Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 September 2015
The division within the opposition SLPP, fuelled by the row over the membership status of presidential hopeful – Dr. Kandeh Yumkella seems to be getting wider and deeper.
Despite rallying calls by the party chairman – Chief Kapen for unity and constitutionality to reign supreme, feathers are still being ruffled as the war of words continues.
A group of senior party grandees whom Yumkella says ought to know better, than to deliberately try to exclude him from the party through unconstitutional means, are insisting that Yumkella is not a bona fide member of the party.
The group – also known as the membership verification committee, is led by the firebrand chairman of the party’s southern region – Mr. Soloku. Other members of the group include former foreign minister Dr. Abass Bundu and legal luminary Eke Halloway.
A few weeks ago the self-styled ‘membership verification committee’, published a report it said had investigated the membership status of Yumkella and found that, there is no evidence of his membership of the SLPP.
This conclusion was echoed last week by Dr. Abass Bundu, and has drawn swift response not only from Kandeh Yumkella himself, but supporters across the SLPP party and beyond.
Political analysts say that this membership crisis has now thrown the party’s chances of successfully contesting the 2018 general and presidential election into serious doubt, as the party continues to drag itself into deeper disrepute, and may eventually have to go to the Supreme Court for adjudication.
Not known for staying away from national controversy, the former foreign minister in the military NPRC junta – Dr. Abass Bundu (Photo), has waded into the Yumkella membership crisis.
In response, Yumkella could not resist referring to Abass Bundu’s skeletons in his cupboard that refuses to go away – his alleged sale of Sierra Leone’s passport to foreign nationals for personal gain.
According to records, Bundu was prosecuted in 1996 by the Kabba government, for the alleged illegal sale of Sierra Leone passports, under a scheme known as the Immigration Investment Programme.
It is claimed that Bundu personally pocketed over $200,000 from the sale, which he is yet to account for.
Local media reports alleged that on 26th August, 1994, the sum of US$20,000 was paid into Abass Bundu’s London Bank Account, along with US$10,000 cash. A cheque of US$20,000 was paid into the same account on the 5th of September 1994. On the 27th September 1994, another cheque in the sum of US$10,000 was paid in. And on the 2nd of May 1995, cash in the sum of US$100.000 was said to have been paid directly to Bundu; followed by another sum of US$50.000 credited into his account on the 30th of June 1995.
But in October 2005 the kabba government to the surprise of many, decided to drop all charges – nolle prosequi.
Once a strong member of the APC party, Dr. Abass Bundu is the elected northern regional chairman of the embattled SLPP, and the older brother of the ruling APC party leader in parliament – Mr. Ibrahim Bundu.
Writing in the Global Times last week, Abass Bundu did not conceal his support for the self-styled membership verification committee, which many in the party and outside believe to be nothing other than a kangaroo court, set up to prevent any chance of Yumkella (KKY) becoming leader of the SLPP.
This is what Abass Bundu told the Global Times:
“……..while we might feel somewhat exhausted by the incessant questioning of the membership of Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY) in the SLPP, it is nevertheless of the utmost importance that this be done now rather than later, if only to avoid a future disappointment or calamity should he be nominated by the SLPP as its presidential candidate or be designated as its running mate in the 2018 presidential election.
“This is why I personally find it exasperating when our revered National Chairman and Leader decided to take to the airwaves and say he is satisfied simpliciter with the pronouncements by his National Secretary-General that KKY is a member of the party without producing any valid documentary proof of such membership.
“I have the greatest respect for both gentlemen but their oral pronouncements are not enough to make anyone a member of the party and, therefore, in my humble opinion, the case of my illustrious brother, KKY’s membership, is not yet closed.
“And this is why I considered it my bounded duty primarily to the SLPP to join the other regional chairmen to make it abundantly clear that we support the findings of the factual investigation carried out by our colleague chairman of the southern region.
“The simple answer to all the numerous issues being raised about KKY’s membership is for him to walk through the doors of Unity House when he is next in Freetown and apply for a fresh registration.
“I, as the regional chairman of the north, will gladly accompany him to the National Treasurer’s office. Doing this will not only put paid to the unnecessary distraction this issue is engendering, it would make him unquestionably eligible to contest for any office in the party.
“There should be no quick-fixes nor any clever circumventions of the party’s constitution in this regard. What is more, the extant party constitution contains no bar to a new member contesting for the flagbearership.
“The SLPP, being an eminently democratic party, will decide the question of flag bearer ultimately and decisively through the votes of the majority of the delegates at the appropriate Party Convention; and the sooner this is convened the better it will be for restoring amity and unity to the party.”
Responding to those comments by Abass Bundu, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella was very scathing.
He called upon Abass Bundu not to forget the inconclusive criminal matter regarding his selling of the country’s passport when he was foreign minister.
Yumkella said that those questioning the morality of others, must themselves be open to public scrutiny, and that Abass Bundu should bring the passport matter to a close by fully satisfying the people of Sierra Leone of his innocence.
In the meantime, and as the war of words continues, the SLPP Southern Region Secretariat has also issued a statement denouncing the self-styled membership verification committee, established by their very own chairman Soloku.
This is the Secretariat’s statement:
Sierra Leone People’s Party
Southern Region Secretariat
28 Fenton Road, Bo
Counter Press Release Regarding KKY’s SLPP Membership Status
(Bo, 21st September) Sequel to an SLPP emergency Southern Regional executive meeting held in Bo on Sunday 20th September 2015 and attended by the undersigned key executive members, the following resolutions were made for the attention of party members, supporters and the general public:
That the Bo District SLPP Chairman has never come out with a clear public statement with regards to the issue of Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s registration status especially when and where the impasse is said to have taken place.
That we the undersigned regional SLPP Executive members disregard and disassociate ourselves from the self-styled “SLPP verification team”.
That at no point in time have we been involved in or officially notified about discussions leading to the formation of the SLPP verification team as the Southern regional Chairman is claiming. We there outrightly disassociate ourselves from the outcome of the said verification committee
That the Regional Chairman acted unilaterally and this is not the first time of doing so since his election
That all regional executive members are elected at regional party conventions months before the Regional Chairman is elected at National Convention; he therefore cannot be as au-fait with Party’s realities on the ground, as other Regional Executives, especially so when he permanently stays out of the Region. He should therefore be more consultative.
Not surprisingly, the Regional Chairman’s baseless stance on Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Yumkella’s SLPP registration status is resulting from his failure to consult either the other elected regional officials or his predecessor Mr. Joseph Maada Kpulun during whose chairmanship Dr. Yumkella registered.
That we the undersigned regional officials condemn in the strongest terms the threat on the life of our colleague, the Regional Secretary General, Mr. Melvin Rogers and the abuses rained on his mother by irate party members like Kanja Daramy, SLPP District PRO, Aziz Carew, Constituency 104 Chairman in Freetown and Foday Sillah, a party member.
We are therefore calling on the police and the justice system to be proactive in protecting life and dispensing justice as the matter is already under investigation whilst Mr. Rogers’ legal team is closely monitoring the situation.
LONG LIVE SLPP
Abdul Wahab Rogers
Regional Young Generation Leader, South
Regional Vice Chairman, South
Regional Secretary General, South
You can watch Yumkella’s live response to Abass Bundu here:
Dr. Abass Bundu, thank you so much for loving this country with your greatness and honor. I do not care what the critics say, you always loved this country and its nation. Thank you.
Unfortunately SLPP can and would never learn from their previous mistakes. It seem to me that the core leadership of the SLPP is more concern with regional allegiance than national allegiance, which is vital to the success of the party in general elections. You can never win an election by eliminating potential candidates that could impact the outcome of the election.
I’m sure that most people would agree that the APC came to power because of the SLPP’s disagreement with Charles Margai, a split that gave birth to PMDC. I respect the SLPP means and methods of choosing their presidential candidates, but discouraging potential candidates with great regional and national support to walk away and form their own political party would do no good to SLPP.
With great unity and harmony, their is no doubt in my mind that SLPP would win any national election in Sierra Leone. But this would never happen if the SLPP keep ignoring people with clear vision for the party and the country as a whole. Dr Charles Margai’s PMDC took away the votes needed to propel the SLPP to victory in 1997, Dr Kandeh Yumkella’s – National Grand Coalition party is going to hinder the SLPP’s chance of winning the election this March 2018.
SLPP should have done all in its power to incorporate Maada Bio and Dr Yunkella into its leadership position to contest this election for the general good of the party (one being the presidential candidate and the other his running mate). Regardless of the long list of aspirant that contested the APC presidential candidate race, they still managed to stick together to propel the party to victory.
As a general norm, current vice president Victor Foh was in line to succeed president Bai Koroma. But the appointment of Samura Kamara as the APC presidential candidate did not see Victor Foh or any of the other APC aspirants forming a new political party because they all have one vision for the APC party; that is, victory in this election.
The core leadership within the SLPP seem to lack unity within the party and that would only crumble the foundations upon which the SLPP was found. I’m not going into any statistical analyses here to predict an APC victory in this election, but I do believe that Dr Yunkella’s NGC party would destroy an SLPP’s victory just like the PMDC did in 1997 general election.
I am glad to have read through the various comments and discursions. Please lets continue to educate our people of the present state of Sierra leonean politics and get them to realise that its not just all glum to talk about our Future Governance.
I am really disappointed at the fact that you are not making any positive contributions to this debate. In fact you have begun sounding like a broken record – making annoying and redundant repetitions at will.
What is this Southeastern Mende hegemony that you are harking on? Can you give us any specific and verifiable example of such a trend in Salone?
If the SLPP has elected a Mandingo president in Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and has non-Mendes as party chairman and secretary general, does that not indicate that the party is committed to democracy and diversity within its ranks? Why must everybody support the candidate that Alan Luke supports?
It is apparent from your close-minded arguments that not only does your candidate, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, know Mende folks better than you, but is also far more comfortable with them than you are.
Not only did Yumkella attend secondary school and college in the Southeast, but he is also married to a Mende Southeastern wife. And Just in case you did not know, Yumkella cannot win the presidency without Mende support.
As John Mannah has already admonished, you need to “quit your tribal tirade and bigotry about the Mende people.” It takes you nowhere.
You appear to be a disgruntled and angry ex-APC man trying to find solace in the comforting arms of Kandeh Yumkella and the SLPP. But politics should not be about hate, my friend.
Mr Smith, you can speculate all you like about me being ex-APC and being disgruntled. I sound like a broken record – maybe. But your persistent attacks with unfounded allegations and character assassinations is going to solicit the same respond.
I will repeat again: South Eastern / Mende hegemony does not speak to the aspirations of Sierra Leoneans and Sierra Leone, and is not an antidote to APC corruption. Furthermore, Julius Maada Bio represents a clear and present danger to Sierra Leone.
Admonishing me on this subject is rather futile.
Alan Luke may never have traveled beyond the borders of Freetown to the provinces of Sierra Leone. He breathes and resonates hate and bigotry, which may have derived from the lack of interaction with people that are different from him in the Sierra Leonean communities.
He complains about a fictitious Mende hegemony, but seems very satisfied with Bombali and Port Loko dominance of Sierra Leone.
From his postings in this medium, one could sense that Alan also believes that the freedom that he has to support a candidate of his choice should not be extended to others who would want to support a candidate of their choice.
This mentality can only be the result of ignorance, lack of sophistication and outright bigotry.
Mr Black, I can tell you are wound up. My audacity to challenge Mende / South Eastern hegemony has touched a raw nerve.
No amount of bile and character assassination from you or others would stop me challenging this approach to politics.
Hegemony from any tribe is not the answer to Sierra Leone’s problems. It merely allows political elites to divert attention away from their own agendas and it divides people.
I am not sure why challenging this position undermines Mende culture or Mende people or any of the other cultures and peoples in Sierra Leone.
People like you want to keep your communities in their ignorance because in truth you are not committed to genuine and sustainable change and the advancement of the whole country. Gaining power is nothing more than a sense of entitlement- it is our turn to raid the kitty and enlarge our bank accounts and we will drop a few crumbs of the table for our people, is the approach.
Again, let me restate despite your assertions about my alleged bigotry – Julius Maada Bio represents a clear and present danger to Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leonean people.
As Barack Obama said at the UN this week – you cannot turn a lie into a truth. So call me a bigot, call me a hater, call me whatever you damn well like – I restate, South Eastern / Mende hegemony is not and will never be an antidote to APC corruption. It cannot fulfil the aspirations of the poor and vulnerable.
There might, just might be an investment opportunity in bricks and motar opening up!
Mr Mannah, Mende culture is something to be proud of and to celebrate like all other cultures. This is part and parcel of the rich tapestry of Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone people. Tribal differences are not and should not be a big deal.
Mende hegemony or any other tribal hegemony be it Krio, Temne, Kono or Limba to list a few is wrong. I am not sure you understand what hegemony really means. You seem to think it is one and the same thing as culture. It is not.
Hegemony is about one group wanting to dominate all others. There when you create the context in which only Mendes have a legitimate right to represent the SLPP at presidential elections – then the party ceases to become a party of ideas and values and becomes a party that is divisive.
The mantra of Mende hegemony is rooted in the belief that only the Mendes have had a bad deal through the political process. In truth it is the poor and vulnerable that continuously fare worse because of our corrupt systems.
If you continue to pursue a Mende hegemonic agenda – you cannot offer hope to the hopeless who are not Mendes. When Ebola struck, it did not ask what tribe are you. When the floods came and killed more than 100 – it didn’t ask what region are you from.
So we should be proud of all our cultures and languages and their history, but we must refuse the division that hegemonic attitudes from any tribe brings about. So Mr Mannah – lets us clear I am not anti-Mende and if you would care to know, my first cousin is Mende. Anothet first cousin is Susu. My brother-in-law is Kono and I can list countless Mende friends. Having said this, I will challenge hegemony in all its forms, whether Mende, Temne, Limba, Loko, Kono, Mandingo, Susu, Kissi, Via, Krio, Lebanese, Indian or any other group – because it does not speak to the concerns of the most vulnerable in society.
Mr. Luke, you seem not to understand the context in which you use your words, or the meaning of the words you use. My reference to the mende culture derives from the fact that for a group of people, tribe or philosophy to dominate an area or society, they do so through their behavior, attitudes and norms – features that develop from their culture. mende hegemony is therefore, not an abstract phenomenon that springs from nowhere, it manifests itself, through culture, and I am happy that you agree that culture be it mende or any other, represents the best of Sierra Leone.
The word hegemony however, for your information means the political or cultural dominance over others, and my analysis of your diatribe about mende hegemony spoke to both of these elements.
Now that we seem to be on the same page about mende hegemony not being a bad thing for the southeast or mende land, and our nation state, lets address your other beef about mendes, your so-called “Mende hegemonic agenda”.
This is a notion that is bandied around a lot, as I hear about mende tribalism and what have you. I will not deny that there are tribalists in all cultures and tribes, but they are at the margins of groups or people all over the world. The mende situation is more prominent because of the setup of the villages and towns from which some of our mende brothers and sisters are raised. These are small areas and most people growing up in these areas attend school with only their mende brothers and sisters, and some of them never leave such enclaves throughout their lives. Majority of them only come to Freetown for employment or to attend college. They therefore enjoy felicity, solace and social grace with the people they know, and they are therefore misunderstood as tribalists.
The same situation obtains with people from Leicester, Kent as well as Songo in the Freetown Peninsula. Small town America have some of the same issues, an indication that the problem is not only germane to third world countries. The reason why the mende element is amplified is because of (a) the law of numbers, they are in the majority in Sierra Leone, and (b), they are the first indigenous tribe to challenge Creole hegemony after colonialism and went toe to toe with them, and in some cases surpassing them in educational and social achievements.
Matter of fact, Sir Albert Maggai is said to have been irascible and hot-headed in cleaning up the Sierra Leone Civil Service by removing Creoles from their jobs, and replaced them with qualified mendes, and thus the animosity and bitter rivalry and sometimes hatred between the Creoles and the mendes in Sierra Leone. I hope you are not part of that generation that still hold grudge against mendes for the sins of Sir Albert Maggai.
Moving into the 21st century however, you will agree with me that the SLPP composed of mostly mendes have bent over backwards to correct some of these mistakes that were made in the past. Chief Samona Kapen, current Chairman of the party speaks to this, so is Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, and Mr. Manso Dumbuya, to name a few. These are not mendes! They hail from the different tribes that form the leadership of the SLPP, striving for diversity, with a quest to appeal to the better angels of our country. So where is this conspiracy or “mende hegemonic agenda” you are referring to?
Mr. Luke! Whether you like it or not, the SLPP of this generation will continue to do everything to be more inclusive and mendes are going to continue to be the backbone of the party for better or worse.
Mr. Alan Luke,
How did you come to the conclusion that Maada Bio is Mr. Josie Kamanda’s preferred candidate? Are there not over ten candidates running for SLPP flag bearer?
Why are you so obsessed with Maada Bio? I have also noticed that your frequent rants and outbursts on this forum clearly show that you are not focused on an optimistic view of Sierra Leone. Instead, you spend an inordinate amount of time on primitive tribalistic attacks on folks that you do not like.
Folks of your ilk demonstrate everything that is wrong with Sierra Leone. Can you for one moment articulate how we can make things better in Sierra Leone instead of always resorting to tribal bigotry?
Gibrilla, it does not take a genius to work this out. When someone makes a statement that Kandeh Yumkella is arrogant for putting himself forward as a flagbearer, it would be responded to – and it is only those in the Maada Bio camp who have adopted this position – because he must be coronated again as a flagbearer – a position he did not relinquish since 2012. Mr Josie Kamanda’s position is consistent with the PAOPA school of thought.
If you fail to see this, you are either incapable of understanding what he wrote – or you also subscribe to the same position but are seeking to conceal it.
Folks of my ilk? Wait – ar touch u mazda? So you have noticed my “outburst” You sound like a member of the gestapo.
I am surprised though that someone who spends his time reviewing articles and comments in this medium does not have the courage to state his full name, so that we can identify who and what you represent. What a coward.
Anyone can review my articles and comments and would be able to judge whether I have resorted to tribal bigotry as you have suggested. I can accept that you are quite irritated that I have the temerity to challenge South Eastern / Mende hegemony and to assert that this does not speak to the aspirations of Sierra Leoneans.
Anyway, keep policing this medium and keep reading my posts or rants as you call them. You might just get an education.
Again if it irritates you I will repeat it so that we are clear – I have a firm belief that Julius Maada Bio represents a clear and present danger to Sierra Leone and to the Sierra Leonean people. If it bothers you that I have the audacity to say this – find a brick wall!
Alan Luke, you need to quit your tribal tirade and bigotry about the mende people because of their support for the SLPP. You are either very ignorant about the mende culture or you have a dislike for the mende people, and either of them is not helping the debate.
It is empirically true that majority of the people who live or hail from the southeast support the SLPP, and they are not just mendes. They are Fulas, madingoes, Shebros, Kissi’s, Vai’s, Kono’s and a reasonable number of Temnes and Limba’s.
The common thread that however run through these people is a conservative culture that espouses family values, hard work, honesty and the use of opportunity with responsibility. As a result, they are able to make use of their God given potential in these areas and thus, are able to utilize their capacity and have full employment of resources, because of the democratic institutions that prevail in these areas.
This is what they bring to the SLPP, and it is a good thing not only for the SLPP, but the country at large. It is therefore not an accident that it is only the SLPP party that has promoted a Mandingo in the person of late and former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah to the highest office in the land of Sierra Leone.
Furthermore, late Alhaji Sanusi Mustapha, an indigene of Fula Town, specifically the Mountain Cut area of Freetown was allowed to represent the people of BO town for years in the Sierra Leone Parliament. I can go on and on.
The point is, this is the behavior of a rationale, logical thinking people whose interests lies in nothing but the good of our country, and for you to try to insinuate that the mende hegemony within the SLPP is bad for the party is hypocritical.
The questions some of the people you seem to be always bashing here are asking are if you are a honest person, legitimate questions.
This is because as conservative and open minded as the mende people are, they have a right to know whether they are not going to make the same mistakes they made with president Kabbah, as he turned out to be a disappointment to the SLPP, a reasoning that is borne out by what is presently prevailing in our country.
The supporters of Maada Bio also have a right to support their candidate, due to the fact that he was the flag bearer the last time, and one can argue, has a strong potential to regain the position again. In a democracy however, the position has to be fought for and won, and the best man or woman will be the nominee this time around.
It is equally true that Dr. Kandeh Yumkellah’s ambition to run for the flag bearer position of the party is at a minimum audacious, since he has not been an active member of the party and thus the position being taken by most members that he does not deserve to be the nominee.
These are issues we can debate and bring the merits and demerits of who deserve to be nominated. It is only the SLPP that allows such a debate in Sierra Leone, and it is because of the democratic character of the dominant tribe within the SLPP, the mende people.
So Alan, the next time you want to discuss the mende culture and its hegemony within the SLPP, do some research as the culture stands for all that is good in Sierra Leone.
A presidential material must talk less, listen to people and demonstrate maturity to the highest degree and try as hard as possible to avoid engaging in petty squabbles. A word for wise is sufficient. LONTA!
I am in support of what Fatmata said. People like Abass Bundu should not be asking if Kandeh is a member. The man is a bona fide member of the party. In my opinion it is not Madda that can make SLPP win the presidency in 2018.
The issue of bona fide membership of the party should not be used as a centre piece to push aside Kandeh Yumkella from the SLPP.
My uneducated grandma in the village will simply not accept the fact that Kandeh will just out of nothing and without due processes declare himself a member of SLPP, considering his experience in Bureaucratic institutions.
We should as Sierra Leoneans stop this crude politics, and accept Politics of the Modern era, where candidates are allowed to convince their subjects – not force them to be elected to Public office.
Party Leaders of the SLPP should grant a level playing field for all aspiring candidates to participate, and the very best candidate be chosen by the delegates, to avoid this inner circle conflicts within the party.
Kandeh is arrogant and feels that he is better than everyone in the party. People jumping to his call should know there is something called fairness. Where is the fairness in making Kandeh a flag bearer and leave out all those hard working flagbearer aspirants who have been in the thick and thin with the party.
What message as a party will we be sending to the younger guys who are working day in day out for the party, and have ambition to run for the flagbearship in the future?
Koni una lef, ungratefulness nor born good pekin!
Nobody hates Kandeh, but let him work, show commitment and loyalty before he can be trusted with the highest post in the party.
So Mr Kamanda – you are moving the goal posts. Your preferred candidate’s effort in trying to block Kandeh Yumkella’s candidacy via the membership route has unraveled and you are now pursuing a false charge of arrogance.
Can you tell us when you had a personal encounter with Dr Yumkella where he demonstrated arrogance.
You talk as though Maada Bio is entitled to be the SLPP flagbearer but you fail spectacularly to set out why. Please stop playing on the ignorance of people and tell us what Maada Bio has done in private or public endeavour that equips him to lead Sierra Leone.
This is all we need to know as we can then compare the relative experience of the candidates and track record and then form a view.
I used to respect Abass Bundu. As a senior party member he should have called Kandeh aside and bring the issues to him one on one.
Abass Bundu of all people should know better than going to the press to air every little problem in the SLPP. A politician of many decades should have called his younger colleague aside and verify from him. That is the problem with SLPP.
Soloku should have done the verification with Yumkella’s men and limit the verification within the party and not to make it a media war.
Abbas Bundu needs to go back to APC. These are the people that should be rejected as a member as he does not love or care for SLPP. We need to weed out these kind of dangerous people that wants to have it both ways.
When did you become an SLPP that you are deciding who should be an SLPP member? Mr Kanja Daramy, you need to slow down and think wisely, if you can and accept defeat as Maada is going nowhere.
SLPP need winners like Yumkella. There are examples of Yumkella’s hard work all over the world. Sierra Leone needs people like Kandeh, So that we can move forward as the agenda for prosperity is rapidly changing to agenda of agony and poverty.
We love Yumkella and we the wise ones are going to make sure that he becomes our flag bearer for 2018 – period.
BE BRAVE AND ACCEPT YUMKELLA, AS THIS IS THE ONLY WAY OUT. THIS IS A MENDE GIRL FROM BO AND KAILAHUN WRITING THIS.