Kandeh Yumkella on a marathon regional tour of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 June 2016

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As the opposition SLPP prepares for its forthcoming 2018 presidential candidacy election, presidential hopeful – Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has taken his message of ‘hope, opportunity and transformation (HOT)’ to the northern and eastern districts of Sierra Leone.

This marathon tour followed his recent series of town hall meetings across southern Sierra Leone in December 2015, culminating in the homecoming visit of his Kambia district in January 2016.

Throughout all of those town hall meetings, Yumkella engaged with local people to understand their needs. He explained how as president of Sierra Leone he would fulfill their hopes and aspirations.

Yumkella, who many political pundits have marked as a strong favourite to win the SLPP 2018 presidential candidacy election, took to the high road across the north and east of Sierra Leone, immediately after returning from the 2016 African Utility Week Industry Awards in Cape Town, South Africa, where he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

KKY Tour - May 2016 6Meeting people from all walks of life in various communities, Yumkella is not only seeking to win the trust and confidence of the people of Sierra Leone, but demonstrating and assuring them of his intention to represent the interest of all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of tribal, regional, religious and political differences.

His marathon tour started on the 25th of May, 2016, in the heartland of the ruling APC party – Koinadugu district, where Yumkella visited local schools and saw first-hand the chronically under-funded and over-crowded conditions in which the nation’s future generations are being forced to learn.

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Quality and standards of education in Koinadugu are suffering, and this is borne out by the poor and worsening outcomes for pupils and their development.

“Lack of equal opportunity to good standard of education is seriously affecting the nation’s competitiveness and prosperity. Every child matters,” says Yumkella.

At the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School in Kabala, Yumkella outlined his vision for a better education system and plans to raise standards, as well as extend opportunity to every child.

In Koinadugu, Yumkella also visited the local market, and saw the challenges that ordinary families face every day, coping with rampant hyper-inflation, which has seen the value of the Leone in continuous decline and trading at $1 to Le6,500.

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He listened to women describing the hardship they face feeding their families, as the cost of basic essentials continue to rise alarmingly, at a pace that outstrips their income.

Yumkella noted that women’s empowerment was critical to the development of Sierra Leone.

“He was positively received in Koinadugu, demonstrating his strong appeal over Julius Maada Bio and every other aspiring flagbearer; not only mounting a strong electoral fight for the presidency, but to win in the APC heartland in the north of Sierra Leone,” a senior member of the KKY Campaign Team told the Sierra Leone Telegraph.

Yumkella went to Kono District, where he met with all 14 Paramount Chiefs of the district, key stakeholders and members of the SLPP at the party’s office.

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What has now become a common feature of Yumkella’s nationwide tour is his active engagement of local youths and participation in early morning runs to promote healthy lifestyle, rather than use those vulnerable youths as political mercenaries to perpetuate violence and commit murder.

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In Kono, he met with local school children, and addressed a town hall meeting where he set out his vision for Sierra Leone, and the values that drives his passion for wanting to lead the country to prosperity.

KKY Tour - May 2016 3Yumkella spoke about how he will respond to the challenges facing the country, if elected president.

He articulated the need to put strong institutional arrangements in place, that will hold public officials accountable and deal with endemic graft, which the current government has demonstrated, lacking the ability and willingness to address.

Visiting Bombali District, the home of president Ernest Bai Koroma, Yumkella was rapturously received by local people, including youths, who represent a significant segment of the country’s electorate.

Draped in green and white, many of those who came out to meet and greet Yumkella also wore t-shirts with the slogan – “Our Hope, Our Future”.

Yumkella received a grand welcome in Masingbi Chiefdom and Makeni City, where he met with key SLPP stakeholders and Paramount chiefs. He addressed party members and executives at a gathering in the SLPP office in Makeni.

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A senior member of the KKY Campaign Team concluded: “The tour was a huge success and now position Yumkella as the pre-eminent flagbearer aspirant. His message of Hope, Opportunity and Transformation continues to resonate with people across the country. His tour continues in Kenema and Kailahun districts.”

11 Comments

  1. When it comes to the leadership of Sierra Leone, I am firmly on the side of caution. I have witnessed too many false starts and disappointment not to be.

    My father was an indefatigable and fearless supporter of Siaka Stevens. He fell for Siaka Stevens’ pronouncements that he was for the common man. What did Sheki do? He ruined the country.

    Momoh came along as the hand-picked to Sheki. What did he do? Nothing, apart from plunging the country further into the cesspool of misery. He took the blow meant for Siaka Stevens, delivered by Tom Nyuma [may Allah grant him perpetual peace] and others.

    The military boys? In all sincerity we can only thank them for rudely showcasing the toothless lion that A.P.C. was.

    Ahmad Kabbah? We must accord him the benefit of the doubt and hope that history will treat him kindly. He took over a country that was at war and in ruins. He could hardly control his ministers, which was one of the reasons international donors withheld funds from his government to provide yet another platform for the reemergence of the much hated A.P.C.

    Now we have Ernest Koroma. It is hard to know what to make of him. Upon his arrival on the scene, I thought he was the messiah sent to deliver us from years of overall misery and backwardness. He wasn’t and hasn’t.

    Kandeh Yumkellah may have all the academic and executive experience in the world, but is yet to be tested as a national leader with everybody saying “YES SIR” to him. Fellow Sierra Leoneans, let us be on the side of caution. In the political arena, tigers can become butterflies easily and quickly.

  2. I’m optimistic that he will be a better and credible leader after reading his resume.The only problem I have with him is the banner he just displayed with reference to Niger delta and Dubai.

    It’s sounds condescending to me to make that part of Nigeria which is one of our strongest partners in that region as an example when you can use Kono (the bread basket of our nation) but still have a very high poverty rate as compared to Botswana.

    Sierra Leone should always be Sierra Leone because we are unique and the only thing a good leader has to do is to restore the country to its past glory.

    To mention Dubai will be a tall order. In politics, never try to over-promise and under-deliver because you can easily lose your credibility which I believe is his strength at this moment.

    • I have always had the thinking that the SLPP nomination for flag bearer-ship this time around is Dr. Kandeh Yumkellah’s to lose. Dr. Yumkellah is uniquely qualified to contest for the job, win it, and go on to become a great president for our country.

      The reasons for my hypothesis are numerous, and I will just list a few of them: firstly, he has the academic qualifications or what intellectuals call the epistemological foundation to look at issues from a point of advantage with a different and larger lens. This is because he can conceptualize situations and put them in their right framework that will allow enable him solve them.

      He does this through what philosophers call deductive reasoning, i.e. he looks at issues or phenomena, understand them and reach into his quiver or tool box for theories that will explain them, and then use best practices around the world in business, economics, agriculture, engineering and management to solve them.

      Similarly, he also uses what we call inductive reasoning, by looking at issues, understanding them, and then design a theory or model that he can use to solve the problem.

      This is what he has done all his life, at university of Chicago as a lecturer, at UNIDO as executive director, and most recently at the United Nations as the Secretary Generals Special Representative in charge of energy.

      He is now using these same skills to take on the teething problems plaguing first the SLPP as a party, and he will transfer these same skills, (especially from the consultancy he has done around the world, in countries with similar problems, namely – in Ivory Coast, China, and a host of others to solve the problems in Sierra Leone.

      My appeal therefore to our SLPP brothers and sisters is to come on board the KKY train, and give this learned and accomplished brother a chance to help our country in the same way he has done for others around the world. This is our last opportunity at a real chance to give leadership to someone who can do this job.

      Upon winning the nomination to lead the SLPP, Dr. Kandeh Yumkellah should use the wise words of the other brilliant flag bearer competitor, Ali Kabbah, ” Everyone in, no-one out”.

  3. Mohamed Sannoh,

    I guess, you and your father were at NUC campus in the early 1990s. Anyway, without an iota of doubt Chief Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has the proven record and ability to effectively address the problems, including sustainable energy in Sierra Leone. He is a conscientious and hardworking leader.

    For your information, his recent visitations and meetings in Kono with the school going children is very much encouraging. Please see photos above. As for Chief Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella:

    “The PEN is mightier than the AK 47 of Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.”

    Yes, we should be a forward and not backward looking people of the 20th century. That said, you yourself have acknowledged the successful job done by Late President Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah through his UN contacts. If that is the paradigm for leadership (s)election, then why not allow Chief Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, who was the former UN Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General For Sustainable Energy to LEAD the country too with due diligence.

    He is not interested in money hounding, but in bringing the right kind of political leadership for the people of Sierra Leone to emulate. He is doing it boldly and courageously at our time. And by his own very example.

    Please wake up, if you are not a political tribalist, and cultivate your garden of knowledge and understanding on this. Have a great day.

    • I cannot agree with you more Moustache. Mr Sannoh needs to wake up and smell the coffee. But he also must learn the art and science (for that matter) of proper analysis of the facts, rather than perhaps pleading the blissfulness of ignorance. Any comparison between Kandeh and Bio has to be a joke going by the evidence.

  4. International experts have not proved any usefulness to the point of solving Sierra Leone’s problem. We Sierra Leoneans here understand our problems more locally than other Sierra Leoneans bragging up and down the high road with expert skills to solve our problems.

    If Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella had the ability to solve energy power for Sierra Leone, he does not need to go about canvassing from districts to districts, but his ability would have put our country in a position you might have been imagining by now.

    The reason why the late President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was successful from the UN was because our country was in the middle of acute civil war and we wanted somebody with the international contacts to call the world’s attention to our calamity which he did successfully well through his linkages with Kofi Annan who was the UN Secretary General and his colleague by then.

    In the case of Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella at this time, he cannot dare to measure our situation now to the past, because we have jumped the civil war and now moving forward.

    • @ M. Sannoh. A point of correction for you, sir. The late President Tejan Kabbah was never a colleague of the former UN Chief Kofi Annan, at best you can describe him as a junior colleague of the latter – the UNDP of which the former was a staff is the development agency of the the United Nations

      It was the former UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Dr James Jonah – whom President Kabbah roped into his government as Minister of Finance – who used his HIGH international contacts while at the UN, to mount sustained pressure and focus world “attention to our calamity”.

  5. https://twitter.com/BillGates/status/738391116257464320

    I saw this post by Bill Gates recently on Twitter and thought the lack of African representation was very interesting. I immediately thought of KKY and the footprint he has made in the energy sector.

    So often people have been quick to criticize those who gain global expertise and want to return home to share their knowledge. They are accused of not understanding the issues on the ground.

    What meaningful changes have those who remained on the ground made to alleviate the suffering of the masses.

    Sierra Leone needs a leader with strong international ties, who can navigate well between the local and global stages. The problems can’t be solved locally, because the challenges are beyond the local resources and expertise.

    There has to be a period of local capacity building, before Sierra Leone can be managed purely from a local level. It’s time to stop behaving like the country cannot benefit greatly from global expertise and experience, to help move the country into the 21st century.

    • This time round we need real people with dignity, pride and self respect, as well as for the people they represent. There is no doubt for People like Yumkella to take Sierra Leone from grass to grace.

      The problem of Sierra Leone can be easily solved if Sierra Leoneans can introduce the system to vet politicians like the way they vet for paramount chief position, we will not have too many political lapses, failure and disappointment like the current situation the people of Sierra Leone are facing.

      If we do not learn to vet the background of our political representatives before giving them public offices we will ever remain in a mess and poverty, no matter how many type of minerals we have.

      Shameless and wicked leaders always steal from the country for their selfish interest and leave the powerless roaming with poverty, hunger, starvation and sickness. Of course lawlessness and injustice is the motto of our politicians, because they are the first lawless people who don’t abide by public order.

      From all indications, Yumkella is my choice and I believe he will be the choice of all well meaning Sierra Leoneans who need a representation for development, not for the pa dae cam or pa u borbor dae.

      Please Fellow Sierra Leoneans let’s give support to this former diplomat to prove to the world that he deserve all the respect and awards given to him in his term of office as diplomat. Remember the value of Late Pa Kabbah was not known by many Sierra Leoneans when he was in the office of Presidency, not until now when we are in the hands of Adebayor the great buyer in the market of BONGER TOWN.

      Please let us not repeat such mistakes in our lives again. The future of our children is in our hands.

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