The Sierra Leone Web



Text of recording of "special address" to the nation by Captain Valentine Strasser,
spokesman for the National Provisional Ruling Council, NPRC, on
30th April 1992


Fellow citizens, for over 23 years we have been misruled by an oppressive, corrupt, exploitative and tribalistic bunch of crooks and traitors, under the umbrella of the APC (All people's Congress) government. This regime has perpetuated nepotism, tribalism, gross mismanagement, total collapse of our economy, education, health, transport and communication systems. This regime has brought permanent poverty and a deplorable life for most Sierra Leoneans. This regime has failed us woefully. For Sierra Leone, the past 23 years can only be described as the lost decades. It is all over now!

Fellow countrymen and women, today marks the end of the APC regime forever. Today marks the beginning of a new era in the history of our country. We, the patriotic officers and men of the Sierra Leone armed forces, have overthrown the dummy APC government. The two constitutions by which the tyrannic APC government has been manipulating and creating complete chaos in our country have been suspended with immediate effect. A full state of emergency is being declared throughout the country.

We have initiated this clean-up exercise to eradicate from our country the destructive, exploitative and oppressive regime of the APC government, hitherto under the misguided leadership of the so-called Major General J.S. Momoh. We are depending on all of you, men, women and children of our beloved and long-forsaken Sierra Leone, to come together and resurrect our nation from the depth of despair and the wretched existence we have all been forced to live in. We have been made to take this line of action in order to save our country from the total catastrophe that we are rapidly heading for and from progressive degeneration.

In pursuing this line of action, we are committed to two major objectives, namely, one to ensure that the rebel incursion is brought to an immediate end and to repatriate our people to their respective homes to be followed by an intensive rehabilitation and reconstruction of all areas destroyed. Two, to sincerely pursue the process of returning our country to true multi-party democracy.

We fully appreciate the support our sister countries, more so, Guinea and Nigeria, have given us to help find a lasting solution to this rebel menace. Our action is designed to ensure that all support and assistance given by friendly countries are meaningfully utilised so that the sacrifice they are making, even to the extent of endangering the lives of their gallant soldiers, is not done in vain.

It is evident to all of us that the past regime did not have a sincere commitment to implement our return to a multi-party state. As soon as we put this rebel advance behind us, a broad-based committee of dedicated and committed citizens will be set up to ensure the realisation of our return to true multi-party system of government. We want all friendly nations to note that this is purely and internal – repeat – an internal matter intended to solve our chronic domestic problems created by the parasitic and corrupt APC bureaucracy. We are only patriotic Sierra Leoneans, most of whom happen to be soldiers fighting on the war front, and who have decided to halt our country's decline into oblivion and to set in motion a mechanism for redeeming our beloved nation in the position of the least developed country in the whole world. As soon as we all put our hands together and set this nation on the right track for meaningful development, we shall return to our military barracks where we rightfully belong.

Fellow countrymen and women, for how long were we going to preserve a system which has caused all of us to live in perpetual darkness? For how long were we going to watch our hospitals become mere mortuaries and our young professionals permanent economic refugees in other countries? For how long were we going to allow education to be an exclusive privilege for a selected few and subject our people to mass poverty in our country which can boast of vast ocean of resources? For how long?

Sierra Leoneans are no longer prepared to mortgage their God-given rights for the benefit of a bunch of a few corrupt thugs and we can no longer afford to be reduced to second class citizens in our own country. Our soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives on the war front in spite of very poor logistics support provided by the government whose leadership sit in Freetown, enriching themselves by gross misappropriation of war funds.

The destiny of our nation is now in our hands, regardless of where you come from and which tribe you belong to. After 31 years of independence, at least we can go out today and celebrate the final death of nepotism, gross mismanagement, corruption, injustice, tribalism and economic decay. We can go out and celebrate the resurrection of accountability, economic and social justice, and the dignity of Sierra Leoneans. We want the world to know that all our international obligations and commitments, especially to the Economic Community of West African States, African Development Bank, IMF and the World Bank, will be fully honoured. All foreign nationals are safe, and we shall very soon address the diplomatic communities in our country so that they will be fully aware of our intentions and give us the necessary support to rebuild our country.

Meanwhile, all our borders and airports and harbours remain closed. All our military commanders on the field and barracks are to stand by for further instructions. All former ministers and APC executives are requested, in their own interest, to report to the nearest police station for their own safety.

The country will be ruled by the National Provisional Ruling Council. And all permanent secretaries, directors and heads of parastatals will report directly to this council with immediate effect. We shall very soon announce membership of the council.

Fellow countrymen and women, we appeal to all peaceful and progressive citizens to come out in broad daylight and celebrate this great victory they have all scored over tyranny and mass corruption. Let us all rejoice for this great redemption.

May God help us all as we go through these difficult and trying times in our history. God bless you all.