Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah(February 16, 1932 – March 13, 2014) was a prominent Sierra Leonean politician, renowned for his crucial role as the 3rd President of Sierra Leone, serving two terms from 1996 to 1997 and again from 1998 to 2007. Prior to his political career, Kabbah was an accomplished economist and attorney, having spent several years working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). He returned to Sierra Leone in 1992 after his retirement from the UN.
Kabbah's political journey began in early 1996 when he was elected as the leader of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) and subsequently became their presidential candidate in the country's first free presidential election. Winning with 59% of the vote, he campaigned passionately on a promise to end the devastating civil war that had plagued Sierra Leone. His dedication to this cause was evident throughout his presidency, and he ultimately achieved the goal of bringing the war to an end.
Hailing from Pendembu, Kailahun District, Eastern Sierra Leone, Kabbah was deeply rooted in his faith as a devoted Muslim. Raised in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, he became the country's first and only Muslim head of state to date.
Kabbah's personal life was marked by significant events. His first marriage was to Patricia Tucker, a devout Christian, with whom he had five children. Patricia played an influential role during his presidency, advocating for humanitarian causes and supporting his efforts to end the civil war. Sadly, she passed away in 1998 before witnessing the war's conclusion in 2002. A year after Patricia's death, Kabbah married Isata Jabbie Kabbah, a Muslim from the Mandingo ethnic group, in a traditional Islamic ceremony in Freetown.
Throughout most of his time in office, Kabbah grappled with the challenges posed by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and their leader, Foday Sankoh, who sought to destabilize the country. He faced a temporary ousting by the military Armed Forces Revolutionary Council in 1997, but with international intervention led by Nigeria, he was restored to power in 1998.
To address the civil war, Kabbah engaged in direct negotiations with the RUF rebels and signed peace accords, including the 1999 Lomé Peace Accord. He sought international support from the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the African Union, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to defeat the rebels and restore peace in Sierra Leone.
In early 2002, Kabbah declared the civil war officially over, a moment of jubilation for Sierra Leoneans who took to the streets to celebrate. Later that year, he easily won re-election with a resounding 70.1% of the vote, the largest margin of victory in the country's free election history.
Upon completing his second term in 2007, Kabbah stepped down from the presidency, as he was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election. He remained actively involved in the African political landscape, serving as an observer for both the Commonwealth and the African Union in key elections.
Kabbah passed away peacefully at his home in Freetown at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy of leadership, dedication, and resilience in the pursuit of peace and development for Sierra Leone. His death was met with national mourning, a testament to the impact he had on his country and its people.
Date of Birth: 16th February, 1932
Time of Birth:
Place of Birth: Pendembu
Country: Sierra Leone