World’s youngest president now lives in abject poverty.

Valentine Strasser (26 April 1967-) was President of Sierra Leone from 29 April 1992 to 16 January 1996, succeeding Joseph Saidu Momoh and preceding Julius Maada Bio. He seized power in a 1992 coup to become the youngest head of state in the world at that point, but he was himself overthrown by his former allies in the military in 1996.


Valentine Strasser was born on 26 April 1967 in Freetown, Sierra Leone to a Krio family, and he enlisted in the armed forces at the age of 18 immediately after graduating from secondary school. He became a junior military officer, and in 1992 he led a coup d’etat against Joseph Saidu Momoh (who did not supply enough boots or equipment to the army during the Sierra Leonean Civil War) and became the world’s youngest head of state at the age of 25. Along with his friend Solomon Musa, Strasser ruled the country as a dictatorship, but in 1996 his deputy Julius Maada Bio, Tom Nyuma, and Komba Mondeh allied with disaffected junta members and overthrew Strasser, who left for England and later Gambia, which rejected his residency in 2000. Strasser was forced to live in poverty with a small pension in Grafton, providing computer skills for youths as an ICT teacher.

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