SLPP debacle – a point of view

Sahr Philie

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 July 201

The worst thing that can happen to the SLPP is to encourage Dr. Kandeh Yumkella to re-join their ranks. Yes, his departure will hurt the party in some way, because multiparty politics is about numbers. Similarly, the party will be hurt if any of the other Flag bearers or stakeholder leaves at this material time.

But if that flag bearer or stakeholder is a disruptive factor who wants it his/her own way all the time, it is better to go in different directions rather than putting up with his or her aches.

It is crystal clear to all and sundry that Dr. Yumkella joined the SLPP in 2015 with only one aim, which is to become the flag bearer of the party, and subsequently the President of the country.

Unfortunately, he miscalculated his moves and everything else he has been pursuing in his pursuit of the ultimate goal via the SLPP.

No one will deny that the SLPP has been in crisis since 2005 after the Makeni Convention, when President Kabba abused his authority and went on to impose Solomon Berewa on the party. Many of the grassroots supporters left then to join the PMDC.

However, many have since returned with one understanding. That is, that rather than leaving the party for another party, they will not allow whomsoever to impose on them a candidate that is not their choice.

The party has seen difficult times since that horrible 2005 miscalculation and the results it bred in 2007. The confusion and acrimony caused by the Kabba/Berewa effect had plunged the party into deep problems; and unfortunately, the grassroots supporters of the party have been the ones most affected.

As if to make matters worse for them, many of those who ate from the gravy pan when the party was in power became Missing in Action, only for them to reappear with all their conspiracy theories and resignations at the slightest hint of disagreement with people who held their ground, whilst they were enjoying their lucrative oversees jobs.

Not a single one of those who call themselves local stakeholders have come out to address those ills created by Kabba/Berewa, which metamorphose itself into a different fashion every now and then. Cure the root problem and the SLPP will be at peace.

As if not to help the situation, most of the people who have been vacating the party are people who were with the Kabba/Berewa cabal. Their actions continue to buttress the opinion of the grassroots of the party that these people want a party where “Baboons work and Monkeys eat”.

I thought Kandeh Yumkella could have taken in, all that had transpired in the SLPP and the country at large since 2005 when he decided to join the SLPP. Had he considered it, I am sure he would have made his entry into the party on a more calibrated foot and perhaps win the hearts and minds of the marginalized grass-root members.

Kandeh Yumkella is from the same Chiefdom as former President Kabba. He has the same background as former President Kabba – that is, a UN retiree who sees the presidency as a retirement job. The grass-root members of the party are wary of those traits. They needed reassurance that they would not make the same mistake if they throw their support his way.

But alas, he surrounded himself with people who had caused so many problems for the party, even before he entered the political ring. These were the same people who were front runners in the Kabba/Berewa cabal.

I hope that the Grand Coalition that Dr. Kandeh Yumkella wants to form will work. Because if it does not, he will either must join the APC to survive, or go to his previous job as a lecturer.

I know that he boasted in his divorcing speech that he left his lucrative UN job. That is not true. Granted he was 57 years old when he left, even though the retirement age in the normal UN Secretariat job is 62. (Photo: Maada Bio – left and Dr Yumkella – right. A partnership not made in heaven).

However, he was a director of a UN Agency (and you are nominated for only 2 four-year terms). His final term ended in 2013. Ban Ki Moon who was his friend gave him a special assignment as energy adviser.

And that position was to end at the end of 2015, just before Ban Ki-Moon’s final term as Head of the UN. And so Dr. Yumkella timed his entry into Sierra Leone politic on that.

However, from 2007 to 2012, SLPP needed a voice, a saviour, and a helper. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella was undecided. If not, he could have easily filled that void and easily provided that voice that the party needed then. He did not. The grass-root members found that voice in an unlikely candidate who happens to be former Brigadier Bio.

Today, the people that Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and his supporters are calling extremists in the party, form the bulk of the grass-root party members who were and have been at the receiving end of the APC discrimination and purging since 2007.

Many were removed from their positions in government, government parastatals, and arm forces. Some had their friends and family members beaten to death by Leatherboot and the APC police, who reacted on the slightest of excuses to set the party office on fire even when supporters were in the building; or rape party members who the APC hoodlums and police found in the party office during their numerous raids.

Ironically, Solomon Berewa who the late President Kabba had imposed on the party and Dr. Bernadette Lahai – another of the Kabba/Berewa cabal, were busy getting into bed with APC for their personal benefits, whilst many of the defenceless party members were left to suffer at their own peril.

Do you think anyone, including Dr. Kandeh Yumkella would come and get an automatic Fiat to the party leadership as it was done for late President Kabba in 1995?

The SLPP will bounce back. The party is better off without the likes of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and his supporters.


  1. You have said it all Sahr Philie. For far too long some of these gold diggers have used our party as a gateway to further loot. They come with all the pretext of having the right answers to our problems as a nation, only to turn their backs when things do not go their way.

    Frankly, I had my doubts regarding the authenticity of this UN fellow. Where has he been when the smoke was intense in the kitchen? We fell for Kabbah, who denounced the party openly by insinuating that he was only president of Sierra Leone and not SLPP.

    No one in his right mind would expect Kabbah to serve the sole interest of SLPP but, you cannot bite the finger that feeds you, especially in the open. SLPP made him the candidate for the Presidency. He lost that direction and, like you inferred, further imposed a choice and further aided the APC by being the peace broker between EBK and Eddie Turay et al who were equally interested in the APC Flag bearer position then.

    How can a sitting president do that for an opposition party. He further cunningly restrained Berewa not to challenge electoral commissioner Thorpe’s manipulation. And here we are again, another UN-Kambia product wanting the SLPP to reward him a retirement job of Presidency. Even if he had stayed, SLPP would have experienced another Wusu Boi syndrome.

    His Grand Alliance is a copy-cat of the Margai adventure. Let him go to wherever he wishes. We will accept him whenever he decides to come back. No single individual is bigger than the party.

  2. The fourth estate failed us miserably by failing to make adequate reporting on Paopa’s cultist politics. The paopas ensured that the SLPP party becomes a dysfunctional entity. SLPP is no more and may never be again. Kandeh has never been the problem and can never be one for SLPP.

    It is the exclusive paopa club within the party that is and will always be its demon, which needs to be confronted without recourse.
    Long live APC.

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