Ex-President Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah passed away yesterday after a protracted illness, aged 82.
The former Head of State is said to have died peacefully at his home in Juba, west of Freetown. After news of his demise broke yesterday, Sierra Leoneans at home and in the Diaspora took to the social media to express their heartfelt emotions for the monumental loss of his demise.
Dr. Kabbah was regarded by majority of Sierra Leoneans as a peace-loving man who placed country before party, and worked hard to return the country back to peace and stability after more than a decade of internecine strife.
He ascended the presidency in 1996 after winning a run-off presidential election which brought his Sierra Leone People’s Party to power after almost three decades in the political wilderness. His government was overthrown in 1997 by a ruthless military junta, but was restored in 1998 by Nigerian ECOMOG troops.
Ex-President Kabbah’s government was again almost toppled in an invasion of Freetown by murderous rebel forces in 1999, which left thousands murdered, hundreds amputated and raped, and dozens of houses burnt. He came back from the brink, as he aptly titled his post-presidency memoirs, and won a landslide election victory for a second and final mandate, defeating current President Ernest Bai Koroma in 2002 by more than 70% of the votes.
He left power in 2007, handing over to his predecessor, the current president.
Mr. Kabbah is credited to have presided over Sierra Leone’s transition from a war weary country to a peaceful democratic nation, overseeing a successful disarmament, two peaceful elections, the restoration of civil authority and establishment of key state institutions during his tenure.
Being a Muslim, he may be buried today.