Monday March 7, 2005

Mr. Abu Aiah Koroma, the politician once regarded as the leader of the Kono people of Sierra Leone, has died. Mr. Koroma died yesterday in Freetown, just two months after his beloved wife also succumbed to death’s balmy hands in the U.S.

Mr. Koroma,  a British-trained lawyer, came to prominence in the 1960s when the late Brigadier A.T.Juxon-Smith  appointed him Attorney General in the then NRC Junta . He was charged with  Misprison of Treason  by the Siaka Stevens’ APC government  in 1968 after  the NRC lost power that year .

The charge at the time alleged that Mr. Koroma knew or had cause to know that Brigadier Juxon-Smith and his junta endeavoured to subvert the SierraLeone constitution , but failed to inform authorities about it.  Mr. Koroma  considered the charge so preposterous he caused a stir in court  for many days when  he refused to take a plea .

Koroma was eventually found guilty and sentenced to a long-term imprisonment at the notorious Pademba Road Prison. He was later released when the government granted amnesty to the 1967 alleged coup masterminds and appointed General Manager of the Diamond Mining Company ( DIMINCO). He  also served as Minister in the APC government of Major-General J.S.Momoh.

Mr. Koroma remained in  the political limelight  when the military junta then , headed by Brigadier -General  Marda Bio , under international pressure , restored civilian rule with the 1996 General Elections , which Koroma contested as Presidential candidate for the Democratic Center Party ( DCP ) .He won only 36, 799 votes , which constituted 5 % of all votes. Mr. Koroma then  declared support for the victorious SLPP  was appointed in the very first Prsident Ahmad Tejan Kabbah government as Minister of Presidential and Political Affairs. He served in that capacity until he was dropped in a cabinet reshuffle in 2002.

Koroma was instrumental in having the Donsos , the Kono  wing of the Civil Defence Force ( CDF) , and remnants of the Revolutionary United Front ( RUF) in Kono join the disarmament program at the conclusion of the Sierra Leone war in 2001.

Sia Lamin  , who informed COCORIOKO  about the demise of Mr. Koroma , said his death was a huge loss to the Konos and Sierra Leoneans in general because of the services he rendered his country. May his soul rest in peace.


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