From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Remembering Salia Jusu-Sheriff
By Dr. Fred M. Hayward
Feb 11, 2010, 17:12

I first met Salia Jusu Sheriff in the mid-1960s when he was a Minister and we soon became good friends. I traveled with him when he campaigned in his district during the elections of 1967, and saw him regularly after that until the coup in 1992.

He was a wonderful debater in Parliament in an era when Parliamentary debates were exciting and the galleries constantly full. He was an erudite and thoughtful speaker who always had something interesting to say. He cared deeply about the development of Sierra Leone and worked to improve the social, economic, and political life of the nation as an MP, Minister, Vice President and citizen.

Salia managed to be successful in many areas – as a professional, businessman, parliamentarian, and political leader as well as a committed loving family man. I had many wonderful meals at the home of Gladys and Salia, saw the children grow up and mature in their own individual ways. He was committed to justice and fair play. As a politician he was loath to make promises. One of his constituents once complained in my hearing that Salia didn’t give them money and that his promises were not as grand as other politicians. His response was low key and straight – that he tried never to make a promise that he could not keep and that any money he spent was his own not the government’s. He was a tireless campaigner for what he believed in and cared deeply about his constituents. Salia was meticulous about keeping records and thus a goldmine for someone writing about Sierra Leone. And he generously shared his archives with me and other scholars.

I remember him for his kindness, his openness, generosity, and thoughtful musings about Sierra Leone. His commitment to a better future for the country marked his actions, and his sadness and despair when things went badly was intense. He was honest about his failures as well as his successes. We spent many hours talking about politics – what had gone well and what had gone badly. His keen intellect, thoughtful commitment to Sierra Leone, his search for ways to bring about a better future, and his willingness to fight for what he believed – even when he was a minority of one as was sometimes the case – marked the man. We will miss him very much but his integrity, commitment, and accomplishments will not be forgotten.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.