Koroma swears himself in as Sierra Leone president

WEDNESDAY, 4.30PM

SIERRA Leonean coup leader Major Johnny Paul Koroma on Tuesday installed himself as the country’s president, and pladged to work towards national reconciliation and the eventual restoration of democracy.

“We are committed to bringing this country to lasting peace and then eventually to returning the country to a democratically elected government,” Koroma said in a brief speech at his low-key swearing-in ceremony at military headquarters.

Koroma on Wednesday lost no time in pressing ahead with his stated plans, calling on the international community, NGOs and the business and public service communities to resume normal business, co-operate and embrace the new found peace, saying “we prepare for democracy”.

Speaking in an interview at military headquarters in Freetown, the new president said while his government is going to be broad-based, accommodating all shades of the Sierra Leone public, his primary focus will be on rapid socio-economic growth and consolidating the peace.

Meanwhile, Koroma has met religious leaders, labour congress and some civil society members to explore the possibilities of getting the population back to work. Banks in the country are still closed.

“We know we have caused serious damage during the process of taking over but we are asking to the general public for forgiveness. I am also calling on all Sierra Leoneans to pull their human and financial resources together and build a better country,” the new president said.

Koroma promised that measures to discipline the army have been put in place and that he will revolutionise the army for it to regain its past “glory and respect”.

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