Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 July 2017
The Sierra Leone Telegraph has been informed by the KKYM Media Team that: “Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (Photo: Kandeh – speaking to the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph, Abdul R Thomas about his vision), will be holding a press briefing on Monday, 3rd July 2017, at The New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown at 12 noon.
“All accredited members of the Fourth Estate – the media, should be seated by 11:45 am” for this momentous occasion. It is understood that the aim of tomorrow’s press conference is for Kandeh Yumkella to announce his decision about his political future and his place in the opposition SLPP, if any.
And should he decide that there is no place for his brand of progressive politics and values within the SLPP, he will be expected to spell out where he is not only heading, but where he is taking the hundreds of thousands of supporters he has garnered across the country in the last two years of mobilising support for his brand of politics – which is about integrity and ‘putting Sierra Leone first’.
Yumkella is a highly experienced international development expert, after working at the UN as a director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). He was also a special envoy of the former UN Chief Ban Ki Moon – on Global Energy.
He returned home to Sierra Leone in 2015 to enter into national politics and to start his campaign to become the president of Sierra Leone in 2018, a decision few in the opposition SLPP party are now violently and unconstitutionally opposing.
Many of Yumkella’s supporters in the SLPP as well as admirers outside of the party, say that he is being unfairly victimised by Maada Bio and his so called Pa-O-Pa faction, who see Maada Bio as their leader and presidential candidate of the SLPP.
Bio’s supporters say that although Bio was soundly rejected by the people of Sierra Leone at the 2012 elections, he must be given another chance to contest the 2018 presidential election.
But critics and political observers say that Maada Bio is carrying a heavy political baggage after leading a military coup in 1992, that saw the summary execution of dozens of people without proper trial. Maada Bio is currently banned from entering the USA.
Whilst Yumkella’s decision to join the SLPP and to help the party win the 2018 election was borne out of respect for his father’s legacy as a founding member of the party, many of his supporters are now saying that he has done very well to take the goat to the river. But Kandeh cannot take responsibility for the goat’s refusal to drink.
Kandeh must leave the SLPP to form a new national coalition of progressives, who want to build a better future for Sierra Leone, they urge.
Tomorrow is red letter day for the SLPP party and for Yumkella’s political future, and all eyes and ears will be at his press conference, where all roads in Freetown shall lead.
Will Yumkella choose to stay, or will he take the bold and decisive step to leave his father’s grand old party for the national interest?
If he chooses to stay, critics will say that he has not mustered the courage and vision expected of a leader and the SLPP extremists will expect him to put up and shut up. If he goes, he will be lambasted for jumping off a sinking ship, instead of staying to put out the fire.
But for the majority of Sierra Leoneans who are languishing in abject poverty and are fed up of the failings of the two main parties – APC and SLPP, Kandeh’s decision to join or form a Progressive Coalition that can establish a government of national unity in 2018, cannot come sooner. Will he stay or will he go for God and country?