Alan Luke – KKY (UK and Ireland) Communications Team
Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 December 2015
As the night of the long knives descended on State House with the dismissal of several senior cabinet ministers, and fire raged at Electricity House, one would be forgiven to think that dark clouds perpetually hang over our beloved Mama Salone.
Ernest Koroma in a desperate attempt to bring an end to a gloomy year for the people of Sierra Leone has made changes to his ministerial line up.
Out go a bunch of incompetents, replaced with a new crop of questionable appointees and Johnnies come lately.
If this is an attempt to sure up the More Time agenda, it is destined to fail, because new appointees are more likely to be preoccupied with raiding their departmental budget allocations in the closing days of a moribund government, before GAME OVER is declared in 2017.
Thankfully, for the people of Sierra Leone, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it was shining brightly at the Family Kingdom entertainment centre in Aberdeen, Freetown, where a dinner and dance was organised to mark the culmination of a grueling but successful tour of the Western Area and Southern districts of Sierra Leone by the president in waiting – Kandeh Yumkella.
Yumkella’s tour has been a success, because the public reception for Yumkella in the Western Area – APC’s stronghold, and in Bo and Pujehun – Bio’s backyard, has been overwhelming.
Across the country, Yumkella’s homily of Hope, Opportunity and Transformation and securing economic growth and other developmental gains – post-Ebola, has resonated with the country’s youth, men and women who are desperate for genuine change.
The public response, which has not gone unnoticed by SLPP stakeholders, is shifting the balance of support of key players within the party towards Yumkella’s campaign.
These developments are causing seismic shocks within PAOPAville and in the corridors of power in State House.
Bio’s plans for a coronation as the 2017 flagbearer, by the use of threats of violence and intimidation and through his proxies in the short-lived and clandestine “Membership Verification Committee” has failed miserably; and so too has his botched attempt to use public funds to campaign under the guise of Ebola sensitisation.
Similarly, the APC through its politicisation of the country’s police force, sought to prevent Yumkella from campaigning, using emergency prohibition measures in force during the Ebola epidemic and their unwillingness to guarantee Yumkella’s safety, in their attempts to thwart his campaign and frustrate the desire and will of the people.
It is worth noting that both Bio and Koroma have profited from Ebola funds – the former through the Le350 million he allegedly received for the Ebola sensitisation campaign over the eve of the WHO declaration that Sierra Leone was Ebola free; and the latter, who is yet to explain how $14 million of Ebola funds that the government received remains unaccounted for.
It is not surprising that with so much in common, that Bio wasted no time in heaping praises on Koroma for his effective leadership of the country. (Photo: Koroma and Bio at State House).
Yumkella’s warmth, sincerity, common touch and deep personal interest in the welfare of the poor and vulnerable sections of our society, matched with his energy, evidenced in early morning runs with the youths of Sierra Leone, football matches, okada rides and well as visits to slum communities, villages and towns in the provinces and his understanding and acknowledgement of local customs, has resulted in chants of Yumkella Karr Kay (Yumkella Now Now!).
Key SLPP stakeholders supporting Yumkella during the tour and at the dinner, included the House of Representative Minority Leader, Honourable Bernadette Lahai; Honourable Rado Yokie; Honourable Konowa; Honorourable Kai-Samba; Honourable Momodu Koroma; Franklin Rogers; Ma Sandy; Pujehun District Chairman Sadique Sillah, and Madame Rita Savage – the Chairman of Bonthe District Council.
Yumkella’s campaign continues in the New Year with a tour of the North of Sierra Leone, considered to be APC heartlands.
Maada Bio’s entire strategy has been to hoodwink South Easterners into believing that he is the best placed person to address their aspirations and that doing so necessitates acts of violence underpinned by a South Eastern hegemonic polity.
Bio has no positive message for the youths, men and women in the north of the country, who share the same concerns as their marginalised fellow citizens, brothers and sisters in other parts of Sierra Leone.
Therefore, expect a huge response from our northern villages, towns and chiefdoms to the message of Hope, Opportunity and Transformation.
Kandeh’s mission is to secure economic and developmental gains for the people of Sierra Leone – post-Ebola, as well as to ensure that these gains are not monopolised by political elites, but are dispersed to poor and vulnerable communities across all Sierra Leone.
Kandeh Yumkella and his wife Philomena Yumkella extend best wishes, prosperity and peace to the people of Sierra Leone throughout 2016.