The Sierra Leone Web

Address by Major Johnny Paul Koromah
Head of State and Chairman of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council
Freetown - 13 June 1997

My dear elders, as you have already been aware of the recent political events that have unfolded in the country for the past two weeks, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council decided to overthrow the past regime not because of selfish motives, but purely to prevent the country from being plunged into a bloodbath of tribal war, resulting from the (?malicious) policies adopted by the former government, which were aimed at:

a. perpetuating the six-year old war which it had published the end but it had actually taken unrealistic moves to bring this sad chapter in our nation's history to a close;

b. marginalizing the Armed Forces of the Republic of Sierra Leone by neglecting their mandatory welfare notwithstanding the fact that the former government was fully aware of the [words indistinct] of the armed forces and the deplorable living conditions of [words indistinct].

c. The secret plan by the then deputy minister of defense, Singa Norman, to organize the assassination of the former SLPP leader and impose himself as president; the recent discovery of a huge quantity of arms and ammunition supports this fact. The huge sums of money collected by Singa Norman, under the umbrella of providing logistics for the Kamajors, but which he (?diverted) to his personal benefit. The amount (?the government) gave is 150 million leones each month of which I wonder whether [words indistinct].

d. Singa Norman, [words indistinct], ladies and gentlemen, in a bid to further strengthen the relationship between the Kamajors and the Army. Fully aware of the immeasurable role the Kamajors had played in the prosecution of the war, I am compelled to think that they would not be left out in this new administration. I want to take this opportunity to reassure the Kamajors that whatever misunderstanding they might have had is [word indistinct]. This was purely the allegation of some overambitious politicians that we are determined to make this [words indistinct]. I want to assure them that I and my administration will continue to put (?force) and confidence in them and that nothing will pitch them against us. the development of this nation depends greatly on the individual and his contribution [words indistinct].

Distinguished elders, it is against this background that I have decided to convene this important meeting with the view to make it clear that AFRC [words indistinct] to paramount chiefs, Kamajors [words indistinct] our determined effort to the peace process. I have absolute trust in all sections of Sierra Leoneans that none will ever think [words indistinct] its policy to continue to destroy and destabilize this country. We have had enough of destruction and commotion all as a result of this six-year old war. You all agree with me, dear elders, that there is none of you here that may not (?have been affected) by the rebel war either directly or indirectly. [Words indistinct] things have been destroyed, many people displaced, some amputated or maimed. Your farming activities have been seriously affected by this war. Our children's education has been disrupted, all these have had some serious socioeconomic, political, and cultural (?effects) on this nation. [Words indistinct] have caused all these various activities for the past two weeks. We do not want a situation that will (?reverse) our good intents and aims. This is where the Kamajors and other local defense forces will not be left out in this new administration.

Now, dear elders, as I have decided to go on join the membership our brothers, the Revolutionary United Front, I have considered it equally important to extend a similar gesture to our brothers, the Kamajors, so that we will all join hands in the formation of a broad-based government of national unity that will reflect a representative government from all sectors. The AFRC does not hold any personal grudge against any political party or group of individuals, but rather against the system. That was why the arrest of politicians we did had not been [words indistinct].

My dear elders, you have been aware of the presence of ECOMOG intervention force around the city of Freetown and the unfortunate incident that had occurred on Monday, 2 June 1997, in which the city was heavily bombarded from the sea by a Nigerian naval warship. This resulted in the killing of many innocent civilians, and especially [words indistinct], but first, I will kindly request that you rise and observe a minute's silence in honor of those who died as a result of the attack.

My dear elders, I want to humbly appeal to you all to help the [words indistinct] attitude in handling the internal affairs of our state. I have absolute trust and confidence in you all to provide [words indistinct] of political impact. This, I consider to be the solid (?fabrics) for the dynamism [word indistinct] positive, social change. [Words indistinct] democratic society [words indistinct]. Certainly, we cannot [words indistinct]. It should be made strong as it has now happened in [words indistinct] in the Army. [Words indistinct]. If we all now sit down collectively and critically analyze the problems, perhaps we may find it (?possible) [words indistinct] workable and sustainable solutions. I am aware of the fact that you are [words indistinct] certain individuals as politicians [words indistinct] critical of any good intention [words indistinct]. This is what has brought us to the present political situation. I want to assure you of my intention to fully ensure the dignity and pride of all [words indistinct] with a bid to [words indistinct] in the new administration.

My dear elders, I want to personally appeal to you to exercise patience and join with us in an effort to bring about a permanent and sustainable peace [words indistinct]. That is the way that we can [words indistinct] and progress. [Words indistinct]. Thank you and [words indistinct].