Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 December 2017:
In Port Loko yesterday, 12th of December, Sierra Leoneans assured President Koroma loud and clear: “We Know Samura Kamara, and he is a sleeping old man struggling for your third term in Office”. It is often said that God works in a mysterious way. And mysterious indeed, is the God we all serve.
It is also true that when your enemies do nothing but fight your every breath, trying to discredit your work for no reason other than politics, the best to do is to sit back, relax and let this mysterious God do what he does best.
Kandeh Yumkella – the presidential candidate for the NGC party has perfected the art of sitting back, relaxed and allowing God’s grace and favour to take control.
And as far as Kandeh is concerned, he is one man who is least worried about the argument surrounding the origin of the Port Loko Bankasoka hydro-electricity project, or any other project that he has helped to secure for Sierra Leone, regardless of how the ruling party spins it.
Kandeh is less worried because history cannot be re-written, especially where original records exist to prove it. He is less worried, because what he has done for Sierra Leone was all in the interest of his people. It was never about him.
That was why his contributions to Sierra Leone can be found in every region of Sierra Leone. He could have chosen to put all of the UNIDO supported projects in Kychom or Kambia District from where he hails. But he did not. Kandeh is a patriotic Sierra Leonean, and in his mind Sierra Leone always comes first. It is a mantra that he truly believes in and now forms the hallmark of his campaign.
At president Koroma’s farewell ceremony in parliament last week, the NGC Flag-bearer candidate – Kandeh Yumkella unintentionally stole the show, as President Koroma mentioned what he called his “achievements“ in office for the last ten years.
Like any other Sierra Leonean, Yumkella attended the closing of parliament as an invited guest. He could have chosen to decline the invitation, but he did not. He even attended President Koroma’s daughter’s wedding as an invited guest, despite his advisers lobbying against it.
On both occasions, he was happy to attend to show that politics does not have to divide us. He was happy to attend because weddings are special moments, as he wished the newlywed couple the very best in their new life together.
As President Koroma read his litany of “achievements” in parliament last week, those of us who watched the live event were surprised to hear shouts of Kandeh, Kandeh, Kandeh first from the ruling party side, and almost immediately from the opposition SLPP who prolonged the chanting.
But why the surprised chants of Kandeh, Kandeh, Kandeh? “With support from the Chinese, the APC Government has completed the Mini-hydro projects at Bankasoka, Charlotte and Makali,“ President Koroma said as he read his speech.
The loud chants of Kandeh‘s name was in recognition by some in the ruling party and the opposition, of his work on the Hydro Electric Dams in Sierra Leone – especially the Bankasoka Dam that the ruling government has decided to deliberately create controversy over who was the key architect, even after events of April 4, 2012.
President Koroma and all in attendance never expected the reaction of Members of Parliament on both sides of the aisle, at the mention of Bankasoka and others, as his “achievements” on energy access.
But, yes, God has a way of doing things. That he, Kandeh, became the focus for almost three minutes and was forced to stand up in the well of parliament to acknowledge the surprise applause as MPs hailed him for his work, was indeed a testament that the God we serve is a good God and ensures his servant is always protected from his enemies and those who seek to paint a negative picture.
Not ready to let go of Bankasoka, the ruling APC party yesterday gathered in Grand style to re-launch the Port Loko Dam as one of President Koroma’s achievements. However, Kandeh’s shadow was all over the place. And as President Koroma spoke in glowing terms of his “government’s efforts,” his selected presidential candidate – Samura Kamara (Sleepy Samura – as he is now dubbed), was busy dozing off (See photo above) at an event the APC had orchestrated so as to further create confusion in the minds of the public about Bankasoka, and to underscore why the ruling APC, President Koroma – as lifetime chairman and leader of his party needs a third term in Office.
Instead, the embarrassing news headline that came out of the carefully orchestrated event in Port Loko was: ‘APC Presidential Flag-bearer dozing off as Lifetime Chairman and Leader and President of the Republic claims Bankasoka as his personal achievement.’
But that is not all. APC wanted the citizens of Sierra Leone to pay great attention to their presidential candidate. Indeed, the public paid attention yesterday as they have always done, and they saw a sleeping old man – just like former President Mugabe and President Yowerri Museveni.
They all share a common trait – nobody takes their sleep away – even in cabinet or extraordinary high-level meetings.
APC asks if “you sabi am – you know him”, and the overwhelming response from the people of Sierra Leone is that: “Yes we know him; he is running for President Koroma’s third term and enjoys sleeping when his President is around”.
While Kandeh was meeting and greeting fans at Aberdeen beach during a routine jogging exercise, God fought for him. God ensured that again, he became the protagonist of the Bankasoka Dam -albeit in absentia, as Samura wondered why he was subjected to such a farce.
God has a way of lifting his own in the face of his enemies. Kandeh won the Bankasoka battle yesterday and will always win, because his intentions are genuinely for the benefit of the people of Sierra Leone.
Yumkella won because the videos are out there, and selective amnesia does not work. Helping people is what he has done always as a student, a professor and as a development practitioner.
It is for his people that he chose to resign to return home because he truly believes all citizens of Sierra Leone deserve a better life and future – today and for generations to come.
Sierra Leoneans admit they have paid enough attention and know Samura Kamara very well. In fact, they say they can’t be fooled all the time. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Come March 2018, Sierra Leoneans will not let that shame happen again. Simply put, they are tired of politicians who do not have even the decency to give credit where credit is due. Sierra Leoneans are tired of politicians who do not put Country First. Sierra Leoneans are tired of politicians who are ungrateful and only put their interests first.