The Omrie Golley story – Reflections on the Sierra Leone peace process

Noellie Marionette-Chambertin: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 September 2021:

I am pleased to have been able to play a part in researching the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley in bringing peace to Sierra Leone after a ten-year-old conflict. I met Omrie Golley over ten years ago, through my work as a translator and a trader in commodities.

I found in this gentleman someone deeply committed to the development of his country, with a sincere and abiding commitment, which I found heartwarming. This feeling about him, however, was at variance with other reports on social media, about his role in the 1992-2002 war in his motherland, which I found baffling.

I accepted an invitation from Ambassador Golley in 2018 to visit Sierra Leone and to observe the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. I used this visit to get to know more about this beautiful country, and her people, her challenges and aspirations.

During this period, I spent a considerable time in the company of Ambassador Golley (Photo), and met many people, including two former ex combatants, living then with him. These persons spent time highlighting their personal experiences during this sad chapter in the country’s history, and in particular, the role played by Omrie Golley in bringing peace to his motherland.

When I returned to France, I decided to undertake some research on the role of Omrie Golley in the concluded war and peace process in Sierra Leone. It was during this period of research that I found a local ‘fixer’, Mr Abdul Malik Bangura, who had written several reports and news articles on Golley. Together, over a two year period, we worked on this project, to try to ascertain, as far as possible, the truth regarding an individual, often portrayed negatively, as to his role.

Having been brought up in France, a country where human rights are a major part of our culture, also as well as being of an African descent, I considered it most important to seek as far as possible, the truth.

“Reflections on the Sierra Leone peace process – the Omrie Golley story”, represents the results of the research done, on the tireless efforts of a true nationalist, to bring peace to his motherland, after a period of a devastating civil conflict, a man I will henceforth refer to as the ‘Mandela of Sierra Leone’.

This is the first article in a series of articles to be published in the Sierra Leone Telegraph about our “reflections on the Sierra Leone peace process – the Omrie Golley story”:

The Call from UNAMSIL – January 2001

It was a cold and blustery afternoon in London, in early January 2001. The Christmas and New Year festivities of the previous year had concluded, and offices and businesses in London, were opening their doors to the dawn of 2001.

The Receptionist at the Law Chambers of Ambassador Omrie Golley at Kensington Church Street, Central London, had just received a call from the Office the Special Representative of UN Secretary General to Sierra Leone, Oluyemi Adeniji, (now deceased). Photo.

The UN office in Freetown had urgently requested the mobile number of Ambassador Golley, because they wanted to connect him with the UN Representative who was in transit in London, after an official assignment, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Ambassador Adeniji had been appointed just over a year earlier as the Head of the United Nations peace keeping operations in Sierra Leone UNAMSIL.

Ambassador Golley wasted no time in connecting with SRSG Adeniji. An appointment was fixed by both gentlemen to meet.

According to Golley:  “We had spoken over the phone on a few occasions but this was the first time that I was to meet up with him in England. After exchanging the usual courtesies, he suggested that we met before he returned to Freetown, and went on to ask me whether I liked Moroccan food. I said that I did, and we agreed to meet a day later in a Moroccan restaurant in the west end of London”

During dinner, Adeniji gave a brief account of the peace efforts in Sierra Leone and described the peace process as very slow. He mentioned in particular that the RUF movement was rudderless, and did not have the requisite skills to progress with the peace process in the aftermath of the Lome Peace Accord, and the subsequent arrest and detention of the RUF leader, Corporal Foday Saybana  Sankoh.

The priority for the peacekeepers, according to the SRSG was disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of all combatants and a political process to take the country to the next level.

Ambassador Adeniji requested that Golley who was previously involved with the RUF before the signing of the Lome Peace Accord, return home to help the RUF disarm as well as ensure that the group was developed into an organized entity that could sit and negotiate with the Government under the supervision of UN, ECOWAS and the wider international community.

Golley’s response was brief;  “I said that I didn’t feel that I wanted to be involved in the process any longer, reminding him that I had not long before, announced my departure from the RUF after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord, and subsequent policy differences with the leadership of the Movement over the implementation of certain aspects of the Accord”

He (Adeniji) recounted the encounters he had with the RUF rebel leader, Corporal Foday Sankoh from the time of his involvement around 1998 to the period leading to the crafting of the Lome Peace Accord.  Adeniji was adamant that Ambassador Golley, who was happy to have returned to his legal profession in London still had a role to play in restoring lasting peace to Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Adeniji reiterated in a very persuasive manner, the difficulties that they were now facing with the RUF in bringing the conflict to an end.

In several discussions between the government, the UN peacekeepers and the interim RUF leadership, about the need to have a body to negotiate a new and lasting peace process, the name of Ambassador Golley had come  up as somebody that could lead such a body within the RUF.

Concerns about his personal safety and the fact he could not trust the government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah proved a stalemate in the informal meeting between Golley and the SRSG.

“I went on to inform Ambassador Adeniji that even if I wanted to return to Freetown, that I would have grave misgivings and worries about my security and wellbeing because I did not trust the Kabbah Government, and didn’t believe I would be safe in the country.”

Ambassador Adeniji appeared determined to ensure the return of a man believed to have carried the charisma and persuasive attributes for a rudderless and intransigent rebel group, and quickly assured Golley of his personal safety in Sierra Leone. Adeniji also said: “Omrie, as it happens I spoke to President Kabbah (Photo) about you, and he does not trust you either!”

Golley thought that was the end of the conversation but Ambassador Adeniji went on; “For me this is a good point of starting this journey!  You don’t trust each other, and that’s a good starting point!”

After much persuasion from Ambassador Adeniji, Omrie Golley agreed to return to Sierra Leone on two conditions; first, a written assurance that he would be safe and secure. Second, a satellite phone for him to be able to contact his family in London at any time. The SRSG immediately obliged to both requests.

It was a successful meeting and Ambassador Golley subsequently returned to Freetown in February 2001.

He (Golley’s ) arrival followed the signing of the Abuja Ceasefire Agreement – the only agreement in the whole of the conflict that the parties to the Agreement, in this case the CDF and the RUF conscientiously adhered to. It is important to note that Omrie Golley was involved with the RUF in three stages of the conflict:

The first period was between November 1995 until April 1996 when he established physical contact with its leadership in Danane, Ivory Coast. This was under the auspices of the National Convention for Reconstruction and Development, a political think tank he formed to explore avenues to bring about lasting peace in Sierra Leone.

The second period was between 1998 – 1999 when he served as the RUF’s Spokesman and Legal Adviser.

The third and final period was when he  served as the Chairman of the RUF’s Peace and Political Council – a body that ultimately embraced the idea of ushering lasting peace to Sierra Leone between February 2001 and July 2002.

It is also important to understand that Ambassador Golley’s decision to lead the RUF was after the movement had evolved into a political wing. He also announced his resignation from the movement after it became necessary for him to widen his engagement in the country’s peace and reconciliation efforts.

In Peter Andersen’s Sierra Leone Web News Archives dated 19th November 2001), Ambassador Golley said in press release he issued after returning to London;

“I feel that the time has now come for me to reassess and refocus my personal role and involvement in consolidating the peace process to which I remain completely committed…..In this regard, I am today announcing my resignation as chairman of the Political and Peace Council of the RUF, which will enable me to widen my involvement in the peace process by actively supporting policies of reconciliation and also assisting with the reconstruction and rehabilitation of our country.

In our next article we will take a look at Omrie Golley’s first encounter with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Stay tuned.

27 Comments

  1. I found your piece Leo Africanus interesting. I agree with a lot of it. There is not a day that goes by, without me taking a copy of the Report of the TRC, and reading the chapters, as to the causes of the war in our country. I look at what was said then, and I look at where we are today. Has a lot changed? I think as serious forumites, we can agree on one thing. It wasn’t Ambassador Omrie Golley who started this war. In fact even in the TRC report, whilst his name is mentioned in passing as to his association with the RUF, not much was ever written about him or his role. Given the amount of comments written about him, I have always found this interesting.

    When I think of what people were saying then in the media about him, and find that no court or tribunal, national or international, said anything negative about him, as to his role in the war, let alone indict him, I also find that intriguing. Then I look at what he has accomplished in public service, where this individual was appointed to high office and worked so hard there, that also is interesting. Could it be that the way he has been treated, is in fact symptomatic of some of the problems we faced as a nation then, even up until today?

    Let’s concentrate on working on the recommendations of the TRC to rid our country of the factors that caused the conflict in the first place. For me personally, I don’t know the Ambassador, but I want to read more, from different quarters about his role in the peace process and I am pleased that this forum is publishing it.

  2. The differing views expressed by the forumnites on the subject of Mr Omrie Golley are expected, as he is a controversial figure. Now the question of whether he was a saint or a devil is for history to judge, albeit that human beings are multifaceted and good and evil can coexist in a single body. The arguments on the forum illustrate the trap that we have fallen into as a state. The question of who committed atrocities in the civil war, if reflective of the special court, is that all parties bear the burden of crimes against humanity. That is war, one of the most violent devices that man has invented and a civil war is the bloodiest of wars.

    Atrocities have been committed in all wars, Phillip Sheridan in the Shenandoah valley in the American civil war. The massacres in Russia under Joseph Stalin. It is a regrettable side effect of wars. The question we should be asking ourselves is how to prevent such a violent conflagration from ever taking place again. Firstly, there was a peace treaty signed, which has brought peace as a result. There are no more rebels and kamajors. People should respect that agreement signed in their name and give peace a chance. Let us be constructive and work together as Sierra Leoneans regardles of origin.

    • Mr Kanu said: “I think as serious forumites, we can agree on one thing. It wasn’t Ambassador Omrie Golley who started this war. In fact even in the TRC report, whilst his name is mentioned in passing as to his association with the RUF, not much was ever written about him or his role. Given the amount of comments written about him, I have always found this interesting. When I think of what people were saying then n the media about him, and find that no court or tribunal, national or international, said anything negative about him, as to his role in the war, let alone indict him, I also find that intriguing. Then I look at what he has accomplished in public service, where this individual was appointed to high office and worked so hard there, that also is interesting.” Thank you Mr Kanu. This is sobering thought for all of us discussing this issue.

      I have been following the arguments on this great forum with keen interest, for and against, and reading Mr Kanu’s comment above has made my day. Mr Kanu you are absolutely correct and we should think about this very carefully in forming our views about Mr Golley’s culpability in the war. If Golley was not found wanting by the TRC nor the International Court, why are we trying so hard to find him guilty I wonder?

      After reading Mr kanu’s comment and reading the TRC report once again, I am satisfied that there is no evidence to suggest that Mr Golley was complicit in the war. So let us temper justice with mercy and commonsense, based on the facts which we will be reading in the promised series of articles to be published by the Sierra Leone Telegraph. I am looking forward to this week’s editon on this story. Hurry up sierra leone telegraph! Lol

      • Mr Adewale John – Your logic out-rightly suggesting that because there was no evidence in the TRC report pointing out that Ambassador Golley was complicit in the war doesn’t hold water: As a matter of fact it was only in recent years that men who committed heinous crimes against humanity during the genocide in Rwanda,wars in Somalia,Mozambique,Iraq and the Adolf Hitler’s Germany have been dragged in chains before the ICC, to be tried for their complicity and intricate involvement in mass killings and maiming based on fresh irrefutable evidence that was not ever available before. Again, Why is it that Ambassador Golley is coming out now to clear his name after so many years of silence? And why are those that there involved in the negotiation for peace,many of whom are still alive have not come out to openly defend him? Is there something they know about the Ambassador that we are not aware of? Are there any videos, audio recordings of private conversations with RUF leaders highlighting that the Ambassador acted only in good faith?

        In my humble opinion the carefully crafted defense of the Ambassador has missed the intended target and fallen way off the mark. Authenticity is totally missing; it seems in their haste to swing public opinion towards the ambassador favor they left out a few critical missing pieces that could have made their questionable story of defense adequately convincing. Who can blame Mr Yillah and Mr Jalloh for not swallowing such a strange story, hook, line and sinker?

  3. Ambassador Omrie Golley has worked hard for peace in Sierra Leone. At a time when we were overrun by Sankoh and his rebels, when no one dared even to call his name, much less talk to him, Omrie Golley left his comfortable life in London to come to plead with Sankoh to give peace a chance. He had little choice to gain their trust but to spend time with them, advocate as a lawyer for them, and cajole them to lay down their arms. For me it was easy to understand him and what he was about, even without ever meeting him. He advocated for peace. The rest is history.

    His role as our ambassador has been exemplary. They are truly few like him. Let us speak the truth when the occasion demands and stop the backbiting and hatred. Let us all come together as one and work for mama Salone! We all suffered in this war, and I would not even want to talk about what happened to me. But I bless the likes of Omrie Golley for talking to the rebels. He was successful. God bless him and his family. Amen

    • Please Isatu – let us not accuse those with whom we disagree as haters. The may have a different view of what the truth is and where truth lies. One can only hope that after reading the entire series of articles about Mr Golley, readers may be able to arrive at a fair view of his role in helping to bring peace to Sierra Leone. I know Mr Golley as a gentleman and a lawyer, who enjoys a good debate. So please, let us keep the discussion clean. Thank you.

  4. Mr Yillah, your invectives, diatribe and personal poison against a peaceful man, does not require any further comment. When I look at your first comment, progressing to your last, it all comes out and it is clear! You are not interested in salient comment or proper analysis, but just to attack the personality of a peaceful decent individual. His work for peace will be highlighted by this author and others, and I am grateful to them for this. Your comments for posterity will be seen for what they are! The truth will come out! Indeed it is coming out! There is nothing personal haters like you can do to change the truth. God bless Sierra Leone! God bless Ambassador Omrie Golley, and all those who have worked for peace in our country! Amen

    • Mr Sesay – please keep off the personal attacks which I am sure Mr Golley humself would not condone as a man of peace. You can agree to disagree with forumites but you do not have the right to accuse them of being hateful. Please take it easy. Thanks. We do have a policy of mutual respect here that we hold dearly. I trust you will adhere to this policy.

  5. Let us be clear and raise a simple yet important question. Who is ‘gloating’ over and ‘preaching’ about what here? Indeed, is it gloating and preaching to raise legitimate concerns about the results of a research project that right in its introductory statement seeks to present an alternative story that casts a former spokesman for a violent and murderous group of insurgents as an unqualified patriot and peace-maker – a Sierra Leonean Madiba of sorts?

    To my mind, what amounts to gloating and preaching is to see that alternative story as a possible confirmation of what is being spiritedly advertised by some people here as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about Mr Golley: the beloved schoolmate, the young disciple of Martin Luther King Junior of blessed memory, and the great ambassador! What amounts to gloating and preaching is to see Mr Golley as a man possessed of a ‘divine plan’, a Christ-like figure, who suffered persecution in his attempt to bring peace and sanity to his homeland. Indeed, to hear Mr Sesay waxing lyrical about Mr Golley’s personality and achievements is akin to listening to a sermon on the saintliness of peace-making and of a ‘unique’ peace-maker.

    Such gloating and preaching are likely to fall on deaf ears where many Sierra Leoneans – still living with the consequences of the appalling slaughter and unimaginable bodily disfigurements that characterised the RUF insurgency in the early 1990s right through to the early 2000s – are concerned.

  6. Is great at least we all agreed the RUF wars, and Charles Taylor’s, Wars in Liberia, caused so much destruction of life and property, that to air brush such history and reduce it to a foot note is not only disingenuous, dangerous, but frankly, hard to comprehend. That ordinary villagers, people in towns and city across Sierra Leone , due no fault of their own, can be attacked, enslaved, raped, pillage, and killed by their fellow citizens, that they never encountered throughout their existence,and never said a word of anger towards them. And if anything, given the openess, and generosity Sierra Leoneans are known for, under normal circumstances, will offer support to some of those same people if they ran into hard times before the war . But there was nothing normal about the war years in Sierra Leone. The teacher, the Imam, the priest, the next door neighbour, that used to share everything with you, becomed a cold bloodied killers. Now we should all go back to normalcy as if nothing happened. Those who failed to leran from their history is more than capable of repeating it. And we say NEVER AGAIN!

    During that senseless war,fought not on religion, ethnic, or regional bases, but like a MAD MAX movie based on greed. The only war fought in Africa for the riches of the country. Every one was for themselves, and God for us all, becomes the new dogma for would be freelance killers. Indeed their first encounter with their fellow countrymen is to end their lives. Long sleeve, or shorts sleeves, Operations no living thing. That tells all you want to know about the idiot behaviour of the RUF leadership. You say you rise up against the Momoh governments, because of corruption. Now you want to kill every Single person. So who are you going to govern when you fly your RUF flag at State House, or Parliament building at Tower Hill? Too many Chiefs and few Indians. Who gave Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie alias “Mosquito ” and others the right play God with unsuspecting villagers that have nothing to do with politics or politicians. Their only crimes it seems, they are Sierra-Leonean. So during those horrible encounters by drugged up nappy cladding child soldiers,with AK 47 rifles can decide their fate at will, because at that moment, they have the power of the gun, and the State of Sierra Leone as we know it has ceased to exist. And failed in its duty of as a government to protect life and property of it citizens.

    The difficult thing to square your head around, this wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone were started by majority of people tbat have worked and studied abroad. With high degree of qualifications, and bank balances that reads like mobile numbers. Instead of using their wealth to help develop their countries, they use their wealth and connections to by AK 47 rifles and RPGs to wage war on their own people. The main purpose to help foreigners steal our natural resources, to enrich themselves more. The disgruntled Diapasons, that saw the developments in the West and Libya in particular. Instead of using their education and what they learned from other places around the world, they brought war for their illiterate population. Iam glad this research was done and published. Twenty years after the war a French foreigner have managed to make Sierra Leoneans talked about what happened in Sierra Leone. I wish she can do research about the jihadist terrorist that murdered more than 137 French nationals in November 2015, on French soil. That would be worth looking into as well. Why we hate and where does it comes from?

  7. Fully understand your words Mr Matturi and to a larger extent agree with you. However blaming the French and praising the British for a set of circumstances that led to a nasty war in our country will not cut it! It will also be unfair not to give due regard to those who tried to bring peace to our country and in the case of the subject matter of this debate – Ambassador Omrie Golley – for an account of his role, to be subsumed, by those wishing to denigrate him without following the author’s account of Golley’s role, in the quest for getting to the truth of this matter.

    That is why I have welcomed from the outset, this particular narrative in question, and those hopefully coming after it, which give alternative views and accounts, to those previously given. We all suffered, some more than others, and we must work hard to ensure that what happened then, will never be repeated! May God bless us all. Amen

    • Indeed. Never to happen again. Thanks Mr Sheku Coomber Sesay for you brilliant comment and insight. God bless you.

  8. Mr Yillah has not even waited to read the rest of the forthcoming chapters on the role of Ambassador Golley in the peace process, but he has already pronounced his judgement on this role, gloating over the problems that Golley has endured, as if this is of no consequence. He is even intimating that Golley should consider himself lucky to be alive after 20 years of the war, etc. For me, I am so happy that his story is finally coming out, encouraged by Golley himself, so that future generations could make up their own mind, after considering additional material written. I wish these accounts now coming out had been written earlier, or that Golley himself had given his own account of his earlier. But for me I am so happy that this alternative account of his rule is coming out so future generations can decide.

    I have always felt that there was a hidden hand behind the unfortunate events that befell us in the late nineties, and that Golley came in, in his own unique way to help bring peace to our country. Let us get to the truth of the matter, putting all hatred, jealousies, bad blood aside. It is only the truth that will set us free! And, in furtherance of that, to Mr Yillah, I suggest, like all of us that you wait until you have read all the chapters before preaching to us.

  9. Disappointing stuff. Sad to hear forumites blaming a poor woman kidnapped by armed rebels to join them in their fight to destroy the country. If men accepted joining the rebels under such frightening and traumatic conditions, how can a woman resist? Let us leave Agnes alone and focus on the perpetrators and those who committed the atrocities during the civil war. It was heartbreaking to hear how members of the Bio family, many other families, and multiple innocent people were massacred during the civil war. If I’m not mistaken, the massacre of members of the Bio family was mentioned by a member of parliament in the well some time ago. Would you please correct me if I’m wrong? Frightening. Isn’t it? That was the first time I heard of that. War is a terrible thing.

    So, no one should ignite or facilitate it in our country ever again. It’s dangerous stuff. Every Sierra Leonean lost loved ones in that brutal war orchestrated by Foday Sankoh and his allies. It’s a dark day that will be hard for every Sierra Leonean to forget. It’s a pity that the ideology of French Imperialism was behind the civil war in Sierra Leone, in my view. Thank God that the Brits recognised the dangers if the rebels seize power in Sierra Leone by saying enough is enough and came to our rescue. Please read this article – https://www.jstor.org/stable/41857109 and see what the Brits did for Sierra Leone ages ago.

    Ladies and gentlemen, this issue is upsetting. Could we dial down the rhetoric and move on? Let all those responsible for the killing of thousands of our compatriots go to hell fire. God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone, and may the souls of all those who died in that brutal civil war rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing to us all. Amen and Amen. Father God.

  10. Time heals; time appeases the soul, allowing bitter memories of the past to mellow, sweeten even. Indeed twenty years after the heinous deed, is it not the right time to come out of the shadows and proclaim one’s innocence, meaning one’s version of an infamous episode of national history and of the role one personally played in it? And Mr Omrie Golley is a very lucky man; lucky to be alive and kicking and able to participate in a project aimed at his own rehabilitation – or should one say deification – while the vicctims (tens of thousands of them) of those on behalf of whom he spoke are long gone, having been hacked to oblivion, and thus unavailable sadly to tell their own individual stories of terror, pain and death.

    And can one in all honesty equate those untold stories of suffering and brutal death to what an erstwhile RUF spokesman was made to endure? Has he not after all survived to tell his own story or at the very least participate in the telling of it from what seems to be a favourable, not to say self-serving perspective? If Mr Golley’s goal – explicit or otherwise – is to have his story framed from a perspective that exonerates and rehabilitates him in the eyes of those alive today and of posterity, is there any need for readers to suspend their disbelief and judgement and wait for the entire hagiographic project to reach its conclusion that is after all already foretold?

    Millions of Sierra Leoneans are still far too aware – in body and soul – of the hecatomb that the RUF visited on the nation not to be readily sceptical at the very least about the veracity of a story that makes no bones about being in essence an exercise in transmogrification: a one-time devil’s advocate suddenly, surprisingly, magically becomes an angelic advocate and personification of peace.

  11. I have been reading some of the comments regarding the role of Ambassador Golley in the peace process. I sympathize with the losses incurred by Mr Jalloh and all those impacted by the war. In truth as it is becoming evident, we all suffered, including Ambassador Golley. But it seems we are listing the blame for those responsible for the war on the wrong people! Look at this Government! Why are we not talking about President Bio, his sister Agnes, his brother Steven, his Ambassador Kabba, his Minister Kellie Conteh, etc etc etc? Were they not all Rebel officers or sympathizers? Let me not talk of the Kamajors and their own officials and sympathizers! Golley wanted peace and he took action, because he loved his country. He suffered for it – unlike others who still hold powerful positions on the country today. We are blaming the wrong people. God bless you Ambassador Golley

  12. Honestly speaking Mr Jalloh, please inform me how you, with a safe conscience, equate the advise Ambassador Golley may have been giving the rebels, to the untold death and suffering of our people. Were you there when such advise was being given, for you to make such claims. Do you now see it when I warn about unnecessary hate and pull him down in our society? Here you are, commenting on the first of many chapters I suspect forthcoming on the role of Golley – having made your judgement already! With such implied accusations!

    I am assuming that you are not going to read the rest of the researcher’s account, right? In your case, indeed why bother. Ambassador Golley made many sacrifices for peace because he loved his country. And if the researcher has done her homework properly, which I want to believe she has, we are going to hear more accounts of his work for peace. It is only the truth that shall set us free!

    • Mr Sheku Coomber Sesay, I totally sympathise with Mr Golleys plight.I certainly don’t think he was behaving like Sam Bockarie. Yet in my mind he is guilty by association. He could have been the legal advisor to the Kabbah government. The real issues here, the author of the article, who happens to be French was never present in the country or indeed if She was, her nationality by virtur of carrying a French passport would have spared her the horros inflicted on your fellow Sierra-leoneans. Ordinary Sierra Leoneans that got caught up in the RUF war, didn’t have special chatter plights escorted out of lungi International Airport. According the article, when Mr Golley was asked to leave the safty of London, where the only thing that exircise people the most, is a misquoted Gas Bill or getting a Parking ticket, to help bring peace in Sierra Leone was. First he rightly asked for his safty and the safty of his family. But he was legally advising a group of RUF rebles that were buring ordinary people in their own homes.

      Chopping of fellow Sierra-leoneans hands . Taking a bet on pregnant women. Men forced to rape their mothers, and sisters before they are killed. And so on. The issue is not whether he took part in the killing of his fellow countrymen. When Americans were attacked on 11th September 2000,in which morethan 3000 people died. the then US President Bush said we will go after the people associated with the 19 hijackers.Bin Laden was not in one of those planes, but he advised the hijackers. And so he got the justice he deserved. What is the difference between an American life and a Sierra Leonean life? Goodness me, we are all human.

      Your arguments is like some humans life’s are more precious than others. And so it come to pass. Charles Taylor is in prison for the support he gave to the RUF. We Sierra-Leonean lost more than fifty thousands peoples, and only a handful of people that were behind that war ever get punished. The created more problems than it solved. All in the name of what? The problems we have before the war, continues today with even greater zeal . We can forgive but we can’t forget.

  13. I do not hold any speaking brief for Ambassador Omrie Golley. Indeed I have not laid eyes on him in person for over 15 years. However I genuinely believe that the words romanticism or rehabilitation will cut it in Golley’s thinking. I believe that if it had been the intention of either Golley or the writer to ‘romanticize’ or ‘rehabilitate’ Golley, it would not have taken nearly 20 years for researches or stories about him to be produced. From what I have learnt from those closest to the Ambassador, his participation in this project, comes from his own personal desire for posterity to give his own account of what propelled him to play his unique role in the peace process.

    This is a man who was vilified constantly in the press and from many quarters both in and out of Sierra Leone, who had decided to make their own judgement on him. Here is a man who suffered constant abuse during that time. His property was burnt by unknown individuals during this time, as was his office on the other side of Connaught hospital, next to where so called ‘rebel collaborators were necklaced with burning tyres. Here is a man who was jailed by the government in 2006 for 22 months on trumped up charges of treason – without any tangible evidence.

    I believe the time has now come when we as Sierra Leoneans should be looking at these matters with an analytical eye so that mistakes could be avoided in the future. Let it be remembered that many innocent people died, from rebels, government forces and their own militias, invited mercenaries, and others. The international criminal courts operating in the country until recently are living proof of that. Even there I saw no indictment of Golley. So let us hear this account and save judgement until the end.

    • Thanks Mr Sheku Coomber Sesay, for pointing out some of the treatment Mr Golley suffered in the hands of his fellow countrymen.On a human level, I totally sympathise with the unfortunate things that happened to him. But I wish the researcher had spare a thought about the fifty thousand people that lost their lives. And we the families that have to agonised about our loss for the rest of our lives, suffering in silence, with not a single person explaining to us why we had the war in the first place? And what did the RUF war achieved, given the state of our country today?Corruption, what is Corruption? Tribal and regionalism, What is tribal and regionalism under this out of touch Bio government. Maybe next time the researcher should visit kissy mental home and talked to the victims of the RUF wars. Or better still asked the amputees, long sleeves or short sleeves victims of that war , how does it feel when you can’t use your hands when one has to request for assistance even for mundane things like to brush your teeth. Or get help to honour the call of nature. Or in my case loosing three family members to rebles with out a cause.

      One of them Bio might have fought alongside with, Major Nasiru Barrie,Republic of Sierra Leone Armed forces, rest in perfect peace my cousin and good friend . My family loss didn’t end there. An other cousin killed by a stray bullet by ECOMOG soldiers in BalckHall road. What about the oldest amongst them, my grandmother, that was mentally challenged, yet the RUF rebles that Mr Golley was legally advising, had no humanity in them, but locked her up in her house and set it on fire. Mr Golley might not have fired a shot in anger, but there is a lot of anger directed against fellow Sierra-leoneans that brought war in our country. Only weeks later, my mother had the grisly task of finding what remains of her bones so she can give her a decent burial. And there are lot of my grandmothers or both young and old that suffered the same fate at the hands of Foday Sankoh’s RUF rebles.

      I just found the article comparing Mr Golley to Nelson Mandela, not only an insult to us the families that lost our loved ones, but out of sync with what really took place in Sierra Leone. Mandela fought for his people that were oppressed by the Apartheid system. Where some of their fellow White minority South African, denied the rights to political participation. The RUF under the leadership of Foday Sankoh fought against his own people. Thats the difference.

  14. A very well-written and readable piece from a researcher and translator whose first language I presume is French. The problem though is perhaps the rather one-dimensional approach she seems to espouse from the outset to her subject matter, namely what comes across as the positive role played by Mr Omrie Golley in Sierra Leone’s decade-long bitter and fratricidal bloodbath. It is to be hoped that despite her overt attempt at a wholesale rehabilitation of Mr Golley, whose role in the war many readers here may not be inclined to romanticise or celebrate, the writer will in her subsequent instalments take a much more analytical distance from her subject matter, providing in consequence a much needed objective, nuanced and so credible assessment of who Mr Golley really was as an RUF operative and what sort of patriotism – if patriotism indeed it was – propelled him to side with Foday Sankoh, Sam Bockarie and Co, becoming in essence in the opinion of many compatriots of his the devils’ advocate.

    The brutal and murderous civil strife that brought our country to its knees from the early 1990s to the early 2000s casts a very long, dark, unsettling shadow. Many of us lived through it and will remember the unmitigated disaster it was for our poor, struggling nation for the rest of our lives. Indeed, for some of us, someone who unambiguously served as a mouthpiece for those whose speciality it was to rape, maim and kill tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters will never pass for an innocent man, much less a saint and a personification of peace

  15. God bless Omrie Golley for working hard to bring peace to our country. At a critical time, when most of the country was under rebel hands, he left his family in london to come to the sub region and talk to Foday Sankoh. His being an adviser and spokesman was critical to get into their system and influence them for peace. He never failed us in this. Oh Salone! Quick we don pwell people! Ambassador Golley, you nar man bra!

  16. For me, I am going to wait until I read all the chapters relating to Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process until I make a final judgement. All I know is that were it not for the likes of people like Omrie Golley and the part he played in bringing peace to our country, we must never have seen peace in our land. I lived through that period, and I know how much ordinary people suffered. History is replete with acts of brave men and women who have gone to speak to the enemy to save their communities from war and destruction. In the case of Sierra Leone, people like Omrie Golley felt the need to go and talk to and try to influence people that no one dared to deal with even when most of the country was under their control. For my part, the likes of people like Golley need to be looked at fairly as to their role in bringing peace. He has shown love and commitment and even paid a price for it by being unnecessarily jailed on treason charges by the very government who had to make peace with the rebels in 2006. Golley is a patriot who loves his country and has suffered for it. May that be one of the reasons why the author termed him as the Mandela of Sierra Leone ?

  17. To be frank with everyone here in this noble forum folks, I would never be an adviser to a rebel leader against my country if I am not one of them period. The late Koidu town council chairman Mr. F.D. Konomanyi was unfortunately captured by Foday Saibana Sankoh and spent couple of years with them, but he never becomes his adviser. All his wishes was, how to get out. As for me, a monkey captain and a monkey general all of them are monkeys.

  18. I have always felt that Ambassador Omrie Golley was a much misunderstood person as to his role in the war and that is why I welcome the opportunity that the author has given us in researching his role in the peace process. I’ve known this man and his family for many years. I went to secondary school in Freetown with him. Even in those days, he used to recite,verbatim, some of the speeches of Martin Luther King in his own quest for peace in his motherland. I also listened to him on the BBC during the war years. I watched him on CNN. Never once did I ever hear him justify atrocities or killings by those he advised or acted for during that time.

    I always instinctively felt he was doing that for a purpose. He wanted peace, and he knew that peace could never be achieved through the barrel of the Gun in Sierra Leone. The war was unwinnable. Peace had to be negotiated in the circumstances. I believe his interaction with the rebels was for a purpose – almost as if it was a divine plan to ever the minds and hearts of those doing evil things. In Sierra Leone, sadly, we still have pull him Down syndrome. Those who do not understand anything are usually the first to decry anyone trying to do well. Kudos to you Ambassador Omrie Golley. I look forward to learning more about your role. Salutations!

  19. Anyway Mr. Jalloh thank very much for this your wonderful a\comment, it’s one of the best. Comparing Mr. Omrie Golley as a man who committed to bring peace and development to his country some years ago, it’s an insult to the entire country and it’s people. Also no way, a man with his complete 5 senses will compare this Mr. Golley to the late South African Hero, President Nelson Mandela. Cop. Foday Sankoh together with Mr. Golley had wanted to rule this country with force, and they did their best to destroy and they succeeded.

    I was one time present in the court room when Foday Sankoh said he did nothing wrong. Why was he charged, incarcerated and brought to court then? The presiding judge responded saying “can I let you go out and have a walk around the cotton tree come without security? Sankoh replied no!, people will kill me, what does that meant to you? It means you hurt them badly. Mr. Omrie Golley is not a good person period.

  20. The author of this article might be trying to rehabilitate, or paint a different picture of Ambassador Omrie Galley as a peace facilitator for his mother land. Or create a better understanding of the man himself. But for some of us, being the spokesman and legal adviser of the RUF, doesn’t conjuror any positive thinking about his role in bringing peace into the country . Whilst one cannot dismiss his role outright, in whatever capacity he served , saying he is the “Mandela” of Sierra Leone is stretching the truth too far .You may find, even the elastic of truth might snap if we go into details. I wonder where that leaves such figures, as President Tejan- Kabbah, Julius Spencer, Sam Hinga Norman, Zainab Bangura,former UK Ambassador Peter Penfold, Sani Abbacha, Tony Blair,ECOWAS, the African union, and the 17000 United Nations peace keepers. At one point, one of the largest in the World. And most importantly the thousands of ordinary Sierra Leoneans that risk life, and limb and demonstrated in favour of peace.

    Clearly the article want us to remember his role in helping bring peace to Sierra Leone starting in 1995. But for clarity purposes, air brushing history will do no good, or justice to anyone. Because the most horrendous crimes committed against the people was between 1996 to 1999, the culmination of which, when operations no living thing was unleashed by RUF and SOBLES, thugs high on drugs, on innocent residents of Freetown. Although the article promises us they will explore how he came to be in contact with Foday Sankoh, and working along side him during the war, and the Lome peace accord, I hope we will get a better understanding of his mindset when he joined the RUF movement, with the full knowledge of the RUF stated aim is waging a war on innocent fellow Sierra Leoneans. And in the process, fifty thousands are killed and thousands suffered life, and mental injuries that are still visible today .As a pacifist,or a peace maker, What stop Ambassador Golley, to be on the government side from the word go? As one of thousands of families that lost their loved ones in that sense less civil war, looking at the state of our country today, my question for Ambassador Omrie Golley,who as the article seemed to suggest was just part of the RUF to promote peace, but for others who actively took part in the execution of the war, men like , Isah Sesay, former AFRC Junta leader Johnny Paul Koroma,Sam Bokari, Foday Sankoh, Charles Taylor, was the war really worth it?

    After thousands were killed and millions of others displaced from their homes. In an interview he gave to the Sierra leone web on the 28th December 1999,this is what Ambassador Omeri Golley have to say of the Lome peace accord: “Since the signing of the According, I have been most concerned with the pace and the direction of the peace process, particularly regarding disarmament and demobilization, about the showing of remorse, and pursing positive acts of reconciliation and rehabilitation, in favour of the people of Sierra Leone – particularly those who have suffered from the prosecution of the devastating nine year old war, and most particularly in respect of recent human rights abusers being perpetrated against innocent civilians ‘”Note, back then he expressed regret for the most recent human rights abuses, but not it seemed the ones committed by the RUF, when they cross the border from liberia in the 1990s, and waged their brutal civil war. Since Ambassador Omerie Golley played such a pivotal role,in bringing peace to our country, I wish he’d joined the government side, and expressed such sentiments when the RUF thought they were winning the war against the state of Sierra Leone. Maybe for educational purposes the research might turn out to be good thing for our country .Because Bio, and his misguided policies haven’t learnt anything from that dark chapter of our history. We will learn more about the RUF and its leadership. Because not much have been thought about the war.

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