Breaking News –  Kandeh Yumkella to quit Sierra Leone’s opposition SLPP

Anthony Kamara

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 September 2017

Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, presidential flagbearer aspirant, is poised to exit from the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The announcement which is reportedly scheduled for this week, will see about forty senior officials also abandoning the party.

Sierra Leoneans will recall that almost two months ago, Dr. Yumkella formally announced the suspension of his flagbearer bid under the SLPP – promising to vigorously maintain his bid and campaign for the Presidency of Sierra Leone.

“The current socio-political conditions in our country,” said Yumkella, “make it imperative that we should take far reaching decisions now for the survival of our country, rather than just to be flagbearer of the SLPP.”

According to sources who prefer to remain anonymous, Yumkella’s resignation – which may come as early as tomorrow, Tuesday, 5th September 2017, will also see hundreds of senior party officials do the same, barely ten days to the SLPP party convention.

It is estimated that the bulk of the senior party officials from the Northern and Western Regions will follow Dr. Yumkella.

Should the resignation reports prove to be true, Dr. Yumkella may finally get “the environment needed to deal with the existing and future critical national issues” he has spoken about to pursue his vision and message of “HOPE, OPPORTUNITY and TRANSFORMATION (HOT).”

This move will undoubtedly spell doom for the SLPP party. The reason being that 62% of the total registered voters in the country are in the North-West Axis; and it must be noted that the party lost all the parliamentary and local government seats there in 2012.

The SLPP South-Eastern hold, becomes even more vulnerable should the current APC government choose vice president Victor Bockarie Foh as their flagbearer among the numerous aspirants, as rumours make the round.

Thus having Mr. Bio as the same presidential candidate for two presidential elections (and now attempting his third) promises another devastating defeat in the hands of the ruling party.

Furthermore, the historical two decades battle between the PAOPA faction and the John Benjamin (JOB) faction, has intensified and continues unabated without Kandeh Yumkella.

Such internal fighting has the potential to further haemorrhage the party’s chances, if they have any in the first place.

However, what is clear is that these internal divisions will affect the very survival of the party which has failed to provide a credible opposition for almost a decade. In the minds of political analysts, Yumkella may have very credible reasons to provide the nation with a “third force.”

Given these possibilities, Yumkella’s original ambition to build a “Grand Coalition of Progressives” to fight for the common man – to ensure a better education and health care for their children; that the youth have decent and productive jobs; and leads efforts to eradicate poverty through sound economic management and wealth creation may just come true.

Could a third force make a difference this time in Sierra Leone? Could Yumkella become Sierra Leone’s Macron?

Editor’s Note

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  1. I admire Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s political ambition although I believe that his chances of winning the presidency are too remote.

    This is not the first time that Sierra Leoneans have salivated over the idea of a Third Force that would eviscerate the existing political order by elbowing and replacing the APC and the SLPP in the country’s political landscape. Dr. John Karefa-Smart and Charles Francis Margai, both with more political capital and influence than Yumkella, had their political parties shake the foundations of Salone politics only to crash on their faces as time progressed.

    A Yumkella party, which I see on the horizon, might be competitive in the Western Area in national elections. However, it will be creamed and obliterated in the Southern, Eastern and Northern provinces. Politics is a numbers game. The numbers, especially the ethnic calculus, do not seem to be in Yumkella’s favor.

    Lastly, a point of correction to the above article – Maada Bio has been SLPP’s presidential candidate only once and not twice as the author erroneously states.

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