The Omrie Golley Story: Return of the Kabbah administration – Major setbacks for peace

Noellie Marionette-Chambertin: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 October 2021:

The Armed forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) coup of May 1997 was short lived. With the assistance of ECOMOG troops, the militia known as the Kamajors, and the support of the sub region and the international community, the late Former President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and his administration, returned to power in Sierra Leone, in February 1998.

This return however, brought in its wake severe repercussions including massive deaths and destruction of property relating to those individuals who had been proscribed by the Kabbah administration, as being supporters of the recently ousted military junta.

Over 59 individuals were arraigned before the courts charged with Treason, and the majority of those charged were executed. The term ‘junta collaborator’ became a by- word for anyone who the Kabbah Administration deemed as enemies, supporting the former military junta of Major Johnny Paul Koroma.

A number of senior civilian Ministers or senior Government officials donned military gear, under the guise of assisting ECOMOG troops and Kabbah controlled Civil Defence militia, otherwise known as the Kamajors, to flush out individuals deemed to be ‘junta collaborators’ with resultant death and destruction.

Many individuals were brutally murdered, some with tyres doused with petrol, being placed around the necks of the unfortunate victims. Scores of people, young or old, working, retired or semi-retired, politicians of previous administrations, were incarcerated, harassed, or simply humiliated in one way or another, under the guise of having supported the Junta.

It appeared that those individuals that had remained in the country throughout this period, and had not abruptly left when the May 25th coup occurred, were placed under suspicion of being supportive of the former military regime. Judges, Lawyers, Teachers, Newspaper Publishers, Doctors, Politicians, and many others who had remained, were prima facie collaborators. In addition, properties belonging to proscribed alleged junta collaborators were destroyed. These unfortunate events happened.

Omrie Golley had returned to his Practice in the United Kingdom in July 1997, after visiting Sierra Leone in order to assess the prevailing situation on the ground, and most importantly engaging the Johnny Paul Administration, with a plea to them, in the interests of peace, to return the country to civilian and legitimate administration.

However even though his motives for peace had been communicated to the Kabbah Administration prior to him leaving London in July 1997, he (Golley) himself had, by February 1998, been branded a junta collaborator by Kabbah.

On the day of the return of the late former President to Freetown, Golley’s well-appointed law office in the Centre of the Capital, was completely destroyed, by what observers stated to be a rocket propelled grenade, launched by Kamajor militia forces.

Meanwhile remnants of the AFRC junta together with RUF militia had retreated from the capital Freetown to the hinterlands in the North, South and Eastern parts of the country. Most of Kono came under the firm control of the RUF. The Leader of the RUF, Corporal Foday Sankoh, had in succeeding months since the return of the Kabbah administration, been brought back to Freetown where he was jailed. The militia came under the control of their senior Commander, Sam Bockarie, whose Nom de Guerre became widely known as ‘Maskita’ after the insect carrying the Malaria disease, the Mosquito.

The call by the RUF for the release of their Leader Foday Sankoh, became their mantra and the main condition for any resumption of the peace process, which had been placed in disarray, and on hold, by the coup of May 1997, its subsequent reversal in February 1998, and the return of former President Kabbah.

Omrie Golley remained in London and it was to be a number of months later in 1998 that he was to be contacted by Sam Bockarie, requesting that he (Golley) use his professional legal network, to assist the Movement in finding a lawyer who could act for their leader Foday Sankoh, who remained in custody in Freetown. In September 1998, Sankoh was charged in court with treason, usurping the executive power of the state of Sierra Leone, invasion of Sierra Leone by land, and soliciting funds for military logistics for use by forces hostile to the country.

This plea by the putative leader of the RUF, in the absence of Sankoh, for Golley’s assistance, became a turning point in his quest for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Sierra Leone. That call for assistance provided Golley with the opportunity of playing a positive direct meaningful role in the quest for a lasting and sustainable resolution of the conflict in his beloved motherland.

Omrie Golley’s Quest for Peace – Transition from Observer to Legal Adviser/Spokesman – Moral and Ethical Dilemmas for Peace

The repercussions of the return of the Kabbah Administration, in February 1998, after the failed AFRC coup of 1997, continued well into the early months of 1999. Accusations by Kabbah officials of named individuals being ‘rebel collaborators’ continued.

Reacting to a statement made on national radio on Thursday 1st January 1999, by Julius Spencer who was Minister of Information at the time, Dr Abass Bundu, now Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament, denied being an RUF supporter as alleged by Spencer, further rejecting the allegation that he had travelled at that time to Liberia to talk to the RUF leadership. Bundu in a written statement refuting the allegations stated:

”My stance on the crisis in Sierra Leone is well known. I do not, and will not support the use of violence in Sierra Leone as an instrument of political change in our country, nor as a means of ending the current conflict.” Culled from Peter Andersen: Sierra Leone Web 1996-2019.

The same allegations by Spencer had been made against the late Dr John Karefa Smart and Omrie Golley, both of who also issued written statements refuting the allegations. Golley in his own statement stated that he was on Xmas holidays at his home in Croatia during this period, and denied having ever travelled to Liberia by this time, let alone speak to the RUF leadership there.

During the early hours of the 6th of January 1999, remnants of the AFRC/RUF combatants, who had retreated to the hinterlands of Sierra Leone after the expulsion of the Junta from the capital Freetown in February 1998, descended on Freetown in large numbers, capturing State House and other buildings in the Capital Freetown, and unleashing death and destruction in the capital and surrounding areas.

Many civilians lost their lives, and the destruction of property was on a massive scale. The state Penitentiary at Pademba Road in the centre of Freetown, was forced open, and most of the inmates, including those who had been imprisoned by the Kabbah Government upon their return to the capital after the failed coup, were released.

Former Late President Joseph Saidu Momoh, was one of those who had been proscribed by the returning Kabbah administration in 1998, as an AFRC supporter and subsequently charged to court and imprisoned. He was among those who escaped from Pademba Road Prison. He retreated to the hinterlands of Sierra Leone, where he in turn became a prisoner of remnants of the AFRC/RUF, returning to their military camps after the sacking of Freetown in January 1999.

The destruction of the capital and the loss of life was almost complete and total. During this period, Former President Tejan Kabbah left the capital. It was rumored at the time, that he had sought refuge on a British naval Frigate that happened to be within the territorial waters of Sierra Leone at the time, and had been stationed there for a while.

For a number of days the capital was in a desperate state. However, with the support of ECOMOG forces, this attempt at insurrection was reversed, but the whole incident left a country and a people traumatized.

For Omrie Golley, this episode, added to those unfortunate incidents in the country which preceded it, left him completely perplexed. He considered the peace process at this time as being virtually non-existent. Great swathes of the country remained ungovernable, with the Government in control of the capital Freetown, and remnants of the RUF/AFRC militia operating in the surrounding towns and cities.

Golley’s main preoccupation was how the peace process could be resumed, even with the situation in the country as dire as it then was. He believed that he could play a positive role in the process by leveraging the contacts and emerging respect that had been building up between Golley and the RUF, with the ultimate goal of a lasting and sustainable peace.

In Golley, the fighting combatants saw an individual unconnected with any political party at the time, and also not part of any Government group. They felt that he was genuinely committed to a lasting sustainable peace Agreement which would end the fighting, and restore the country to peace and normalcy. They recognized the steps Golley had been taking by then to engage them and talk peace.

Golley had been contacted by the erstwhile leader of the RUF, Sam Bockarie, after the May 1997 coup, to assist the movement in engaging the services of a lawyer to seek the release of their Leader Corporal Foday Sankoh, who had been incarcerated in Nigeria. Sankoh was then transported to Sierra Leone, after Former President Kabbah returned to the Capital in early 1998.

Bockarie informed Golley, that he had been told that the RUF would find it extremely difficult to engage the services of a legal practitioner in country, because of fear, and suggested to Golley, that he assist by recommending a number of firms in the sub-region or beyond. In fact a number of firms in Nigeria and Ghana had offered their services, but it had become apparent, that the Kabbah Government would not readily grant approval for any of these firms to be heard in the courts of Sierra Leone.

Not long afterwards however, to this request by Bockarie to Golley for Golley’s assistance in procuring a law firm to represent their leader and the interests of the RUF, was added another request, which was for Golley to assist them directly, in putting their case to the wider world, in response to what Bockarie termed the ‘massive demonization’ of the RUF by the Kabbah Government.

Given the state of affairs in the country at that time, this latest request to Golley, put him in a difficult position with immense personal and moral dilemmas. On the one hand, here was an organization that had been accused of massive atrocities against ordinary civilians in the villages towns and cities across the country.

Added to this, was the realization that this organization with its combatants spread throughout the country, engaging in continuing military operations, were in fact rudderless, with the absence of their Leader, and with reports additionally of their Militia engaging in raids, abductions, and overall violence that the Kabbah Government assisted by ECOMOG forces were unable to resist.

Golley was aware that the Kabbah Government had actively encouraged negative publicity against him and others that they considered collaborators of the rebel movement. Not a day went by during this period, without the name of Golley and others being mentioned and presented to the people as individuals guilty of working with the rebels, and associating them with atrocities being committed.

Pro -Government radio stations continuously blurted their names as being wanted by the Government. Concocted stories of Golley being an arms dealer, providing military equipment to the rebels from his base in Croatia, in return for diamonds from the rebels, and additional false propaganda, were reproduced by government controlled publications, creating further alarm and panic amongst the civilian population. There was nothing however further from the truth.

Golley was unshakeable in his belief, that without another attempt at peace and reconciliation, the war would continue unabated, with the unfortunate civilian population bearing the brunt of these murderous activities.

In his continuing contact with the RUF, he (Golley) believed that he could make a positive lasting contribution to the peace process, by working constructively with the militia, encouraging them to move from the bush to the negotiating table in pursuance of peace. He believed that, having gone through untold suffering and anguish for months, his people deserved nothing less than peace. And if that meant going to talk to, and associate with the RUF, he was prepared to do that.

This is what ultimately moved Golley pursuing peace from the standpoint of being an observer, to acting as a legal adviser and spokesman of the RUF.

Fortunately for Golley however, international world opinion was, by early 1999, moving inexorably towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Sierra Leone. The erstwhile held view of moving decisively against the RUF militarily, became subsumed with a more practical solution, of bringing the warring parties to the peace table in pursuance of a political settlement.

Golley used this opportunity to actively promote the idea of a peace agreement, in line with what was now being promoted in Sierra Leone, to bring the war and the untold suffering of her people to an end. He (Golley) started accepting invitations from international news organizations like CNN, BBC, Radio France International, AFP, and other renowned outlets, and he used these opportunities to propound his views on the need for a political settlement, rather than the military prosecution of a war that the Kabbah Government appeared incapable of winning.

During this period, in the early months of 1999, a consensus also gradually started emerging and building up, amongst International World Bodies and Governments such as ECOWAS, the United Nations, sub regional Governments in West Africa, together with the Governments of the United States of America, France, the United Kingdom, Norway and others, of either wanting to explore, or supporting the idea of a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Even with world opinion gradually moving towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict, Golley was fully aware of the need to be accepted as an interlocutor to an organization that become widely regarded as brutal. In addition, the nature of his work would require financial and moral support to effectively undertake this new assignment and situation.

On or around 14th January 1999, Golley travelled to Abidjan to meet with the ECOWAS Executive Secretary during this period, Lansana Kouyate, who recognized and supported the position of Golley as adviser and spokesman of the RUF in the pursuance of peace in Sierra Leone. He provided Golley, in the absence of any remuneration of any kind from the RUF, or any other body, with a $10,000 disbursement to assist him in this new role.

Golley was invited to engage the United States Government on the prospect for peace in Sierra Leone, and in late January 1999, the State Department facilitated his visit to Washington to meet with State Department officials.

Testifying to the Sub Committee on Africa, Committee on Foreign Relations of the US House of Representatives, in March 23rd 1999, Salih Booker, of the Council on Foreign Relations, a US Government think tank, who had also invited Golley to present a paper, on the ongoing conflict in the country during his visit testified:

‘In late January 1999, the State Department facilitated a phone conversation between Sierra Leone President Kabbah, and Omrie Golley, the Legal Representative of the rebel RUF who was visiting Washington. That conversation led to a commitment on the part of both parties to the conflict to pursue a negotiated solution’.

The statement went on to mention the names of Ambassador Howard Jeter of the State Department and Rev Jesse Jackson in playing their role in pursuing peace. Golley had actively engaged both individuals during the process up until the signing of the Lome Peace Accord in July of 1999.

It was also during this visit to the United States in late January 1999, that Golley first met and engaged fellow Sierra Leonean Dr Sylvia Blyden. Dr Blyden was instrumental in facilitating a telephone conversation, acting as an interlocutor initially, between Golley and the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasango, who was later to play a vital role in securing the peace process in Sierra Leone.

Golley was to make additional trips to Norway, France, Togo, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Liberia, Burkina Faso, all in support of a renewed process which was to culminate with the Lome Peace Accord of July 1999.

The next episode will focus on the events leading up to and surrounding the signing of the Lome Peace Accord and the role of Omrie Golley in the process.

 

20 Comments

  1. I find the term ‘bad mouth’ that you have used very interesting indeed, Mr Sesay. You may not know this, but I have been posting comments to the forum for well over a year now. And yet not once have I been cautioned by the Editor to hold my peace, to refrain from ‘bad mouthing’ fellow forumites, some of whom have of course disagreed with me on a number of occasions. Now, can you lay claim to such a record? When did you begin commenting on issues here? I suppose just a couple of weeks ago when the Omrie Golley story began being serialised (you can correct me though if I am wrong and I will readily apologise). And did you not accuse me just a week or two ago of ‘gloating’, ‘preaching’ and of possessing ‘a poisoned mind’ for merely raising legitimate concerns about a strange story I thought I was being told? That is ‘bad mouthing’ for you. The Editor naturally had to intervene, drawing your attention to the policy and practice of civilised conversation on the forum.

    As far as the other term you have used – ‘pull him down syndrome’ – is concerned, well, if anyone is guilty of such a thing, you must quite frankly be the one. You dislike people like me with an iconoclastic (your preferred word would be ‘irreverent’ I imagine) cast of mind; people who are ever vigilant and will not embrace anything at face value. Yours is a one-track mind and cannot stand being challenged without you throwing tantrums. Such an attitude is what has ruined our country. You demand that all readers of the Omrie Golley story be conformists, that they believe it absolutely, unquestioningly, or face the fire and brimstone of your ire. How can a country move forward in the absence of a sense of self-criticism, of a preparedness to hold a mirror to itself, own up to its failings and learn from them? Claiming that Mr Golley did no wrong, was whiter than white when dealing the RUF and to question the patriotism of anyone who thinks otherwise is the very essence intolerance, tyranny and retrogression. A country inhabited and ruled by people who cannot move out of their comfort zones is a land heading for doom and gloom.

    As regards your claim that I have taken centre stage in this ‘discourse’ (your word, not mine) I have been wondering what positions you and your idol, Mr Golley actually occupy in it. Is the story not about him and those of you who believe it mordicus? Is it not the case that I appear to you and people of your ilk as an irritant, not say inconvenience, to be silenced if possible. Well, let me tell this: as this forum cherishes and promotes the democratic principle of freedom of speech and is home to a plurality of Sierra Leonean voices, like it or not you have to learn to live with those of us who see the story of the saintliness and pacifism of your idol as a travesty of the truth – a propagandistic ploy ‘designe’ as George Orwell would have put it, ‘to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind‘.

  2. What I believe you should be most concerned about is that other than you, not many others have subscribed to your way of thinking and your absurd postulations Mr Yillah. You can also be assured of the fact that there are others than your so called trio of those who appreciate and understand the role played by Omrie Golley in the peace process.

    I have been asked by other readers who know me, as to why I have even been bothering to respond to your rantings regarding Ambassador Omrie Golley. My answer has always been that the likes of you, have to be drawn out and highlighted as an example as to why our motherland is and has been in the state that it is in to today. Wanton unnecessary personal criticism and Pull him Down syndrome, are one of the factors hindering our social and political development as a country today.

    Until we learn to deal with this as a nation, we will be saddled with problems. You have taken centre stage in this discourse, in highlighting all your personal feelings about this gentleman, which goes far beyond any proper discourse of the role played by him in the peace process. You have claimed to act for the majority with your messages, with an unfounded claim that the majority of forumites share your views about the role of Ambassador Golley in the peace process. You have even gone on to bad mouth anyone claiming to have a different view to your own – with your rantings of ‘Golleymania’ and ‘trio’ etc . Well, let me disabuse you of any notion you may have that the majority of those who have expressed their views, share your own.

    For my own part, I will continue to respond to your texts not because I believe in, or enjoy reading them. But because you should be continuously outed for what you really are!

  3. How wonderful to know that the affairs of ‘The Land of the Happiest People on Earth’ – to borrow part of the title of the Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka’s most recent novel – are now being managed by a Troika! In the persons of Messrs Sesay, Mr Kaitongi and Madam Hamilton. Hallelujah! Yes, the holy land of Golleymania is well defended. It is in capable hands. Or is it? First, Monsieur Sesay (I hope you won’t mind my using a French title to address you as your devotion to the French academic researcher definitely justifies this choice). The only person insulting the intelligence of forumites and other readers is most obviously you. You have claimed they are on your side. An utterly baseless claim, a product of your delusions of your idol’s – a rebel sympathiser – saintliness and pacifism. You see your mind at work in every reader and believe that what you think is what they think or should think. If narcissism has any meaning at all, there you have it. As regards the central issue of the discrepancy between your idol’s peripheral status relating to the war as some readers of the TRC Report seem to believe, and his centrality to it all as your French academic mentor has claimed, you have no answer at all, preferring to equivocate. Do you think forumites will settle for that? They are much smarter than you think. There is much more to Mr Golley’s role and activities than the TRC Reporters ever knew and the French researcher can ever know. You need to have the gift of omniscience to see into the depths of his mind and heart.

    Next Madame Hamilton (I hope you too won’t mind my use of a French title in addressing you as your adoration of the French researcher’s work shines through your comments). Please, Madame, be not confused. I have utmost respect for you and your view of Mr Golley’s straightforwardly positive role in the peace process. However, it pains my heart to have to
    tell you, my Sierra Leonean sister, that I do not share that view of yours at all. It is my claim that the view cannot be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about your beloved patriot. It far too simple, far too reductive, far too one-sided to be credible. As I have been saying right through this debate, human motives and behaviour are by their very nature complex and complicated and your position does not allow this. This is my whole point about Golleymania. It devotees want people to believe that there is nothing else out there – other than saintliness and pacifism – on Mr Golley’s association and indeed collaboration with the RUF. And they believe that the French researcher has all the answers!

    And last but not least Monsieur Kaitongi (I have no doubt that you will relish the French title as your dithyrambic appraisal of the study by the French researcher speaks for itself!). I thought we parted company a while ago on, I believe, the best of terms possible, each holding firmly to his position! Welcome back anyway, fellow compatriot. You may not know it, but you have really made my day. You write: It (the work by the French researcher) has clearly been written with the knowledge and cooperation of Omrie Golley himself. I couldn’t believe my good fortune on first reading these words. It was an exceptional finding, indeed, a Eureka moment. I said to myself: ‘Mr Kaitongi has finally let the cat out of the bag, has just given the game away!’ So, a so-called piece of scholarship – a work of utmost analytical rigour and scientific detachment – has as it object of study an active and self-serving participant who is behind it all! This is a puppet show, with Mr Golley a veteran academic supervisor calling the shots, guiding, directing his French pupil’s elucubrations. It is all clear now now that the cloud has dissipated. All our French scholar does is raise a statue to her mentor (or perhaps employer since her work may well have been commissioned! Who knows?), and then parades his holiness or highness before us. We are meant to join the deification ceremony on one condition only: keep our intelligence, our critical thinking in sleep mode.

  4. I stopped reading the texts by Messrs Yillah and Jalloh a long time ago, and I am instead enjoying the serialisations undertaken by the Sierra Leone Telegraph on Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role in helping to bring about peace in our country.

    The serialisations are unique in a number of respects. It has clearly been written with the knowledge and cooperation of Omrie Golley himself, and her insights as a result, have a unique originality with a factual content difficult to controvert.

    It features Ambassador Golley’s interaction with individuals easily accessible, with researches on others who by their own writings and speeches have contributed to a fascinating study. Most importantly it features direct inputs by Ambassador Golley on his feelings, and actions with his very clear sense of purpose.

    I look forward to that part of the research and study dealing with the Lome peace Talks, because I was with Ambassador Golley during that part of the peace process.

    Thank you so much Sierra Leone Telegraph for serialising this study.

  5. Mr Sheku Sesay you have got the wrong end of the stick again . TRC, Special Court for Sierra Leone, have all taken place. Those that bare the greatest responsibility for war crimes against innocent civilians have been charged, tried, and found guilty and sent to prison. At no time did anyone suggested Mr Golley took part in the orgry of violence visited upon my families members, and families of others up and down the country. I certainly don’t hold him responsible. Ironically I feel sorry for him he found himself in such position. The best he could do now is to run for the presidency. Beat Bio, he will be the new hero for Sierra Leone. The people I blamed for the war are Foday Sankoh, Charles Taylor, Sam Bockarie, Isah Sesay and Colonel Gaddafi that trained and supplied them with money and weapons to invade and cause so much suffering for families up and down the country. . That is settled. According to the research by this French national, if we are to believe her, his role in those unfortunate events that visited our country to put it mildly was to play the good cop. Foday Sankoh was seen as the bad cop.

    As far as Foday Sankoh was concerned his efforts to nudge him to sue for peace acount for nothing because he was determined to fight to the end. Iam still confused and left flabbergasted as to why Mr Golley should get himself involved as a legal advisor to the RUF.? To legitimised them in the eyes of the international community? Because whatever his motives, he could have worked out by associate himself with sadistic killers like Foday Sankoh and Sam Bockarie, is not going to paint a good picture of him to the wider Sierra Leone public. Especially for some of us that lost family members at the hands of RUF thugs, in the most brutal unimaginable forms . For me his role was like some one acting like a look out in a bank robbery. Or was he.? Or inocent bye stander. Mr Golley was going to attend Sunday service in his local church. He stumbled upon an on going bank robbery. He stopped his car took his Bible as his only weapon and walked straight to the bank and told the bank robbers they are committing a sin.

    The Bank robbers laid down their weapons, knelt down and asked for the lord’s forgiveness. They apologised to the bank manager and staff for the grief they’ve caused. The police turned up and arrested them. On the other hand Mr Golley stumbled upon an ongoing incident, and told the bank robbers not to worry, he will be there look out. But when the police turned up, Mr Golley told them he was just passing by. So can you Mr Sesay tell me which is which? What was his role?

  6. Mr Dauda Yillah, ‘do yah, leh we yase yeri far now’! Your position on Ambassador Omrie Golley is clear. I have read many many responses by you to the serialisations of this researcher, regarding her study on Ambassador Golley’s role. For me I’ve become confused with what you have been stating from the beginning of this serialisation until now. I do not agree with anything you have said about him. But I will defend your right to say what you think. I hope that, in turn, you will defend my right to say that I believe that Ambassador Golley is a patriot, a peace maker who has worked hard to bring peace to our motherland, after a decade of war. He undoubtedly played a great role and nothing you say will take that fact away!

  7. Then we are agreed Messrs Yillah and Jalloh. You speak for yourselves, and we will speak for ourselves. As for Ambassador Omrie Golley, I am certain that he is perfectly and eloquently able to speak if and when he so chooses.

    As is patently obvious however, presently, we are reading through serialisations, of the role of Ambassador Golley in bringing peace to our country, presented by an eloquent researcher, who has spent time and effort, putting together and presenting her study. But please cease implying that it is patently unusual for a research study to be undertaken on an individual, in lieu of that individual writing or speaking for himself. Because to do that will be insulting our intelligence!

    There have been myriads of researches and studies done on people, without them writing or speaking for themselves. In any event, if you bother to do your research you will come across utterances by Ambassador Golley on his role quoted by others previously. And even in this particular study under review, the Ambassador has been directly quoted by the author, and has evidently, by so doing, supported this research. So what next Messrs Yillah and Jalloh? TRC again ? Special Court? Or have you run out of ideas ? Bring ’em on! We are here.

  8. Mr Sesay, I understand perfectly where you are coming from. You have made no secret of the fact that you and Mr Golley were schoolmates and are by extension old friends. And as I noted previously, I respect and admire you for that, for your loyalty to him and your spirited defence of what you see as his good image and reputation to such a point that you see his association and solidarity with Sankoh and company as emblematic of one thing only: his quintessential good nature, pacifism and patriotism. Above all, I admire you for finally stating the obvious: Mr Golley did go to speak to the RUF, did associate with them and of course did become their spokesman. These are the facts – plain, unvarnished facts, are they not?

    Now my argument is a simple one. Since Mr Golley is still alive and no one knows him better than he himself, let him step forward and speak for himself. As an intelligent, well-educated man and a seasoned lawyer to boot, let him come with supporting evidence to justify why he chose to advice and represent those who chose to rape, maim and slaughter tens of thousands of his fellow compatriots and why he thinks he deserves to be called a Sierra Leonean Madiba. Any third-party explanations including yours and those of your much-cherished French academic justifying his dalliance with the rebels amount to nothing more than self-deceptive rationalizations – painstaking yet doomed attempts at dressing up your own illusions and fantasies about him in fancy garbs of reality and acceptability. At bottom, neither you nor the French researcher can dive into his mind and probe its secret depths. Your efforts of reputational retrieval or laundering appear to me to be a case of putting make-ups on a pig. Such efforts are destined to fail as they will never alter the facticity of a pig being a pig.

    I will speak for myself only as I have always done, leaving forumites and other readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph to judge for themselves because unlike you, I have never claimed that they are on my side! I am not so conceited, so self-absorbed to think that they are. As I noted yesterday, they are intelligent and mature enough to think for themselves and reach their own conclusions. All I can say is that they are capable of telling the difference between the facts of being an associate and a spokesman for a group of sanguinary insurgents and the fictions of saintliness and pacifism dreamed up and stridently, strenuously and unashamedly advertised to mask that ugly reality. Cosmetics do not always work, you know, especially where the rough, hard and scabrous-textured skins of blood-thirsty insurgents and their sympathisers are concerned.

  9. To some of us, this research on the role of Mr Golley in the peace process and a rush for to recommend him as the Mandela of Sierra Leone, which by the way is stretching it too far, wanted to convince some sections of the Sierra Leonean public that continued to harbours some doubt about his role and true intentions, good or bad we may never know, thats besides the point.To his supporters brigade, they wanted to demonstrate to some of us how unfairly he had been maligned and pursued to the end of the earth, and that he ,have managed to summoned whatever strength and countenance left in him and had stood up to the witch hunters who are hell bent in going after him and tarnish his image he have carefully nurtured and cultivated for himself. Apparently none of us in the other side of the fence will escape the permanent state of maximal righteousness and daily drama of the bile we receive from his ardent supporters, that are proud disciples of see no evil and hear no evil.

    To some you are either on his side or cast as the kaka devil that is after his soul. Knowing what we know now, this research is the most torturously excruciating self righteousness appraisals , that any one familiar with the workings of Nelson Mandela, and Dr Martin Luther King jr, that sarificed their family life to fight for justice and equality for their people, can’t compare the workings of Mr Golley who was legally advicing a reble group that committed so many atrocities against innocent men, women and children, that bare no semblance to winners of the Noble peace prize. What many failed to grasped is the offending language used by the French researcher that Sierra Leoneans should be greatful to have a Mandela in the form of Mr Golley, that he should be celebrated.

    We have a Martin Luther King jr Day celebrated in the United States. A Nelson Mandela Day in South Africa. What’s next? Omrie Golley National holiday celebrated in Sierra Leone. What about Foday Sankoh national holiday ! Since we are now in the season of rehabilitation. Twenty years too late.

  10. Continuing to play games of obfuscation and misrepresentation will not do Mr Yillah. You have been implying all along that Omrie Golley was culpable and complicit in our 10 year old conflict. The only reason you have given as to his culpability and complicity has been his going to talk to, and his association with the RUF as proof positive. You have refused to acknowledge or countenance the possibility of a researcher giving an erudite alternative account, thus far, as to why he went to talk to and associate with the RUF, and his efforts in bringing peace to our motherland. To you, it’s almost as if it’s a travesty or a misrepresentation for a study to be produced by an individual, which casts a different held view to your own, of Ambassador Golley’s role, and who has clearly spent time and effort in her research.

    You even claim to be acting for the forumites, and in their best interests, pouring scorn on those who disagree with your faulty analysis and obfuscation of the facts, to suit your thinking.

    Now you desperately cling on the TRC Report where it makes very little reference to Ambassador Golley, and does not in any way point him out as someone responsible or complicit in the war, as proof of his insignificance! Make up your mind Sir, and stop playing with words. A definitive account is now emerging as to what Ambassador Golley suffered to bring peace to our motherland! Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to leave it with forumites, the people of Sierra Leone, and posterity to make up their own individual judgments.

  11. So here we are again agreeing to disagree with the serialisation of Mr Omrie Golley role as a devil’s advocate for the RUF. Now for clarity purposes, the Special Court for Sierra Leone was set up to bring charges to the people deemed most responsible for fueling the war, and brought about untold suffering to the people of Sierra Leone. The fact that Mr Golley was never charged for his involvement with the most extreme of extremists of the RUF actions , goes to show how much of a role he played in the RUF .The conclusion to draw here is, his legal advice was falling on deaf years. Clearly Foday Sankoh that died in prison for his lack of respect for all the peace accords he signed was not listening to his legal advisor. Even a fool will know, Foday Sankoh and his band of RUF fighters stated aim was to overthrow the government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh.And take control of the government just like the Taliban Islamist terrorist have successfully done in Afghanistan. So associating yourself in what ever capacity with such deadend losers in life is no brainer with the best of intentions.

    Now If the RUF have succeeded in their fight during operation no living thing in January 1999, and they drive out ECOMOG, and the United Nations peace keeping forces, and integrate what’s left of the SOBELS, in the new Sierra-leone people’s RUF army, then what? Kabbah and the SLPP government should have gone into exile in Guinea, Conakry. Then our new President Foday Sankoh will take the oath of office at a lavish ceremony at Saika Stevens Stadium, presided over by Sierra-leone new Chief Justice, Mr Omrie Golley. Present in that ceremony will be the first- vice President Johnny Paul Koroma, the second vice president Isah, Sesay ,the Minister of Defence Sam Bockarie, Minister of Public relations to the presidents office, and Minister for discipline and Public officials turning up for work on time S. A. J Musa, Tamba Gobrie, Inspector General of police Rambo, head of prisons Col. Lamin, Minister of Finance Col. Zizag, a reputable fighter in the RUF movement, who made the impossible possible, because given his name thats what our economy needed most to Zizag all over the place.

    Nigeria and the African union have condemned the over running of Freetown by this band of RUF rebles with out a cause. But that doesn’t stop Charles Taylor the president of Liberia to come to Freetown and witness this ceremony. His puppet in the form of Foday Sankoh have already given an executive order and ceded Kono District as part of greater Liberia. You can have the diamonds we don’t need it. Alpha Conte of Guinea, have took over Yenga and Falaba Districts. Historically they belong to Futa Jalon,Republic of Guinea. And have deployed Guinean forces to make the point. The only other two heads of states that was welcomed at Lungi International Airport, that insisted they wanted to be present for the Foday Sankoh inauguration was Blase Campahore of Burkina faso. His fellow countrymen was fighting along side the RUF. And Libya’ dictator Colonel Gaddafi. This was his brain child. He trained NPLF and RUF fighters in the Libyan desert. For him spreading his Green book revolutionary ideas across the African continent seems to be paying dividends. So in the nutshell what was the RUF without their only university educate soil of the Soil.? So Mr Golley ‘s contribution really helped to normalish a sadistic reble group in the international arena in the form the RUF.

  12. Mr Sesay, I will take a risk and make a guess. I think you believe completely in the infallibility of both the TRC Report and the French researcher’s work, considering them both as being implicitly or otherwise authoritative, sacred and definitive sources of Mr Golley’s role and activities as Sierra Leone’s Mandela. The French academic’s work may well be so, if the direction of travel of thosee portions of it that have been serialised so far is anything to go by. However, can you cite for us, chapter and verse, where in the TRC Report that finding is also the case?

    And no rantings, bluster and demonstrations of ill temper, please. Just the plain, hard facts. Thank you.

  13. It is you that have been issuing conflicting obfuscating and frankly irreverent accounts of the role of Ambassador Golley regarding his role in our past war, not I ? I look at your many texts since this serislisation started, and you do not have to be a rocket scientist to see that. As for me, even you have commented on my consistency regarding the role of Ambassador Golley in bringing peace to our country during that time. And No, a resounding No – you cannot speak for the rest of the commentators here – they can speak for themselves! And unlike you, I will not disrespect them by deeming to speak for them as you are! What is a fact the TRC did not find Ambassador Golley wanting, in their Report. It is you and Mr Jalloh interpreting this fact as implying that Ambassador Golley’s role is, and was insignificant.

    You are entitled to your thoughts Mr Yillah but don’t try to belittle those who express gratitude to this gentlemen, by deeming to speak for them ! Speak for yourself! As for the account given by the resilient researcher into Ambassador Golley’s role, I honestly think people can see a well researched, truthful account of a man who worked hard to bring peace ti his country, when they read it! All your beautiful prose, cannot stop it! You can’t even wait until the end of the serialisation, but you want to speak for us.! Allow the readers and ultimately posterity to decide, with your oft spoken comments included! Kudos to you Ambassador Omrie Golley!

  14. Wait a minute, Mr Sesay! You seem to miss the point we are making. Please explain these conflicting positions: the TRC, considered to be the definitive statement on the war, saw as some commentators believe nothing wrong with Mr Golley as he was basically an insignificant figure in it all! The French researcher on the other hand sees him as a pivotal figure – Sierra Leone’s Mandela! Assuming that the two positions cancel each other out, where does the truth about Mr Golley’s role then lie? Is it so unspeakable that it is better left unsaid?

    And can I add that the majority of readers here are not so gullible as to swallow hook, line and sinker a unidirectional story of reputational laundry? Tell us, how many of the thousands of readers of the Sierra Leonean Telegraph – the silent majority – you think are on your side? Mr Jalloh and I are not so presumptuous as to think that they are on our side. They have minds of their own and are capable of reaching their own conclusions. We simply won’t dare to infantilise them by declaring that we know what they think.

  15. Sorry Mr Seasy for the disappointment. Maybe if we were interested in accumulating followers and compare like for like, we will be found promoting conspiracy theories on different platforms on the social media ecosystem. But the Sierra Leone Telegraph is none of that. Here every story you put up is challenged, verified and hang out to dry so everyone can read it, dissected and displayed for all to read and make up your mind. Here your thoughts and analytical skills are challenged. That is why we say give praise where praise is deserve. I and Mr Yillah are not interested in back tapping, and approval ratings from any fellow Sierra-leonean about challenging the truth. Because the truth shall always shine bright lights over the dark alleys of where truth is brutally murdered.

    Its just in our nature and DNA to challenge stories that we know are made up for gullible Sierra Leoneans that are ready and willing to be fed anything that confirms their existence beliefs, even if they experienced those repacked stories themselves, but some how found it in themselves to believe a French National that the RUF wars, was the work of some aliens that invaded Sierra Leone in 1991, and waged a brutal war that Foday Sankoh was forced to take part in. That we the victims of that RUF wars have to take it on the chin and just learn to put up or shut up, never mind the rest of our family members that have to pay the ultimate penalty for the misguided and sadistic policies of Foday Sankoh and his henchmen.

  16. I have been reading the story of Mr Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process, researched by Ms Chambertin, the French researcher. Now I am understanding the role played by this peacemaker. Ambassador Omrie Golley, please take comfort from the words of the Bible – ‘Blessed are the peace makers’. Despite what others may say, I believe your moves to find Foday Sankoh and his rebels, and readily associate with them, made a great impact to the peace process which followed your various involvements. I found the last chapter serialised by the Sierra Leone Telegraph very eye opening – and I now understand your motivations. A real human story of an individual, moved personally to help his country move from war to peace. Please Ambassador Golley, don’t feel bad by those belittling or minimizing your role! I see a few are even belittling the TRC now – it will be the national and international courts soon, who saw no reason to hold you accountable. I await more accounts of your role in this study. No one can make this up. Thank you for your efforts!

  17. Mr Yillah, the problem with our country is people prefer to bury the truth to advance their own self interests. They are prepared to sail to the end of earth, as long as they managed to spin all sort of stories, that bare no relevance to the truth and what actually took place to save their skin. If it means trampling over the dead so be it. We know the dead can’t speak for themselves , because the truth as we know it is buried with them. So it is left to the living to challenge miscommunication, diners of history, packaged and wrapped up in conspiracy theories, and conjecture, that are far removed from the galaxies that orbit the world of reality. A good example was the exchange between Johnny Paul Koroma and the 29th accused Captain Harlston, one of the 37 soldiers caught up in the treason trial after the fall of the AFRC/RUF junta. But before that during his trial Captain Harlston was the head of the military police. He told the court martial tribunal, he attended a meeting at Johnny Paul’s office. Present in that meeting was, Colonel A. B. Y. Kanu, Col. S. F. Y. Koroma, chief Secretary of state SAJ.

    Musa and Chief of Army staff S. O. Williams. He was told to go and picked up ten military personnel at Pademba Road prison for execution. He told him they have been found guilty of murder. That six of the detained soldiers have been accused of murdering a military person at Kanikay, kissy Shell. Out of the ten, and due to logistics Captain Harlston’s men have only managed to obtain two statements from the detained soldiers. The rest faced a firing squared with out giving a statement. But he challenged Koroma that the men didn’t get the benifets of trial by court martial . Koroma told Captain Harlston the men were found guilty by military tribunals which according him run shorter . So Koroma was prepared to lie and send ten men to be executed. And even wanted SLBS to cover the executions at the Seventh Battalion at Goderich. At Pademba Road prison Captain Halston was joined by members of the scalled people’s army. “RUF”, Rambo, Colonel Isaac and Colonel Lamin.

    The rule is anyone who takes a prisoner out have to append his /her signature. Captain Harlston who harbours doubt refused to sign. It was left to one of his colleagues to sign on his behalf. Where was Mr Golley when he was needed, or when all this was going on in 1997/98, when clearly a war crime have been committed against this ten military personnel? The fact remains, the Truth will never Lie.

  18. As you might have gleaned Messrs Yillah and Jalloh, not many people are responding to your moves, to constantly belittle or minimize the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley in the peace process. Your attempts to belittle his role cannot and will not work. Indeed when some of us read your texts from when this serialisation started, Ambassador Golley’s role, amusingly, seems to have transformed from him being the culpable monster, almost directly responsible for the death and destruction of thousands of unfortunate victims of the war, to him now being insignificant in the course of events that ended the conflict. If this was not a very serious subject we were commenting on, or a blatant attempt to minimize the role of a great peace maker and decent person in Ambassador Omrie Golley, some of us would be laughing! As other commentators have written in these series – ‘Truth nor dae hide’. And for you two hapless duo, I suspect that there is more to come, with evidence from the researcher, as to the positive role of Omrie Golley in the peace process. Wuna get for vex oh! God bless you Ambassador Omrie Golley! Keep on keeping on!

  19. You are spot on again, Mr Jalloh. Let Mr Golley take the bull by the horns and tell us directly, with supporting evidence of course, why he believes he was central to the peace process. Third party explanations will not do.

    And it is interesting that those who see in him a Sierra Leonean Mandela are saying in the same breath that he was of no consequence as far as the RUF and its war efforts were concerned. Some commentators here seem to be of the opinion that as little or no mention is made of him in what they have called the definitive statement on the civil war as a whole – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report – he must ipso facto be an innocent man and thus of no real significance in relation to what the RUF did.

    The question then is this: if the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report’s silence relating to Mr Golley’s role and activities constitutes proof of his being a peripheral figure, why is the French researcher now trying to do the opposite by removing him from the margins of the war and making him a Sierra Leonean Mandela? Does it mean that the Commission got its facts wrong or was not privy to all that was out there on Mr Golley? Or is it the case that the French researcher is making things up as she goes? Very, very curious indeed, not to say puzzling.

  20. On the 12th of October, 1998 was judgement day for as this article has pointed out they were christened ‘collaborators “of the AFRC/RUF military junta headed by Johnny Paul Koroma. In the delivering his judgment on the court Martial case brought against 37 serving soldiers, some of the finest and brightest and most experienced members of our military, Col.Tom Carew presiding over the court Martial case found 34 out the 37 soldiers on trial guilty of treason. However he only recommended 24 of those guilty of treason to face the firing squad. Of the 24, Major Kula Samba the only female recommended for execution along side others told the hearing her role was director of disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration at the ministry of reconstruction and rehabilitation,and resettlement for the then SLPP government. Later after the AFRC military take over, she was appointed secretary of state, for social welfare and children’s affairs by the AFRC junta.

    An other distinguished serving member that get caught up with the coupists, was that of Colonel A. K. Sesay. He was warned by his family not to get involved with the AFRC junta. He dully apologies to his family for letting them down. All of the above members of Republic of Sierra Leone armed forces were victims of a failed state. Failed state in the sense our country’s decent to civil war, was due to unchecked corruption, lack of free speech, a corrupt judiciary, that undermine the rule of law, and above all else abuse of power by the state over the rights of ordinary citizens. May their souls rest in peace. Now hence we are talking about peace initiative, why was this executions taking place, in the middle of a peace process? Mr Omrie Golly might have played a part in advancing the peace process, but at the same time we have to recognised many fellow Sierra Leoneans both civilians and members of the armed forces paid the ultimate prize for peace. After the executions hundreds of bereaved families were scared to mourn their loved ones in fear of the reprisals that might follow.

    Today those families continue to suffer in silence. So putting all those sacrifices for peace on the shoulders of one individual, as the “Mandela” of Sierra Leone is not only misleading but deceptive. If anything we want to hear more from the victims of the war, not those who legally advised the perpetrators of that dark chapter of country’s history. Or can Mr Golly come out and pen down an article and explain to us that are not familiar with his efforts, why he wants to put the record straight?

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