The Sierra Leone Web


Office of the Chairman
State House
Sierra Leone

Dr. Alimamy Paolo Bangura
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Hotel Ivoire
Room 454

Since my broadcast to the nation of yesterday the 30th July, 1997, I understand that it has not gone down well to a number of our enlightened citizens. The truth of the matter is that I was visibly upset because of the kind of report I was beginning to receive from the meeting of the ECOWAS Foreign Ministers in Abidjan. This made me take the unusual step of proposing a meeting to be held between ex-President Tejan Kabbah, the leader of the RUF Foday Saybana Sankoh and myself at a time and venue to be suggested in the first instance by the ECOWAS Foreign Ministers. Despite the considerable clinedown (sic.) by me, I was beginning to feel that my Government was been (sic.) faced with an ultimatum come what may.

My speech was therefore delivered on behalf of my Government in direct response to what appeared to me at the time to be the continued intransigence of the ECOWAS Foreign Ministers based on their mandate. Indeed I came to the conclusion that they were not prepared to move one inch from their previous position, and chose the path of inflexibility.

I now concede after listening to independent and proper advice that I over-reacted and for this I am sorry. As human being we all make mistakes and I am no exception. I am willing further to admit this much - that I erred in making such a broadcast at the time the negotiations were in progress in Abidjan and the impression might have been created that our delegation was not acting in good faith throughout. To that extent the distinguished Foreign ministers were right in coming to the conclusions they arrived at without the benefit of our assessment of the situation from a distance. In hindsight however, I now realize that I may have put my Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Alimamy Paolo Bangura as leader of our delegation in an unenviable position as he was neither fully briefed nor was he aware of the contents of the said broadcast of yesterday the 30th of July, 1997.

Certain measures, will therefore be taken soonest to put the record straight in the interest of bringing lasting peace to our nation by a step by step process towards a return to full Constitutional Rule once again.

May I also state that leadership is a mixed biological experience. Our nation must necessarily draw strength from the experience and wise Counsel of the old as well as the naivety and innocence of the young.

From now onwards I want to assure the entire nation that I am open to corrections from well meaning citizens.

Please note in conclusion that the text of 6/17 of my broadcast on Wednesday the 30th of July 1997 had a catch therein for want of a use of a better word. I now reproduce in extenso the relevant parts of the said page 6/17 which states as follows:-

"Fellow Countrymen, let me now give you a glimpse of the vision the AFRC Government has for this nation and share with you some of the programmes we intend to pursue to lift our dear motherland from the doldrums and the dependency syndrome that has highlighted our faulty economic march till now."

I fully understand that it takes courage to admit openly when one has erred and more so for a Head of State. I hope we can all put this behind us as one big nightmare with the hope that the entire nation will sooner rather than later embrace each other as brothers and sisters once again in a climate of peace and security.

I ask of you to read this my statement to the ECOWAS Foreign Ministers in Abidjan and trust that what I have now said will in good measure provide a level of comfort that will enable them to see their way clear towards the ultimate resumption of the talks in Abidjan in an atmosphere of the utmost good faith on all sides.

Once again I wish you all well and pray for a successful outcome at the end of your deliberations.

With sentiments of High Esteem,

I remain,


Major Johnny Paul Koroma