Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 January 2018:
The man many now believe to be the candidate most likely to win the forthcoming presidential election in Sierra Leone – Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, will find out today Wednesday, whether he will be allowed by the country’s National Election Commission (NEC) to contest on March 7th.
Today’s unprecedented ruling by the NEC will come, following an objection filed by the ruling APC party, claiming that Dr. Yumkella is ineligible to contest the constituency election in his place of birth – Kychum in the northern district of Kambia.
According to the ruling APC, Dr. Yumkella contravened the country’s Constitution at the time he registered to vote in Kychum Kambia a few months ago, by holding a dual nationality, an allegation Dr. Yumkella and his NGC party have strongly refuted, calling it “an attempt to deny Dr. Yumkella his birthright as a Sierra Leonean to exercise his civil liberty and constitutional right”.
And, if today’s ruling goes against Dr. Yumkella – as the ruling APC party is now hoping, political observers say that it will be a big blow to Dr. Yumkella’s presidential ambition – so far as the forthcoming elections are concerned, paving the way for an easy and fraudulent election victory by the Koroma ruling APC.
Responding last night to the NEC’s decision to hold a hearing on the matter in Kambia tomorrow, this is what the NGC party said:
“The National Grand Coalition (NGC) wishes to inform its members and supporters that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) office in Kambia District has informed Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, candidate for NGC Member of Parliament (MP) for Constituency 062, Samu Chiefdom, Kambia District, that a ruling following an objection to his nomination filed by one Mr. Abu Bakarr Sankoh will be delivered tomorrow, Wednesday 24th January 2018.
“It will be recalled that Mr. Abu Bakarr Sankoh filed an objection on inter alia the following grounds:
“1. That the said Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella with voter identification card number 2282101 is a dual citizen of the Republic of Sierra Leone and the United States of America in violation of section 76(1a) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No 6 of 1991 and the Public Elections (Act No 4) of 2012.
“2. That the said Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella with voter identification card number 2282101 said openly on the 18th Day of January 2018 in a press conference that he holds a dual citizenship and that he has renounced same.”
“The NGC reiterates that Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella is a bona fide citizen of Sierra Leone, born on the 5th day of July 1959 in Kychom, Samu Chiefdom in the Kambia District, to Sierra Leonean parents. We are confident that the objection has no merits whatsoever.
“As a party, the NGC assures all its members and supporters that Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella will be a candidate for the March 2018 elections. We call on all our members and supporters to remain calm and focus on the ultimate goal of winning the elections.
“The NGC legal team will represent Dr. Yumkella tomorrow in Kambia and remains confident of victory.”
This is Dr. Julius Spencer – the NGC spokesman speaking: