Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 July 2017
The departure of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella from the opposition SLPP on Monday, has opened up a new crisis in the party, as flagbearers and executive officers discuss how best to respond to the vacuum he has left behind.
SLPP Party chiefs need to react quickly to address the numerous accusations of political intimidation, violence and mal-administration, alluded to by Dr. Yumkella in his departure speech.
According to senior sources in the SLPP speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, “the party is now hoping for damage limitation on its credibility and image, as a government-in-waiting”.
But will the public and stakeholders – including the international community, renew their faith in an opposition party that has allowed itself to be taken over and controlled by extremists?
Yesterday – Tuesday, members of the national executive and some of the party’s aspiring presidential candidates met in Freetown to discuss the fallout from Dr. Yumkella’s ‘separation proceedings’. They have agreed on a joint statement which appears to unite the rest of the flagbearer aspirants and the national executives. But will it work? (Photo: SLPP presidential aspirants, yesterday pondering about Yumkella’s departure).
It is understood that concerns and grievances raised by Dr. Yumkella on Monday, will be addressed by the national executives later today at a press conference, to be held at the Party offices in Freetown, starting at 11am. (Watch video below – of Yumkella speaking at his press conference on Monday).
With Dr. Yumkella now calling for the formation of a stronger opposition force in the country that will replace the SLPP and knock-out the ruling APC at the polls next March, it is difficult to contemplate any peace deal between the Kandeh Yumkella Movement and the SLPP.
Both Yumkella and SLPP have now become an estranged couple, after the aggrieved partner on Monday decided that enough is enough, and that separation is the way forward. (Photo: SLPP presidential aspirants may not have enjoyed their meal yesterday, as they ponder Yumkella’s departure).
But of significance, is the fact that no one is yet talking about divorce – neither SLPP, nor Yumkella. “I have suspended my presidential campaign in the SLPP”, Yumkella very carefully worded his separation notice.
Will SLPP go for the jugular at their press conference today? Will they stick the knife in? Will they expel him from the party, or will they look for compromise with Yumkella?
Few will expect the latter. But will Yumkella want to get back into an acrimonious marriage that has broken down irretrievably? Highly unlikely. SLPP’s press conference will take place later today at the party’s offices, starting at 11am,