Joseph Saidu Momoh (January 26, 1937 – August 3, 2003) was President of Sierra Leone from November, 1985 to April 29, 1992.
Momoh Nimagay was born on January 26, 1937 in Binkolo, Bombali District in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone to Limba Parents. Momoh served as President of Sierra Leone from November 28, 1985 to April 29 1992. A professional soldier drawn into politics, Momoh rose from the enlisted ranks, to the highest position in the Sierra Leone Military Forces (Major-General),during his presidency.
In 1985 Momoh succeeded President Siaka Stevens by becoming the only candidate in a one-party election under the banner of the All People’s Congress party (APC). Momoh declared a state of economic emergency early in his rule, granting himself greater control over Sierra Leone’s economy, but he was not regarded as a dictator. Instead, his people viewed him as far too weak and inattentive to the affairs of state, allowing his notoriously corrupt advisors to manipulate matters behind the scenes.
Sierra Leone’s economy gradually disintegrated under Momoh’s rule, and the country’s currency decreased in value. Sierra Leone reached the point under President Momoh where it could not afford to import gasoline and fuel oil, and the country went without electricity for months at a time. In September, 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the start of the Sierra Leone Civil War, Momoh ushered in a new constitution, providing for a multi-party state and ending the single party rule Stevens initiated in the 1970s. But Momoh’s efforts at reform came too late to rescue Sierra Leone from chaos. Momoh was overthrown in a military coup staged by Valentine Strasser, a 25-year-old army captain, in April, 1992. Strasser’s cabinet members were young lieutenants and captains in their 20s. Momoh spent the last years of his life as a guest of the military government in neighboring Guinea, where he died in exile.