Hello,welcome to Biogreat Tv, if you’re new
here please subscribe and turn on the notification so you don’t miss our next video. How the Military Entered the Sierra Leonean
Politics Sierra Leone has seen a couple of military
takeovers since its independence. The first coup was in 1967, then another in 1968, with
two others in 1992 and 1996 respectively. There was a general election in Sierra Leone
on the 17th of March 1967 where the ruling party lost most of its power.
It was in this election that Prime Minister Albert Margai got defeated. Albert Margai
was the second prime minister of Sierra Leone, and half-brother of Sir Milton Margai, the
country’s first Prime Minister. He was also the father of Sierra Leonean politician,
Charles Margai. Four days after that general election, the democratic process got interrupted.
On the 21st of March 1967, Brigadier David Lansana commanded Samuel Hinga Norman to arrest
the newly elected prime minister Siaka Stevens, just before the election result was announced.
Brigadier Lansana then went on to established martial law in the country after taking control
of the national media houses and State House. David Lansana had been appointed army commander
of Sierra Leone in 1964 and Prime Minister Albert Margai was a close friend of his.
He made a national radio announcement on the 22nd of March 1967 which clarified his decision
to declare martial law in Sierra Leone. Lansana’s decision to take over the country
and institute martial law was not welcomed by many of his fellow officers. They believed
that the military should not be used to control the affairs of the government, and they felt
David Lansana was not a disciplined leader either.
So some senior military officers including Major Charles Blake removed him from his command
on the 23rd of March 1967. They then created the National Reformation Council (NRC) which
took control of the Sierra Leone government. Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Juxon-Smith was
asked to return to Sierra Leone and head the National Reformation Council in his country.
Not too long after this, David Lansana and his sister-in-law, Ella Koblo Gulama were
arrested and accused of treason. They were accused of planning with former
Prime Minister Albert Margai to remove the newly elected democratic leader during the
general election. Ella Gulama and Albert Margai had met on the
19th of March 1967 and agreed not to step down from office even if the election result
showed that the prime minister lost. It was suggested that Brigadier Lansana staged
the coup d’état according to the wishes of his sister-in-law and his ally. Ella Gulama
was later released from prison over a year later, but Lansana was kept in prison until
he was executed with other coup plotters on the 19th of July 1975.
Later in 1968, there was a coup known as the Sergeants’ Coup which overthrew the National
Reformation Council. This coup took place just a year after the first military coup
in Sierra Leone, and was led by Brigadier John Amadu Bangura.
Brigadier Bangura was a soldier who supported democracy and wished it for his country after
independence, so he was against the initial coup and how the country eventually came under
a military ruling council. He created the Anti-Corruption Revolutionary
Movement (ACRM) which was a group of non-commissioned officers of the military.
Bangura became the acting Governor-General of Sierra Leone and leader of the Anti-Corruption
Revolutionary Movement on the 18th of April 1968.
He had no intention of holding political power as a military leader, so he handed power over
to Siaka Stevens as Prime Minister of Sierra Leone on the 22nd of April 1968.
Meanwhile, during the Sierra Leone Civil War, Captain Valentine Strasser served at the war
front in Kailahun District. President Joseph Saidu Momoh’s government failed to provide
enough supplies and necessary military equipment for the soldiers.
Salaries were never paid on time, and their welfare seemed not to be a top priority of
the government. The soldiers became worried and angry. Many
warnings and appeals were sent to the government to consider the welfare of the soldiers, but
they were ignored. Most of the young soldiers then revolted
and marched from the war front in Kailahun to the State House in Freetown on the 29th
of April 1992. This military protest was led by Valentine
Strasser and Solomon Musa. The presence of the soldiers in Freetown made the government
panic. President Momoh eventually left the country
to live in exile in Conakry. The absence of a ruling government made Valentine Strasser
and his fellow soldiers seize power and form a military ruling council.
Captain Valentine Strasser became the leader of the military council and Head of State
of the country. As if Sierra Leone hadn’t had enough coups,
on the 16th January 1996, Maada Bio led a military coup to remove Captain Valentine
Strasser after a disagreement in the ruling Supreme Council of State (SCS) over a peace
treaty ahead of the country’s election in March.
There was also a dispute over the conditions for qualification or disqualification of members
of the military junta in the upcoming elections. High-ranking soldiers supported the plan
to overthrow Captain Valentine Strasser. The military Head of State was flown out of the
country to Conakry after he was handcuffed and detained by the military bodyguards who
were meant to protect him. What have we missed on of this history? Let’s know in the comment section. Will it
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