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venture. The deposits are reported to be the largest in the world. Production started in 1967 and the first shipment was made in June of that year. Exports of rutile in 1969 totalled 15,840 tons.

In 1969 total imports (£46-35 million) exceeded exports (£44.5 million) by £1.85 million. Diamonds and iron ore together provide about 80 per cent of the countries export earnings. Agricultural exports include palm kernels, coffee, cocoa and piassava. The main imports are machinery and plant, vehicles, electrical equipment, food stuffs and mineral fuels. There are no exchange restrictions in force. The smallness of the market limits the potential for manufacturing in Sierra Leone. The estimated annual per capita income is £50. Rice, fish and cassava are the staple foods of the local population and at present a proportion of the total rice consumption has to be imported. The Government has declared its intention of stepping up agricultural development.

In the Government's 1970/71 Budget the development and recurrent estimates were presented together. Current revenue was estimated at £25.5 million and current expenditure at £23:15 million. Development expenditure was estimated at £6.6 million; the overall deficit was estimated at £1.5 million.

Among the national projects not mentioned elsewhere is the King Tom Power Station in Freetown for which the World Bank lent the Government $3.9 million in 1968. The Guma Valley Water Scheme including the Guma Valley Dam (officially opened in 1967) which has a capacity of 4,800 million gallons was supported by a Commonwealth Development Corporation loan of £2 million in 1963. The African Development Bank have agreed to provide a further loan of £625,000 to extend the reservoir capacity and to duplicate the pipeline to Freetown. In 1963 another British loan was made in respect of the erection of a 24

а megawatt hydro-electric station which came into operation in 1967.

A National Oil Refinery was completed in February 1969. It was built by a Japanese company and financed from an Israeli source. It is now on stream and is operated by the Government together with a consortium of five overseas oil companies and managed mainly by British expatriate staff seconded from BP Ltd. The refinery has a capacity of 10,000 barrels per day which can more than cope with Sierra Leone's requirements. The Memorandum and Articles of Association were signed in April 1970.

At the end of December 1969 the International Development Association announced a loan of 3 million US dollars to assist the Sierra Leone Government in financing the extension of certain educational institutions. The Canadian International Development Agency is to provide equipment for these institutions to the value of 650,000 US dollars. The duration of the project will be three years and a Project Unit is in operation.

Sierra Leone's National Day, Independence Day, is celebrated on 27th April.


Before Independence, Sierra Leone consisted of the Colony, which was broadly identical with the peninsula on which Freetown stands, and the Protectorate on the mainland.

The history of modern Sierra Leone dates from 1787 when Granville Sharp and other British abolitionists, acting on a scheme proposed by Dr Henry Smeatham, purchased from a local chief named Naimbana a strip of land on the peninsula and settled on it 400 freed slaves. In 1791 a Royal Charter was granted to a Sierra Leone company, of which both Sharp and William Wilberforce were directors, and, despite difficulties with local tribesmen and with the French, more settlers were introduced, many being freed slaves from Jamaica and Nova Scotia. In 1800 the peninsula was granted to the chartered company by letters patent; and the court of directors was empowered to appoint a Governor and Council, the former having powers to make laws. In 1807, when Britain outlawed slave trading, a naval station was established at Freetown, and slaves freed in operations by the ships stationed there were brought back to the settlement. Finally in 1808 Freetown became a colony, and the jurisdiction of the company was assumed by the Crown. From 1816 to 1843 The Gambia was governed from Sierra Leone; and the Gold Coast was a dependency from 1843 to 1850.

In 1862 a large tract of coastal area including Sherbro Island was added to the colony, and as the century progressed treaties were made with neighbouring Chiefs to protect the trade of the colony with the hinterland, and British influence was thus extended. To define the geographical extent of this influence, an agreement on boundaries was made with Liberia in 1885 and with France in 1895; and in 1896 a protectorate was declared over the territories so defined. Although British law and taxation procedure were introduced, the people of the protectorate still continued to be administered indirectly through their own rulers.



Until 1863 the Government of Sierra Leone consisted of a Governor and an Advisory Council comprising ex officio members and one or two appointed members.

In 1863 an Executive Council and Legislative Council were created. In 1866 Sierra Leone was joined with The Gambia, the Gold Coast and Lagos to form the West Africa Settlements with a Governor in Chief in Freetown. In 1874 Lagos and the Gold Coast jointly became a separate colony and The Gambia was separated as a colony from Sierra Leone in 1888.

In 1924, by Order in Council dated 16th January, a new and considerably enlarged Legislative Council was set up providing for elected members, and also providing for direct representation of Protectorate interests for the first time.

An Order in Council in 1951 provided for a Legislative Council of thirty-two members, consisting of seven ex officio members, seven members elected from the Colony districts, twelve members elected from the Protectorate District Councils, two members elected from the Protectorate Assembly and two members nominated by the Governor, together with the Governor as President and a Vice-President. Provision was made by Royal Instruction for an Executive Council of four ex officio members and not less than four unofficial members appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Council.

In 1953 a Ministerial system was introduced and in the next year the title of Chief Minister was accorded to the leader of the majority party in the Legislative Council.

Under a new constitution in 1956 the Legislative Council became the House of Representatives and was enlarged to consist of a Speaker, four ex officio members, fifty-one elected members and two nominated members (the last had no voting powers). In the General Election of 1957 virtually all adult males and all adult female taxpayers or property owners were eligible to vote. The Constitution was further altered in 1958 by the exclusion of ex officio members from

the Executive Council and House of Representatives. The new Executive Council included eleven Ministers appointed from among the elected members of the House of Representatives. Dr (later Sir Milton) Margai, who had been Chief Minister under the previous constitutional arrangements, was appointed Prime Minister.

At the Constitutional Conference held in London from 20th April to 4th May 1960 the constitutional changes necessary before Sierra Leone became independent were agreed. Sierra Leone attained complete independence as a fully selfgoverning Member of the Commonwealth with Her Majesty The Queen as Sovereign on 27th April 1961.

MARCH 1967

The Constitution of Sierra Leone, contained in the Sierra Leone (Constitution) Order in Council 1961, included provision for a Governor-General appointed by Her Majesty The Queen and for a House of Representatives consisting of not less than sixty members with a Speaker elected by the members from among their own number or from persons who were qualified to become members. For an interim period until a new House of Representatives was elected the House as established by the previous Constitution remained the legislative body.

To qualify for election to the House of Representatives a person had to be a citizen of Sierra Leone, had to have attained the age of twenty-five and had to speak English well enough to be able to take an active part in the proceedings of the House. Provision was made for the establishment of an Electoral Commission of a chairman and up to four members.

Provision was made for questions coming before the House of Representatives to be determined by a majority vote of the members present and voting, except in the case of certain constitutional amendments which required a twothirds majority of all members in two successive sessions of the House, one before and the other following a dissolution. Finance Bills could only be introduced by a Minister of the Government. The House had a normal life of five years, unless sooner dissolved, and had to meet at least once a year.

Executive responsibility rested with a Cabinet of Ministers drawn from among the members of the House of Representatives. The Cabinet was presided over by a Prime Minister appointed by the Governor-General as the person likely to command the support of a majority of the members of the House. Other Ministers were appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister.


Following a general election on 17th March 1967 the two main political parties (Sierra Leone People's Party and All People's Congress) obtained an almost equal number of seats. On 21st March, after general uncertainty about the exact result, the Governor-General appointed Mr Siaka Stevens, Leader of the A.P.C., as Prime Minister and invited him to form a government. Mr Stevens went the same day to State House, where he was detained shortly after being sworn in. That evening Brigadier Lansana, the Army Commander, broadcast a statement to the effect that, since the elections of Paramount Chiefs were only then taking place and no Party had won a majority of all 78 Chiefly and ordinary seats, the All People's Congress was attempting to seize power by


force. Brigadier Lansana announced that he had, therefore, decided to protect the Constitution and to place the country under martial law.

On 23rd March, Major Charles Blake announced in a broadcast statement that he and a number of other army officers, with the Commissioner and an Assistant Commissioner of Police, had established a National Reformation Council, that the Army and Police were in complete control and that the Constitution was suspended. He explained that he and his colleagues had come to the conclusion that Brigadier Lansana was not trying to bring about a national government but to impose Sir Albert Margai as Prime Minister. To prevent this they had divested Brigadier Lansana of control and arrested him, and had also taken into custody Sir Albert Margai and Mr Siaka Stevens. The GovernorGeneral was under house arrest and all political parties were dissolved.

On 25th March 1967 a proclamation was issued which formally established the National Reformation Council, constituted as follows:-Chairman; Deputy Chairman; and not more than six other members. Under the Proclamation all the provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1961 (which came into operation on 27th April 1961) which are inconsistent or in conflict with the proclamation or any law under it were deemed to have been suspended with effect from 23rd March 1967.

Under the proclamation the House of Representatives was dissolved, all political parties were dissolved and membership of political parties was prohibited. In addition, any reference to Governor-General, Prime Minister, Minister or Cabinet in the 1961 Constitution was to be construed as a reference to the National Reformation Council. Government Ministries were subsequently reorganised into nine Departments and members of the National Reformation Council given responsibilities for them.

On 27th April 1967 the National Reformation Council issued an amendment to the Proclamation to the effect that all Laws which had been passed since then and thenceforth should be referred to as Decrees.

On 13th May the National Reformation Council issued a Decree, effective from 25th March, giving them power to appoint an Advisory Council consisting of not less than ten members. Their terms of reference were (1) to work out ways and means of calming down political feelings and bringing about national unity, free of tribalism and separatist agitation; (2) to work out steps leading to a peaceful return to civilian rule after a general election; (3) to work out a Constitution designed to incorporate the results of (1) above and to obviate all the underlying causes of the previous conflicts and corruption; (4) to advise on all matters referred to it by the National Reformation Council; and (5) to advise on any other matter which is in the general interest of the nation.


On 22nd May 1967 the National Reformation Council established a Commission of Enquiry, under the chairmanship of Mr Justice Dove-Edwin, to enquire into the conduct of the last General Election and also, inter alia, into the election results. The Commission's report, which was submitted in September 1967, included a specific statement that the All People's Congress had won the election on their own merit and that the Governor-General was manifestly right in appointing Mr Siaka Stevens as Prime Minister. The National Reformation Council did not accept the report in toto but stated that the report confirmed their view that the elections were rigged and corrupt. Subsequently, in November 1967, the National Reformation Council affirmed that it agreed in principle to hand over to civilian government in the shortest possible time and announced that a Civilian Rule Committee representing all sections of the communitywould be appointed to advise on the method and procedure of handling over to civilian government. The Committee finally began its sessions in February 1968 with instructions to advise on the necessity for a fresh General Election; and, if this was not necessary, the method by which a National Government could be formed.

The Committee reported in March 1968 but, before its recommendations were published the National Reformation Council itself was overthrown by an uprising of other ranks of the army and police on the night of 17/18th April. Nearly all army and police officers were placed in detention and an AntiCorruption Revolutionary Movement was formed of Warrant Officers, NCOs and junior police officers pledged to restore civilian rule immediately. They also set up a National Interim Council charged with the specific task of ensuring how this might be done in the shortest possible time and the Chief Justice, Mr Tejan-Sie, was sworn in as Acting Governor-General. Mr Tejan-Sie immediately invited all successful candidates at the last (March 1967) General Election to meet for consultations. These consultations led to an agreement to form a National Government under the leadership of Mr Siaka Stevens, who had been appointed Prime Minister in March 1967 but was prevented from holding office by the coup.

Mr Stevens proceeded to form a Government consisting of 18 Ministers, 9 of whom (including himself) were members of the All People's Congress and 4 from the other major political party, Sierra Leone People's Party. The remaining offices were filled by Independents and Paramount Chiefs.

The House of Representatives met on Wednesday, 5th June 1968, to enable members to take the oath and to elect a Speaker. Parliament was formally opened on 26th June 1968.

On 11th April 1969 certain Cabinet changes were made providing a total of 20 Ministers of whom 16 were drawn from the A.P.C. The remaining places were filled by two Independents and two Paramount Chiefs. Further Ministerial changes were made on 12th May 1970.


GOVERNORS GENERAL Sir Maurice Dorman, GCMG, GCvo, 27th April 1961 to 5th May 1962 H. J. Lightfoot, CMG, JP (later Sir Henry Lightfoot Boston, GCMG) 5th May to 11th July

1962 (acting) Sir Henry Lightfoot Boston, GCMG, JP, from 11th July 1962 to May 1967 The Hon. Mr Justice Banja Tejan-Sie, CMG, Chief Justice, from 23rd April 1968 (acting)

Sir Milton Margai, PC, MBE, 27th April 1961 to 28th May 1962
Sir Milton Margai, PC, MBE, 28th May 1962 to 28th April 1964
Albert M. Margai (later Sir Albert Margai), 28th April 1964 to 21st March 1967
Siaka P. Stevens, from 26th April 1968

The Hon. Mr Justice Banja Tejan-Sie, CMG

Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Minister of the Interior:

The Hon. Dr Siaka P. Stevens
Minister of Finance: The Hon. Dr Mohammed S. Forna

Minister of External Affairs: The Hon. C. P. Foray
Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources: The Hon. S. I. Koroma

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