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Solomon Berewa was a strong and influential candidate

By Philip Neville

In 2005, theSierra LeonePeople’s Party at the Makeni Convention had their candidate to run for the 2007 Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The Candidate was to succeed Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and it was evidently clear at the time that he had the blessing of ex-president Kabbah who introduced him to the politics ofSierra Leone.

As a professional criminal lawyer with vast experience in law and teaching, Solomon Ekuma Berewa was not interested in politics at any level and at the very beginning, until when he was brought into the political fold by his boss who taught and showed him the art of politics and the value of political power that can be used to achieve everything and anything with the exception of creating life and humanity.

The name Solo. B. was the new title he earned in politics that did not benefit him, unlike the name Lawyer Solomon Berewa of the Betts and Berewa Law Firm, formerly ofGoderich Streetin the heart of the city. The name Betts and Berewa was synonymous with law, one was a criminal lawyer and the other was both civil and criminal experts. During 1980s to 1990s these two legal fire brands were masters of their fate. Their names were echoed in and around theLawCourtBuildingonSiaka Stevens street, and to their clients, which among others included Lebanese, Africans and foreign clients. It was joy for them to be represented in courts by these men in wigs and gowns and when Garvas Betts speaks, his voice echoed in the building like a new mega phone from a standard electronic shop. He requires no extra technology booster to increase the level his pharynxcal and larynxcal output. Nature gave him such tremendous power that can even attract the devil in a courtroom, but his counterpart was a direct opposite, a soft spoken gentleman who talks and uses his finger to make a point, firm and feared by many people.

The death of Garvas Betts at a time when Solomon Berewa needed him most, especially when their law firm was doing extremely well left him devastated. He shifted his loyalty to Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, whom he perceived to be the next Garvas Betts in politics. If Ahmad Tejan Kabbah could be assessed as a successful politician, the role of Solomon Berewa should be recognized as the individual who made significant contribution as Attorney General and Minister of Justice and as Vice President of Sierra Leone. The inside story of Solomon Berewa as Attorney General is not part of this piece. He used both offices to transform the political administration of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to the pleasure and displeasure of many.

It all started as a rumour that ex-President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was going to change his Vice President from Joe Albert Demby to Solomon Ekuma Berewa, but the news sounded very strange and incredible. It is clear that Albert Joe Demby was loyal to his boss and would not look at his face when speaking to him, nor would he stand up talking to him. He cherished tradition and demonstrated it to him, so the debate was what had happened to have cost Albert Joe Demby his job?

The Makeni 2005 SLPP Convention laid to rest, speculations, rumours and fears as ex-president Kabbah influenced the election of Solomon Ekuma Berewa to become the party’s flag bearer and Presidential Candidate for the 2007 State House battle.

He was going to meet with Ernest Bai Koroma of the All Peoples Congress (APC), Charles Margai of the newly formed Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and ex- Ambassador Jalloh of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and among the three Presidential Candidates, Solomon Ekuma Berewa had more advantage over them, than one could have imagined. He was incumbent and has indisputable access to state resources, vehicles and human resources in all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies. In addition to all these facilities, financial donations from civil servants, well wishers, and friends were forthcoming and endless for him. Political power was with him and greatly feared. Despite his age, Solomon Ekuma Berewa toured every corner of this country fromFreetownto Kailahun, Bonthe, Pujehun and the rest. He showed determination, vigour, courage and strength to visit and campaign voters in the suburbs. Money was not his problem and spent it freely, groups with all colours, mottos and categories of men, women and youths had the opportunity of benefiting from Solomon Berewa,s political and financial generosity. Probably for him, it was a period of giving and sharing and believed in the Biblical concept of ‘When thou has converted, strengthened thy brethren” but those brethren whom he strengthened did not reciprocate in the polling box.

It became apparent that ex-president Kabbah,s role to Solomon Ekuma Berewa’s ambition was limited to the 2005 Makeni Convention and later deserted him in the widest of all seas to battle for the highest political office of the land. What led to that departure is not known, but having tucked his neck, the SLPP Presidential Candidate wanted to prove to the whole world that he was capable of winning the Presidential race. Slogans from different quarters coloured his campaign, followed by threats of different magnitude that occupied the political atmosphere. There was less official time for civil servants in all Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies as most of them has to take part whether willingly or unwillingly in the campaign trail of Ekuma Berewa.

Whatever assessment one would give to the candidacy of Solomon Berewa, he was strong, determined and showed ability and absolute inspiration for the office he was contesting for. Despite all of these fine qualities, his past records were not appealing to the voters who showed him their faces but not their hearts. They recall his past and concluded that he was not the right choice for them. Hell was opened for them and they saw Solomon Ekuma Berewa standing at the entrance gates, waiting for them to enter and then closed all doors of escape, this they avoided cleverly. The strength of the current flag bearer of the SLPP Julius Maada Bio cannot in anyway be compared to the enthusiasm and determination of Solomon Berewa, who had everything in possession, but the voters have the last say; which is “to give or not to give”. It is their natural rights that cannot be stolen from them. They laughed, smiled and gave him every assurance, but when the D-day came, the decision they made was miles away different from the impression and assurance he had received from them during the period of campaign.

Julius Maada Bio knows about fighting rebel war inSierra Leonenot even inAfricaas a continent, with inadequate knowledge of the local politics, which requires no classroom lecture on theory and application of the sciences. He will have to dance to the music of the voters and will definitely be reminded of his NPRC stewardship to the country and its people. A lot of defence approaches and preaching would have to be done to win the hearts of the voters. Will that be enough?

While he will be busy begging the voters and putting up defenses, Ernest Bai Koroma will be pointing fingers at his four-year development success and ask the voters to give him another term to accomplish his mission as President of Sierra Leone, not as a coup maker, a human right abuser or an in-law of the late RUF leader Foday Sankoh, but someone who was elected to change the face of Sierra Leone through development and enviable programmes.

Julius Maada Bio, no doubt would have a lot of encounters, a lot of talking to do and a lot of amends to make. The 2012 sharp 12 slogan of the SLPP should, in their interest be shelved at the moment as the political future come that year is not bright and certain for the party, whether it was Usman Boi Kamara, Andrew Keilie or Alpha Timbo you name them. Sierra Leoneans are educated politically everyday, moment and time and are no more living under the cover of promises, but tangible things that they can point fingers at and use to improve their lives.

The political deception Solomon Ekuma Berewa suffered in the hands of Sierra Leoneans with his ONE VOTE theory would be far less to what Julius Maada Bio will get from the voters. His past would be the campaign slogan from supporters on the other side, which they would convert into songs and make mockery of him. It would be the free ticket that voters will use on polling day. The battle will be enormous for him to conquer and his followers will disperse when they see the writings on the wall. I wish him good luck.

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8 Responses to Solomon Berewa was a strong and influential candidate

  1. kamara

    August 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Why don’t you leave it to the voters who are free to make their choice.Please elucidate on the four year successes of Ernest koroma. The same problems that occurred in 2007 are still plaguing us.There has been very little development, Unless , you call following success:

    Badly Depreciated Leone
    Increased Lawless ,rapes and crime
    sierra leone acknowledged as a cocaine transhipment center.
    More Divided nation.
    skyrocketing prices and hardship
    More filthy and congested Freetown
    Poor electricity and water supply

    Give me a break, Mr Neville. Lets be serious and talk about solutions to problems of Sierra Leone not bellyache and show our grudges against a particular party and candidate. Why dont you come out and endorse Ernest Koroma and the APC openly instead of formenting tribal discord. I will give
    you more respect for doing so.

  2. Kargbo

    August 14, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I endorse the last comment by Kamara. Philip you are not in the minds of the people. So stop speaking for the electorate. Sierra Leoneans are no longer fools so see the reality on the ground. Stop condeming or judge not as you are not God. God is the best judge. Every politician has his or her own stains on their hands. We the voters are going to change reality this time. We voted and campaign massively for this government and we are going to campaign massively against them this time, as we are disappointed in the government. The ministers are full of lies and deceit.

    We called for a change of government, but it is the worse change we have done. So please stop condemning. YOu only have one vote but not all the votes for the country. You dont know what is on people’s mind. Becareful of what you are saying.

  3. morlai turay

    August 15, 2011 at 2:26 am

    It nice see comments posted. Thanks Mr. Neville your news paper encourages free speech than Cocorioko.com as they only post comment in their favor. I am a Sierra Leonean who loves my country and owe no party anything. Good luck to the God fearing and may he prevail. Amen.

  4. Abdul Abass Kargbo

    August 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

    By asking Mr. Neville to stop and let the voters decide is like saying he should not exercise his right to freedom of speech. As a journalist it is his prorogative to educate and sway public opinion on issues he cares about, also it is his right as a Sierra Leonean to point out the ills of anyone who is seeking the highest office of the land. Mr. Neville can also declare for the APC and nothing is wrong with that just like the Newpeople and Unity paper ragtags are doing for the SLPP. Why don’t you ask them to stop spewing the nonsense and hate that they spread on cyberspace?. SLPP bootlickers and their killer candidate who is not fit to be a gatekeeper are in for a rude shock come 2012.
    Philip Neville does not need to be in the minds of the people to know that SLPPs “sharp 12” hopes of going back to State house is no longer tangible but a pipe dream heading to the drains of Mabella and susequently to the Atlantic Ocean. Common sense will tell anyone(not only Neville) that the APC will thrash the SLPP and Neville need not to be in the minds of the voters to know that fact – because Earnest’s record speaks for itself. Gone are the days when politicians and political parties will look at voters with straight face and tell a boldface lies like what Kamara in the above post is allegin.Unless you can show us court documents as proof that shows that women were raped at the SLPP office and there is increase lawlessness in the country; show us proof that Earnest Koroma is responsible for the skyrocketing prices and hardship in the country and not as a result of the global economic meltdown that is threatning major economic powers like the USA, Greece, UK, France, Japan and many more. Unless you can show us proof that the Sierra Leonean government indeed is culpable in using our air and sea ports as a hub for narco transit. Freetown was once dubbed the darkest and filthiest city in the world thanks to the SLPP government. When Earnest took office he recognized the importance of living in a clean environment and having electricity for the capital and by extension to the provinces. The SLPP left 5 megawat of electricity for a country of morethan four point five million people with eleven years in office. Today that number has qudripple tenfold and Freetown is no longer the darkest and filtiest city in the world. Our provincial headquaters including yours now have electricity and clean pipe borne water. Ariculture, road construction, healthcare are improving rapidly that explains why we are no longer the country with the highest death rate at maternal birth. Mr. Kamara you need to go get your facts straight and you Mr. Kargbo i must remind you that freedom of speech is a fundamental human right any attempt by you and your party leader John Benjamin to try to muzzle the press (Mr. Neville in this case)from calling things by their right name is undemocratic. Perhaps you may reconsider to change your address on this planet and go join the likes of Hitler, Stalin, Abacha, Idi-Amin, King Charles 1, Sankoh and the rest of their ilk for it is only in their planet will you succeed from stoping Mr. Neville from expressing constitutional rights..

  5. Foday Bangura

    August 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    EBK has accomplished a lot in spite of the global recession that has affected everyone around the world. The free health care initiative, phase two of the bumbuna hydro electric dam is about to be commenced, road infrastructure is taking place in every part of the country. Freedom of speech and association is at an all time high with no journalist imprisioned since EBK was elected into office. THE ACC is being given the independence that it had never had under the SLPP to carry out its work. These are all accomplishments that EBK can be proud of. We WILL not relent in continuing to inform the people of the character and qualifications of any presidential candidate that is seeking the keys to the gate of state house. It is our civic duty and whoever is angered by it can go to HELL.

  6. kamara

    August 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    MR Abbass Kagbo, mr Neville is free to write what he wants in his paper. This is a democracy, we are not in the years of the Kleptocratic Old APC.He should not masquerade as an impartial journalist. Come out and endorse Ernest koroma like the other paid APC rags on the net; Cocorioko and newstime.

    You are right , Ernest’s record speaks for itself. A big fat nothing in four years. The country has regressed. Leone has depreciated, skyrocketing prices, increased lawlessnes, rapes and crime throughout the country. Poor electricity and water supply. Cocaine was caught at their airport. These happened during ernest’s watch and leadership. The buck stops with the president. He cannot feign ignorance at the times of difficulties.

    He is responsible.The facts are evident to everyone in Sierra Leone. APC and Ernest Koroma have failed the nation. APC fanatics can try and obfuscate the issues as much as possible, the truth is that you have done nothing. No amount of propaganda and paid journalists can change the reality.

  7. kelly

    August 17, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Please Mr Neville leave us as sierra leonean to think wisely enough to elect a president come 2012 presidential & paliamentarian election.you are just beating around the bush and playing with ordinary saliva.you narrate a speech between Solomon berewa and Ernest bai koroma during 2007 election, is the same thing will happen come 2012 election between ernest bai koroma and julius madaa bio ernest have all the possibilities to win because he is in power but we the people of sierra leone love madaa bio and we will vote for him whatever state you classed him, he is our next president come 2012 election,We are no longer interested in government that puts our economy behind,hardship,those before us just think about their pocket eat good food drive good cars telling people that is global,is that global, that is selfish and greediness way of behaving they do not have the people and the country at heart the journey will end very soon all properganda will end and face the reality and they put more debts in the country that will create economic instability. SLPP are just like the democrat they give more value to the leones and create stability to our economy while the APC are just like the republican they devaluated,destroyed the leones and create economic instability,Sierra Leoneans open your eyes dont let the politician to full you with their sweet words in the end they balance you and laugh at you.the hardship is rapidily increasing all over in the country due to the high cost of food stuff as salaries cannot match with the cost of food in the contry not even i can say the standard of living. I have much to say but let me stop here from the wise man and the man who fortells about tommorrow keep the faith we shall still cross this bad condition in this country.

  8. Gombie Musa-Tonyayia

    August 19, 2011 at 5:16 am

    It is the inherent right of every sierra leonean to vioce his/her view on national issues as such, it is inprudent to caution people from exercising that right God given right. In this day and age, it is but proper we as a nation have a soul-searching by reflecting on the issues that have held us back from advancement for so long. Words like; blind-loyalty, corruption, nepotism, and syncophancy should not be part of our political jargons taking into cognizance the 11 year sobel war that was bequeathed on mama salone.I, for most times marvelled at the ineptitude displayed by some of our so called educated elites who disdain national development and patriotism for selfish and party allegiance. If we as a nation should forge ahead then, the two main ethic groups; Mende and Themne most think objectively, look above their nose, work constructively, and cooperatively for the amelioration of the general good. Politics is a decent game and played by people with positive personal visions who should not entertain barbarism and intimidations in any way or form from any of their supporters.

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