Did Dr. Kandeh Yumkella kill the aspirations of Sierra Leoneans for a third political force?

Alpha Amadu Jalloh (The FOX): Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 April 2024:

In the vast expanse of political desert that is Sierra Leone, hope for a politically relevant and significant third party, emerged like a distant oasis – a third party that will challenge the cyclical grip of the two main political parties – SLPP and APC.

Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, with his illustrious career and international standing, appeared as a beacon of that hope, a leader who could change and steer our nation towards a brighter future.

Yet, as the dust settles on his political trajectory, one cannot help but wonder if Dr. Yumkella has inadvertently dashed our hopes and left us stranded in the desert of despair.

Like a lost prince wandering aimlessly, Dr. Yumkella held the promise of leadership that could transcend the limitations of our current political landscape. His tenure at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and his global exposure, garnered him much fanfare and hype, both domestically and internationally.

Many saw him as the figure who could lead Sierra Leone out of its quagmire into a realm of progress and prosperity.

However, as time passed and the initial excitement waned, disillusionment crept in. Dr. Yumkella’s actions, rather than fulfilling our aspirations, seemed to highlight his egoism, which often overshadowed even that of the current president, Julius Maada Bio. (Photo above: Yumkella campaigning at the 2018 elections, promising to put country before self).

His leadership style within the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party, reflected a level of nepotism and disregard for founding members, leaving a bitter taste of betrayal among those who once championed him.

The creation of the KKY Movement, seemingly aimed at uprooting the entrenched political parties, instead sowed seeds of division and discord within the NGC. This internal strife not only weakened the party but also diverted attention from pressing national issues, ultimately benefiting the traditional political powers.

Indeed, the rise of the NGC inadvertently facilitated the ascendancy of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), as attention was diverted from their actions towards the internal conflicts within the NGC. (Photo above: Dream of a third force, NGC – how it all started in Washington DC in 2015).

The party’s failure to stay true to its grassroots origins and its embrace of individuals with mere fanfare and connectivity, rather than genuine dedication to the cause, disillusioned many who once believed in Dr. Yumkella’s leadership.

It is a sobering realization that Sierra Leoneans, in our pursuit of change, often place undue emphasis on educational credentials and titles, rather than the character and integrity of our leaders – a lesson that must be learnt and an attitude that must change.

The elevation of Dr. Yumkella to a pedestal, based solely on his academic achievements and international acclaim blindsided us to his flaws as a leader, leading to a collective disappointment that continues to reverberate across the nation.

As we navigate the complex political landscape of Sierra Leone, let us learn from the mistakes of the past. Let us not be swayed by the allure of titles and accolades, but instead focus on the substance of leadership. (Photo above: Dr Yumkella and Alpha Amadu Jalloh in Freetown).

The dream of a third force may have been momentarily shattered, but the spirit of change still flickers within us. It is time to rise above the mirage of false promises and chart a course towards a future built on integrity, accountability, and true leadership.

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