From our correspondent in Freetown
22 June 2016
As results of the Sierra Leone People’s Party lower level elections held on Saturday 18 June 2016 emerge, the Sierra Leone People’s Party membership has demonstrated a desire for hope over fear.
Initial results from these elections show that nominees are supportive of Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella’s candidacy for the SLPP presidential nomination.
From the results analysed so far, Yumkella has secured 59 percent of constituencies in the country. KKY supporting candidates have won constituencies in the following districts:
Western Urban District- 30% of constituencies; Port Loko District – 80%; Bombali District – 50%; Kambia District – 90%; Koinadugu District – 100%; Kenema District – 70%; Kono District – 85%; Kailahun District – 0%; Pujehun District – 30%; Moyamba District – 50%.
Bo District is yet to be declared, due to the campaign of violence allegedly orchestrated by supporters of Julius Maada Bio. However, Dr. Yumkella is believed to have won 60% of the constituencies that conducted a free and fair poll.
Tonkolili, Bonthe and the Western Rural districts are yet to be confirmed. Despite the skirmishes, which occurred, Yumkella hopes to do very well in Bonthe District where he has the staunch support of the District Council Chairlady.
Despite the claim by Julius Maada Bio that he will defeat John Oponjo Benjamin in his home town, reports emerging show that Benjamin has secured all the constituencies in Kailahun District.
Munda Rogers is believed to have secured 70% of the constituencies in his home district of Pujehun. Given the level of violence directed towards other candidates, who have not been able to gain the same access to the party offices and to campaign unhindered, it is no surprise that Bio is said to have secured 70% of constituencies in the Western Urban Area. Outside of Western Area, Bio is understood to have secured 50% of constituencies in Moyamba District.
The outcome of these elections would be greeted with relief that the party can now begin to put behind it, the unnecessary legal actions and meetings with the Party Political Registration Commission (PPRC), chaos caused by the hijacking of the party offices by so called “Benghazi Boys” and weak leadership, due to the continuing undermining of the office of the Chairman and National Executive.
Yumkella who attributed his success as a win for the All flag-bearer Alliance and their efforts towards getting the party membership across the country ready for positive change, within the party and country, said that “it is not possible for our Alliance to be defeated in the Western Area where we are all resident and stronger. Bio’s supporters might defeat my movement, but he cannot defeat Timbo, Benjamin and me, plus others in the Alliance joined together.” (Photo: John Benjamin).
These unofficial results show that Yumkella has emerged as the hot favourite to win the SLPP nomination.
And it demonstrates that party members are fed up of the violent actions of the ‘Paopa faction’ which has left the party completely ineffective in addressing the aspirations of the people of Sierra Leone, in spite of the continuing economic decline and mismanagement under the APC.
The need for unity was foremost in Yumkella’s mind when he said that “this is the time we need to talk more about how the APC has wrecked our economy, and let the people know how men in government are getting richer by the day, while the people go to bed hungry with their children who have been denied quality education.”
Many supporters believe that Bio who is resident in Sierra Leone, cannot now realistically hope to retain a stranglehold on the SLPP, through violence, indiscipline, thuggish behaviour and flouting of the party’s constitutional and governance arrangements.