Sylvia Blyden’s blockbuster that is a must-read for Sierra Leone Foreign Ministry and our diplomats at the UN
|So Lans Gberie advised Schulenburg on APC-SLPP violence but how is he advising U.N. Security Council?
By Sylvia O. Blyden
Feb 9, 2012, 18:20
Lans Gberie’s U.N. Contract
I first met Lans Gberie in 1994 when his former boss Kingsley Lington sent him to cover a press conference I called up at the College of Medicine. I was College Students Union President and Lans Gberie was then from FBC doubling as a reporter for Kingsley at Concord Times newspaper. Lans Gberie and I became friends. Lans liked to impress me with stories of his prowess in journalism and influential people he would get to meet. One of his best persons was Desmond Luke whom was a mentor he never ceased to praise.
Within few days after NPRC’s Julius Maada Bio handed over to SLPP’s Tejan Kabbah in 1996, Lans Gberie visited at my flat at Brookfields and in one of his bids to impress me, he picked up my phone and told me he was going to call the newly elected president Tejan Kabbah. He spoke to someone on the other line and told the person to tell the President to call him back. He gave my flat phone number at Brookfields to the person on the other line. I remarked as to whether he really thought President Kabbah would call him back and he confidently responded yes.
To further impress me, he picked up my house phone again (back then, there were no mobile phone lines) and this time, he said he was calling up Julius Maada Bio, the man who had just handed over power to Tejan Kabbah. He chatted casually with someone over the phone whom he alleged to be Maada Bio. I had no reason to disbelieve him.
Anyway, just as Lans Gberie had assured me, after a while, my house phone rang and I picked it up and indeed it was President Kabbah himself who politely requested if Lans Gberie was around. I handed the phone over to Lans and watched as he casually spoke to the newly elected President in my living room in the same relaxed way he had just spoken to Maada Bio in my presence.
What I learnt on that day was that Lans Gberie not only shares friendship with both Maada Bio and President Kabbah but I sensed (I proffer no evidence) he was privy to some unpublicised developments that the two men might have been involved in during those last days of the NPRC.
Now, what I am trying to say is that clearly, I have personal first-hand knowledge that Lans Gberie is not only an SLPP sympathiser but has enjoyed a longstanding friendship with the former SLPP president and with the current SLPP presidential candidate. I am sure I am not the only person in Sierra Leone who knows this. Many, many people in this country know this to be so.
This is why I was stunned beyond measure to read the syndicated article by Lans Gberie yesterday February 8th 2012, in several newspapers in which Gberie reveals of how he was employed by the United Nations Secretary General’s representative, Michael Schulenburg to travel all around this country and report back to him (Schulenburg) as to whom was responsible for the political violence in the country.
Furthermore, according to Lans Gberie’s own words yesterday, “Schulenburg asked me to write a report that could form the basis of a conflict mitigation strategy ahead of the 2012 elections”.
Well, naturally as an SLPP insider, Lans Gberie’s findings were that not only was the APC responsible for the political violence in Sierra Leone but that the APC leadership in Freetown (President Koroma is the APC Leader) had given clear endorsement and even remotely initiated the violence all over the country from the seat of power in the capital. These findings, the SLPP’s Lans Gberie says he reported back to Michael Schulenburg for the attention of the United Nations to serve as ‘basis of a strategy to mitigate conflict this year’.
I am stunned that with all the intelligence and memory banks of information which is available to United Nations, the now-disgraced Michael Schulenburg could make such an ill-thought decision of contracting SLPP’s Lans Gberie to “write a report that could form the basis of a conflict mitigation strategy ahead of the 2012 elections”. Wow! What a stunner!
For God’s sake, in the name of natural justice, how could Schulenburg employ an SLPP insider, an SLPP strategist and close confidante of Maada Bio and Tejan Kabbah, to investigate and do a formal report for the United Nations on how to handle APC-SLPP violence? Wow! What an error! A blunder!
It was a stroke of luck for Sierra Leone’s Opposition that Lans Gberie became so trusted by Schulenburg for such a sensitive assignment. I only hope Lans Gberie is not being trusted by anyone else to be an impartial commentator and/or researcher on Sierra Leone. What a monumental blunder that would be!
Dr. Lans Gberie is my friend. He is highly intelligent but the fact remains he is an SLPP strategist and insider. He simply cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be an impartial arbiter in anything to do with the opposition SLPP.
I read somewhere that my friend Lans Gberie now works at the United Nations Security Council as an independent researcher for the African Union. I hope he is being asked by his superiors to completely excuse himself from making any input in all Security Council matters on Sierra Leone! If not, that will be a grave monumental blunder on the part of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union.
I truly hope no-one at the United Nations is taking anything Lans Gberie says against the APC-led Government of Sierra Leone with much credence. The man is so heavily involved in our national politics on the side of the opposition SLPP that it will be truly sad if this fact is not known within the corridors of the United Nations. Truly sad will that be. Almost as sad as Schulenburg employing Lans Gberie to “write a report that could form the basis of a conflict mitigation strategy ahead of the 2012 elections”.
I used the phrase “almost as sad” because I honestly cannot think of anything sadder in these circumstances than Michael Schulenburg employing Lans Gberie to “write a report that could form the basis of a conflict mitigation strategy ahead of the 2012 elections”. I am still in shock. Honestly, I am.
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