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.

 

23 Comments

  1. And one more thing Ms Scott-Turay. Disloyal to and disrespectful of our country and its people are those who are the real vectors of ‘the Pull Him Down Syndrome’ you spoke of in your comment; people who attempt to bully others into accepting that their truth about an RUF sympathiser and advocate is all we know and need to know, and that God is on their side only. However, bullying won’t work. Simples! Madame Scott-Turay.

    I am sure you will not hold me to task for using the title ‘Madame’ in addressing you given what seems to me your all too palpable love of all things French. And to cap it all, in making some amends for my ‘castigations’ of your beloved French researcher, I say to her in her own native tongue: ‘Soyez la bienvenue en Sierra Léone, Madame! Amusez-vous bien pendant votre séjour!’ (Welcome to Sierra Leone, Madam! Have great fun during your stay!). I hope this goes some way in placating all Golleymaniacs, who it is now clear to me, are also all Francomaniacs. I say so with one caveat though – the French woman’s piece of hagiography is what it is – a piece of hagiography. Calling it a piece of academic research is a complete misnomer.

    Indeed, as one other commentator, Mr Jalloh to be precise, puts it, let the French researcher take her academic credentials with her to Rwanda and lecture its people and their leader Paul Kagamé that sympathisers and advisors of those Hutus that massacred hundreds of thousands of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen, the Tutsis, acted at all times in good faith and out of boundless selflessness to bring peace to that country. It will be interesting to see how she will be received.

  2. Dr Sorie Tunkara, I would love to be a fly on the wall to hear what I suspect Ambassador Omrie Golley might say to you, in answer to your absurd suggestion that he should declare his bank accounts over decades, to satisfy you that he did not benefit from the war, or that he should have spoken when you think he should have done, on his role in this war!

    I am also truly amazed that you could decry an account in the way that you have, of a worthy patriot and peace maker in the person of Omrie Golley. For me I have no time for pseudo academics who claim to know it all. No one is saying that you cannot, or should not share a view about Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process. But your glorifying the texts of the likes of Dauda Yillah and Jalloh, with their own reasons for not agreeing with those forumites who positively acknowledge Golley’s role, diminishes your own take on his role. This is my view!

    I am prepared to challenge your position on the very positive role played by Ambassador Omrie Golley in the attainment of peace in our country anytime anywhere. The man should be thanked and acknowledged. Not decried for the spurious flimsy reasons you give us.

  3. When is the next episode in the current serialisation on Omrie Golley’s gallant efforts to bring peace to our country after the war? You did a great job then and I for one am very proud of you and your efforts sir.

  4. Thank you very much, Dr Tunkara, for your very sagacious and perspicacious take on the fundamental issue that is at the heart of this debate – the issue of authenticity and credibility. You have very generously and indeed thoughtfully offered Mr Golley and the person researching his war-time role and activities a second chance. To Mr Golley, the chance to directly and proactively mount his own defence by providing concrete evidence showing he was at no point a beneficiary of any rewards – material or otherwise – resulting directly or indirectly from his association with the RUF.

    And to the French researcher, a chance to go back to the drawing board, dig more deeply and in the process recalibrate her findings and come up with credible conclusions; conclusions that eschew such hasty, facile and risible claims as the one showcasing Mr Golley as Sierra Leone’s Mandela.

    Finally, how very reassuring to see that there are Sierra Leoneans out there who recognise that Mr Jalloh and I through our contributions to this debate, show loyalty and respect like anyone else here, to our country and fellow compatriots.

  5. I have read many of the texts regarding the current serialisation of the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley in the peace process. I would first of all like to thank the Editorship of the Sierra Leone Telegraph for putting this out. Secondly I would like to thank Omrie Golley for the fearless role and decisions that he took in going to talk to the RUF to encourage them to sue for peace. Unlike some forumites, I can see clearly why Ambassador Golley saw fit to go directly to speak to the rebels and associate with them in support of the larger picture. I applaud him for that.

    Also, I cannot speak for Ambassador Golley, but would readily respond to the question of Tunkara as to why Golley didn’t explain himself at the time, with the answer – Why should he? I remember all the terrible things being said about him at the time. If it was me, I would have bided my time, having gone through all the unnecessary vilification, promoted against Golley and others by the then Government. I would have waited until I was good and ready!

    As to Dauda Yillah, your texts do not merit any response. The study by the French researcher is very well written, is believable, and in my view answers many of the questions that even I had. Ambassador Omrie Golley when I read about what you did then, and even after in public service, I feel so proud of you! If Sierra Leone only had a few more like you, we would have gone a long way as a country. Respects Sir!

  6. Mokonzi, I remember you putting this exact story in another medium that I belong to recently( only changing the last sentence to suit the current narrative here), and remember the roasting you were given by several members of that particular media group.interestingly it was about the new Freetown City Council landmark building and the role of Ambassador Golley in its development! I am not sure why you would want to do the same thing again here, but it would be seen for what it is. I think it’s evil. I am surprised Admin allows it here !

  7. My brother, David Kaitongi, i have nothing but respect for your sincerity and loyalty to a fellow country man, whom you were assigned to serve and protect during our country tumultuous period. Thank you for your service towards our nation sir. Now when it comes to your former boss however, there is no denial he is a man of good character, with a loving and caring heart. As most of you acquainted him have narrated, he is indeed a man of good intentions. Nonetheless, him being a mere mortal makes him susceptible to sometimes makes decisions contrary to what he stood for. This brings to light his decision to associate himself with a bloodletting satanic organization, voluntarily serving as their legal adviser and spokesperson, effectively giving the ruthless, barbarian, vampires, some legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.

    I am glad you mentioned Mr. Omrie Golley eagerness to take leave of the RUF organization immediately after the signing of the Lome peace accord. It sure makes sense for him to have felt that way because, subconsciously, he knew he had messed up big time. I mean how can a highly intelligent, western train legal luminary like his calibre, enmeshed himself with a gang of thugs who cares nothing about the human life but greed?. It’s insane. By all indications, the rebel leadership saw in him an asset. He was in essence a life support to most of their aspirations. Chances are, the rebel leadership couldn’t have achieve certain milestones if it wasn’t with his legal advise and support.

    So if family members of victims of the ruthless rebel war have any odd feeling towards his role, one can clearly rationalize their sentiments. Though he is an innocent man, his naivety and gullibility get the best of him. He manages to stain his hard earned reputation over error of judgement. I am sure he is not the only Sierra Leonean that worked tirelessly to ensure peace return to the motherland, however, unlike others, he will ever remain to be known as a one time RUF spokesman and legal adviser.

  8. Mr Yillah, you can write what you will, but I bless Ms Wilhemina Scott-Turay for what she wrote in her last text about you. Your evil diatribe against Ambassador Omrie Golley as highlighted in your previous texts speak volumes! I for one do not trust your motives here!

  9. Thanks Young4na and Dr Sorie Tunkara for offering their own perspective on the this subject. No one who lives through the horrors of the RUF /AFRC/Charles Taylor’s NPLF /West Side boys a renegade group of fromer members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed forces, can with good conscience try and shift the blame of what happened on the victims of both wars but not on the perpetrators. .From the time Charles Taylor and his band of NPLF rebles entered Liberia through Lofa county in December 1989 , with the subsequent support he got from the then little known RUF reble group of Foday Sankoh, no one in their right mind will suggest the Taylor Wars is going to be confined within the boundaries of our sister state Liberia.It was too close for comfort. Freetown was a washed with Liberian refugees, telling horror stories. In fact no one knew what was the deal made between the RUF and Taylor’s NPLF, if he was successful in removing Samuel K Doe from government . Maybe the French researcher can offer us some insights. I don’t think Taylor forgave Momoh’s government for refusing him to use Sierra Leone as his staging post to invade Liberia.

    But at the same time, in 1990 allowed EGOMOG the same privilege to deploy in Liberia, in a bid to stop Taylor from taking power from Deo .That has always been the known unknown. But what is not in dispute by the beginning of 1990s, true to his promised Charles Taylor made:”Sierra Leone will taste the bitterness of war” did come to pass. Deaths in both wars are estimated to be over three hundred thousands. Of course fifty thousand of that figure is our fellow Sierra Leoneans brothers and sisters that were caught up in a sadistic war of attrition. If as the researcher claimed Mr Golley was only aware of the atrocities commited by the RUF in late 1995 and so on, which prick his conscience, how much suffering was going on in Sierra Leone, never mind in Liberia, where the RUF was provided according Taylor’s testimony in his trials at the Sierra Leone Special Court trials in the Hague , a “GUEST HOUSE “not a” SAFE HOUSE “in exchange for diamonds and weapons, and most importantly to coordinate the activities of the RUF across the border in Sierra Leone.

    Either Mr Golley was naive to act as legal advisor to a rump of sadistic killers, and too trusting of Foday Sankoh, or from my own perspective been used to legitimised the RUF, because they lack people with higher education within the group.Sam Bockarie and Isah Sesay two of his henchmen were more interested in killing and mining of daimonds for Ukrainian and the Russian Gun dealer like sanctions bursting mafios Victor Burt. If in doubt, checked out the RUF manifesto. What the French researcher is trying to do, is to hold our hands and walk us back to a parrerell universe of what really took place in our country.For that she have succeeded in doing. Finally we can debate about the war, that most people have ignored for so long. Even this out of touch, and corruption infested Bio government don’t want to talk about. The research has brought everything back to the fore, like we are still fighting the RUF/AFRC war of twenty years ago. I blamed the Bio government for not setting a remembrance day date for all the victims of the RUF war. Rwanda, Europe, United Kingdom, United States 9/11, Japan the end of the first and second World war all do it to honour those that lost their lives. Not to honor the people that unleashed the war. Or are Sierra Leoneans lives that are victims of war don’t even deserve such a honour. Maybe we should just celebrate Foday Sankoh National Holiday!

  10. For me, the research study done on Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process gives a true insight into the mind and actions of a true patriot devoted to his country. Some of us will continue to bless him, thank him and praise him for bid work for peace. God bless you again Ambassador Omrie Golley

  11. @Ms. Scott, during the waning days of President Stevens there was this strong ‘rumor’ and even a protest by a foreign government that a certain former Sierra Leonean judge connived with some shady foreign actors to ship and dump tons of radioactive nuclear wastes in Sierra Leone, specifically in Waterloo. Please throw some light on this, if it makes sense to you as you mount your pro bono defense for the ambassador.

    • You have animus Mopao and I am surprised that the editor of this forum will allow you to stray from the subject matter in hand and abuse the family of a decent man, peace maker and obvious patriot!

  12. Firstly,I would like to point out that the ongoing story of the French researcher just doesn’t ring true;it looks like a calculated attempt designed to exonerate Ambassador Golley from any charges stemming from his alleged complicity in the brutal war in Sierra Leone where thousands of innocent citizens lost their limbs and lives; But if authenticity is completely lacking in the writers attempt to rewrite our nations history by telling a one-sided story its not entirely her fault – the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of Mr Golley who has failed miserably to first and foremost, carefully highlight his motive for telling his story now after so many years of being silent – That should have superseded all things;it should have been the first and critical attempt to remove all doubts regarding his intentions; But he didn’t and by so doing missed the opportunity to introduce the writer as a person of impeccable judgement and credibility worth listening to.

    What was Mr Golley thinking to jump headlong into such a brutal conflict without first thinking decisively about the consequences of his actions?He single-handedly legitimized the RUF in the eyes of the world,and that in itself is an unforgivable crime.The interesting forms of skepticism being displayed by Mr Yillah,Mr Jalloh out-rightly claiming that we do not know propositions which we ordinarily think we do know is logical and practical – Indeed,no one knows the ambassador better than himself,it is only he that would be able to tell us a truthful,unadulterated version of his involvement in the war. Furthermore, i seriously think that it will enhance the credibility of the story if Mr Golley will voluntarily provide this forum with financial evidences clearly pointing out that he didn’t benefit from his associations with the RUF.

    If the ambassador and his supporters really believe that he acted in good faith on behalf of Sierra Leone then let them boldly encourage him to declare all his financial and fixed assets during those traumatizing gruesome, bloody,countless long years of war – his bank statements and assets acquired during those years will have a lot to tell us. Mr Yillah and Mr Jalloh are true patriots of Sierra Leone – I applaud them for their constructive dialogue on this important issue.

  13. Young4na, you have nailed it absolutely. Mr Golley’s role and activities should be seen in the round. It is an absolute joke to think that he acted in good faith and out of utter selflessness alone. A piece of academic research worth its name should come up with answers to both what he did right and what he did wrong. Attempting to gloss over the ugly underbelly of his association and collaboration with a group of insurgents whose only mission was to maim, rape and slaughter our brothers and sisters is an act of treachery, of utter and unforgivable disservice to those who died and those who, though alive, will remain forever trapped and tragically so, in body and in mind, in appallingly diminished versions of their former selves. This is the point that those who are expecting some of us to swallow hook, line and sinker the French researcher’s one-dimensional tale of saintliness and impeccable patriotism seem to miss completely.

  14. Make of my texts on the Omrie Golley story whatever you will, Ms Wilhemina Scott -Turay; it your absolute right to do so, and if that right of yours was ever threatened by whichever person, rest assured that I would be the first to defend you with every fibre of my being. I assume that the normal and reasonable person that you say you are will not find it too difficult to reciprocate, allowing me the same right of freedom of expression to write what I will on the Omrie Golley story. Now, whether I use that right to write dozens of texts on the story and on any other issue for that matter or simply remain silent, is entirely up to me. For as far as I know, there is no rule on this forum – an abode of the most unshackled expressions of opinion if ever there was one – that a commentator is limited to a number of texts on a given subject. However, it seems that to you, it is a crime, an unforgivable act of disloyalty to and disrespect of my country and countrymen and countrywomen for me to write more than ten texts all being what you call ‘castigations’ – a pet word of yours indeed – of a French researcher and of the object of her investigations – Mr Golley’s role in a decade-long civil war that very nearly destroyed our country.

    I would just ask you to stand back a moment and reflect on this point: would you come out with all guns blazing and hold me to task if all I have written so far fell in line with what appears to be your unequivocally positive assumptions about Mr Golley’s role and activities in the war? You see, it seems to me that your understanding of academic research is that its findings should be regarded as the holy of holies – your test I presume of reasonableness! The findings should not be called into question and should be accepted completely even when they are yet to stand the basic test of quality assurance process of rigorous peer-review normal in academia! My understanding of academic research and its results is at variance with such a position, your position. In the humanities and social sciences and even in the so-called hard sciences, research results are never meant to be forever definitive, set in stone, beyond doubt. And that is not what we seem to be getting from this so-called academic study of Mr Golley’s war-time role and activities.

    We are being asked not to raise doubts whatsoever and that childlike, we should rave about this great, wonderful toy made by a generous French woman for our mental health and indeed general wellbeing! A toy that is in essence a piece of hagiography, an exercise in praise singing, one that is certainly music to the ears of converts, both old and new, of Golleymania: a cult centred on the worship of a one-time rebel sympathiser and advisor-turned-saint and peacemaker. So, Ms Scott-Turay, I am not disloyal to nor disrespectful of my country and my fellow compatriots. The debate here is not about me but about Mr Golley, a former RUF collaborator and spokesman and about all those who are now trying to repackage him and sell him to the rest of us as one thing only: Sierra Leone’s Madiba! Some of us cannot be so easily conned.

  15. Having lived through entirely our 11yrs senseless brutal civil war, witnessing my first rebel attack at my village in early 1994, forced to displaced in the capital by 1995, living as a refugee at Clay Factory in my own country, then witnessing several other upheaval, ranging from 1997 ECOMOG intervention after AFRC take over, having to dogged live bullets occasionally, ran for indoor covering whenever the infamous AlphaJET rumble through the skies of Freetown, then came January 6, 1999, waken up by sporadic gun fires from the hills overlooking Calaba-town as the rebel descended into the capital, living through enemy lines within the capital for over 2 weeks throughout the battle that ensued to push back the rebels out of the capital, with my childhood friend getting kill at 14yrs old, his body dumped near our burnt house in Calaba-town, loosing everything we ever posses, i can categorically state that, both sides from the ongoing debate, emanating from the Omrey Golley story, deserves to be respected, with the simply fact that, the TRUTH definitely lies in between.

    As i have alluded in my past comments, Mr. Omrey Golley earlier actions and intentions, with his quest to secure peaceful settlement for our civil conflict must be noted and applauded by any reasonable individual. However, his decision to later serve as a legal adviser to a barbarian rebel group, whose savagery towards innocent civilians can only be compare to the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization, chopping off citizens arms and legs, ripping open pregnant women’s bellies as they bet on the sex of the child inside, abducting and raping young girls, while young abducted boys were dosed with drugs, transformed into killing machines, etc, was indeed questionable.

    Irrespective of the good motives behind what he might have thought was a good strategy to cajole and influence the rebel leadership, the truth of the matter is, he was never fully successful. On the contrary, the rebel leadership succeeded in using him to achieve their goals. Despite all his efforts, Foday Sankoh and his henchmen will stop at nothing but to achieve their objective, gain political power by hook or crook. So if it wasn’t that these satanic cult had ran out of luck, they could have either be in power now, or the killings continue. So while we must noted and applauded Mr. Golley’s earlier efforts, he is definitely not a saint by many, when it comes to what transpires during our nation’s dark hours. When compare with what just happen at Afghanistan, with those who were at the negotiating table at Qatar representing the Talibans now serving governing roles in the new Taliban government, one must ponder what must have become of Mr. Omrey Golley if indeed the rebel leadership had succeeded.

    • Your comments are fully respected and understandable, even though I disagree with you. Like you I’ve commented on this subject matter before. I’ve also said before that I was assigned to Ambassador Golley by the erstwhile Deputy Defence Minister and Civil Defence Forces Leader the Late retired Captain Hinga Norman . I was him during the Lome Process. I can well remember how irritated he was when Foday Sankoh told him he wanted to put his name for a cabinet position in the new Government of Kabbah after the Lome Accord. He requested for his name not to go forward and told Sankoh he wanted to return to his family in London. Also he resigned as spokesman even before the end of the Lome talks, as soon as agreement had been reached in principle.

      Omrie Golley had to fight hard to leave the RUF and process even then, because the international community did not want him to, and pleaded with him to stay. As I’ve said before these facts are not intended to please anybody. It is just as it happened and forumites I believe have a right to know. So there was no chance of Ambassador Omrie Golley staying with the RUF or joining the Government after the signing of the Lome Accord. I know this to be a fact !

  16. ‘There is much more to Mr Golley’s role and activities than the TRC Reporters ever knew and the French researcher can ever know’. Mr Yillah, in your penultimate text about your position on Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role ( you have indeed written many ), you stated the above in italics! I can go through your 10 or more texts written and draw out much more like that. These are the kind of texts that have nailed you for what some of the forumites now see in you regarding your position on Ambassador Omrie Golley! How can a reasonable person reading this and other utterances from you, not come to the conclusion that your responses go far beyond a reasonable assessment? You claim in earlier texts that you yourself have written, that you do not know Ambassador Omrie Golley, and that you have never met him! So now you can arrogate to yourself the right to speak, notwithstanding your not having met or knowing him, for the TRC and even the researcher who has conducted her research on this gentleman?

    You have cast the greatest aspersions on the principle of research being done by a third party on an individual ( in this case Ambassador Omrie Golley) as if this is the first time it has ever been done . You have castigated the author on account of the fact that she is French! ( Not English ? ) I even read in one of your texts that Ambassador Omrie Golley should count himself lucky that he is alive today after 20 years!! What should ordinary individuals like me make of all this! Does this all amount to reasonable discourse on a serialisation by a researcher on the peace process and the role of a Sierra Leonean in it? No I think your writings have been most unreasonable and you have persistently and consistently made unfair comments. This is why I fear for our country. Pull him down syndrome still exists and it is a bane on our society. In your case, I honestly believe you have long passed all the thresholds of proper discourse. That is why I fully agree with what Mr Sesay has been alluding to! I think he makes a very valid point.

    Finally I would like to say that like you , I do not know and have not met Ambassador Golley. Before reading the serialisations, I had not heard about his role in the peace process, other than following some of his actions as Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Korea during the time of the mudslide and Ebola. I know from the news outlets, he arranged for a whole team of military doctors and nurses from Korea to come to help us, and his raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to help with mudslide victims. I’ve also heard of his work with the Koreans, to build the tallest building in the country for the Freetown City Council. I also heard about his work in procuring the building of a medical centre at Tokeh. So when I read the his work as detailed above, now these serialisations, what should I make of the texts of Mr Yillah about him?

  17. Your taking centre stage with your irreverent ramblings and rantings about your personal feelings of Omrie Golley is going to be seen for what it is! You call this discourse? Or commenting on a research or study by an author on Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process? Give me a break!

    People like you should be outed! Our country does not have a place for pull him Down syndrome operatives like you! Stick to the subject matter of the debate. Give your views with cogent reasons, not personal dislike vilification and invective.

    As a number of us have indicated ( not a trio as you infamously state, but infinitely more ) , we respect, understand and appreciate the role of Ambassador Golley in bringing peace to our motherland after the 11 year old conflict conflict. He is a patriot. And we ask God to bless him for his efforts. There are not many like him who have given so much of themselves for their country. Only the likes of you Mr Yillah know and could what was in the mind and heart of Ambassador Omrie Golley ( as you intimated in your penultimate rant ), but we mere mortals can only judge him from his actions! Mr Yillah, lef bad hart yah!

  18. No one with any consciousness with the boundaries of Sierra Leone will suggest our objection to this story is based on the national disease of Sierra Leoneans hell bent on pulling down Sierra Leoneans mentally for the shake of pulling down mentality. Calling Mr Golley a Mandela of Sierra Leone, is an insult to the works of the Mandela we know. The issues we are discussing here is :, do we as a nation or people celebrate people who took up armes against the state of Sierra Leone and caused so much destruction of life and property,and set our countrys development back by sixty years or we call them out for their treasonous behaviour.? The lack of development in our country can be laid at the door of the criminal acts of some of our politicians that have plundered our countrys natural resources for their own benifets, rather than the benifets of all Sierra Leoneans . And those same politicians make gullible Sierra Leoneans that can’t tell fact from fiction, because they are wedded on tribalistic, and regional attitudes of weapons of first choice to defend the indefensible.

    This attitude of you are either with us or against us is the very disease that have torn our country apart.And by extention helps promote corruption we see today under the Bio government. Or how does one explain, the Africanist Press report accusing some of Bio’s Minister stealing from the state with no action taken against them, instead the ACC is incompetent or is applying selective justice for tge cases they want to hear. And you Mr Sesay got the brass neck to accused me and Mr Yillah for our country ‘s lack of development.

    I think you are accusing the wrong peoples. You need to have a word with Bio and his one directionless government. I will guarantee you, if this French researcher have conducted her work in Rwanda , trying to rewrite the history of the 1994 genocide, Paul Kegamea will be coming after her like a run away train hurtling down the tracks.

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