26th May 2017
SLPP President Tejan Kabbah was a Bad War Leader in Sierra Leone!!!
By Oswald Hanciles (17/01/17)
Tejan Kabbah was unquestionably a bad war leader. He lost his capital city twice to the AFRC/RUF forces in May 1997 and January1999.
That is not disputed. What was accepted by the SLPP, and later, rationalised by the people, was that the loss of the capital city TWICE was unavoidable!! Nar bad bad lie dat!! Who has read Tejan Kabbah's autobiography, "Back From the Brink"? My interpretation of Tejan Kabbah's own written words on the military he inherited was material that history would use to prosecute him, and convict him. (Pictured: Late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah).
Kabbah wrote in his book about the chaotic and ill disciplined army he inherited from Maada Bio. Kabbah wrote that the military had been given the impression by Maada Bio as he relinquish power in April, 1996 that they were not really being permanently relegated to the barracks and away from governance - that the new civilian government was only temporary.
That the military would soon be restored to power and return to their mercenary ways which they had taken as their right during the last two years of the NPRC years. Tejan Kabbah wrote in his biography that between the time he took up office in April, 1996... to about the month of the eve of the May 25, 1997, there had been at least six coup attempts.
What did Tejan Kabbah do about these coup attempts?! Kabbah brought in Nigerian military intelligence officers to investigate the frequency of coup attempts. When nothing came out of this, Kabbah set up a committee headed by Bishop Keili of the Anglican Church (father of Engineer Andrew Keili, and one of the SLPP presidential aspirants) to look into the matter of frequent coups... A bishop!!
During war time!!! Don't forget that Tejan Kabbah and Solomon Berewa were advisers to the NPRC government before Kabbah became President. They should have had an idea of the chaos in the military, and their mindsets.
Kabbah failed to ginger up the army, to empower loyalists, to provide incentives to soldiers, and to take the tough actions soldiers see as part of their culture - especially during war time.
Kabbah was first a local civil servant, then an international civil servant: totally unused to the convulsions of governing a military during war time. We all know of the famous scenario in which Kabbah was informed about the May 25, 1997 coup THREE DAYS before it happened - and he invited his Chief of Defence Staff, Conteh, and Chief of Army Staff, Max Kanga, and asked them whether the rumour that there was a coup being planned was true?! Laugh!
They said no. Kabbah left it at that. The President, unprepared for governance of an African country, apparently had no experience with intelligence and counter-intelligence units within the military, and state - especially in war time.
Can you imagine a Siaka Stevens, Sekou Toure, Museveni, Mugabe, Eyadema behaving as stupidly as Kabbah did?! Kabbah believed solidly in the policy of appeasement... I would later go to the period after February, 1998.
But, for now, let me... I pause. Guys, I am paternally a Krio, but, I don't know how to write Krio... WRITE Krio!!
Courtesy: Oswald Hanciles, the Guru.