Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 December 2017
After a successful tour of Kabala, Falaba, Bo, Tonkolili, and Bombali districts, including fourteen chiefdoms, Kandeh Yumkella – the NGC presidential flag-bearer candidate, yesterday took his message of “CHANGE” and “Country First” to the people of Kono district.
Addressing the thousands of supporters who showed up at Mansundu Sandor to warmly welcome him, an emotional Yumkella thanked them for receiving him and his delegation with open arms.
“I have never felt like a stranger in Sierra Leone and today, you the Kono people, have once again demonstrated that I am your son, brother and friend, “he said.
“It is the same spirit of brotherhood and friendship that I bring to all of you in this great city of Kono and for the vision I have for our beautiful country.”
Paying a courtesy call at the residence of the Paramount Chief of Jiama Sewafe, Yumkella declared that he clearly understands the critical role played by traditional chiefs.
“You are the closest to the people and therefore understand the issues that affect their everyday lives, their pain and suffering,” he told them.
Noting that Sierra Leone can only develop when every Sierra Leonean has a stake in the affairs of the nation, Yumkella said he alone cannot transform Sierra Leone and therefore called on all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to come and work together, and put Sierra Leone first.
“I will elevate the status of paramount chiefs, including appointing qualified ones as ministers in any government that I lead in this country,” he further underscored. “Many of you have the requisite skills and qualifications and relevant experience both from Sierra Leone and abroad that I look for in forming my cabinet,” he said.
Yumkella also reaffirmed that communities with mineral deposits in Kono, Tonkolili, Moyamba and other locations must benefit from what God Almighty has given them under their soil.
There must be visible evidence that their welfare, standard of living, physical and social infrastructure are upgraded for the benefit of future generations, he told the people of Kono.
He also reaffirmed his message of empowering Paramount Chiefs when he met all members of the Council of Kono Paramount Chiefs.
Listen to Dr Yumkella:
When Sierra Leone was ruled by chiefdoms, you had law and order, and decisions were based on the needs of the people who lived in the locality. We currently have people in power disconnected from local affairs, only seeking out chiefdom residents when they need votes to stay in power. I say yes, about time and thank you.
I want Dr. Kandeh to be very mindful of the kind of promises he is making to the people of this country – bringing jobs to the youths, reducing poverty and now making qualified Paramount Chiefs, Ministers. This is in itself is considered as conflicting mandate. How can a Paramount Chief serve as a minister and PC at the same time?
The same old stories are taking Sierra Leoneans to feel free to support political leaders in their bid to govern the country. A lot of promises and after elections they know nobody. This was the same situation long before Dr. Koroma was elected president of the country.
Everybody knows what has happened and is happening to the country and the wealth. This time they are wolves dressed as sheep. Brothers and sisters be careful with all those who promise much, they are like snakes. They bite you immediately after getting what they want.
Kandeh Yumkella has of late become a kind of Santa of Claus. His much celebrated message of change immediately following the suspension of his campaign within the SLPP party, sounds very much like the one we were promised by our current President Ernest Bai Koroma, whose Agenda for Change, and Agenda for Prosperity, metamorphosed into Austerity for the people of Sierra Leone.
He of all people should know the ramifications and the devastation caused by the introduction of the Paramount Chiefs into our national body politics by late Siaka Stevens. This singular act is the reason why our local provincial councils have become dormant and moribund.
Paramount chiefs should be left to do the work of overseeing their various chiefdoms and local councils. If they want to vie for ministerial appointments then they have no business becoming Paramount chiefs in the first place.
I know during political campaigns politicians sometimes become chameleons. In their attempt to win votes, they make pronouncements meant to please their voters. But making statements like the ones we are hearing form Yumkella tells me he has a lot to learn about Sierra Leone politics and what it takes to release Mama Salone from the crutches of corruption and mismanagement.