Berewa’s UK Visit: A Personal View

16 September 2006 at 20:15 | 515 views

"From the moment he took the microphone to deliver his marathon boring speech, Solo was a disaster. He gave an inaudible marathon policy speech to a group that was never interested in his diatribe."

By Kehtamia Hashim, UK.

Contrary to what the SLPP ‘Special correspondents’ have been spewing in the media ,Solo’s visit in London was disaster at its best.

It was a brilliant autumn evening, and the place was the usual Brixton Recreation Centre in South Eastern London where His Excellency, the doyen of SLPP ’Continuity’ Solomon Ekumah Berewa was in attendance as Grand Chief Patron at an annual Sierra Leone Cultural Fiesta night.

Other notables in attendance were some of the best of Sierra Leone’s musical ambassadors including Kman,Sara & Co, Zeebo Lala punctuated by the cultural doyen- Lansana Sheriff alias Steady Bongo.

It was an intended Sierra Leone cultural evening, though our official flag bearer in attendance ,Solomon Ekuma Berewa was decked in a full blown western suit, tied up to his chin- a quantum of difference with Harold Saffa the current SLPP UK Chair (decked in a decorated African attire) who introduced the Vice president.

Solomon Ekuma Berewa- the man who doubles as Vice President, leader of the SLPP and its 2007 presidential candidate, like Tony Blair, has already started, though unintentionally so, his last official address to international organizations and forums in his capacity as our Vice president.

It could be his last because the man Berewa by every instinct is not presidential material. In short, Solo is a disaster, and if I had had no alternative in the coming elections, I would have urged his boss Tejan Kabbah to continue for the next millennium .

This initial campaign tour dubbed ‘sensitization ’ spanning from the European Alps to the Pennsylvania Allegany mountains in the United States has failed even before it could start.

In Brixton, the VP and SLPP 2007 presidential contender flanked by his two Sierra Leonean security officers and three other eagle-eyed Caucasian men in black suits was introduced to the audience by Harold Saffa - who also presented to Berewa what he dubbed the ’ Madam Yoko ’ award from his party. But here is why Berewa failed to establish the right to his candidacy for his ‘only-for-the-party’ die-hards:

From the moment he took the microphone to deliver his marathon boring speech, Solo was a disaster. He gave an inaudible marathon policy speech to a group that was never interested in his diatribe.

Five minutes into that mumbling, even the VP’s die-hard supporters dubbed ’Friends of Berewa’ couldn’t hide their unhappiness with his appalling performance. Certainly, it was no accident that after his speech and refreshment, Berewa left the hall sandwiched between his security guards without a single handshake to his country men and women.

He left the same way he came in - no applause . The only sign of his absence was the empty space he had occupied whilst awaiting that dismal performance. Very few SLPP members took him serious considering his misleading information regarding the poor electricity supply, youth unemployment and the unhealthy sanitary conditions that have engulfed Freetown since Solo and co. took charge of our mal-administration dubbed governance.

Berewa repeated his boring and incoherent display on the London’s ‘BEN’ television the following morning, and the allotted time for phone-in questioning was nonsense as only three questions or so were accepted by the producers.

And by every indication, the session was micro-managed for Berewa to escape the wrath of his country men and women who had done their homework but vainly awaited the Hon. VP to correct their so-called misgivings from NEWS outlets.

Striking amongst his monumental lies on that program was Solo’s assertion that the lack of electricity supply in Freetown was as a result of the ‘poor state’ of the infrastructure his ‘government inherited’ from the NPRC and the APC. Sure, similar problems existed during the APC but the Khaki boys made it a paramount choice to reverse the situation. Subsequently, Freetown within a year of military rule was transformed to a city of light and hope.

In fact, by the time the NPRC handed over power to Solo and Co, ‘blackout’ was a buried event, and Bumbuna was very close to completion. That is what progressive leadership does- reversing from bad to good, but not basking in the reverses of the past as a prelude to your non -performance as this SLPP government continues to display.

Whatever these guys couldn’t accomplish, and whatever has gone wrong with their policy decisions, the watch word is APC or ‘past regimes‘. So in simple terms, the government is simply establishing the consistent premise of our argument that it is not only ignorant of its achievements but is not and will never be a credible alternative to steer the ship of our state from abysmal darkness to transcendental light ( courtesy Sam Ogido ).

So what’s the point? The point is Kabbah and his men are more interested in spin. Reading the flatulent stories depicting Solo’s glorious London Diaspora campaign inauguration is a shame, but that is how the government has been operating.

Irrespective of my political affiliation, for now Berewa is the VP and therefore I expect him to make a credible representation wherever he goes. My best advice to him as my VP is to hire the services of communication experts to help him in speech delivery and public participation in public events by a political leader. He’s a word smith on paper, but quite poor on delivery and unfortunately for him in this 21st century presentation is the product around which the commodity or goods gravitate.

That is why some of us would be willing to help our leadership by coaching/tutoring them in political presentations, manoeuvrability. Let Charles and others always understand that capturing the audience is more important, and photo ups should always crown any public appearance.

A political candidate should be considered a public commodity to be sold with profits and therefore needs a strong and vigorous marketing. And Berewa is just zero. But more mind boggling is the recent spate of SLPP claims that they have brought us the freedom of speech and the liberty to express it, blasphemously oblivious of the fact that it was only the PEOPLE who stood to late Sankoh and his RUF/AFRC that resurrected our democracy whilst the ‘GANG’ was busy looting the national coffers in Conakry. And this is being done at an alarming rate almost a daily event in the SLPP media campaign on freedom.

Well, we hope Strasser and co can claim this part of the victory parade because to a large extent, their coup freed us from many nasty things, and indeed inspired us to higher political consciousness.

Photo: Mr. Solomon Berewa, Vice President of Sierra Leone.