Hailing from the Liberian town of Gbarnga, Conneh was born in 1960 into a Muslim family from the Mandingo ethnic group. His father owned a rubber plantation and a farm. Conneh's political career began in 1980 when he joined the Progressive People Party (PPP), an opposition grouping that was banned during the regime of ex-president William Tolbert, thereby forcing Conneh into exile in Uganda. As for his military training he did a stint with the army during the 1990 war in Monrovia and later received some training from the Liberian freedom fighters. Sekou joined the Liberian finance ministry in 1986 as a collector for Monserrado County. But he left Liberia because of a witch-hunt launched by the government of Charles Taylor against important officials from the Mandingo and Krahn ethnic groups.
Sekou made his living as a collector especially by trading in second-hand cars imported from Europe. This money helped him part-finance the LURD freedom movement. Early 2003, Conneh became the second president of the national executive committee of the LURD. He was appointed to the top job despite the fact that he is not one of the 10 founding members of the movement. "He spent in access of 500,000 dollars to provide the movement with vehicles and he is sending on a regular basis drugs and food supplies both for the population and the troops.
Residents in movement-held areas like Voinjama, where Conneh is based, and in the town of Voinjama say with one voice that the LURD boss visits them regularly and is incredibly generous.