An open letter to the leaders of the Sierra Leone opposition SLPP – a rejoinder

Alan Luke

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 21 July 2016

Yumkella Keili and kabba

The ‘All Aspirants Alliance’ plays an important role in unifying the SLPP and establishing the idea that aspirants can work together without meting out the kind of violence, abuse and threats against each other as they have encountered from Julius Maada Bio’s thugs.

It has also played an important role in ensuring that the governance arrangements within the party, so badly impaired, are not dismantled by these clandestine operatives.

However, Yankuba Kai Samba deals with the “elephant in the room”, which at some point and well before the convention, would need to be addressed head on by the Alliance.

It is important though to recognise that notwithstanding the violence and abuse, the anti-Bio block within the SLPP is increasing and the 2011 flagbearer election outcome, which posted 60% of votes against Bio, has moved significantly since then.

A lot has happened since 2011, and SLPP members and voters are aware of the developments.

They know that during 2013 and 2014, when Ebola raged in Sierra Leone, Bio was resident in the UK and only surfaced in Sierra Leone at the end of the Ebola crisis, to undertake an Ebola Sensitisation Campaign.

Freetown floods 20154The people continue to experience a worsening water crisis, and Freetown in particular is now regularly prone to natural disasters.

Against this backdrop, citizens are trying to cope within a failed economy, increasing high rates of youth unemployment and persistently poor achievement of other socio-economic indicators, while corruption, orchestrated from Fort Thorton, continues at an alarming and industrial scale.

The people of Sierra Leone will recall that this same government has been endorsed by Julius Maada Bio, as “effective”. They will contrast this to Kandeh Yumkella’s statement to his supporters, when he said “By mid August, I would have completed a full year in Sierra Leone. I have learnt a lot and have been amazed at the dismal state of the economy, the misery of our people and how far the cancer of corruption has metastasized.”

Bio meets president Koroma at state House - 12 October 2015The people would have read recent media reports of the new home acquired in Sierra Leone by Julius Maada Bio, and would see that it is not much different in its opulence and extravagance from the home of IB Kargbo, which was so widely discussed on social media.

They would lament, that a man, who has been long term unemployed for two decades and who by all accounts is penniless, is able to acquire this property, but not able to publicly demonstrate how he facilitated the acquisition.

The people are not stupid and can no longer be taken for granted, and would ensure that Hope, Opportunity and Transformation, triumph over the violence, abuse and fear associated with Bio.

While not taking anything for granted, we can credit the Alliance for their resolve, not only to regain control of the party, but to ensure that the party reflects the constitutional principles of its founding fathers.

The Alliance has succeeded in debunking the myth of Bio and exposed the lie of his south-eastern hegemonic and strong man world views.

However, the Alliance now needs to begin to consolidate around two or three candidates, and to identify the candidate best placed to take on the Bio and the APC.

But merely comparing recent leadership developments within the Conservative and Labour parties is simplistic.

Since 2012, the contribution that party grandees, those chairs of national or regional associations and chiefdom representatives bring to any political movement towards building a united and cohesive opposition, has been destroyed by the clandestine actions and machinations of Bio.

The independence which the party’s National Executive Council should provide has been done away with, as Bio embarked on Balkanising the SLPP.

Therefore, there are not that many wise counsellors who would encourage some aspirants to step aside, even where it is clear that an aspirant may not have any traction with the voters.

Secondly, by retaining the position of “presumptive flag bearer” following his failed attempt at the 2012 elections, and using it as leverage against the current administration, Bio has established in the psyche of our politicians that – failure at the presidential elections is no longer a zero-sum game.

Thirdly, the absence of robust and routine opinion polling does not provide credible evidence to members of the Alliance with a clear indication of how they are performing and whether their message and appeal resonate with Sierra Leoneans at home or abroad.

As such, all will continue with their campaign, rather than coalesce around two or three viable candidates.

SLPP final push in FreetownHowever, the decision by the PPRC on 19 July 2016, not to rerun all the SLPP Lower Level Elections again, marks a turning point as it present members of the Alliance with a clear indication of the relative strength of their campaign – vis a vis other aspirants in those constituencies where the results would be declared, especially if they perform badly in areas where they were expecting to perform better.

Again, these results can provide an idea of the strength of anti-Bio feeling within the party and more importantly, his ability to broaden SLPP’s appeal beyond its core voting block, if it were to succeed against the APC in 2017.

So we need to evaluate these results and begin that conversation with those aspirants who have performed or are performing badly and challenge them to explain, in the light of the declared results, how they intend to mount a successful campaign for the flagbearership.

As a declared supporter of Yumkella, I would leave that task to those who are not conflicted and who are more experienced in political analysis.

7 Comments

  1. Foday Madama, if you are not aware or even at least heard of any or all of my discoveries, then you need to engage yourself in research work of your own and produce your rebuttal. Some of us do not just come to this very important forum with conjecture just to smear or misinform the public. My facts are my bounds and I stand by them. Thank you.

    But just for curiosity sake or perhaps to put you on your toes, I think it’s appropriate to ask you this question: Why haven’t you ever asked those who deliberately accuse Maada Bio since 2009 to date, with all sorts of unfounded allegations, ranging from a palace coup to receiving money from President Ernest Koroma (inclusive) to facilitate his “Nationwide Ebola Sensitization Tour” for justification, yet you are so serious and determined to get one from me.

    I hope you are not trying to be petty or funny with me.

    • I choose to read and contribute to this forum because I believed it’s an opposition mouthpiece, and I always like to be on the opposing side of arguments, especially in politics. However, I find some of the comments about prominent individuals in the opposition parties – especially the SLPP, as well as the current administration, nonconstructive and vilifying.

      Completely sickening to see people taking virus information and stated them as facts in a deliberate attempt to misinform the reading public.

      Mohamed Koroma,

      I am not trying to be funny or petty with you, these issues we are debating on this forum are very important for our country, and every individual citizen has the right to say whatever he or she feels on the problems facing our country.

      The answer to your question in regard to Mr Bio, first, I don’t know Maada Bio more than the fact that he was one of the soldiers that overthrew the then APC government of Joseph Saidu Momoh in 1992. And in 1996 he staged a palace coup against his military boss captain Valentine Strasser to become the leader of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).

      Mohamed Koroma, the people speaking ill about Maada Bio have their reasons and is entirely within their right to do so, because majority of them are SLPPians.

      But for all I know, from listening to Maada Bio’s interviews and speeches, there will be no peace in the SLPP party without Maada Bio, because he has a substantial support – far more than any other prospective presidential aspirant within the party. So any effort to unite your party has to include Maada, otherwise it will be an effort in vain and continued fractionalisation of your party.

      Secondly, between you and I – who is trying to be petty and funny here? Except and if you don’t know what skyscrapers mean, but in Sierra Leone we don’t have many, and most are government buildings like the Bank of Sierra Leone.

      So your statements about Ernest Koroma having 75 skyscrapers is unfounded and misleading to many upright thinking Sierra Leoneans.

  2. Please take a quick look at the Mano River Union (MRU) members, including Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and see each country’s resume as follows;

    1. Sierra Leone- President Ernest Bai Koroma: Born on October 2, 1953. Age 62. He and his wife, Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma, have 5 children, including his son Yunis Koroma, (Yunis means Jonah, who is living in an unknown state in Nigeria); Alice Koroma; and Danke Evelyn Koroma.

    HOW ABOUT YOUR OTHER TWO DAUGHTERS, MR. PRESIDENT KOROMA? AND WHY ARE YOU SO CONTENT WITH ONLY ONE ACADEMIC AND “FIRST” UNIVERSITY DEGREE FROM FBC SINCE 1976 OF THE 20TH CENTURY FOR THAT MATTER? YOU ARE JUST TOO WEAK, CORRUPT TO THE CORE AND VERY MUCH CREEPY. SHAME ON YOU!

    2. Guinea- President Professor Alpha Condé: Born on March 4, 1938. Age 78. He and his wife, Mrs. Djene Kaba
    Condé, have only one son by the name of Mr. Alpha Mohamed Condé.

    3. Liberia- President Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: Born on October 29, 1938. Age 77. She and her husband have 4 sons, including Dr. James A. Sirleaf, Robert Sirleaf, Charles Sirleaf and Fumba Sirleaf.

    Both Presidents Prof. Alpha Condé and Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have wide ranging social and academic
    experiences well suited for them and their countries.

    Similarly, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella on the other hand was appointed in June 2009 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Chair a new Advisory Group on Energy and ‘Climate Change.’ The members of the Group, comprising International Experts, Industry Leaders and United Nations system representatives, advise on energy issues critical to the ‘New Global Climate Change’ deal and beyond.

    Dr. Yumkella is the Chairman of UN-Energy, a United Nations system coordination body dealing with energy-related issues.

    He is also a member of the China Council of International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), which Dr. Kandeh Yumkella is a prominent Public Speaker, who addresses global issues, including Poverty Reduction, Climate Change, the Millennium Development Goals, as well those related to Africa and the Developing World in general, Green Industry and Renewable Energy.

    Dr. Yumkella’s opinion pieces have appeared in major International Newspapers, including The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, and The Guardian.

    He has also appeared on several International Broadcast Networks, including CNN’s Amanpour programme, BBC, Sky News, Aljazeera and CNBC, which consist of senior Chinese Officials and International Experts and advises top Chinese Government Officials on Environment and Development.

    QUICK QUESTION

    Can the people of Sierra Leone stand aloof from petty political bickering with arms akimbo and lose this shining and huge glittering “Gemstone” and engage in mud slinging on his character and personality?

    ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    Please rethink over your decision and massively vote for Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella to be the NEXT President of Sierra Leone. For he is a fellow Sierra Leonean, Susu-Fula for that matter. And he is NOT a political tribalist. He Loves everybody and his country, Sierra Leone. Amen.

  3. Mohamed Koroma & others,

    As an addendum to what I wrote yesterday:

    11. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s mother, Haja Binta Yumkella, is an ethnic Fula from Tambamka Chiefdom, Bombali
    District in Northern Sierra Leone. She is the daughter of Paramount Chief Kandeh Kolleh, who is the
    homonym or namesake of Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, the “first” Paramount Chief of Tambamka Chiefdom
    in Bombali District.

    12. Unlike “Wondei” Julius Bio, he Dr. Yumkella is NOT a member of any satanic secret society that physically
    chops off the heart of man as a cannibal of Sierra Leone.

    13. As for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that ravaged the country, Dr. Yumkella negotiated half a million US
    dollar OPEC support for Ebola fight; and he also donated 1,275 bags of rice to fight Ebola.

    a.) See “Sierra Leone News: Dr. Kandeh Yumkella negotiates half a million dollar OPEC support for Ebola fight” by Awoko Newspaper published on Wednesday August 06, 2014.

    b.) See also “Sierra Leone News: Ebola fight…Dr. Kandeh Yumkella donates 1,275 bags of rice” published on Awoko Newspaper by Abibatu Kamara on Monday September 29, 2014.

    Julius Bio was only heard on Ebola on August 27, 2014 at the time he made public the “Maada Bio launches Trust Fund for the caring of ebola orphans,” and donated only 320 bags of rice to Ebola affected families in Kailahun, Kenema and other districts. This was published on The Sierra Leone Telegraph.

    All of this was done “three weeks” after Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s $ 500, 000 or half a million dollar OPEC support and 1,275 bags of rice to help fight the deadly Ebola Viral Disease.

    Please give Dr. Yumkella the needed collaborative support to upgrade and transform the development of Sierra Leone for the good of all of us. For he has the brainpower, international relationships and wherewithal to do just that. He is very much alert and well focused. Amen.

  4. Mohamed Koroma et al,

    I have no option but to respond and give you the following ten reasons below why I support Chief Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Yumkella to be the incoming President of the republic of Sierra Leone:

    1. He left Kychom in Samu Chiefdom, Kambia District and went to school at CKC in Bo District

    2. His Late father, Paramount Chief Alhaji Bai Shebora Yumkella II, was an ethnic Susu and was a ‘founding member’ of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)

    3. He got admitted at Njala University College (NUC) and graduated with his first B.Sc degree in Agriculture

    4. He is legally married and has only one wife, Mrs. Philomena Yumkella, without any other additional concubines

    5. He became Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of Sierra Leone from 1994-1995

    6. For nine years, from 1987-1996, he held various ‘academic positions’ at Michigan State University (MSU)and the University of Illinois

    7. He is an academic with a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois

    8. He was the former ‘United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General’ for Sustainable Energy for All

    9. He was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative

    10. He was the former Chairman of UN-Energy and a two-term former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

    How about your candidate, Julius Bio? Let us know, if you are at all a serious person to be heard!

  5. When I read through Alan Luke’s open letter addressed to ‘leaders of the Sierra Leone opposition SLPP – a rejoinder’ I was reminded firstly about my first day in primary school (courtesy to the decision by my parents – as this required no legal gymnastics permission or consultation with me beforehand).

    Seated behind a tiny desk with a black slate and a piece of chalk laid before me, as I patiently and attentively waited to hear from my first primary school teacher with apparent instructions to scribble down on the slate the alphabet (Aa Bb Cc Dd) as my first lesson.

    Secondly, I was reminded about the reasons why my parents took the decision to have me enrolled in School in the first place.

    To proudly share this reason with my readers, I can safely without any reservation inform you that the primary reason behind my parents’ decision was for me to be able to LEARN and ACQUIRE the necessary KNOWLEDGE that I did not possess before then – etc. The rest that followed after could only be a bonus.

    I can simply say with gratitude to my parents that this was the wisest decision they took on my behalf and in my favour (requiring no legal gymnastic permission or consultation with me) for which I believe I still owe and will forever to them.

    One would want to know why all this historic analysis of my primary schooling!

    Well, I volunteered this analysis for our readers to discern, by good and impartial judgment, the suspicious angle Alan is focusing his argument or analyses that in my opinion is one of the same old missiles that we have heard and seen targeting Maada and Maada alone in this flag bearer campaign in our Party.

    Because of his deep-seated hatred for this man (MAADA) I can see and smell the tone of his so called open letter toeing the same line of his peers, who care less about public perception and opinion, having mortgaged their integrity, morality, honesty and sincerity because of just one man – (MAADA).

    They are hell bent on destroying this noble party because of Maada and Maada alone. These are people who are not prepared to speak-out the truth, even when it is boldly and broadly written or printed on their foreheads, let alone on the wall. Speaking the truth (and let the sleeping dog lie) to them is a total and absolute abomination.

    Because these members have all lost their sense of reasoning, it will be no surprising to our readers to see them shamelessly conducting themselves in such a dishonorable and unpatriotic manner in public media, regardless.

    Some of us – me in particular, do care so much about mine and very careful in my contributions to the media, because I cannot tell who may be reading my contributions which may likely turn out to be somebody that knew me. If I lie and this is detected, it will be an embarrassment to me, should my attention is later drawn to it.

    Secondly, I believe Alan’s unimpressive argument is a display of falsehood, deceit, incoherence, ignorance, mediocrity and lacking in credibility.

    Let me now attempt to rubbish some of his statements and offer credible information that I would invite our readers to find out who is telling the truth and who is not. I will be ready to bury my head into sinking sand, if I am proven to be deceptive in my presentation.

    Firstly, it is true that Maada commands over 97% of the total membership of the SLPP voters and over 90% of the voting delegates in the South-East. Take me by my words. This will be demonstrated in the flag bearer election slated for this year.

    This has been physically demonstrated many, many times now and in the past, during Maada’s regular visits to the regions. So when Alan tries to deceive his readers and I quote: “The Alliance has succeeded in debunking the myth of Bio and exposed the lie of his south-eastern hegemonic and strong man world”, I feel it is my business and responsibility to tell our readers the truth.

    My response to the above quote is clear and simple. In the first place, there is no politician today that is more popular in the South-East in particular than Maada Bio. FULL STOP.

    Secondly, something very disturbing I notice about Alan is his inconsistencies and wavering, with respect to his choice of candidate in this context. One moment he appears to be campaigning for the Alliance to come up with Two or Three aspirants to fight Maada and take on the APC. Quote: “………, the Alliance now needs to begin to consolidate around two or three candidates and to identify the candidate best placed to take on the Bio and the APC”.

    On the other vein, he appears to be introducing himself as a supporter of KKY. I would have thought that, as a supporter of KKY, I expect Alan to advocate for the Alliance to put KKY as their credible candidate. But this is another demonstration of the unseriousness and unreliability of this character.

    Thirdly, Alan unfortunately talking about the PPRC ruling on 19 July 2016, quote: “the decision by the PPRC on 19 July 2016, not to rerun all the SLPP Lower Level Elections again, marks a turning point as it present members of the Alliance with a clear indication of the relative strength of their campaign”.

    This statement by Alan is deliberately misleading. In the first place, the party was not asking PPRC to re-do all the lower elections. The party requested to re-do all those elections that it views as flawed. How the flaw came about is what is important here.

    The Agents working on behalf of the ‘Alliance’ in the party conspicuously conspired to flout the Rules and Regulations laid down by the Party in consultation with and approval of all parties involved, including the Alliance and the PPRC for the conduct of the Lower Level elections.

    Their Agents (The Alliance) falsified names of their supporters, and attempted to submit it to PPRC for the Commission’s approval. This was noticed and petitioned by the Party authorities. And the PPRC acting as the adjudicator, ruled against the Alliance’s falsified list, hence the ruling on 19th July 2016.

    The most outrageous and dishonorable lie can only come from people who have sold their birth rights; have no respect for their person; care less about public perception and about their home bringing. This is exactly what I see in Alan, as he also ridiculed himself when he tried desperately to smear Maada for not being here in Sierra Leone, during the Ebola crisis.

    I agree with Alan that Maada was not in this country when it was attacked by the Ebola scourge. Because this fellow is dishonest to his bone, he did not see the need to talk about the good things Maada did, both during the Ebola era and after. Well, like I promised earlier, I will put the record straight.

    It is clear with evidence that during the Ebola period, while still in Britain, Maada gave support to the many quarantine centers in the country. When Maada came to Sierra Leone the first time, before his Ebola sensitization campaign, he went around the country to distribute bags of rice and condiments to the affected families – both in the South-East and the North-Western regions.

    This move by Maada forced the government to take to their heels, and also began to distribute rice and other food items to the Ebola affected persons and families.

    This bold initiative by Maada and Maada alone, gave rise to the government of this country to provide him with state security to travel the length and breadth of this country during his Ebola sensitization campaign. No doubt this initiative paid-of well. We saw it, and people appreciated him for this singular act. Let Alan honestly tell me if I am not telling the truth.

    Members of his ‘Alliance’ were all in this country when the Ebola virus broke out indiscriminately killing our people, and the affected persons were crying aloud for help. Tell us about what any of the ‘Alliance’ members did. Why shouldn’t we be grateful when people do kindness to the people we want to rule. Or was Maada wrong in doing all what I have catalogued above.

    So Alan, when I started my response to your scrap letter, I mentioned about my first day at school and what the reason was when my parents sent me to school. Emphatically I said ‘to learn what I did not know before’. This was a call on you to try to learn, because I see your narrow thinking and narrow mindedness in the approach to your way of political debate.

    Like you rightly mentioned about the lapses and failures of this government, I expect all of us to campaign against bad governance, like you mentioned: worsening water crisis in Freetown, failed economy, foreign exchange rate – soaring day by day; prices of essential commodities sky-rocketing, increasing high rate of youth unemployment and persistently poor achievement of socio-economic progress, while corruption is on the rise.

    These are issues that we should be seen to be talking about as an opposition party waiting to govern, rather than venting out our venom on harmless leaders.

    The unpleasant statement anyone would make against Maada that will deserve no forgiveness, is exactly what you tend to fabricate: that Maada has endorsed this government and its effectiveness. I want to refer you back to the members of the ‘Alliance’ – John Benjamin to be precise. Was it not John Benjamin who after the 2012 elections, went onto the air to congratulate Ernest Bai Koroma and accepted the electoral defeat in his capacity as the Chairman and Leader of the SLPP?

    Was it not Maada who refused (and up-till now) to congratulate Ernest Bai Koroma?

    Perhaps I should again educate Alan as to what Maada said then and now. That Ernest Bai Koroma stole his election. That he will not congratulate Ernest Bai Koroma and accept defeat. That he will accept Ernest Bai Koroma as his President only after the Supreme Court’s ruling in his case against him for rigging the elections.

    About the new home of Maada, you are trying to make a hell of it. You see, for anyone to just hold a pen and write ‘FITI-FATA’ with no facts, makes the writer “STUPID”, Naïve, and petty. What is wrong with Maada owning a house?

    You call him an unemployed citizen of this country, but he is by far better that those who are gainfully employed but only sleeps with one eye open. These people live in a state of uncertainty for fear of being dragged to the Anti Corruption Commission any time or lose their properties, when a patriotic government takes over power.

    Why don’t you and I talk about the wonderful skyscraper buildings across the country that are being put up by Ministers and their relatives, Associates, girlfriends and concubines of these ministers, the President who now own roughly 75 massive mansions – 35 under construction, and 10 nearing construction.

    What about President Koroma’s relatives owning various lands and mansions across the country, not to talk about those already acquired abroad by the President, his relatives, his wife (first lady), and respected concubines and relatives of these concubines.

    What about our beautiful beaches in the peninsular and other places now bought by these ministers, the President in the center – owning not the ‘mina’ share, but the hyena’s share. You don’t see all this, but the meager portion of land, owned by Maada as your play ground.

    I can honestly say that I am disappointed in you because, you failed to do your homework before coming to this forum; or perhaps you did not wish to do so for fear of exposing the ineptitude of your Kandeh Yumkella, who told the world that he has never voted in an election in this country because he was not on the voter register.

    Yumkella also told us that he had never registered with any political party in this country. Few days later he shamelessly came out with another statement that he was a registered member of our party.

    When he was finally caught with his tail between his legs, he sent one of his thugs to formally register him at the party headquarters at Wallace Johnson Street, Freetown. When his Henchmen saw the U-turn and possible media embarrassment, they immediately went into his defense that their man was just upgrading his membership. This is the man who wants to lead this country; I wonder on which ticket.

    Few months later this man brought shame to our party, as he was caught importing ‘mercenaries’ into our peaceful country loaded with pepper spray equipment, according to reliable sources, to fire those in the SLPP that were perceived as anti-KKY and Bio’s supporters to total blindness.

    Having failed all attempts, as he was about to board a plane to Europe, he referred to our SLPP as a violent political party. And yet this is the party he himself wants to lead.

    My advise to Alan is to try to learn to speak the truth, irrespective of your connections with people.

    • Mohamed Koroma, you are accusing Alan Luke when he wrote in his letter to the SLPP leaders of the opposition of being “far misleading”, but how could you justify this statements below from your rejoinder to Alan Luke?

      “Why don’t you and I talk about the wonderful skyscraper buildings across the country that are being put up by Ministers and their relatives, Associates, girlfriends and concubines of these ministers, the President who now own roughly 75 massive mansions – 35 under construction, and 10 nearing construction”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*