Author: Anthony Kamara Jnr: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 18 April 2018:
Like every other newly elected Member of Parliament, Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella arrived at the Tower Hill Houses of Parliament yesterday, April 17 2018 to attend an induction session hosted by the Parliamentary Service Commission in collaboration with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. It was indeed an occasion to be proud of.
Outgoing Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay noted that the purpose of the induction was to familiarize newly elected MPs with their new public service career, and the rules surrounding deliberations at the legislative House. (PHOTO: YUMKELLA WITH NGC AND C4C MPs).
However, there was one thing that stood out. Almost every new representative was eager to meet with Dr. Yumkella to exchange greetings. It was not only a moment of humility for the Samu Chiefdom Representative, but one of rock-star status as he acknowledged and shook his new colleagues’ hands and bowed as a sign of respect to both young and old who took time to come his way.
As he toured the imposing building after exchanging pleasantries, trying to locate his new office as leader of the National Grand Coalition caucus – whispers were audible. “This parliament will never be the same this time with guys like KKY” as he is fondly called.
Staff members as well as new colleagues who had seen him during the last five months of campaigning for the presidency, were just happy to see him and to take photos with him. And photos, they took aplenty. (PHOTO: YUMKELLA WITH SLPP PARLIAMENTARY COLLEAGUES).
But whispers on the margins of yesterday’s session were not just about the former NGC presidential candidate. They were also about two other newly elected Members of Parliament, one from the All Peoples Congress – Hon. Osman Timbo and another from the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party.
And so the argument began amongst themselves, as I pretended not to hear: ” Ah, den nor dae near am sef,” one lady said. A middle-aged man of about five feet four inches with a coarse voice said: “Nar dis man we for don get as president but den tiff e vote den.” “Ah Sam nar tin you tok so bra. Me ah lek this man – nar ein be the only honest presidential candidate. E deal tok but how den don tiff we money nar dis kontri ya en di debt but nobody nor bi listen,” underscored Saidu Mansaray, a man with a deep voice and roundly built physique.
As they spoke about Hon. Yumkella, he was seated – paying close attention to speaker after speaker, until he raised his hand to ask a question about the Constituency Development Fund. The deafening silence would allow for a pin drop to be heard.
In between short breaks afforded them, he was seen shuffling from group-to-group to take photos. There was immense laughter and joy as he traded jokes with his new colleagues, until the seven-man delegation under the Coalition for Change (C4C) arrived.
“we nor dae lef o doc”, said one Kono MP. “ Hon. Terminator,” replied Yumkella as he greeted former Koidu Mayor, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina with a warm embrace, before taking group photos with both C4C and NGC parliamentarians. (Photo: YUMKELLA WITH MP SAHR EMMERSON LAMINA OF C4C).
The Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic has the distinction of welcoming a total of 124 MPs out of the 132 Constituencies. In fact, a staff member informed me that the actual number is 126 newly elected MPs, with only eight returning, plus fourteen Paramount Chiefs.
“I will not serve at the pleasure of anyone, or as a minister, as I have repeatedly said,” Yumkella responded to journalists as they insisted on questioning him and suggesting that the Foreign Minister position is reportedly vacant because it is reserved for him.
Rumours had it that Hon. Yumkella rejected the offer from both parties when offered to him, as they sought his support for the presidential run-off elections.
Clearly, Hon. Yumkella relishes his new role and looks forward to working on behalf of his Samu Constituents and on behalf of a nation. This clearly demonstrates that he is indeed a true public servant, who places Sierra Leone’s interests first. (PHOTO: YUMKELLA WITH HIS FELLOW KAMBIA DISTRICT MPs).
Having campaigned on his message of ‘Change, hope, opportunity and transformation’, the people of Samu Chiefdom are now poised to benefit from the developmental projects that are being championed by Dr Yumkella, even before his swearing-in as parliamentarian.
No doubt, with Dr Yumkella’s towering presence in Sierra Leone’s politics, the business of parliament in Sierra Leone will never be the same again.