Julius Maada Bio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Julius Maada Bio
President of Sierra Leone
In office
16 January 1996 – 29 March 1996
Vice President Komba Mondeh
Preceded by Valentine Strasser
Succeeded by Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
Vice President of Sierra Leone
In office
5 July 1994 – 16 January 1996
President Valentine Strasser
Preceded by Solomon Musa
Succeeded by Komba Mondeh
Personal details
Born (1964-05-12) 12 May 1964 (age 50)
Tihun, Sierra Leone
Political party Sierra Leone People's Party
Spouse(s) Fatima Maada Bio
Children Woni
Charlie
Agnes
Alma mater Benguema Military Training Academy
American University
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Allegiance  Sierra Leone
Service/branch Sierra Leone Army
Years of service 1987–1996
Rank Brigadier
Commands Chief of the Defence Staff of the Armed Forces
Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council
Battles/wars First Liberian Civil War
Sierra Leone Civil War

Brigadier (Ret.) Julius Maada Wonie Bio (born May 12, 1964) is a Sierra Leonean politician who was the military Head of State of Sierra Leone from January 16, 1996 to March 29, 1996 under the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta government.

Bio is currently an active member of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and was its presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential election, having won the nomination at the July 31, 2011 SLPP national convention held at the Miatta Conference Hall in Freetown.[1][2].

Bio led a military coup in Sierra Leone on January 16, 1996, ousting his close friend and the leader of the NPRC junta government, Captain Valentine Strasser, following a division within senior members of the NPRC junta. In his first public broadcast to the nation following the 1996 coup, Brigadier General Bio stated that his support for returning Sierra Leone to a democratically elected civilian government and his commitment to ending the Sierra Leone civil war were his motivations for the coup.[3].

Bio fulfilled his promise to return Sierra Leone to democracy and handed power to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the SLPP following the latter's victory in the 1996 presidential election. After retiring from the military in 1996, Bio moved to the United States to continue his education. Bio is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C. with a Masters Degree in International Affairs. Bio had served as the president of International Systems Science Corporation, a consulting and investment management firm based in the United States. He is currently married and has four children.

Early life[edit]

Julius Maada Bio was born on May 12, 1964 in Tihun, a village in Sogbini Chiefdom, Bonthe District, just a few distance from the main commercial town of Mattru Jong, in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. Bio is one of 35 children born to Mende Paramount Chief Charlie Bio II of Sogbini Chiefdom [4]. Bio's father had nine wives. Bio is named after his paternal grandfather, who was also a paramount chief of Sogbini Chiefdom.

Bio began his primary education at the Roman Catholic Primary School in Tihun. After finishing his early years in primary school, Bio was sent to the town of Pujehun to live with his older sister Agnes, who was a primary school teacher in Pujehun. Bio completed his primary education at the Holy Family Primary School in Pujehun [5].

At the completion of his primary education, Bio's older sister, Agnes, enrolled him at the Bo Government Secondary School in Bo (commonly known as Bo School), a famous boarding school and one of Sierra Leone's most widely recognized secondary schools. Bio spent seven years at Bo School, rising to become school Prefect. Bio graduated from Bo School in 1984 with A-level at age 20.

Military career[edit]

After graduating from secondary school, Bio applied to enter Fourah Bay College in Freetown in 1985 at age 21. However Bio change his mind about college and instead enrolled in the Sierra Leone Armed forces military academy and was deployed for military training as a cadet officer at the Benguema Military Training Academy in Benguema, a town in the Western Area, just outside Freetown. He was directly under the command of Major Fallah Sewa, who was head of cadet trainings at the military academy.

Bio graduated from the Military academy as a Second Lieutenant in the Sierra Leone Army in October 1987 at age 22. His first posting as a soldier was at the Lungi Garrison in Lungi, Port Loko District in 1987. Bio was later sent to Kambia District as part of the Economic Emergency Unit, created by President Joseph Saidu Momoh to combat the deepening meltdown and criminality across Sierra Leone. In 1988, Bio was re-posted at Lungi to be trained by United Nations forces in aviation security. After the training, Bio was posted to Benguema as a platoon commander.

In 1990, the Sierra Leone Government sent to Liberia as a member of ECOMOG peacekeeping force to battle the rebels of the Liberian Civil War that was fighting to overthrow the Liberian Government. Bio and several other Sierra Leonean soldiers, including Captain Valentine Strasser, and Seargon Solomon Musa were deployed to Liberia as part of Sierra Leone’s contribution to ECOMOG. At the time, thousands of Liberians were fleeing to Sierra Leone weekly, exposing the country’s fragile security and adding to the economic hardship.

After a year in Liberia as an ECOMOG soldier, the Sierra Leone Government ordered Bio and several members of Sierra Leonean soldiers serving in Liberia to immediately return to Sierra Leone and report to the army barracks in Daru, Kailahun District as a member of a 600 battalion of soldiers set up by President Momoh in order to squash a rebellion by rebels known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) that had just begun in villages in Jaluahun Chiefdom, Kailahun District in Eastern Sierra Leone in March 1991. The soldiers included future NPRC members Seargon Solomon Musa, Captain Valentine Strasser, Lieutenant Sahr Sandy and captain Tom Nyuma.

Participation in 1992 military coup[edit]

On April 29, 1992, Bio was one of a group of six young Sierra Leonan soldiers that included Captain Valentine Strasser, Lieutenant Sahr Sandy, Surgeon Solomon Musa, Captain Tom Nyuma and Captain Komba Mondeh that toppled president Joseph Saidu Momoh's All People's Congress (APC) government in a bloodless military coup. The young soldiers formed the Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) with Strasser as their leader and Head of State of Sierra Leone.

Bio's first appointment following the formation of the NPRC was as the Secretary of State South, stationed in the country's second capital Bo. He was later moved to Freetown to serve as Secretary of State in charge of Information and Broadcasting. At this point, he was promoted to Captain alongside other junior lieutenants. As a leading member of the coup that kicked out the APC government, Bio served as SCS member throughout the NPRC's stay in power and when Strasser's deputy, captain S.A.J. Musa, was sacked and exiled to the UK, Bio was appointed to the position.

1996 military coup[edit]

On January 16, 1996, Bio lead a military coup, ousting captain Valentine Strasser following a division within the governing Supreme Council of State (SCS) over whether to seek peace with the RUF before multi-party elections, planned for March 1996, or go ahead with the election notwithstanding the ongoing war in the country, and the conditions for participation (or disqualification) of junta members in the elections. The coup was backed by many high ranking NPRC soldiers including Colonel Tom Nyuma, Lt Colonel Komba Mondeh, Lt Colonel Reginald Glover, Lt Colonel Idriss Kamara, and Lt Colonel Karefa-Kargbo. Strasser then the leader of the NPRC and the military Head of State of Sierra Leone was handcuffed at gunpoint by his own military bodyguards who were supposed to protect him and was immediately flown into exile in a military helicopter to Conakry [6].

Political career[edit]

Bio officially became a member of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) in 2005. That same year, Bio sought the leadership of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) at its national convention in Makeni on September 3–4, 2005; he took third place, with 33 votes, behind Vice President Solomon Berewa, who received 291 votes, and Charles Margai, who won 34 votes.[1] In the Sierra Leonean press, Bio was quoted in 2007 as saying he would overthrow a new APC government if the APC won the 2007 election. According to Bio, this was taken out of context, and he said that if the "appalling" conditions that existed in 1992 were to return, he would seize power.[2]

On the night of 31 July 2011, Julius Maada Bio won the election to become the SLPP's 2012 presidential candidate at the SLPP convention, which was held at the Youyi Building in the heart of Freetown. He faced off with President Ernest Bai Koroma of the ruling APC and was defeated, winning 37% of the vote, but established the SLPP as the only viable opposition party in Sierra Leone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Vice President Berewa Leads SLPP", statehouse-sl.org, September 6, 2005.
  2. ^ "Sierra Leone’s former leader denies plans to seize state authority", African Press Agency, July 30, 2007.
Political offices
Preceded by
Valentine Strasser
President of Sierra Leone
1996
Succeeded by
Ahmad Tejan Kabbah