Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 July 2015
Sierra Leone’s presidential hopeful – Dr. Kandeh Yumkella took Manchester by storm today, Saturday 25th July 2015 – the second leg of his UK wide tour, which will culminate in a grand finale tomorrow Sunday in London. (Photo: Dr, Yumkella – Right, shaking hands with Manchester SLPP Chairman – Abraham Sonnah).
Kandeh was welcomed in Manchester by a large crowd of Sierra Leone Peoples’ Party (SLPP) members, well wishers and many Sierra Leoneans who were just simply curious to meet him and listen to his vision for Sierra Leone. And he did not disappoint.
Speaking to the audience, he firstly thanked the members, elders and executives of the SLPP Manchester chapter, for helping to organise and host today’s successful event.
He reminded them that they have today upheld the same tradition that propelled his father and others, 60 years ago to form the SLPP.
This is what he told his audience:
SLPP is a party of inclusion; it is a party that has spent a lot of hours, a lot of days, months and years weaving together a mosaic of unity – a mosaic that took us to independence.
My father worked with Reverend Dumbar, Chief R.B.S. Caulker, and Chief Dura – all of them working with Dr Sir Milton Margai, reaching out and bringing Sierra Leoneans together.
SLPP is not a party of exclusion. It is a party of inclusion. It gave you your national motto and it gave you independence. They built the unity house. They gave you the slogan ‘One country, one people’.
So as I enter the political arena now, I say: Country first. But we live in an era where each party is becoming a party of exclusion. People like to exclude others. People are determined to intimidate others. People are determined to humiliate and abuse others. But we must say NO. And we must say …..HELL NO.
We will resist – we will go back to the core values of inclusion, unity and justice. And that is what you – the SLPP Manchester Chapter have demonstrated today.
I am happy with the controversy surrounding my visit to the UK. But I am also happy to see that the Reading chairman and Manchester chairman of their respective SLPP chapters welcomed us. And we appreciate this.
It shows that some may try to fool some of the people some of the time, but they cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
We will march for that unity that our forefathers and the founders, created for this party. We will march for justice and we will resist evil.
Those of you who are religious, know that when evil comes your way, you do not run. You pray and go back to your faith and you stand firm. And that is what we will do in this party.
Nobody, nobody will intimidate, silence our voice and deny us the right to create a better future for our people. Let me talk about that future.
I am in this leadership race to change the political narrative in Sierra Leone. And for me, by God’s grace and if God gives me another 20 – 25 years, whatever the good Lord has scripted is what I have chosen to devote to my country.
I am going home to Sierra Leone, to do what I have done globally – to create a new narrative,
To convince the world that the people of Sierra Leone need better access to energy, development and opportunities to better themselves. I am taking that same message home to devote myself to convincing the Sierra Leonean people that they can be better and they ought to be better.
But if you believe yourself that you should be great, that you should have dignity and that your children and grandchildren should have pride and dignity for themselves, then you must be ready to work for it.
When America’s President Kennedy said: “Within a decade, we will land a man on the moon”, he did not say I will land a man on the moon.
He said, we will land a man on the moon and he set about to put the institutions and infrastructure in place to achieve this goal, such as science, education, scholarships and rally all the top scientists.
And in less than 10 years, America landed a man on the moon.
I want Sierra Leoneans to believe for themselves and for their children and grandchildren that things can be better. But they must demand more from those who govern them.
They must hold their government and people who govern them accountable, because, the wealth belongs to the people. It is your wealth – you deserve better.
If you believe that you deserve better, you must fight for it. You must demand it. You must elect your leaders carefully.
If you want change, if you want transformation, and if you believe that you should have pride and be treated with respect, then you must retire to a country where there is light, water, good healthcare and law and order.
We are in a struggle for the soul of our country Sierra Leone.
Some believe they can exclude others; some believe they can use violence and can intimidate and chase us away. They will not succeed. Those dark days are gone. Yumkella says to you again – we march and we will keep on marching for years, but you will be held accountable.
This is a defining moment. We must demand from our leadership the best. They say that people get the leadership they deserve.
So if you do not want to get involved in politics – fine. But the wrong people will then get in.
If you want things to get better in Sierra Leone, then you must stand up and make your voices heard.
We can start by picking up that phone and let our people back home, know that in 2017/2018, we want a different type of leadership in Sierra Leone.
You must also demand a vote for yourself and all Sierra Leoneans living in the diaspora. Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora are contributing immensely to the economy and sustaining the lives of their loved ones. So diasporans must also be given the right to elect those who govern Sierra Leone.
Even long before declaring that I was interested in contesting the forthcoming 2017/2018 presidential election, people had started throwing insults.
But they should be smarter than that, because whilst they were busy throwing insults at me, I was happily busy collecting global awards for achievements.
There are people putting themselves forward for leadership. But they have no track record of performance-based leadership.
You must demand that these so-called candidates for leadership, present evidence of what they have achieved for their communities and for themselves, and they must be judged on that evidence.
So, fellow Sierra Leoneans, if you want SLPP in office governing Sierra Leone in 2018, then you must elect your presidential candidate, very carefully.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to inform you that the candidate with the evidence showing the best track record of performance – based leadership and the right pedigree to win the elections in 2018, is no other than myself – Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella.
Thank you and God bless you all.
Dr Yumkella will be meeting Londoners tomorrow, Sunday 26 July 2015, at 2.00pm in the Hall of Bacon’s College, London SE16 6AT.
Sierra Leone POLITICS has been reduced to personality duels among ‘heirs of parents’ . My father formed……..; the question is not about formation. It is about success and where is the success? I think Sierra Leoneans should now focus on ‘Sons and Daughters of tomorrow’ and ‘Makers of the future’. These latter trivia and not the trivium of ‘heirs of parents’ must form the basis of our political thinking.
As a wise krio parable says ‘tin kin turn’ the fact is ‘tin don turn’. Now SLPP is excluding SLPP and people begin to shake. But when SLPP was excluding slpp all mouths were sealed. The worst however, is yet to come when APC will dump APC and we the apc will clap with our feet. Welcome to a new party!
An inspiring two days in London, listening to Kandeh Yumkella here in London espousing his values of hard work, inclusiveness, the Rule of Law, accountability and his anger about the wretchedness of the Sierra Leonean people, and Sierra Leone being placed on the wrong side of every deprivation index.
Dr Yumkella is armed with the right strategies, knowledge, experience, skills and international goodwill, above any candidate from the APC, SLPP, PMDC or any other party.
What we need now is for all the shadow boxers to begin to engage Dr Yumkella in meaningful debate and explain to Sierra Leone, not just what their vision is, but how they are going to deliver their vision.
Dr Yumkella has thrown down the gauntlet. To the ‘rah ray’ boys occupying Unity House with their djamba pots – he will visit Unity House. To their paymasters – those who believe they are the only worthy candidates for the SLPP flag, he will debate you. To the APC – your number is up.
Maada – if I were you, I would invest in huge volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica – because you would need a lot of knowledge to have half a chance against Dr. Yumkella.
It was Hagel, the political philosopher that once said there is no morality in politics. The aspect of morality is relative, based on the context and situation it is used to accomplish its stated goals.
The oldest political party – known as the Sierra Leone Peoples party is gradually developing momentum, and some of its strategists are gradually laying the foundation for a switch over of the staff of office for the presidency.
But how are some of the key players watching the situation? Will the strategies produce any political dividend for the implement or will it boomerang, is no more a sit and wait situation, but one that should be analyzed whether correctly or not.
The initial voices of prospective candidates seem to be dying out. Those that made their debut earlier, informing Sierra Leoneans and the world that they are interested in the leadership of the Sierra Leone Peoples party.
Mr. Andrew Keili and his group of strategists have taken the back seat at the moment, blaming the Ebola disease that has rudely and inhumanely interrupted his drive to State House.
Whether his strategists are mapping out other measures to give the world a shocker, depends on what and how they will showcase their candidate when the SLPP Leadership convention takes place in 2015.
To most of the intending Candidates, Mr. Andrew Kelli may not be a tough match for them. But if their assessment about him is based on his physical, cool and calculated composure, will be a devastating blow if he comes up with something that is far from their expectation.
The time bomb in the entire political arrangement that has the potential of fragmenting the SLPP party is the reported alliance between John Oponjo Benjamin and Kandeh Yumkella, aimed at putting Julius Maada Bio at a disadvantage, leaving him wallowing in the political darkness.
At the initial stage, the signals are beginning to be evident with Sylvia Blyden disrupting plans of the APC, having studied them properly well at State House. She will be the kingmaker of the SLPP and fight the battle for John Benjamin for the alliance to be workable.
John Oponjo Benjamin from the southeast flank will merge with Kandeh Yumkella from the North where large portion of the voting populace resides.
Standard Times reported this from Freetown a few days ago.