The Sierra Leone Web


Proposed by Dr. John Karefa-Smart


A. Conference Themes:

  • Reconciliation
  • Restoration of durable democracy
  • Lasting peace

B. Conference Goal:

To provide a forum for addressing, in an open, creative, and frank manner, the many ills which have long plagued and deepened the cleavages within our society, and which led to the May 25, 1997 coup d'etat.

C. Conference Objectives:

  • To restore a democratic civilian order
  • To implement the Abidjan Peace Accord
  • To seek genuine national reconciliation
  • To agree upon a programme for post-war resettlement, rehabilitation, and reconstruction

D. Conference Venue:

The conference should preferably be held in Freetown.

E. Conference Preconditions:

The willingness of AFRC and ECOMOG to engage in discussions, in good faith, for a peaceful settlement of the crisis will be demonstrated by:

  • Withdrawal of all Nigerian military forces and armaments from Sierra Leone, especially from Lungi International Airport

This action will:

  • Encourage the civilian population that fled the country to return and resume normal activities; and
  • Restore international trade and travel

F. Conference Participants:

Following the successful lmodel of the two Bintumani conferences, participants should include accredited representatives of the following:

  • President Kabbah's cabinet
  • Paramount Chiefs
  • The AFRC
  • All branches of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces
  • The Police
  • The Revolutionary United Front (RUF)
  • Kamajors
  • Kapras
  • Other civil defence groups
  • Nongovernmental organizations and voluntary agencies
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Trade unions
  • Petty traders
  • Professional associations
  • Universities

G. Conference Facilitators and Advisors:

  • Representatives of the four Guarantors of the Abidjan Accord of November 30, 1996--namely, Cote d'Ivoire, the United Nations, the Organization of African States (OAU), and the Commonwealth--should particpate as facilitators.
  • Representatives of Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America--all of which wield considerable authority and influence in such international organizations as the U.N., Commonwealth, Group of 8, World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund--should be invited to take part in the conference as advisors.
  • Representatives of South Africa, which, under President Nelson Mandela's leadership, has succeeded in welding together a divided country, should be invited as consultants on managing a divided society.

H. Conference Agenda

The agenda must, among other items, include the following:

(1) Abidjan Peace Agreement

  • Implementation of the agreement as the basis on which a more comprehensive and enduring peace can be built
  • Including the Kamajors, Kapras, and other civil defence groups in comprehensive and binding peace agreements
  • Endorsement and support of the agreements by ECOWAS, OAU, and the U.N. Security Council

(2) Commissions of Inquiry

Review of the reports of all commissions of inquiry between 1967 and 1994, which contributed to denial of fundamental individual human rights.

(3) Appointments to Public Office

Review of all appointments to public office so that a consensus will be reached on the need to reflect our society's ethnic and cultural diversity.

  • Recommendation that Parliament pass the necessary legislation to ensure that all future appointments to public office reflect the national character in terms of indigenous ethnic composition. Appointments of ministers, senior civil servants, members of the judiciary, and management boards must reflect, as much as practicable, the ethnic composition of our society.
  • Agreement on the need for legislation to make the composition of the Defence and Police Forces reflect our society's ethnic composition.

(4) Amnesty

Discussion of legislation to grant full amnesty to the members of the Sierra Leone Defence Forces, the Nigerian Defence Forces, the coup pakers, the RUF, Kamajors, Kapras, and the NPRC.

(5) Restoration of Democratic, Constitutional Government

Options to be considered should include:

  • Dissolution of President Kabbah's government and the AFRC.
  • The return of Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah as president and the approval of the National Conference of an Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU).
  • The composition of the IGNU should reflect the national character by ensuring that all indigenous ethnic groups and the RUF are represented by at least one minister or deputy minister.
  • Arrangements for presidential and parliamentary elections on dates fixed by the National Conference.
  • Appointment of a committee of international experts to review the 1991 constitution and recommend a new constitution to be put before the country in a national referendum.