Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 October 2021:
In the last few weeks, we have been publishing a series of articles from research conducted into the role played by Ambassador Omrie Golley in helping to bring sustainable peace to Sierra Leone during and after a long bitter war.
In this the final chapter, we take a look at the aftermath of Lomé – the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley in the delicate and complex peace and disarmament process, as written by the researcher – Noellie Marionette-Chambertin:
The Lomé Peace Process, in the Republic of Togo, culminated in the signing of the Lomé Peace Accord on the 7th July 1999. It was short-lived, and came to an abrupt end, less than a year later on the 8th May 2000, with a violent demonstration at the erstwhile residence of the RUF Leader, Corporal Foday Sankoh.
That demonstration which had been organized by a number of civil groups in Freetown, led to a number of deaths and injuries, and a short-lived escape by the RUF Leader to the hills around Freetown. He was subsequently captured a few weeks later, after what had become popularly known as the ‘May 8th Incident’, jailed, and he died in detention months later.
Looking back in hindsight however, for Ambassador Omrie Golley, who had worked feverishly to assist in convening the peace talks in Lomé, it was not difficult to see dark clouds gradually emerging over the whole process. All these happened not long after the signing of the Accord, after a number of occurrences, which he believed threatened the whole peace process.
Ambassador Golley had departed from Lome some two weeks before the actual signing ceremony on the 7th July 1999. He had returned to his family and professional work, but still managed to keep in touch with the main players of the Lome Peace process. These players included the Government of Sierra Leone, the RUF, the United Nations, ECOWAS, and additionally, a number of Governments in the sub region.
Ambassador Golley had not formally relinquished his links with the RUF after he left Lome, in June 1999, which is what he had wanted to do. This was mainly because he had been prevailed upon by a number of the international institutions that had been involved in the peace process, and the host Togolese Government, not to abruptly sever ties formally with the Movement at this stage of the process. It was not until 28th December 1999 however, that Ambassador Golley formally resigned, some five months after the signing of the Accord.
Ambassador Golley’s resignation from the Movement was however not without drama, and rancour emanating from the RUF Leader Foday Sankoh.
Difficulties with the peace process emerged almost immediately after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord. Under the terms of the Accord, the Leader of the RUF was granted the position of Chairman of a newly created Commission, called the Commission of Strategic Resources, National Reconstruction and Development. This courtesy appointment carried with it the rank of Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
However, President Kabbah, upon returning to Freetown after the signing ceremony, promptly created an additional office of Executive Director for that newly created Commission. The RUF Leader Sankoh believed that the creation of this additional office within the Commission, had significantly devalued his own office. He (Sankoh) contacted Ambassador Golley in London, and requested him to publicly voice the concerns of the RUF on international media, which Golley duly did.
There were also problems over the allocation of Ministries to members of the RUF by the Kabbah Government, in contravention of the letter and spirit of the Lome Peace Accord.
Foday Sankoh further complained that Kabbah had requested the RUF Leadership to urgently furnish the Government with a list of eligible officials for the four Cabinet positions, together with those of Deputy Ministers, Diplomatic officials, and Chairmen of parastatals, but that he (Sankoh), had not been consulted over the subsequent appointments.
The RUF Leader complained additionally, that Kabbah had not completed the entire allocation of positions to RUF members, in contravention of the Accord, after the subsequent allocation of Cabinet Ministers and Deputies.
In addition, old rivalries between the RUF and former soldiers of the Sierra Leone Army, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) started to re-emerge and fester. The AFRC, under their former leader Johnny Paul Koroma, had previously joined forces with the RUF, after the May 1997 military coup, referred to in earlier episodes. After the reversal of the coup in January 1998, remnants of the coalition of the RUF and AFRC had retreated to the provinces of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Meanwhile, despite problems between the two groups after their retreat from Freetown in 1998, they had reappeared in 1999, as one entity, as part of the Lome Peace Process.
However, the aftermath of the signing of the Lome Peace Accord in July 1999, appeared to reopen and re-ignite rivalries between the leadership of the two Groups. This in turn led to a series of abductions of United Nations Peacekeepers and renewed hostilities, with the AFRC accusing the RUF principally of being behind the unfortunate upsurge in these attacks, in contravention of the recently signed Accord.
For Ambassador Omrie Golley, who had by this time returned to London, these events greatly troubled him. He saw the emergence of these events as ominous. He was also greatly troubled by the seeming reluctance of the RUF Leader, Foday Sankoh, to return to Freetown from Lome, capital of the Republic of Togo, after the signing of the Peace Accord to assist in its implementation.
Ambassador Golley also received a telephone call in early September 1999, from the erstwhile Togolese Foreign Minister, Kokou Koffigoh, whose Government had hosted the recently concluded Lome Peace Talks. During their conversation, the Minister voiced his Government’s concern at the reluctance of Sankoh to return home, and sought Ambassador Golley’s assistance in persuading Sankoh to return.
Consequently, Ambassador Golley also received calls from United Nations and ECOWAS officials, all of whom appeared concerned at the seeming reluctance of the RUF Leader to return to Freetown. These developments, made it increasingly difficult for Golley to relinquish his position within the RUF, which he had wanted to do, after he had departed Lome, in June 1999.
Meanwhile despite frequent assurances from Foday Sankoh that he would return to the Sierra Leone Capital, Freetown, days after the signing of the Accord, he remained holed up in his Lome Hotel, accusing Kabbah of incidences of bad faith in implementing the provisions of the Peace Accord.
Ambassador Omrie Golley returned reluctantly to Lome, Togo on the 23rd September 1999, after requests referred to above, to assist in persuading Sankoh to return to Freetown, to join the Kabbah Government. On the 28th September 1999, Ambassador Golley accompanied Foday Sankoh to Monrovia, capital city of the Republic of Liberia, on the first leg of his return to Sierra Leone.
It was not until the 3rd October 1999, some three months after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord, that RUF Leader Foday Sankoh accompanied by AFRC Leader Johnny Paul Koroma, and other RUF officials, together with Ambassador Golley, arrived in Freetown to join the Kabbah Government in implementing the provisions of the Lome Peace Accord.
Ambassador Golley remained in Freetown for a short period, after accompanying the RUF Leader to Freetown in early October 1999, and left for London a number of days later. Whilst Golley remained concerned about the increase in hostilities generally, with constant accusations being leveled by both the Government and the RUF leadership against each other, he hoped that with the arrival of Sankoh in Freetown, hostilities would lessen and ultimately cease. Sadly that was not to be the case.
On the 28th December 1999, Ambassador Omrie Golley issued a press release formally relinquishing his position as legal representative and spokesman of the RUF. Golley had returned to London in October of that year after accompanying the RUF Leader to Sierra Leone, some three months after the signing of the Lome Peace Accord.
By that time, Golley felt that he had nothing further to contribute to the peace process in his motherland. Furthermore, he (Golley) had become disillusioned with the pace and progress of the peace process, and more particularly with the continuing duplicitous behaviour of the RUF Leader, Foday Sankoh. Ambassador Golley had also started to consider a wider role in the political dispensation of Sierra Leone.
In an interview given to the Sierra Leone Web on the 28th December 1999, Ambassador Golley stated inter alia: “Since the signing of the Accord, I have been most concerned with the pace and the direction of the peace process, particularly regarding disarmament and demobilization, about the showing of remorse, and pursuing positive acts of reconciliation and rehabilitation, in favour of the people of Sierra Leone – particularly those who have suffered from the prosecution of the devastating nine year old war, and most particularly in respect of recent human rights abuses being perpetrated against innocent civilians.” Culled from the News Archives of the Sierra Leone Web – 28th December 1999
Ambassador Golley also issued a written Press Release announcing his resignation from the Movement.
This move by Golley did not apparently sit very well with the leadership of the RUF, because that very day, a few hours after the dissemination of the statement of Ambassador Golley regarding his resignation, a terse statement was issued by the newly nomenclatured RUF Spokesman and Publicity Secretary, Eldred Collins, which simply stated: “Former RUF Spokesman, Omrie Michael Golley, is no more Spokesman, Legal Representative of the RUF, and is no more empowered to collect funds for and on behalf of the RUFP”.
When further questioned on National Radio, on the evening of the 28th December 1999, as to the reasons why the Press Release issued earlier, referred to collecting funds on behalf of the RUF, the leader of the RUF Foday Sankoh stated that Ambassador Golley had been traversing the world, obtaining millions (without specifying the currency or denomination), and converting these monies to his own personal use.
In a subsequent radio interview the following morning, 29th December 1999, and conducted by the same station that had earlier interviewed the RUF Leader, Ambassador Golley, denied the accusations leveled against him by the RUF Leader, further stating that he had never been
remunerated or paid, in any shape or form, either directly or indirectly, for his work as legal representative and Spokesman for the RUF.
Despite the seriousness of the accusations raised against Ambassador Golley by the RUF Leader, he (Golley), in response to these accusations went on to inform the interviewer, in a rather jocular fashion, further retorting, that if he had compiled professional billable hours as a lawyer, for the length of time he had legally advised the Movement, that the RUF would be unable to pay his fees and would have become bankrupt.
Barely six months after the departure of Ambassador Golley from the RUF, the Freetown residence of their Leader, Foday Sankoh was stormed by the civilian population in the previously referred to May 8 incident, which lead to deaths and injuries in the Sierra Leone Capital. Sankoh fled to the hills and was subsequently captured and detained.
Tensions between the parties to the conflict continued into the dawn of the new millennium, and the peace process in Sierra Leone in January 2000, remained fragile.
Accusations and counter accusations continued amongst the main parties to the earlier conflict. The new dispensation in the governance of the country, which the Lome Peace Accord had occasioned, had not resulted in the much yearned for peace and recovery.
By May 2000, the peace process had broken down with the storming of the residence of the RUF Leader.
Little did Ambassador Golley know that he would be prevailed upon again, to return to his motherland in early 2001 to help restart the peace process which had irretrievably broken-down.
It is worthy to note that this episode brings us almost full circle to the amazing story of the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley in the peace process of his country, a story which we commenced, in Episode 1 of our narrative – fast forwarding to the year 2001, with the fateful meeting between the erstwhile Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji, and Ambassador Omrie Golley.
Disarmament & Peace – The Role of Ambassador Omrie Golley during the Peace Process in Sierra Leone
We have now come almost full circle in highlighting the role of Ambassador Omrie Golley in the peace and disarmament process. The Process culminated in the declaration of the ending of the War by former President Kabbah, in January 2002, in his now famous utterance:
‘Di war don don’.
Much had to be done however, during the twelve months preceding Kabbah’s statement referred to above, in getting the two main protagonists, to the conflict, to finally lay down their weapons and pursue peace.
In this difficult task, the role of Ambassador Golley was crucial, and this role was subsequently recognized by the United Nations, ECOWAS, international humanitarian institutions, and the Government of President Tejan Kabbah.
Writing on the ending of the war in Sierra Leone, in the acclaimed British daily newspaper ‘The Independent’ on the 9th February 2002, their investigative journalists Declan Walsh and Robert Verkaik stated, inter alia:
“Diplomats, human rights workers, and government figures agree Mr Golley has played a crucial role in the recent peace process, which has seen the RUF disarm and transform itself into a political party.”
The journalists went on to quote Solomon Berewa, erstwhile Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who had led the Tejan Kabbah Government’s role in the peace process: “He (Ambassador Omrie Golley ) has been very positive in the achievement of peace.” Culled from the Independent Newspaper – Saturday 9th February 2002 –
The period following the attack on the residence of the RUF leader Foday Sankoh in May 2000, had brought another breakdown in the peace process, and hostilities between Pro-Government forces and the RUF restarted.
By the end of May 2000, the northern provincial town of Lunsar, in Port Loko District, had been overrun by RUF forces. In addition there were renewed hostilities in different parts of the country. The United Nations (UNAMSIL) had commenced deploying peacekeeping troops around the country, which had assisted in lessening hostilities.
In addition, British military forces invited in by the Kabbah Government, to assist in military operations to gain control of the country, had made significant gains in military offensives against the RUF, allowing for the further deployment of UN peacekeeping operations.
Notwithstanding these military gains, it was clear to the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies involved in tending to the local war affected population, that there was an urgent need for renewed diplomatic efforts to end renewed hostilities in the country.
As David Wilmshurst, Spokesman for UNAMSIL, the United Nations Peace Keeping Organisation, stated, in a news briefing on the 1st June 2000: “What is important now, is that the fighting does stop so that we could find a way to talk to each other again. There is no military solution to this conflict.” Culled from Peter Andersen – News Archives of the Sierra Leone Web – 1st June 2000
Ambassador Golley meanwhile had returned from Freetown to London, in October 1999, with the return of the RUF Leader to Sierra Leone from Togo and the Lome Peace talks, and consequent of the fact that Golley had formally resigned from the RUF on the 28th December 1999.
Thereafter, Ambassador Golley maintained watching brief regarding continuing events in his country, but did not take any active role. He (Golley) was, however, unhappy with the overall situation in the country, particularly with the increase in military hostilities, in the aftermath of the signing of the Lome Peace Accord. He believed however by this time, that he had done all that he could to advance peace in his motherland.
Within the RUF movement, splits had emerged amongst the main military commanders, after the capture of their Leader, on the 17th May 2000, in the aftermath of the ‘May 8th incident’. In addition, the imprisonment of Foday Sankoh, had occasioned the need for the Movement, to choose a new Leader to attempt to unify the RUF into a cohesive structure. With the active support of ECOWAS and sub-regional leaders, Issa Hassan Sesay, was chosen as the new RUF interim leader, to unify the movement and to assume the leadership in any subsequent peace talks.
The Lome Peace Accord, entered into in July 1999, between the Sierra Leone Government and the RUF, had agreed on the Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation (DDR) of all combatants that had been involved in the conflict, as a central plinth of the Agreement. At that point, it was clear and paramount to all observers, that if DDR was to be successful, the RUF, had to be properly structured, under a unified leadership for its (DDR) success.
However splits in the RUF in the aftermath of the detention of their Leader, made it very difficult to achieve the successful disarmament of their ex-combatants. In addition, prior to the disarmament of Government controlled militias and the RUF, a new ceasefire agreement in Abuja, in November 2000, between the warring factions, had to be reactivated. Humanitarian access to the war weary population, and skirmishes between the opposing forces, made the desired goal of disarmament, difficult to achieve.
It soon became clear, that unless the difficulties identified above were adequately addressed, it would in turn be very difficult to proceed with a process, leading to the disarming of all ex-combatants involved in the war, and their ultimate reintegration into the towns and villages from which they came.
It was this realisation, that informed the United Nations, through their Special Representative of the erstwhile Secretary General- Nigerian born Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji to contact Ambassador Golley in London in January 2001, to return to Freetown, yet again, to assist in the revitalization of the peace process, that, at this period, was in danger of disintegrating.
Whilst Ambassador Omrie Golley was most reluctant to return to the maelstrom of peace process issues, he was persuaded to return to Freetown in February 2001, after assurances from the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji, that his personal safety and security, would be adequately safeguarded.
Ambassador Golley also sought and received written assurances about his security from the Government of President Kabbah through their erstwhile Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa.
Prior to returning to Freetown in February 2001, Golley travelled to Monrovia Liberia to meet with the newly appointed Interim Leader of the RUF, General Issa Hassan Sesay, who prevailed upon Ambassador Golley, to head a soon as possible to be formed RUF Political and Peace Council, to oversee the peace process and proceed to the disarmament of all ex-combatants involved in the conflict.
With the acceptance of this latest position within the RUF, to support the commencement of a fresh peace initiative, Ambassador Omrie Golley entered the most difficult part of the renewed peace process, which was to agree a new ceasefire with the government controlled militia otherwise known as the Civil Defence Forces (CDF), headed by erstwhile Deputy Defence Minister, the late Sam Hinga Norman, and the RUF, and to commence disarmament of all fighting groups involved in the conflict.
On the 1st May 2001, Ambassador Omrie Golley led a six man delegation, comprising senior military officials of the RUF, to Abuja to meet with officials of the Sierra Leone Government, headed by then Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa, and the leadership of the Government controlled CDF Militia.
This meeting, to review the previously agreed Abuja Peace Accord of November 2000, referred to above, and to map out the next stages of the peace process, involving disarmament, was also attended by officials of the United Nations, ECOWAS, and the Sierra Leone Government, with the erstwhile Organisation of African Unity (OAU) acting as Observers.
The meeting between the RUF, the Sierra Leone Government, together with those of the CDF went well, and agreement to restart the peace process, by ceasing all hostilities, was swift. The meeting afforded Ambassador Golley the opportunity, in particular, of meeting and conferring with the late Leader of the CDF, and erstwhile Deputy Minister, Sam Hinga Norman.
Ambassador Golley remembers their encounters: “During this period in Abuja, I got to meet with the Minister on several occasions, both formally and informally. I became convinced at an early stage in our deliberations, that he was sincere in his desire to restart the peace process, and end the conflict.”
Agreement between both sides was reached within 24 hours of the commencement of the Meeting, on the 2nd May 2001.
Unlike many other Agreements entered into for the duration of the conflict, this Agreement on the cessation of hostilities, signed by the CDF leader, and Ambassador Omrie Golley, as Chairman of the newly created RUF Political and Peace Council, and ratified in Freetown on the 15th May 2001, withstood the test of time, and in effect, signaled the end of the 10 year old conflict.
The recently signed and ratified Abuja Declaration of May 2001, was in effect, a re-affirmation of the recently failed Abuja Peace Accord of 2000, and called for the cessation of hostilities, the disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration, of all former combatants of both the RUF, and CDF, and the transformation of the RUF into a political party.
Both the Government and RUF Delegations, returned to Freetown from Abuja after concluding their meeting, together, as one Delegation, to underscore its success.
That symbolic move, was actively encouraged by the personal intervention of the erstwhile President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasango, who graciously provided the Delegations, with the Nigerian Presidential Aircraft, to transport both delegations back to Freetown.
Upon the return of both the Government and RUF Delegations to Freetown, the complex and difficult part of the Agreement, commenced with the disarmament of the former fighting groups, under an implementation plan.
This implementation plan, took the form of a number of tri-partite meetings, held in different parts of Sierra Leone, between the Government and the RUF, with the United Nations, acting as the Chair to both delegations during these talks.
In fact there were 7 meetings that took place from May 2001 to November 2001, between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF, chaired by the United Nations, through their Special Representative of the Secretary General, Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji. The erstwhile Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Solomon Berewa, headed the Government of Sierra Leone Delegation for the duration of these meetings, and Ambassador Omrie Golley, headed the RUF Delegation.
As Golley remembers: “In fact this stage of the peace process, (ie the disarmament programme ), was, arguably, the most arduous and difficult. I had to visit various parts of the country where RUF ex-combatants were stationed, accompanied by UN peacekeepers, actively encouraging them to give up their weapons. That was an extremely difficult task. The ex-combatants were, on the whole, very skeptical of the whole peace process, and giving up their weapons, which some of them had held, for nearly ten years previously, was very hard for them to bear.”
Ambassador Omrie Golley traversed the length and breadth of his motherland, visiting RUF bases, together with those of the former Government controlled Civil Militia, the CDF, always accompanied by UN Peacekeeping troops, actively encouraging the disarmament, demobilisation and re integration, of the former fighting groups.
Ambassador Omrie Golley spent lengthy periods of time, living with the former combatants of the RUF, at their various locations, to gain their trust, often having to listen to their experiences of fighting a 10 year war. Some of these experiences, often recounted with glee and mirth, by some of these former fighters, were, for Ambassador Golley, often gruesome and unpleasant, to have to listen to.
Ambassador Golley also found himself during this period, frequently adjudicating and settling quarrels, and long-standing disputes and rivalries amongst the former commanders of the Movement. Sometimes these occurrences were very serious, with the potential for disrupting the whole disarmament process, looming large.
The process of disarmament was carried out successfully in the 8 months from May 2001 to January 2002. On the 17th January 2002, representatives of the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF, met in Freetown for the last time, with both sides formally declaring the end of the disarmament process, with the disarming of 46,453 former fighters.
The 10 year old conflict was truly at an end
On the 18th of January 2002, President Kabbah, at a symbolic burning of firearms previously held by the former fighting groups, formally declared the war to be at an end, with his now famous quote :
‘Di war don don’
Ambassador Omrie Golley, in a statement issued on the 19th January 2002, to commemorate the ending of the war, had this to say: “I consider the end of disarmament and the end of the war, to be the first stage of the consolidation of the peace process, but there is a lot more work to be done, particularly in terms of tackling the problems in our society,- that of poverty, corruption, nepotism, and economic and social mismanagement.” Culled from Peter Andersen – Sierra Leone News – January 2002 – The Sierra Leone: Very strong, meaningful, insightful words coming from Ambassador Omrie Golley, in January 2002, 19 years ago.
There you go again, Ms Konneh. If my essays are as you say long and by implication pointless, why read them? All you need to do, my dear sister, is to leave them alone. What you do not read does not exist. Simples.
Mr Boston Mammah is correct in everything he said Mr Yillah . I read his comments. Don’t mask your personal ill feelings towards Ambassador Omrie Golley, a fine patriot, with your long essays! Golley is a much braver man in what he has done for peace, than you will ever be!
But Mr Alfred Boston-Mammah, what tale are we talking about here, and indeed who has or have been telling it? It seems to me that the only yarn being spun is one by a so-called French researcher and by those who have bought entirely into it. Anyway, I cannot thank you enough brother Boston-Mammah for reminding me of those wonderful words of Shakespeare’s chief character Macbeth in a play of the same name. For sure, the entire disquisition by your much revered French academic on the peace brokering role of your innocent, saintly and patriotic Mr Golley is precisely ‘[…] a tale/Told by an […], full of sound and fury, /Signifying nothing’! A tale people of your ilk celebrate uproariously and cannot seem to get enough of!
And now that the stale, sickening and deafening noise has blown over and we now have a moment of calm and respite from the idiocy of it all, we can at the very least remember with the solemnity it deserves the tragic fate that befell the tens of thousands of hapless Sierra Leonean souls hacked to death by the RUF for whom your peace-loving and God-fearing Mr Golley served as a legal adviser and spokesman.
But perhaps people like you have no sense of the solemn and the tragic after all. And as you are already in a state of inebriety and the celebratory mood it engenders, brother Boston-Mammah please keep on singing and dancing to the deafening and intoxicating tune of that specifically French brand of idiocy you seem to cherish and feel at home with so much. As the individual tales of tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters who died are devoid of the music of heroic pacifism and so of no consequence, they should remain untold and unheard. Apparently, the tale of their heartless executioners’ adviser and spokesman is worth a thousand times more. It alone is made of the stuff of innocence, saintliness, heroism, patriotism, and pacifism. Therefore, it alone deserves to be told and heard. And there lies the utter indefensibility of the tale, of its teller and of the position of those who sing and dance to it.
‘Told by an – full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing’ – We all remember the immortal words of Shakespeare from his play Macbeth. Fitting words in my view to describe the rantings of brother Dauda Yillah in his attempts to minimize the role of Omrie Golley in the peace process. Of course I’m certain that many will see his writings for what they are. I have indeed read them, as I have done the other contributions. In Yillah’s’ however I honestly do not see anything in them other than an intense dislike for someone, he himself confesses not to know! Anyway enough said on Yillah. Not worth saying much more. To you Ambassador Golley, respects and Kudos to you Sir for your selfless role. Finally I want to add that when I pass by the new Freetown City Council building, my heart leaps for joy! You are a patriot!
Thank you very much Sierra Leone Telegraph for portraying the role of Omrie Golley in the peace process. The war was indeed a dark time for all of us.
Ambassador I remember you very well. I was then a girl of 19 in Kangama. You came to talk to the RUF militia about the need to lay down their arms in the interest of peace. In fact when I saw you and heard you speak I did not even think you were Sierra Leonean. What I felt then was that you were a very good person and many of us, especially our parents and old people were so happy you were with us talking to these boys to lay down their arms.
I am not suprised to read of everything you did to bring peace to our country since 1995. You are indeed a patriot and brave man. Please do not listen to those bad mouthing you for no reason. This seems to be the Sierra Leonean way. Thank you for your contribution to peace. I have your back.
Harangue Mr Yillah! Don’t make me laugh. All you have contributed to this serialisation is to attempt to belittle and besmirch a worthy patriot and brother in the person of Ambassador Omrie Golley without any justification reason or cause. Some of us have learnt a lot about a very important part of our history. I bless this researcher for bringing out some facts about this sad chapter that some of us were previously unaware of! Ambassador Omrie Golley, thank you very much for your contribution to the peace process! You are a patriot. May God continue to bless and protect you. Amen
A damp squib after all. After all the hype, all the razzmatazz surrounding the revelatory power of a French academic’s take on Omrie Golley’s role and action in the peace process, of the supposedly incommensurable evidential magnitude of her voice concerning Mr Golley’s innocence, saintliness, patriotism and pacifism! I have read the so-called academic essay in its entirety again and again and what in it, I keep asking myself over and over, should force me to embrace its unidimensional repackaging of a man being stridently sold to us as our country’s Madiba? Well, wind, pure wind – weightless, pointless, invisible, intangible, a complete waste of time and effort.
And yet Mr Golley’s adulators have the temerity to harangue us into buying into what is nothing more than hot air. What our French scholar has achieved is truly remarkable. She has succeeded in giving ‘an appearance of solidity to pure wind’, as I quoted earlier in the debate those wonderful words of George Orwell – that master analyst of the nature and function of political language, of double speak, opacity and obfuscation, of mystery and mystification, of the weighing of airy nothings in scales of gossamer. Thank God, it is all over.
Excellent for your observations, Mr Aficanus. This is what all the commentatorrs in this confusing and concealed saga – that took the lives of innocent Sierra Leoneans, including amputations and other notorious atrocities – are seemingly and hypocritically trying to avoid, and as usual playing the typical Sierra Leonean. Alhaji Akmed Tejan Kabba is the key actor or biggest criminal in this tragic incident that seem to portray the horrendous story of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) war, headed by the uneducated and unfortunate Foday Saibana Sankoh. Tejan Kabba’s footprints are all over the place, in this unpleasant episode of Sierra Leone; from the inception of the SLPP movement that culminated to the overthrow of the APC administration of Joseph Saidu Momoh in 1992, to the evetual peace and disarmament of combatants in 2002.
Tejan Kabba was the man of influence throughout this period. And looking at the international angle, he (Kabba) could have been acting as a stooge. There were a lot of international players in this dreadful experience of the country, however the then influential Tejan Kabba made sure none was incriminated – including himself. Tejan Kabba was intransigent in negotiating with the RUF, and hence the prolongation of the war. Tejan Kabba was not oblivious of the activities or mission of the RUF – it was just a renegade outfit. The real truth will never be known. And unfortunately, Omrie Golley will find this process of trying to cleanse himself from this unfortunate chapter in the history of Sierra Leone, as an uphill struggle.
We have finally arrived at the last station of this Mr Omrie Golley sorry saga of confessions as the legal representative of Foday Sankoh’s RUF brutal thugs, that maimed and killed thousands of their fellow countrymen and women, including unborn Sierra Leonean children, all in the name of what? Today our country is more divided on tribal and regional lines than any other time in our short history.Mr. Samura is right in saying most of the spoke persons of this reble groups were charged with crimes against humanity and sent to jail. CDF Mr. M. Fofana and NPLF spoke man Tom Woiyouwoe. Thanks to Bio’s divide and rule mentality, buttressed by choosing majority of his cabinet ministers from his Mende tribe from the South of the country, it is incumbent to all of us to reject those Sierra Leoneans that try to promote division and mischief in our country. We should stop looking at the rear view mirror and instead concentrate our efforts of how to maintain our peace and come up with tangible solutions.
Maybe in his next instalment Mr Golley can do us all a favour and produce a manifesto that addresses the problems of our country. In part and in recognition the RUF war set our country’s clocks development back by fifty years, and we are still trying to overcome the damages both in mental and physical scars our country went through. This Taliban or Kamakaze diehards supporters of Mr Golley and dare I say apologist or deniers of the RUF wars, will never be convinced. Mr Africanus in his contribution alluded to the fact president Tejan Kabbah should have been charged with war crimes. But Mr Kabbah was an elected leader of Sierra Leone. At the time he was internationally recognised by the United Nations and others as the sole representative of the people of Sierra Leone.
In desperation, Mr Golley, was used like a vehicle by the international community, because he was the only person with higher education within the RUF. More like he was used by Foday Sankoh to stall the peace process, at the same time he was used by the United Nations and others seeking to bring peace in Sierra Leone like a battering ram to unlock the log jam. Despite all his so called good work it never worked. Maybe he should try and help us remove Bio from office.
Mr. Jalloh, your aim, and this is manifested in many of your contributions is to remove President Bio from power. Unfortunately, your opinion is not shared by everyone.
Mr Sanusi I don’t have any axe to grind against President Bio. When he dose something positive for the advancement of country’s development, I am the first in the starting block to commend him for his efforts. Now whether I like it or not he is the elected leader of our country. And I respect him for that. He won the presidency on the basis of the promises he made. It wasn’t a beauty contest. The office of the president is the most important institution in our country. The holder of that office has the power to decide the fate of millions of his fellow Sierra-leoneans and the future direction of our country. So it calls for real leadership not someone intimidated by nineteen year old Facebook postings. And I respect the opinions of the majority of the peoples of Sierra Leone that elected him into that office. . When President Momoh was in power, I was one of few students that led demonstration against his government in Makeni for the late payments of teachers salaries. And at the time, he sent the then speaker of the Sierra Leone Hon. Musa Kabia to hold talks with us with the aim of bringing the dispute to an end.
At the end teachers salaries were paid and we the students went back to our classrooms.Bio was elected on a manifesto. Amongst other things he promised to build a national cohesive and inclusive government, by bringing people and regions together. Judging by his recent records, he have created more division the likes of which we’ve never seen. And three years on, his cabinet doesn’t in any way shape or form reflect the tribal and regional make up of our country. He promised to tackle the evil practices of corruption and the causes of corruption, that have held our country’s national development back , yet we see corruption or allegations of corruption amongst some members of his government never get look in to by the Anti corruption commission, under the leadership of Mr Ben Kalifah. Nonetheless, they are quick to throw the law book or the kitchen sink at former members of the APC government. For me the way we tackle corruption, it has to be blind justice. There shouldn’t be any scared cows.
APC /SLPP or public servants, anyone accused of stealing from the state should face the music. And their assets taken away. In 2020 we were told undeclared wealth, especially properties that were acquired by corrupt public officials will be confiscated under the laws of unexplain wealth and nothing happened after the thirty days expiry date given by the ACC. Now we Sierra Leoneans are tolerant but we are not as stupid as we look. A promise made by Bio and a promise never delivered. Yes his free education policy is welcomed. The abolition of the death penalty is also welcomed. The repeal of the 1965 libel and sedition Act was also welcomed. But many of the things he talked about, like protecting women and girls from abusive men, is still working in progress. My issue with Bio he is the first president that publicly acknowledges our countrys ills. But even his supporters in the South of the country have given up on him. He either lacks the stamina to take the bull by the horns and sort out our country’s problems, or he is too timid by the special competing interests around him. I will support any president that is doing the right things for our country. On the current trajectory, under Bio’s leadership, there is little to be optimistic about. I wish he can change his one direction mantra.
Where did you get your information Mr Samura, that the Special Court was limited to only 3 persons from the warring factions in the war? What is your basis, for alleging that Omrie Golley had command responsibility because he was a legal representative and spokesman for the RUF? And, in any event, where is the evidence that Omrie Golley propagated or condoned violence in his role here? Why was he not even significantly mentioned by the TRC as being culpable? Why was he not mentioned in our own courts in SL as someone culpable in the war? Are all these institutions stupid or forgetful? Or are you one of those seeking to give this good man a bad name, for no tangible reason ?
Golley contributed greatly to using his association with the RUF to bring peace to our war ravaged nation. He was brave, he was patriotic, and I for one acknowledge his positive role.
Mr. Bah, in answer to your question to Mr. Samura point about the Prosecutor of the Special Court indicting only three persons from each of the warring factions, unless you were not in Sierra Leone, but the Special Court outreach was asked this question several times when they engaged with the Public and they gave the answer as stated by Mr. David Samura.
Although the Human Rights Watch article did not directly state so in this article but if you read the entire article you will see why the SCSL indicted only limited number of people for the crimes committed during the war in Siera Leone.
“The Special Court’s mandate is limited to prosecuting those who “bear the greatest responsibility” as opposed to those “who bear responsibility.”5 The Special Court’s authority is also restricted to prosecuting crimes committed during less than half of the conflict. Whereas the Special Court has so far indicted thirteen individuals and is not expected to issue more than a few additional indictments at most, the ICTR has indicted over seventy individuals, while the list of indictees at the ICTY tops one hundred.6 The Special Court’s limited mandate and time period for which it has authority, along with the small number of indictees, raise concerns that the Special Court will not be able to bring a measure of accountability for the crimes that matches the level of the human rights catastrophe that occurred, that the people of Sierra Leone need, and that the victims deserve.”- https://www.refworld.org/docid/45d45b862.html
Using Mr Samurai’s legal analysis, if it is such, then Tejan Kabba was a war criminal, as Hinga Norman was his defence minister.
Mr Samura, in your piece you are making th same mistake as others have made in denouncing Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role in bringing peace to our country. Ambassador Golley had the tacit support of all the main players in the peace process, including initially, the Kabbah Government, ECOWAS, the UN, humanitarian agencies and other diplomatic representatives in his quest for peace. From his initial role as an observer with his NCRD organization in 1995, right up until his resignation from the RUF in 2002, he sought and obtained the ear of those organizations, Governments and Agencies working for peace in our country! I wonder why the UN would have given him a satellite phone to talk to his family in the bush, or to have been given a $10,000 disbursement from ECOWAS, or indeed meet the US Government in Washington, if his position was not understood or respected!
Association with the RUF as a spokesman or legal representative was understood to have been an important role for this man to have played in the work for peace to return. Did he advocate violence or atrocities in his role as legal representative or Spokesman? Your talk of him not being indicted by the Special Court is therefore disingenuous! He is a man of peace and I saw it first hand during the time I was with him! So I will always defend him! God bless you Ambassador Omrie Golley
If I had not seen your comment on this chapter of Ambassador Omrie Golley’s role in the peace process Brima Sesay, as I have seen others throughout the series from you, I would have been very suprised! I only wish you had clear reasons for supporting or criticizing his role in the process as some of us have done. When I read and re read the serialisation Brima Sesay, my gratitude to this peace maker only increases! I am a Muslim but whenever I think of the role of Omrie Golley in the whole process – this quotation from the Bible comes to mind always – ‘ Blessed are the peacemakers! ‘
Ambassador Golley is lucky that the Special Court that was set up to try those who bored the greatest responsibilities in the crimes committed during the war in Sierra Leone was cash strap and so it first prosecutor, David Crane made the difficult decision to try only three persons each from all the warring faction save for the SLA and ECOMOG and also set the mandate of war from November 1996 to when the Lomé Peace was signed. Under international humanitarian law, command responsibilities extend to promoting and defending the atrocities of a group responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity and in this case the RUF. Ambassador Golley as spoke person and self-claim legal representative of the RUF was in command responsibility to either stop the crimes that the RUF were committing while he defended them or resign in protest to the heinous crimes that they committed while he continue to defend them.
The Role that Ambassador Golley played for the RUF as they went on the rampage against the civilian populace before and during the 1 January 1999 invasion of Freetown alone is equivalent to the role that Paul Joseph Goebbels the chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, played for the Nazi. Ambassador Golley used his skills in public speaking to defend the RUF as the group went about amputating innocent men and women including children. But for Prosecutor David Crane’s decision to only indict three persons each from each of the war factions and the blanket amnesty that the Sierra Leone government was armed-twist to grant to all those who committed crimes before the Lomé Peace accord, Ambassador Golley should have faced the full force of the law. Moina Fofana from the CDF was the CDF’s spokesperson. He was indicted because unlike the RUF, the CDF did not have many high level commanders. Whilst we accept Golleys’s effort to launder his battered image, he should not make mockery of the people of Sierra Leone who shivered in fear every time he gave interviews on the BBC focus on Africa in behalf of the RUF.
The last APC government of President Koroma had helped him in his venture to launder his image and name by making him the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Korea. He should just let sleeping dogs lie. He can vie for any position in Sierra Leone. After all, did Victor Foh not become Vice President? Was Victor Foh not the Minister of Finance in the AFRC/RUF junta government?
I was one of those who viewed this man Omrie Golley negatively. Being a victim of the war myself, I often asked myself, why a man living the good life in London, would want to leave that and go to associate with bad people! I remember reading about this man in the newspapers in Freetown and all the bad things that were said about him! Then recently, after reading the first of the serialisations about him and his role by this researcher, I started thinking again after all this time. I also started my own investigations. Thanks to the internet I was able to view reports by the UN on SL going as far back as 1996 looking for writings about this man Golley. I looked at special court proceedings and evidences from all sides relating to Golley. I also looked at the TRC findings, and other articles.
After having read all of this, and completed this serialisation, I honestly feel that I have read this man wrong! This man is not bad. His intentions were honorable. He genuinely wanted peace. Of course I can fully understand why people may have thought of him the way they did because of him associating with the RUF. I think it was a maverick move. Foolhardy perhaps, but my God, it was brave!
I can truly say to you all that for me, I feel freer because my conscience is now clearer about this guy. He loved his country and that’s why he went to talk to the RUF. Nobody wanted to talk to them at that time, even though they were in control of much of the countryside then! He believed in himself that he could talk to them. Even looking at all those who have spoken badly of him, other than the fact that he went to talk to and associate with these people, who by the way were SierraLeoneans like you, me, and him, not one of them has put out there anything that we can point to, proving that he was a bad person! I like this man Golley now, and if I ever meet him, I will open my heart to him and tell him what I’m telling you now. God bless you all.
I guess it’s over three consecutive months now, when some respectable folks started selling”Ambassador Omrie Golley’s” terrible resume. I think he should be the man to stop people of doing this, totally stop writing. I don’t know if this is a wise idea to inflict more harm in to our old wounds. Though we were teenagers at the time when the unsympathetic brutal war was taking place in the 90s, yeah!, brother for someone to represents killer groups and takes credit for that? I always tried hard to work with my five senses, the Arabs called it”الحواس الخمس”. No, no, stop selling this resume, it’s unacceptable. The RUF leader “Mr.Foday Saibana Sankoh” and some others have met with their creator, no human being can predicts how God will judged them but God says; verses 99.7 to 99.8″ So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”.
I believe maybe he wanted to lunch his political ambition, instead of coming up with all this terrible resume, we wanted to know, what has he done for the country?. Let’s put this issue to rest now, bring something else that will back-up his mission as a done deal peace maker. Thank you.