On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

In 1968 Juxon Smith was overthrown today

APC head quarter at Siaka Stevens Street

APC head quarter at Siaka Stevens Street

Forty years today Sierra Leone woke up to acrimony and debacle as the political situation reached its boiling point with the overthrow of Brigadier Andrew Terence Juxon-Smith (1933 -1996).
Brigadier Andrew Terence Juxon-Smith (1933 – 1996) was a politician and military official in Sierra Leone. He was briefly Chairman of the National Reformation Council and acting Governor-General, equivalent to head of the Sierra Leonean state. He and the Council were overthrown in April 1968 by a group of low-level military officials led by John Amadu Bangura that restored Sierra Leone to rule by parliament under Siaka Stevens. He was a member of the Krio, an ethnic group formed by descendants of various groups of freed slaves that landed in Freetown between 1787 and 1855.
The Rule of Juxon Smith
Sierra Leone, which had two army coups in quick succession a little more than a year ago, underwent another one of a somewhat different order In March 1967. Officers had led the previous coups, but this time it was soldiers from the 1,600-man army who mutinied against their superiors and decided to take their turn at governing the country. Dissatisfied over low pay and poor living conditions, troops led by sergeants rose first in the town of Daru and then the capital of Freetown. At least twelve people were killed as a contingent of 300 men seized and threw into prison the entire ruling military junta, headed by Brigadier Andrew Juxon-Smith, 36. Then the sergeants went on the radio and announced the formation of something called the “Anti-Corruption Revolutionary Movement.”
Unlike the previous coups, this one was welcomed by the people. They were not so much fed up with any corruption as with Juxon-Smith’s fondness for lecturing them on “sweat and toil.”
His junta had raised taxes and import duties, closed down inefficient state plantations, fired the most venal politicians and turned the economy over to professional administrators. His policies brought considerable unemployment.
More important, Juxon-Smith showed no signs of returning the government to civilian rule, as he had originally promised to do.
Perhaps realizing that they needed a little experienced help, the new junta, including not only sergeants but privates and police patrolmen as well, summoned home Colonel John Bangura, a counselor in Sierra Leone’s Washington embassy, to head an interim ruling council. As second in command, the junta brought home Lieut. Colonel Patrick Ganda, the ambassador to Liberia. As they arrived in Freetown, both men were greeted by happy crowds clutching signs that read “Welcome to Freedom” and “Welcome, Our Saviours.”
Both promised a quick return to civilian rule. The most likely leader of any such return is Siaka Stevens, 62, who was named Prime Minister after the country’s elections in 1967 but held the job for only ten minutes before the army officers deposed him. Stevens, who has been in exile in nearby Guinea, may well have had a part in encouraging the “sergeants’ coup.”

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