Dr. Lans Gberie: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 March 2020:
Previous Vice Head Of State Solomon Ekuma Berewa, that has actually passed away aged 81, was not a fantastic political leader. Still much less was he a specifically pleasant or charming somebody. Certainly, he was instead humourless, and also was instead conveniently caricatured or misinterpreted. However no person that fulfilled or took care of him questioned his sparkle, his proficiency, his deep nationalism, and also his superior dedication to autonomous concepts and also the policy of legislation.
His last considerable political activity– acknowledging loss after the news of perhaps deceptive political elections outcomes and also also resolving revealing public assistance for the recipient of those outcomes– was conveniently the superior sacrifice to settle our freedom in the post-war duration.
If that were the only point that Mr. Berewa carried out in his public life, he would certainly have a guaranteed and also worshiped location in our background publications.
Actually, Mr. Berewa’s short political life was even more substantial than that of a lot of life time political leaders. He was Sierra Leone’s primary mediator at both Abidjan and also LomÃ©, and also was the prime writer of the peace treaty that finished our civil battle.
As an expansion of that impact, he was the primary engineer of the Fact and also Settlement Compensation (TRC) and also somewhat the Unique Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Mr. Berewa was absolutely one of the most efficient Chief law officer and also Priest of Justice, and also possibly one of the most effective Vice Head of state, considering that the return of freedom.
I initially fulfilled him in the very early 1990 s at his legislation workplaces– Betts and also Berewa– in an unpromising structure that additionally housed retail stores on Goderich Road. I was startled.
Mr. Berewa and also his legislation companion, the Oxford-educated Garvas Betts, were 2 of one of the most noticeable lawful specialists in Freetown. The structure and also the fantastic track record did not appear to match. I swiftly found out that this was done in personality: both males were– in spite of their noticeable success– of downplayed and also moderate personality. It became part of a grown beauty that just closer call can expose– and also which partially describes Mr. Berewa’s fantastic success in national politics though he was a most unwilling and also uncomfortable political leader.
Mr. Berewa was Assistant of the National Advisory Council that the National Provisional Judgment Council had actually established at the time I initially fulfilled him; Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was Chairman of the Council. I was presented to Mr. Berewa by Mr. Betts, that had actually previously presented me to Mr. Kabbah: Mr. Kabbah, excited by Mr. Berewa’s brave support of Vice Head of state Francis Misheck Minah throughout a treason test in the 1980 s, had actually maintained Betts and also Berewa upon his go back to Sierra Leone in the very early 1990 s.
Mr. Berewa’s political trajectory was, one may state, establish the minute Mr. Kabbah became leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Event (SLPP), a result Mr. Berewa functioned to make sure– though he had actually briefly teased with the National Unity Event (currently inoperative).
Upon winning the governmental political election in 1996, Kabbah designated Berewa leader of his change group and also, quickly, Chief law officer and also Priest of Justice– his very first closet selection. Mr. Berewa’s influence on that workplace was so extensive that all his followers simply appear to stroll in his darkness. Nobody can perhaps intend to complete a portion of what Mr. Berewa did– establishing significant regulations, broadening the autonomous room, attempting and also founding guilty Foday Saybanah Sankoh in addition to loads of others for treason, establishing the TRC and also SCSL Acts, amongst numerous others– in his 5 years there.
I had an opportunity to observe the daunting sparkle for which Mr. Berewa was deemed as a criminal attorney throughout the peace negotiation in Yamoussoukro, Cote D’Ivoire, in1996 Freshly chosen Head of state Kabbah had actually sent out a group led by expert political leader Sama Banya to observe the NPRC- led talks. At the plenary, the Revolutionary United Front Foday Sankoh segued from a rambling denunciation of the UN and also the current political election to excoriate, with particular disrespect, Dr. Banya for being, in his sight, an unstable political leader.
When Kabbah was ushered in Head of state and also totally took control of the talks, he designated Berewa to silently change Dr. Banya as leader of his working out group in Yamoussoukro. Foday Sankoh quickly understood that he had actually currently fulfilled greater than his suit. In sessions, Mr. Berewa would certainly rest patiently paying attention to Sankoh’s tirades, and after that would ultimately disturb to ask the rebel leader what from his mute chatter could be taken as his working out setting.
RUF warlord– Foday Sankoh
Noticeably frustrated, Sankoh would certainly after that drop quiet, a minimum of for a short while. For the rebel leader’s sight of settlement– as that of power– was of something to be figured out by the sharp side of a machete. He had absolutely nothing in his collection of invectives to toss at Berewa, that he had actually not understood.
Mr. Berewa had actually not been a somebody, don’t bother the ransacking political leader of Sankoh’s demonology. Secretive, he revealed his irritation with the powerful Mr. Berewa by sneering at him as âBig Trousersâ or âBelewaâ (in Mende).
The talks surprised on till the Abidjan Accord was checked in November 1996, just to implode in the stroke of genius of Might1997 Berewa, like Head of state Kabbah, took off for his life to Guinea. The coupists, swiftly signed up with by Sankoh’s rebels, functioned such destruction on the nation that, upon the reconstruction of Kabbah, Mr. Berewa released one of the most considerable treason test in the background of Sierra Leone, billing numerous loads individuals.
After numerous months, the test wrapped up on 4 November1998 Mr. Berewa’s proficiency of criminal legislation and also his forensic sparkle got on screen throughout; and also he was successful in founding guilty 48 individuals. The court acquitted12 Nobody checking out the test documents, carefully maintained, can stop working to appreciate the vast work and also knowledge that Berewa bought the tests.
Every one of those founded guilty were later on released, component of the settlement procedure, additionally led by Mr. Berewa, that finished in the LomÃ© Accord. The outcome of a shocking rebirth of the rebels and also the damage of big components of Freetown, the arrangements stood for an embarrassing nadir for the federal government.
However at LomÃ© Berewa showed throughout an imperturbable self-respect, preserving control of the procedure, and also making sure that Sierra Leone– instead of the global area– established the program, to make sure that the honesty of the nation’s constitutional order was never ever jeopardized. He declined out of control the need to make Sankoh Vice Head of state (Picture), urging that Vice Presidents can just be chosen and also, rather contrived an innovative solution–âstatus of Vice Presidentâ This completely satisfied the corrupt warlord.
Recently I asked Mr. Berewa in his residence at Goderich just how he took care of to draw this off. He informed me: âI knew Sankoh was a very greedy man, and that diamonds were often on his mind. In fact, at LomÃ© my room was next door to him, and every other day and night I would see foreign diamond people going in and out of Sankohâs room. I joked with him about it. In the end, he only agreed to sign the accord when I privately told him that he will in effect be in charge of diamond miningâ¦â That resulted in the production of a Compensation for the Monitoring of Strategic Resources, National Repair and also Growth, with Sankoh as Chair– with suppositious Vice Presidential condition.
Actually, Berewa placed a provision in the Accord maintaining the managerial power of the Priest of Mineral Resources over mining and also handling of rubies and also gold, constricting Sankoh and also rejecting him any kind of feeling of exec authority.
The LomÃ© procedure was a remarkable success for a federal government that had actually been given its knees, one without a military and also encountering a barbarous rebel pressure. As well as Mr. Berewa have to be provided the key credit scores for it. He had actually made certain, as he created in his informative publication A Brand-new Point of view on Administration, Management, Dispute and also Nation-Building in Sierra Leone (2011), that the last Accord did not âfundamentally offend against the constitution of Sierra Leone, a concern which some members of the international community did not seem to appreciate fully, and an issue for whichâ his delegation âtook umbrageâ.
The accomplishment was such that Head of state Kabbah selected Berewa as his running friend for his re-election project in 2002: he amassed over 70% of the ballots. There is little uncertainty that for the majority of that 2nd term, Mr. Berewa ran the program. Head of state Kabbah, tired after the distressing loss of his better half and also the duplicated experience of extraordinary political chaos, permitted his Vice Head of state to work out mostly all executive authority. I fulfilled both Head of state Kabbah and also Vice Head of state Berewa numerous times throughout this duration; Kabbah explained throughout that he was brushing Berewa to prosper him.
It was this procedure of sequence, nevertheless, that reversed their much-admired collaboration. Kabbah made sure Berewa’s option as the Sierra Leone Peoples Event’s typical holder. However afterwards, their partnership soured due to the fact that Berewa grumbled that Kabbah would not allow him run his very own project by himself. He had a factor: Kabbah demanded selecting Berewa’s running friend, and also Berewa was dissatisfied concerning this.
However it was additionally a weird problem: Kabbah was plainly a much much better political leader, and also Berewa’s uncomfortable operating of his very own project plainly took the chance of loss. Charles Margai’s anarchical project symbolized that danger.
In the governmental political election hung on 11 August 2007, Berewa questioned 704,012 or 38% of the ballots to the All Peoples Congress Ernest Bai Koroma’s 815,523 or 44%. Margai came 3rd with 255,499 or 14% of the ballots, virtually whole ballots that may have mosted likely to Berewa.
This outcome, though not crucial, closed Berewa’s political destiny. In the overflow ballot, Margai backed Koroma, that– after controversy-wracked vote-counting– currently questioned 950,407 (5462%) to Berewa’s 789,651 (4538%), standing for a distinction of 160,756 ballots– a clear win for Koroma, considering that, unlike the preliminary, the run-off is won by an easy bulk. (Picture: Charles Margai and also Ernest Bai Koroma).
The issue was that to attain this, Christiana Thorpe, the APC selecting commissioner, needed to revoke ballots from 477 primarily Berewa electing ballot terminals.
Mr. Berewa later on created, plausibly, that had Thorpe not revoked 10s of countless enact his fortress, he would certainly have won 968,705 elects to Bai Koroma’s 950,407 He declared that Thorpe escaped that parody due to the fact that Kabbah had in a nationwide program long prior to the political election renounced his âsolemn responsibilityâ as the president or magistrate, by stating that he would certainly be absolutely neutral, leaving the unethical Thorpe to run trouble on people’ legal rights.
Berewa created: “As Water Fountain of Justice [Kabbah] was anticipated to imitate a court, and also not to be neutral or callous justice, however persistent on the regard of justice and also justness. This is impartiality, not nonpartisanship, and also it was this that I, as SLPP prospect, was refuted, and also it cost me the political election”.
This is properly specified in a lawful feeling, yet this retrospective skill does little justice to the intricate selection that Head of state Kabbah dealt with. Mr. Berewa’s loss in the preliminary implied that he had actually shed the energy; versus all forecasts, Koroma had currently end up being the presumptive victor. This was a really essential political factor to consider in a vulnerable freedom: incumbents or frontrunners can not manage to be surpassed by the underdog.
In spite of his deep animosity, Berewa, when the outcomes were introduced– his extremely established feeling of constitutional etiquette never ever impacted by his exemplary feeling of complaint– approved the outcomes. Later on, he came to be friends with Head of state Koroma, and also never ever revealed any kind of malignance in the direction of the All Peoples Congress event strongman.
However his partnership with Kabbah broke down, and also both never ever truly talked to each various other once more. Berewa was a guy that never ever left a regarded disloyalty go unpunished: he regretfully did not have the size of heart to match his noticeable proficiency and also sparkle of mind.
Probably, provided his massive accomplishment, and also provided our huge financial debt to him, this last transgression is venial– as a fellow Catholic Mr. Berewa would certainly have recognized my factor. His lofty heritage is guaranteed. May his heart remainder in tranquility.
Regarding the writer
Dr. Lansana Gberie, is Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Switzerland and also Permanent Rep to the United Nations and also various other global organisations.