ADDRESSED TO: See Below
24th February, 2000
THE LOME PEACE AGREEMENT
I write to express my profound disappointment on the current trend of events in Sierra Leone, regarding the correct implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement. Since my return to Freetown last year, I wrote in vain several letters to His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, copying ECOWAS Heads of State on the violations in the Lome Peace Agreement.
As a follow-up of the RUFP Position Paper dated 27th December, 1999, we sent two documents to the Joint Implementation Committee of the Lome Peace Agreement on 20th and 24th January, 2000.
I signed the Lome Peace Agreement in good faith after over three (3) hours of a very lengthy discussion with His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, His Excellency Charles Taylor of Liberia, His Excellency Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo and His Excellency Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso on the night of Tuesday 6th July, 1999. I was assured by Your Excellencies that all efforts will be made to ensure that all the parties to the Lome Peace Agreement would be treated fairly and that ECOWAS and ECOMOG would stand firmly behind all the terms and conditions of the Lome Peace Agreement.
Your Excellencies, all of the sub-headings of Article XIII titled "TRANSFORMATION AND NEW MANDATE OF ECOMOG" clearly illustrates the call for a revision and expansion of ECOMOG by the addition of two other countries in the sub-region. The RUFP notes a lack of concern from ECOWAS and ECOMOG, who have handed over the situation in Sierra Leone to the United Nations. My discussion with Your Excellencies made me believe that the sub-region was ready and able to work in co-operation with the two parties for peace to reign supreme in Sierra Leone.
What we actually realise is a draining of all efforts invested in the Lome Peace Agreement of 7th July, 1999. The new Mandate of UNAMSIL is highly threatening and not welcomed on any front. The RUFP is now isolated and not considered as contributors to the current peace process. ECOMOG is thrown out. The United Nations intervene with all kinds of threats, through Chapter 7, Article 39 of the United Nations Charter.
It derives from Chapter 7, Article 40 of the United Nations Charter that the RUFP and the Government of Sierra Leone must be dually consulted in line with the course of the peace process. President Kabbah tells me that the United Nations do not recognise the Sovereignty of the Republic of Sierra Leone. He is not even consulted, but handed carte blanche decisions taken at Security Council level. Also he informed me that the RUFP must keep quiet and allow the United Nations Security Council to rule Sierra Leone and its citizenry by any forceful means. The RUFP continues to complain through peaceful means, and will not resort to any form of violence, despite great provocation, which I am sure, Excellencies, you are all aware of. Dialogue is the prerequisite of the People of Sierra Leone. The RUFP is perfectly willing and ready to be consulted and to contribute towards the Sierra Leone peace process through complaints and positive counter-action on all fronts.
We are drawing attention on the constant abuses being faced by members of the RUFP. As moral guarantors and contributors to UNAMSIL, we count on your undying efforts to bring peace in Sierra Leone, and prevent the negative, fatal and diabolical plans aimed at destabilising the peace process and the forthcoming General and Presidential Elections.
The RUFP Position Paper and Presentations (aforementioned) clearly demonstrates some of these manipulations. At this point, we would like to keep you posted of the SLPP-led Government war activities. Even as I write this letter, Vice President Joe Demby and Deputy Defence Minister, Chief Hinga Norman are receiving arms at Nitti, (which is the old Sierra Rutile Port) as well as on Bonthe Island. Thousands of Kamajors and Civil Defence Force Militia are being trained by the SLPP Government in order to perpetrate atrocities to non-members of the SLPP, and in preparation for the coming Presidential and General Elections in Sierra Leone. To illustrate this statement, please find attached the very recent declaration of Chief Hinga Norman, Deputy Defence Minister, justifying their position on 15th February, 2000 (Annex I) that "Only war will end war, ….." The SLPP continues to make a mockery of the Lome Peace Agreement.
Your Excellencies, please be advised of my entire commitment to the peace process and will personally leave no stone unturned to ensuring the Lome Peace Agreement is successful and that the People of Sierra Leone get peace.
We would also like to keep you abreast of the deliberate violation of the Cease-fire. The Helicopter Gunship owned by the Government of Sierra Leone is flying over various areas in the Provinces (Rokupr, Segbwema, Gbandajuma-yaweh and Bunumbu). This has already caused great panic and death to numerous persons. The RUFP wish to state here that it has not retaliated with force, but is simply continuing to inform by peaceful means the continuing violations of Lome Peace Agreement. The RUFP is now a POLITICAL PARTY, and will ensure that all problems are solved by peaceful means.
The SLPP-led Government believes that the only way for them to defeat the RUFP is to take the arms, marginalise the combatants and RUFP personnel and exterminate all RUFP personnel and their family members. We are very much aware of this plan by the SLPP and will no longer stand by and watch Sierra Leone become a blood bath.
Instead of seeing the problems of Sierra Leone solved, the RUFP sees cosmetic efforts and diplomatic moves and attempts by the SLPP Government of Sierra Leone to scare and intimidate the RUFP with the United Nations Security Council and its attendant Resolutions, threatening the use of force.
Your Excellencies, you will agree with us that the use of force is not a mission of UNAMSIL, nor is it stated in the Lome Peace Agreement. The prevailing circumstances on the ground coupled with the peculiarities which are attached to every situation, as in the case of Sierra Leone does not warrant the use of force at all.
The threat of force is further backed by non-provision of humanitarian aid to former RUFP areas. So far the South and some parts of the East of Sierra Leone are receiving humanitarian aid. A recent example is the case of a World Bank Mission comprising of International Non-Governmental Organisation, who wished to visit Kailahun and other areas in the East of Sierra Leone; and Makeni and areas in the North of Sierra Leone. This reflects that the humanitarian organisations, who are supposed to be neutral, are practicing tribalism with the full support of the United Nations, who are giving out this negative propaganda. Sierra Leonean civilians stay in large numbers in these areas, and it is quite unfair for them to be castigated for political and tribal reasons. We understand that they were stopped by UNAMSIL to supply aid to the previous RUFP areas. This is causing a serious rift in the country, dividing certain parts of the NORTH and EAST from the rest of the Country. WE HAVE MADE CONSTANT REPORTS TO PRESIDENT KABBAH CONCERNING THIS SERIOUS PROBLEM.
My position as Chairman of the Commission for the Management of Strategic Resources, National Reconstruction and Development with the status of Vice President is also another issue of deep concern. When I signed the Abidjan Peace Agreement, I did not request for any position. I only requested for the opportunity for the RUF/SL to be transformed into a Political Party. That request was denied and a machination against me led to my arrest in Nigeria in 1997, whilst I was trying to ensure the proper and practical implementation of the Abidjan Peace Accord.
In signing the Lome Peace Agreement and requesting for key positions for members of the RUF and myself, I wanted to ensure that the RUFP would interact within the system and personally give the people of Sierra Leone peace. This could only be achieved by the RUF being part and parcel of the system and changing the system from within towards successfully democratic elections. The people of Sierra Leone and even Sierra Leone herself has been hurt by negative propaganda and I will not stand by and allow the country to be destroyed again by any force, internal or external.
On the issue of the positions offered to the RUFP under the Lome Peace Agreement within the Government of Sierra Leone, I mention the following anomalies:
- Since the 3rd of October, 1999, when the Press Release issued by the Government of Sierra Leone confirmed my appointment as Chairman for the Commission for the Management of Strategic Resources, National Reconstruction and Development, I still do not know my salary. I have only received a little of Three Million Leones (Le 3,000,000), equivalent to One Thousand, Five Hundred United States Dollars (US$ 1,500). That was in November, 1999.
- All efforts are openly made by the Government of Sierra Leone to frustrate the commencement and positive operation of the Commission for the Management of Strategic Resources, National Reconstruction and Development.
- I am not even allowed to visit certain Government Ministries, and the Government refused to provide Members of the RUFP with Sierra Leone Passports.
- There are no facilities to prove and exercise that I have the status of Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in respect to the Lome Peace Agreement and the Diplomatic Passport issued to me.
- The RUFP Ministers in Government have still to receive facilities commensurate with their positions and the task they perform for the good of the Sierra Leonean Society. To name a few examples, no housing and transport facilities have been provided and they are frustrated on almost every hand as they try to fulfill their roles as Ministers.
- Other positions such as the Diplomacy, Parastatals, etc. have not yet been given to nominated members from the RUFP by the SLPP Government of Sierra Leone. Blatant efforts are being made to prevent the RUFP from participating in the Governance of the Republic of Sierra Leone, contrary to the Lome Peace Agreement.
President Kabbah and the SLPP Government of Sierra Leone are openly trying to destroy the Lome Peace Agreement as they did with the Abidjan Peace Accord under the silence of the moral guarantors and International Supporters. President Kabbah has, several times, confessed to his Government breaking trust with regards to the Abidjan Peace Accord. The RUFP is always given the "goat’s head" to wear. The RUFP is always given the bad name to the detriment of the true implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1171 was first blatantly disregarded by President Kabbah and his Government when he, along with former Prime Minister John Major brought in mercenaries from Great Britain. The restriction on RUF/AFRC personnel was not brought up in the Lome Peace Agreement. The Lome Peace Agreement gives a lot of unconditional terms to both parties for true and lasting peace in Sierra Leone.
The Trust Fund for the RUF/SL to transform itself effectively into a Political Party is not yet operational. We have received no co-operation from President Kabbah and his SLPP Government in this regard. We cannot sit down and wait for the Trust Fund to magically appear. I will have to travel around and solicit support in this regard. So it is therefore of great shock for me to hear, as it is currently being negatively propagated that I have run away and am currently on an arms-buying trip as a result of the sale of diamonds from Sierra Leone. We did not preach against corruption and a rotten system only to turn around and corrupt ourselves to the detriment of the people of Sierra Leone. It is a big shame for a Multilateral Organisation like the United Nations to fabricate and disseminate negative information without any evidence for the sake of safeguarding "so-called friendship". These negative rumours presently being propagated by the SLPP Government of Sierra Leone, aided by the United Nations continue to hurt the People of Sierra Leone.
Further clarification on my trip out of Sierra Leone can be proved from all medical records and results from Abidjan and South Africa. I left for a Medical trip and a big deal is made out of it. I want Your Excellencies to be aware that I WILL have to travel to solicit support for the successful operation of the RUFP as a Political Party in Sierra Leone.
Finally, I have left my family and members of the RUFP behind in Freetown and would never leave them to be subjected to harassment, which had already commenced in Freetown, even before my departure. Actually, reports are coming out from various parts of Sierra Leone of victimisation of RUFP personnel and members of our families. We are not happy about this and are hereby making a complaint, and seeking your cautionary measure on the Government of Sierra Leone to stop harassing civilians and RUFP personnel.
We call on the Moral Guarantors to be aware, that all former SLA combatants are being assimilated into the new Sierra Leone Army and trained by the SLPP Government, without the consent of the RUFP. The RUFP also have not been offered any position in this new "so-called" Sierra Leone Army, which is contrary to the Lome Peace Agreement.
We continue to assure Your Excellencies of our deep and sincere commitment to the Lome Peace Agreement and maintain that we will do nothing to destabilise the Lome Peace Agreement. Disarmament will continue from the RUFP side. I am now, on behalf of all at the RUFP calling for immediate, urgent, practical and positive action to be taken to ensure that all the other corresponding Articles of the Lome Peace Agreement are met. The implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement must be concurrent in a sincere, deep and committed spirit for the People of Sierra Leone to realise true and lasting peace. On behalf of the People of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front Party, I appeal for Your Excellencies diplomatic intervention NOW!!!
With every best wish.
Chairman Foday Saybana Sankoh
1. His Excellency Alpha Konare
President of the Republic of Mali and Chairman of ECOWAS
2. His Excellency Gnassingbe Eyadema
President of the Togolese Republic
3. His Excellency Dahkpanah Dr. Charles Ghankey Taylor
President of the Republic of Liberia
4. His Excellency Blaise Compaore
President of Burkina Faso
5. His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo
President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria
6. His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings
President of the Republic of Ghana
7. His Excellency General GUEI, Robert
Head of State Republic of Cote d’Ivoire
8. His Excellency Oluyemi Adeniji
Special Representative of the Secretary-General
9. His Excellency Peter Penfold
British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone
For the Attention of the British Government
10. His Excellency Joseph Melrose Jr.
United States of America Ambassador to Sierra Leone For the Attention of the
Federal Government of the U.S.A.
11. Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations
C/o Ms. Sandra Pepera of the Commonwealth
12. His Excellency Mohamed Gaddafi
President of the Libya Arab Jamahiriya
13. His Excellency Mathew Kereoko
President of the Republic of Benin
14. His Excellency Frederick Titus Jacoub Chiluba
President of the Republic of Zambia
15. His Excellency Yayah Jammeh
President of the Republic of Gambia
16. His Excellency Daniel Arap Moi
President of the Republic of Kenya
17. Prime Minister Republic of India
18. The President Republic of Kigistan
19. The President Republic of Russia
20. His Excellency Benjamin Mpaka
President of the Republic of Tanzania
21. Civil Society of Sierra Leone
C/o Campaign for Good Governance
22. Chairman Johnny Paul Koroma
Commission for the Consolidation of Peace (CCP)
cc. United Nations Security Council
His Excellency Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
His Excellency Thambo Mbeki
President of the Republic of South Africa