, to form an organization called the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development ( NCRD ) to look into the causes of the war, how hostilities could be brought to a speedy conclusion, and to start to map out a new dispensation in Sierra Leone to aid the reconstruction of the country in the aftermath of War.
In order to be able to achieve the objectives of the Think Tank he had formed, he (Golley), had to engage other Sierra Leoneans both in the diaspora, and in country, to brainstorm and work out policies to achieve these objectives.
Central to the principal aim of seeking a cessation of hostilities, and an end to the military conflict, was the need to understand the motives of the RUF. It was essential to find out about this Movement, its leadership, their organizational structures, and most importantly, the reasons why they had taken up arms, with a military conflict unheard of in the history of Sierra Leone.
The next stage of the NCRD plan was to explore avenues with the RUF with a view to having a cessation of hostilities, and a more permanent plan to bringing about a lasting and sustainable peace.
In order to be properly appraised of the situation on the ground and the state of affairs generally in the country, Ambassador Golley thought it necessary to consult with a number of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora and inside the country, including journalists, politicians government officials and others. This is how he came into contact with individuals like Lans Gberie, Osman Yansaneh, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, Abbas Bundu, Abdulai Conteh, former president Tejan Kabbah, and the Late Joseph Momoh, among many others.
Ambassador Golley wanted to get the views of as many people as possible, to ascertain their own views about the state of affairs in the country at this time. He also undertook a copious amount of travel engagements, visiting a number of countries in the sub region including the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria, in pursuit of this quest for knowledge.
In undertaking these tours and engaging his fellow countrymen in and out of Sierra Leone, it quickly became apparent to him that very little was known about the RUF who, by this time had taken over large swathes of the country with its guerrilla tactics, and forced abductions. Very little contact had taken place with the RUF in their main strongholds. It did not take long for Ambassador Golley to be convinced that one way or another he had find out about the RUF, who they were, and why they had undertaken a ferocious war against their own people.
The RUF assault on Sierra Rutile which took place in late 1995, with its forced abductions was the catalyst that made up Ambassador Golley’s mind to seek the Movement, and look for ways to bring about peace in the country.
BBC reports about rebel advances throughout the country and the destruction they left behind, was enough to convince him of the dangerous direction the country was headed.
Golley was also particularly drawn to the writings of a UK based Sierra Leonean journalist, Ambrose Ganda. Ganda, an indigene from Serabu in the Bo District founded or co-founded a number of Sierra Leonean newspapers including the Watchman, the New Patriot, the Sierra Leone Report and SLAM. His editorial policy resonated with a common theme: – the defence for justice and equal rights of ordinary Sierra Leoneans.
Ganda once wrote; ‘The welfare and defence of the ordinary citizens of the country, and the articulation of their views as one saw them, since they themselves did not have the means to do so’
Like Golley, Ganda was also personally devastated by the escalation of the conflict and was keen on a negotiated settlement rather than violent means to end it at the expense of ordinary Sierra Leoneans. Ganda died on 10th April 2003 after contracting meningitis.
It was clear that the Tejan Kabbah Government intended to crush the rebellion by any forceful means rather than by a peaceful negotiated settlement. Apparently, as days, weeks, months and years progressed, it turned out that the war was not going to end through military means and a paradigm shift from a military solution to negotiations started to prevail. This was pretty consistent with Golley’s strategy and proposition.
It came to pass that all parties to the conflict including the international community gradually succumbed to the idea of a negotiated settlement of the conflict.
Until 1999, when the Lome Peace Accord was signed, and the subsequent return to Freetown of Corporal Foday Sankoh the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), Ambassador Omrie Golley’s involvement with the RUF was limited in scope and geography to the UK, Nigeria, Togo and Ivory Coast, where he had lobbied regional powers, and placed himself as a Sierra Leonean, unconnected with the erstwhile Government, or the rebels, and deeply committed to an end of the conflict.
Golley’s first physical contact with the RUF was in 1995 when he was accompanied by Oluniyi Robin Coker and Ambrose Ganda to meet four representatives of the Movement in Danane – an Ivorian town that borders the Republic of Liberia. The meeting had been negotiated by the UK based peace building organisation, International Alert, which had alongside the International Red Cross established contacts with the RUF since 1992.
The meeting with the RUF’s representatives at Danane in Northern Ivory Coast, was followed by a request from Corporal Foday Sankoh, to talk to Ambassador Golley through ‘bush radio’.
‘I was obviously very keen to talk to him. In those days they only had bush radio which was a very limited radio communication and they came on only at a certain time and you had to go to one of their safe houses to be able to speak to the bush. I went at the appointed time and that was in early November 1995 to speak to him on the radio for the very first time, and he greeted me very well.’
Golley further explains: “He initiated our conversation with an unexpected question. He asked whether I was the nephew of a certain Inspector Golley, a former police officer in the Sierra Leone Police Force. I said didn’t know who this person was. He then went to tell me that at a very low ebb in his life, this Inspector Golley took him under his wings for a number of years, fed him clothed him, and paid his school fees and that he would always remain grateful to the former police officer”
It wasn’t clear whether Sankoh thought he could make Golley easily relate with him, through this imaginary uncle, or whether the reference, was just one of his several tricks to test the sincerity of the young lawyer.
To this day, Omrie Golley cannot recall having a relative from his paternal side in the Sierra Leone Police Force. In any case, that first radio conversation in Ivory Coast opened the door to the numerous subsequent engagements he had with the Movement.
Members of the RUF delegation at the Ivory Coast meeting included Philip Palmer, Faiya Musa, Deen Jalloh and one Dr Jalloh who used to work at Sierra Rutile. Deen Jalloh was the husband of Agnes Deen Jalloh. Agnes was one of the senior officials in the RUF and a sister of President Julius Maada Bio.
History teaches us that peace is more sustainable when warring parties agree to sit down and talk. From the Second World War, that nearly annihilated Europe and the civil or sectarian conflicts of Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, military conflicts had never been a completely decisive factor at ending these wars.
The Second World War may have ended after the surrender of the axis powers, and the subsequent suicide of Adolf Hitler in May 1945; it however did not take the global powers, Britain, United States, France and Germany, long to recognize the need for a permanent solution to a conflict that literally brought the world to its knees.
The August 1945 Potsdam Agreement that later became the Three Power Conference of Berlin, was probably the climax of several conferences, held to address the root causes of the war and to sign a deal that would lead to a permanent resolution to the conflict.
The United Nations was subsequently established the same year to expand and operationalize global peace security architecture around the world.
It wasn’t clear whether the United Nations officials deployed to Sierra Leone were oblivious of this historical perspective, or had read Ambassador Golley’s script. What was clear however, was the fact that almost every UN official deployed to Sierra Leone during the civil conflict had tapped on, and invariably benefitted from the diplomatic and negotiation skills of this gentleman, from 1995 onwards.
That telephone conversation at a safe house in Danane, Ivory Coast with Corporal Foday Sankoh, was to become the foundation, upon which Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process was built. It was through that safe house bush radio conversation, that Golley was able to detect an uncanny desire for international recognition and acceptance, from the RUF leader.
The formation of an external delegation by the RUF, was no small measure an attempt to establish diplomatic contact with the outside world, and it had become obvious that the RUF leadership wanted to be taken seriously.
Ambassador Golley met Foday Sankoh for the first time, on the 24th March, 1996, in the City of Yamassoukro, Ivory Coast, 450 kilometres north of Abidjan. This was a couple of months after the meeting at Danane with the RUF external delegation.
He (Golley) had returned to London after that initial encounter, and had escalated his engagements with International Alert, the ICRC, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the UN, and occasionally, through telephone conversations, with members of the RUF he had met in Danane.
It didn’t take Ambassador Golley long, to learn that a meeting had been scheduled between the NPRC military government of Sierra Leone and the RUF.
In his quest to see a peaceful resolution of the conflict, as well as the realization that the forthcoming meeting would afford a wonderful opportunity for his Group (operating under the umbrella of the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development NCRD) to meet with Foday Sankoh and the RUF leadership, to continue the process of dialogue and also to encourage and support a sustainable peaceful resolution of the conflict, Ambassador Golley wasted little time, in mobilizing other members of his organisation, to travel with him to Yamoussoukro for this historic meeting.
He contacted Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, Osman Yansaneh, Lans Gberie, Ambrose Ganda, and other Sierra Leoneans, offering to meet the cost of the travel for the whole Group, from their respective departure points in the UK and West Africa, to join him in attending this upcoming meeting as Observers.
The Late Ambrose Ganda, penning details of the historic event, in his Focus on Sierra Leone in March 1996, wrote: “I arrived in Abidjan Sunday morning 24 March, determined to witness the historic meeting between Maada Bio and Foday Sankoh, but not knowing what the program of events was. I checked into my hotel room and was just about to steal a wink – having travelled on a night flight from London – when the telephone rang only for me to be told that both men were due to arrive in Yamoussoukro that very evening.”
Ambrose Ganda went on: ‘I hurriedly surrendered my keys at the reception and checked out. I was in the company of three compatriots – Omrie Golley, Chairman of the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development – which also paid for my trip as with an earlier visit, Mr Osman Yansaneh, a personal assistant of ex-President Momoh, who travelled from Conakry, and Mr Lans Gberie, editor of Expo Times, who had travelled from Freetown as an independent observer. We boarded a hired jeep, and headed with a rendez-vous with history, nearly 450 kilometres in the North of Ivory Coast.”
Ambassador Golley and his fellow compatriots arrived late that evening, finding accommodation at the same hotel where both the Government of Sierra Leone delegation, together with that of the RUF were residing, and sent word to both delegations, upon their arrival, that they had arrived to witness the historic event, expressing a desire to meet with them.
Golley and the rest of the group that accompanied him received immediate word from Foday Sankoh that he was very keen to meet with them.
Warmly welcoming Golley and his fellow Sierra Leoneans, Sankoh went on to berate Ambrose Ganda, in a friendly way, for some unflattering remarks Ganda had made months earlier about the RUF, in one of his publications which had been brought to his attention. Sankoh was equally swift on putting that episode aside, engaging the group in an informal manner.
Foday Sankoh, then went on to speak copiously about the reasons why the RUF had embarked on what he termed ‘an armed struggle’, and giving a lecture on what he termed the core of the thinking of the Movement – Pan Africanism- and the need for grass roots involvement in the political dispensation of Sierra Leone which he described as lacking.
Golley and Ganda in their own individual comments, mentioned to the RUF leader that they had come as independent observers to the peace meeting, not being part of any official delegation. Golley went on to add, that they would probably be waiting outside the hall – where the meeting was to take place – until it’s conclusion, and that the Group had come to Yamoussoukro to give moral and where necessary, practical support to both sides.
Sankoh’s immediate response was: “We are all Sierra Leoneans, aren’t we? We are here to talk about peace for our country. Every Sierra Leonean must be welcome! You do not need an invitation for that, do you? You should come to the hall tomorrow to make your presence felt.”
Golley remembered this initial encounter, and did not also forget an amusing moment in these auspicious surroundings: “We were all seated in the inner suite of Foday Sankoh’s quarters with Sankoh resplendent in traditional ronko attire, with us listening animatedly to him dilating on the reasons why the RUF took up arms. In the middle of this discourse, Sankoh got up suddenly to attend to a call of nature. Thinking that this brief departure and interlude, would afford the group a few minutes to compare notes on our individual feelings, we were surprised to witness Sankoh enter the bathroom, sit on the toilet seat, bathroom door ajar, continuing with his discourse, as if there was absolutely nothing wrong with this particular mode of engaging in public conversation.”
The scheduled peace talks eventually took place, the following morning, on Monday 25th March 1996. It was a historic meeting between the NPRC Leader and erstwhile Head of State, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and the RUF Leader (Photo below).
This initial encounter was itself preceded by high drama, which Omrie Golley and his brethren had not expected or prepared for.
Just before the event itself started, one of the NPRC Delegates came into the Hall, and formally objected to the presence of Ambassador Golley’s group at the gathering, naming him in particular, stating that stated that he (Golley) and his team, were neither part of the government delegation, nor part of the RUF Delegation. The meeting stalled and escalated into a serious stalemate.
The RUF Delegation maintained that, as Sierra Leoneans, Golley and his Group, were perfectly entitled to remain as observers of the Meeting. The Government delegation on the hand argued that the NCRD team was not illegible to attend as they weren’t part of the official or RUF delegation.
“For my part, initially I dug my heels in, stating that as observers recognized by the hosts in the Ivory Coast, together with one of the participating Delegations who had insisted that we attend, we couldn’t simply leave the Hall because the Government Delegation objected’’
The Stalemate sadly continued, with the delegations maintaining their respective positions. Tempers flared. Golley continues: “The historic Meeting was on the verge of collapsing even before it started. One side, it seemed, had to back down or give in.”
It was however not long before Ambassador Golley relented, taking the view that his being singled out by one of the Parties to the peace talks, objecting to him and the Group witnessing the occasion, was a small price to pay, taking into account the reason why he was there in the first place – giving peace a chance, and doing everything possible to end the hostilities, and bring about a lasting and sustainable peace to Sierra Leone.
In our next article, we will discuss the Yamoussoukro meeting and the role played by Omrie Golley in arriving at an Accord.
Thanks Mr Kiatongi, for coming back on this noble forum and shine a light to your initial outburst regarding the opinion I and Mr Yillah have made on tbis platform. For the record I have never met Mr Yillah and just like you, he is a fellow Sierra-leonean that I happened just like you have our countrys intrest at heart. I have all the respect for both of you or anyone eles for that matter. I repeat. I respect all the comments made on this forum. You have the right to offend and the right to be offended. Stay away from the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat. The journey of the RUf and the war they waged in our country, for which as we now know you fought against, and the peace we are enjoying today, was not borne out of the desire of Foday Sankoh wanting peace between those dark years of our country’s history. The issues here, is the academic work being carried out on the work put in by various parties to advance the peace process during those years, has been air brushed and reduced to one individual’s work, as the sole owner of the peace we have today.
Now whether Mr Golley had a front row seat, or a back row seat in advancing that peace process doesn’t make a lot of difference to the families of the victims of the war. He might have been given legal advice to Foday Sankoh and his henchmen, but that doesn’t make him a saint or a sinner. And certainly not a “Mandela of Sierra Leone” as the author of the report seem to suggeste. This see no evil, hear no evil mentality, or is either my way or the high way, is the root causes of all our problems in the country.
Immediately there is a national issue, instead of listening and learning from each other, our first reaction is to reach for the automatic default button, to pigeon hole your fellow countrymen, that have expressed a different point of view, that they might be on to something. Now as I pointed out from the beginning, I don’t hold Mr Golley personally responsible for Foday Sankoh and the RUF activities in our country. He is much as victim of the war like every one of us. What Iam against is a foreign French national trying to rewrite our history by bringing up the topic of our countrys darkest hours, when our country is divided as never seen before. If her aim was to take the spot light off the Bio government, she have succeed on that mission. Maybe just like Rwanda, our country should pass a law against deniers of what took place during the RUF wars. Or better still Laws in Germany against Holocaust deniers.
No Mr Jalloh, I’m not a kid! I was in my early twenties, and I had just joined the SL Military that the SL Government and the British were putting together in the aftermath of the Lome Peace Talks in Sierra Leone in late 1999, when the then Deputy Minister of Defence, the Late Captain Hinga Norman, who was also the Leader of the CDF militia, assigned me to Ambassador Omrie Golley. I left the military not long afterwards, and stayed with him for 13 years after that. Now I’m living out of Sierra Leone. I know of the sacrifices he made for peace from the time I met him, right up to the end of the war in 2002. I witnessed his frustrations even in dealing with the RUF Leadership. I was with him when he even went to Kamajor locations in 2001 when he was assisting in disarming all former combatants, both RUF and CDF.
I’ve seen all you have written about him and honestly believe you have done him a great disservice. Even when other forumites have advised that you look at the research done in full, you and your friend Yillah have simply refused to do so, but have continued with your various rantings. Well I am not going to waste any more of my precious time, arguing with the likes of you, because it will indeed be futile. But from someone who lived and worked with Ambassador Golley and what I know of him, all that I have read thus far is true. And if the researcher has really done her work well ( French or otherwise ), I believe you will hear much more about the acts of one selfless patriot, who worked hard to bring peace to Sierra Leone. Respects Ambassador Omrie Golley
In the midst of an educational, albeit entertaining exchanges between respectable forumites, if i may whisper once more again, may i state that there appears merit on both sides of the ongoing debate. Like thousands of Sierra Leoneans who had their country at heart during the tumultuous period of our civil conflict, it’s obvious Mr. Omrie Golley indeed exacted some amount of efforts in ensuring peace returns to his home land. There is no denial that he had good intentions at the initial stage in cajoling the RUF leadership to embrace peaceful means.
Notwithstanding, his cause of action became questionable after serving as a mouthpiece to the barbarians—whom though were elusive and psychotic, Mr. Golley continues to advise and advocating for their delusional demands for several years. In the eyes of many independent mines, an individual who patronizes via the rendering of any form of tangible or intangible services to any cult, terrorists, arm robbers, or any criminal entity is considered a culprit. This constitutes what is normally regarded in legal terms, ‘guilt by association’.
So while Mr. Golley have every right to pursue whatever avenues in protesting his innocence or good deeds in bring peace viz-a-viz, a percent of the victims of the barbarian rebel movement, which he Mr. Golley once serves as a legal adviser and mouthpiece, will always view him suspicious. I guess it’s left with Mr. Golley himself to search his conscious for whatever motives that led him to play whatever role he played back then. Towards that end, no human being, other than the man himself will know the true picture. As for him being regarded as a Salone Mandela, all i can say is that, there is a political undertone to such nomenclature.
Mr David Kiiatongi another apologist and diners of the activities of Mr Golley for his unholy alliance with one of the most ruthless reble group to have caused so much mayhem that existed in Africa in the 1990s..I don’t know how old you are, but if you are just waking up to the fact we hard eleven years of war in Sierra Leone, is about time you brush up your history of Sierra Leone. The only comparable wickedness displayed across the continent of Africa is Joseph Kony’s Lord Resistant Army of Uganda, waging war against the Moseveni’s government. Their tactics of killing ordinary civilians by burning women and children, raping and carrying out amputation of body parts, or gouging of eyes, mirrors the same savages and barbaric actions carried out by Foday Sankoh’s RUF . Now this events were taking place in Sierra Leone between 1990s to 2000s. Suddenly, fellow Sierra-leoneans are coming out of woodwork, as if they were not aware of the activities of Foday Sankoh and his henchmen.
A French national, who by the way was not present when this atrocities were taking place, have done a one sided academic work, trying to shove it down our throat. Telling us exactly what happened to us. This report is blasphemous, and trampling over the graves of fifty thousand Sierra Leoneans, with the sole purpose of trying to rehabilitate, someone who earlire on realised he have lost the confidence of the Chief architect of the war Foday Sankoh. Foday Sankoh and the rest of the RUF leadership can’t clear their names. For them is too late . But those who were associated with them will always try their luck. Because thats what rebles with out cause opportunist always like to do. We saw even advisors to Joseph Kony’s LRA, coming back to their communities, and confessing about their roles they played during the war and asking for forgiveness.More like this report is telling us without the efforts of Mr Golley,, effectively dismissing the work of ECOMOG, the United Nations, and the British government, we should count our lucky stars Mr Golley was hard at work to bring peace to Sierra Leone.
Maybe fifty thousand and countless of others that suffered life changing injuries was a price worth paying for his efforts or the lack of. This back door way of apologing by the socalled Mandela of Sierra Leone will not cut the mustard.
Mr Sesay, if as you say my comments on Mr Golley’s ties with the RUF are the result of my ‘pathological dislike’ of his person, can I pursue that logic of yours to its conclusion and say that your own interventions on this forum stem from your diseased infatuation with him?
As for my ‘long and meaningless prose’, surely it cannot be all that and be ‘lyrical’ in the same breath! Something has to give way.
God continue to bless you Ambassador Golley for the selfless role you played in helping to bring peace to our country. I’m really enjoying this particular serialisation. And do you know why? Unlike the rantings of Messrs Jalloh and Yillah, I am reading a serialisation that is in reality, pretty difficult to make up. It deals for example, with people very much alive today, who can very easily be approached to verify the issues around the story relating to them! For example Ambassador Golley was working for peace through the setting up of the think tank he formed ( NCRD ), and liaising with other fellow Sierra Leonean, even before his becoming an adviser and spokesman for the RUF! The writer details individuals, who were actually with him when he went to talk to the RUF for regards very first time!
The writer talks about the fact that Ambassador Golley actually paid for the likes of Osman Yansaneh and Lans Gberie to accompany him to Yamassoukro in the Ivory Coast as early as 1996, to also have the opportunity interviewing the two parties involved in the war, including the RUF. Wasn’t this a selfless act? These people are alive today! They can easily be contacted!
C’mon Yillah and Jalloh! Are you real?! I am going to be reading the whole of the story Yillah and Jalloh! I just feel there is more to come! Meanwhile Ambassador Golley, you have many, like me, who for reasons already enumerated by some of the forumites on this channel are very proud of you, and immensely grateful to you! God continue to bless you Ambassador Golley
Ms Isatu Konneh, I wasn’t directing my any foul language at you or anyone of the contributors on this forum regarding the position they took in believing the French researcher anointing Mr Golley as the “Mandela of Sierra Leone”. I know better than that. Mr Abdul Rashid Thomas the referee will give me the THE SIERRA LEONE TELEGRAPH RED CARD.! What I said and maintain, is no one research about the brutalities of the RUF war machine on unsupecting civilians population, in which I lost three famliy members, in the most heinous ways can be rewritten by a foreign national, regardless of which nationality. It will be an ungovernable sin on my part or anyone who was the victim of that war to sit back and allow such one sided outrageous report to be made public with out giving it the rebuttals it deserves, for the sake of the dead that can’t speak for themselves, in other to try and paint a different picture of what actually took place.They have been silenced for ever. But you can’t silence the families of tbe victims. That much anyone is guaranteed.
As I pointed out in my earlier contributions, I don’t hold Mr Golley personally responsible for the deaths of my family members,. But at the same time trying to exonerate himself from his workings with the RUF and Foday Sankoh have l left me with the inevitable question, why on earth does he feels the need to clear the air for his advisory role to the RUF? People do good things, but they keep it between them and their creator. What prompted him to come out now after twenty years? Is he planning to run for office? If so, if he has the right policies for our country, and promised to implement them rigidly, I will be voting for him. At the moment we have more pressing issues under this do nothing Bio government, than open a debate about a war that caused so much human suffering. No one is accusing him of taking part in the killing of civilians.
This idea of trying to shutdown arguments, you don’t agree with will not wash with me. And thats the problem we have in Sierra-leone. From the President to the average citizens in the street. Every ones thinks there opinion matters. But unless and until you learn to listen to the other side of the story, we will be going round in circles. And this report will only exacerbated the polarisation facing our country.
Thank you, Mr Jalloh, for putting your point so cogently: ‘They are not interested in the truth, but to frame the truth to misrepresent the truth’. Exactly! A surgical operation is underway relating to a particularly gruesome episode in our national history. It is an exercise in academic lobotomy of the highest order. A discussion of the wider context of that tragic episode including its root causes are either glossed over or ignored to give greater focus to one individual, whose role is then magnified for purposes of rebranding and rehabilitation.
Naturally, evidence is either created from scratch or reconfigured and then marshalled to produce desired results. It is not a question of following the evidence wherever it leads as one would expect of a study shaped by academic rigour. Rather, it is a case of the evidence going where a researcher aims to take it: to confirm and buttress a pre-established truth: the innocence and saintliness of a misunderstood and persecuted patriot and man of peace.
There is no point it would seem, crying over spilled milk: over the tens of thousands of souls who never survived or if they did at all, have become ever since limbless bodies – tragically diminished versions of their former selves. Dead men do not talk. So why bother. The living, especially those with all their limbs intact, are all that matter.
Mr Yillah, we can both go on and on in this debate. But as I am sure you can imagine I will never yield or agree with your lyrical comments about this serialisation. My problem is that here we have a study, like many others over the years about the war, by researchers of various nationalities publications and academia. This particular study relates to the actions of a particular individual, Ambassador Omrie Golley. I look at all your texts to date ( indeed there have been many) but sadly, all I see is your obvious pathological dislike of Ambassador Golley, and not about what was and is being written about him. Here lies my problem! Why don’t you just say I dislike this man, l am not going to even read or consider what is being written about him, and to the Sierra Leone Telegraph – stop the serialisation! You could also say, as long as anything positive is said by anyone about Ambassador Golley, don’t count me in – I don’t want to know! It will be far better understood than your long prose and meaningless words.
Continuously impliedly attributing the death and destruction of victims of the war on the shoulders of one man, as you have been doing, is surely disingenuous when you cannot even be bothered to comment on aspects of the research done! There are many like me, including some of your fellow forumites on this channel, who believe that, Omrie Golley is a true patriot who worked hard for peace, and should be recognized for such. I suspect that this will continue as the chapters emerge.
I haven’t by the way, contrary to what you imply, seen any of the chapters beyond those serialised on this medium. But given what I know of the character of the subject matter of this study, there are bound to be more worthy revelations as to the selfless patriot who has done so much for peace to prevail in our motherland. God bless you Ambassador Omrie Golley !
Mr Sesay, I admire you for your clarity of expression and your dogged defence of your position. Above all, I admire your loyalty to Mr Golley, who is someone you know on a personal level: a schoolmate and a friend. What are friends for after all if not to provide support in time of need?
It is not that I do not like Mr Golley. How can I like or dislike him when I have never met him, never interacted with him on a personal level? The simple fact is that you and I do not have the same appreciation of his association with the diabolic RUF. Our differing positions should not stop us though from acknowledging what each of us brings to the table as we try to make sense of the darkest and most soul-destroying chapter in our country’s history. You consider the French academic’s investigation into his role as a vindication of his innocence, patriotism and indeed humanity. To take such a position would suggest that you already have full knowledge of the investigator’s conclusions even before they are fully released! And there lies the rub. You know before hand what the findings are and are laying the groundwork by your interventions for their acceptance by the rest of us!
My own view of the investigator’s findings is that they at best partial and so skewed if they are meant to be taken as a definitive statement on Mr Golley’s dealings with the RUF. The reason being that the complexities of human motives and behaviour defy ultimate knowability. To pretend otherwise is to throw the wool over people’s eyes. You say I have already made up my mind as to the credibility of the investigator and her work. But you too have already made up your mind, haven’t you? You believe her and her findings completely. My take is the opposite. So, no meeting of minds here, unfortunately. To borrow an expression often repeated on this forum, we agree to disagree. Let the debate go on.
My denial of the study, Sir, is the tens of thousands of Sierra Leoneans who died at the hands of the group of psychopaths for whom your saintly Mr Golley served as a spokesperson. My denial of the study, Sir, is the countless brutalised and maimed Sierra Leoneans living today, whose lives have been ruined forever by team Golley-RUF’s brand of patriotism – turning their country into a vast killing field. No amount of intellectual sophistry, obfuscation, re-engineering even from one of the world’s highest institutions of learning – the Sorbonne – will change the biological facts of savagery: deaths and amputations. And the victims cannot now speak either because they are dead and gone, never to come back, or, if still alive, do not have the right connections, the clout and the means to have their individual stories told and serialised for the world to read, a privilege that Mr Golley has.
As regards your idea of ‘absolute proof’ (absolute proof I guess of Mr Golley’s innocence and saintliness which you believe the French researcher has exclusive access to!), you certainly must be an alien. For here on earth absolute proof relating to human motives and behaviour is for the birds. Your French storyteller must certainly be possessed of divine omniscience for her to pin down with mathematical exactitude the inner working of Mr Golley’s mind, the nature of his motives and, ultimately, his behaviour.
And finally, Sir, you should have had the courage of your own conviction, meaning you should have followed your own advice scrupulously in the first place by to quote you directly, ‘do[ing] the proverbial’, whatever you mean by that.
Mr Jalloh thank you yet again for your contribution. But expletives will not cut it regarding your views, and in this regard I am requesting you tone down your words. I can use the same against you in disagreeing vehemently with what you are saying, especially against Ambassador Golley. But I won’t. Ambassador Golley is a patriot, a man of peace, who worked for peace for this country. I am sure the serialisations of his own unique role will continue by this medium. I am looking forward to reading the next chapter.
I certainly don’t think Mr Yillah, and my self that have expressed different opinionsvon this matter are acting like a lynch mob, and being the the preachers of hate, or character assassinations, or taking pop shots , directed at Mr Golley. Is just that we can’t sit back and be spoon fed loads of horse shxxt! Because thats what this French report is really about. They are not interested in the truth, but to frame the truth to to misrepresent the truth. . This on going debate about the role of Mr Omrie Golley in helping bring peace in our country is not only full of short comings, but the reality about what really happened is buried amongst the fifty thousands and countless others that suffered at the hands of deranged RUF child soldiers. . The genesis of this straight talking points of view presented here is not so much about the straight talking points presented here, is that the straight talking points is challenging some of the distorted views presented by the French researcher’s findings and the role played by Mr Golley or perceived role he played in bringing peace in Sierra Leone,.
By trying to convinced Foday Sankoh and his henchmen, to look at big picture after losing few battles against ECOMOG and Sierra Leone Armed forces military it wasn’t hard to convince him . Despite that the RUF continued there fighting against the government . Given the atrocities the RUF, have visited upon a swatch of the Sierra Leone population, there was no way they can fight their way to power. With ECOMOG and United Nations forces ringed against them.And most importantly, they have lost the support of majority of Sierra Leoneans. That reality of course was very much present when Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie, and the fomer Miltray Junta Johnny Paul Koroma, met Charles Taylor in the Executive Mason in Monrovia about how to bring peace in Sierra Leone.Mr Golley’s role most have been minimal to say the least. The RUF broke there agreements with Tejan government, at some point there was nothing left to break. Which suggests to me he was not listening to his peace advisor Mr Golley.
We all know Foday Sankoh only listen to one man and one man only, Foday Sankoh himself. Until his arrest and incarnation, Foday Sankoh was not ready tp fly the white flag. That much was evident not by his words, but actions. His subsequent demise, came about after his security personal at his residence Freetown, opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, calling on him tp honour the peace process, after the British intervention.His subsequent arrest after that unfortunate event proved crucial in bringing peace in our country. So the idea that all the hard work for peace by ordinary people and our international partners, was down to Mr Golley, is a misleading. There is no way Mr Golley can prove his role as the adviser to this deadend RUF leadership has the desired outcome Charles Taylor have more leverage on the RUF, than the socalled, Mandela of Sierra Leone, as the French author want us to belive. That equation is an insult to the intelligence of all right thinking Sierra Leoneans.
Love your nice English words, great syntax, beautiful vocabulary. But make things simple for us Mr Yillah. You don’t like this man. Your mind is made up. You are not going to wait, it seems, for the serialisations to be completed. You know him more than all the other forumites. I don’t mind. It’s ok. You are entitled to your own views.
I will defend your right to say what you feel as much as I would expect you to do mine in the civilized world we live in. But I’m afraid you will have to count me in as a high priest who firmly believes that Omrie Golley is a patriot who worked hard for peace in our country. He even suffered for it. But this high priest, (as opposed to high priestess) salute him, and will always wish him well. God bless you Ambassador Golley!
To devotees of the new faith that I will call here Golleymania for want of a better word, I say rejoice. Nirvana is indeed attainable and is finally here. Redemption is at hand. Courtesy of the operations of a particularly agile French intellectual gymnast. Yes, to all Golleymaniacs – the already converted and the soon to be converted – I say hear her, hear her. Your high priestess residing normally in a far away temperate land has with a singularly steely will defied the Sierra Leonean tropical cauldron to bring to its citizens the message that indeed one of their own, a true son of the soil, was the architect-in-chief of the peace that ended the decade-long RUF insurgency that has left a ghastly wrench on the body and in the psyche of the nation.
The high priestess has come to preside over a singular event: an unprecedented religious ceremony during which a person who is still alive is judged fit and qualified enough to be beatified! The ceremony has in fact commenced. The introductory scene and first act are now available. And what next? Well, more of the same. The ceremony is a parade (a charade is probably more like it) during which an erstwhile rebel sympathiser is ordained and proclaimed pacifism and peace broker incarnate.
Doubters, unbelievers, cynics, sceptics, so-called ‘gloaters’, ‘preachers’ and all other species of potential party poopers, please stay away. This is because the ceremony of ultimate truth and the expected singing, dancing, hand-clapping and back-slapping from devotees – crusading Golleymaniacs in white, shining armour – will surely break your heart. You have been warned. However, this warning is perhaps a blessing in disguise after all. Golleymania is a pseudo-religion; it is both a cult and a contagion; it feeds on its devotees’ grey cells . It stops their thought processes dead in their tracks, disabling critical thinking, making them embrace a curious system of thought that I will call here the doctrine of reversed binaries. This doctrine teaches that black is white, night is day, a rebel or rebel sympathiser and spokesperson is a patriot and pacifist and that the devil is an angel. So just stay away from the charade. It is for your own good and sanity.
You call it Golleymania, I call it in simple plain unadulterated English – an understanding of the actions of a patriot! Keep your English prose. I am a simple Sierra Leonean, who will not be intimidated by the subliminal messages of someone, who refuses to accept that the actions of a man of peace are now being serialised! You can say what you will, till the proverbial cows come home, but to quote the remarks of another of our forumites – ‘Truth nor dey hide’!
Ambassador Golley worked hard for peace in those days. He has been unfairly vilified, and now the truth is coming out. I am awaiting further serialisations of this study of a Sierra Leonean and his quest for peace in our motherland. I would strongly suggest and urge you to present this forum with a denial of the study being presented presently, complete with absolute proof, other than with long meaningless words. Otherwise I suggest you do the proverbial.
Ms Konneh, totally agree with you. I was never in doubt, that we are looking at the same picture, with different interpretation. And for the record I bare no ill feelings towards anyone. I certainly respect all the contributions. It has been a real eye opener. But what I can’t accept, is for individuals or parties to try and rewrite the history of our country. Professional research doesn’t always guarantee you to report on the events that actually took place. There are holocaust deniers. There are 9/11 conspiracy theorist. So the idea that we should take at face value, based on one sided evidence force down , memory lapses might have played a part on the outcome. There is always two side to a story.
Like majority of our fellow countrymen and women that contributed in tbis debate, I will say majority of us have conducted ourselves remarkably well. It doesn’t mean if I disagree with you , that my thinking faculties are compromised. Now we can say we agree to disagree. We only have one country and one flag, and one people glued together by tbe Krio language.
I have been reading all the comments by forumites regarding the serialisation of episodes relating to the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley, in the peace process. First of all, I like to say a big thank you to the researcher of these articles and the editor of Sierra Leone Telegraph. Secondly I would like to say that ‘true nor dey hide’! What I see from the two chapters I have read, is the story of a true patriot finding his way to bring peace to our country during that time. Even from the beginning of the story highlighting the periods of time he was associated with the RUF, I could not see anything negative as to that, given where we were as a country at that time. It was a clever move, to use his association with them to bring peace. In fact I could speedily understand why, because of his legal training, he readily fit in this role, in his quest for peace. I say this because even the worst criminals are entitled to legal representation, and to put their positions across.
In fact I believe it was a clever move and he used this to good effect for peace. Only today I am realizing that this gentleman ran an organization called the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development way back in 1995 to seek the opinions of fellow Sierra Leoneans – most of whom are still alive today I believe, and actually paid for them to assist him in his quest for peace. Was this also a bad act? For me whilst I respect the right of anyone to say what he or she thinks and feels, the more I get to learn of the role played by this gentleman in the peace process going back as far as 1995, I respect and honour him even more. I see something in him that is innately good.
Finally, I read the comments of one of the forumites when he said that this man had not even been prosribed in the TRC Reports or in any court for his conduct in the war and I just shook my head! Is this the same person who some are vilifying? Ambassador Golley the more I read of you the more I recognize you as a patriot. God bless you!
Mr Jalloh, Ambassador Omrie Golley is a peace maker. History will judge him as such. The serialisation of the great role he has played will inform about him. There have been thousands of writings from researchers all over the world, about the war, from different nationalities, including French researchers. Many theses from students around the world have focused on different perspectives of this sad period in our country’s history. I am sure you know this.
This particular researcher has decided to focus on the invaluable role played by Ambassador Omrie Golley in helping to bring peace to our country. Therefore I’m truly wondering why you are exercised about this particular research? You have given your opinion already on Ambassador Golley’s contribution but you seem to be coming back to this point about a French researcher writing about him over and over again. Why?
I doubt whether you will be able to change the minds of all those you have contributed so far, including myself, who respect, honour, and remain ever thankful for his invaluable role in the peace process. So don’t you think it’s time for us to agree to disagree?
The idea that Omrie Golley had his road to Damascus moments, after the senseless killings of civilians, and amputation between 1995 and 1996, which prick his moral senses and to realised the RUF he was legally advising were unsavory characters, and cut out as out right sadistic murderers that wants to return Sierra Leone in to the stone ages.The RUF war that started in the Southern part of the country, after Charles Taylor the NPLF leader, who was locked in a deadly fight with Doe’s Forces, and ULIMO fighters, that used Sierra Leone as their lunching ground to fight Taylor ‘s. NPLF forces, Taylor didn’t take both interventions lightly. In one of his I famous diatribe he declared'”Sierra Leone will taste the bitterness of war.” Taylor has a lot to be angry about the Momoh government. First they refused him a safe passage to launch his socalled revolution.
And after he launched his invasion, through Lofa county, and put Doe’s Armed forces of Liberia on the back foot, ECOMOG suddenly realised they have to stop Taylor. The Momoh governments allowed ECOMOG to use Freetown as the launch pad to intervene in the conflict that he started in Liberia in 1989. And through to form you have useful idiots like Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie, that answerd to his call which If is not for the seriousness of the situation, one would discribe it as laughable and out of kilter. This one sided report is full of antidotes gread towards only one aim, to rehabilitate the good name of Sierra Leone noble peace maker, Golley in the eyes of the Sierra Leonean public.. Depends on which part of the Fence you sit, you can clearly see the rank hypocrisy at play here . Here the author is preaching to the converted. How can anyone living in Sierra Leone or even in Mars not be aware of what was going on in Sierra Leone between 1990 to 2000.
Sierra Leone as a country is seen as a soft touch by foreigners. One would not only question the questionable, but will be confronted with the inevitable question, why not write about Ivory Coast’s civil war? Because Sierra-leoneans values the voice of foreigners more than their own kit and kin. They need a foreigner to write about their experiences. And they will accept it. If this French National’s intention is writer a Memoir about Omerie Golley, she have hit the jackpot. How our country got to the situation we get ourselves,
What really caused the mass killing and cutting of our brothers and sisters hands and feet? I have no idea. I was born 1990.