Why the thirty-nine constituencies matter for the SLPP and Sierra Leone’s 2018 elections

Dr. Kandeh Yumkella

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 March 2017

Over the last few months, I have observed that many people do not fully understand why the cornerstone of the peace process was the fate of the thirty-nine (39) plus constituencies where Abass Bundu and Manso Dumbuya created parallel executives and parallel delegates lists.

On the one hand are those who understand the issues and deliberately misinform the public to cover up their diabolical plan.

On the other, is  the group that pretends to understand the issues, but in fact, only have a shallow grasp of why the disenfranchisement of so many thousands of constituency-level, section-level and ward-level leaders of SLPP will break the party.

Allow me to share with you the true story and my views on why the 39 Constituencies are very important for the effective functioning of our party, the SLPP.

Illegal executives amount to disenfranchising thousands of voters 

It is important to note that every constituency has three delegates. For the 39 constituencies – that means a total of one hundred and seventeen (117) potential delegates, including the chairmen / chairwomen, women’s leaders and young generation leaders, were unilaterally replaced by subterfuge.

In fact, some of these have been in their positions since 1996 or 2002 or 2007, or 2013 depending on when they were elected.

They were leaders in the SLPP when Abass Bundu ran his own party to replace the SLPP and contested for president in 1996. They were leaders when the same Abass Bundu supported the AFRC against the ousted SLPP a year later.

These individuals were re-elected by a process that started at the ward, section, chiefdom and zonal levels over a one year period, since January 2016.

Each of those elections involved between 100 to 250 elected constituency leaders. For example, the Freetown East District (Constituency 96) and 093 which encompasses the Peninsula area up to Kent and Banana Island-(Constituency 93), 250 party executives participated in each process.

In short, the election of each of the 117 chairmen, women’s leaders and young generation leaders involved 3900 (39×100) party executives and community leaders. These leaders have households, relatives and clans that respect them and normally follow their lead.

Hence, disenfranchising them risks losing anywhere from 19,500 to 39,000 potential voters who feel aggrieved by the nefarious, corrupt and illegal act of casting them aside and using the parallel list for the planned coronation in April.

Losing the North-West Votes in 2018

Thirty-five of the Thirty-nine (35/39) constituencies are from the North-Western region, and the remaining four (4) from the South. This is a deliberate and systematic hegemony.  Such an act in the region which is not a traditional stronghold of the SLPP is political suicide, callousness, or plain hubris.

Our history, since 1967, has shown that when people feel aggrieved, they vote with their feet and move elsewhere. In 2018 the hegemonic plot of a certain cabal could lead to a mass exodus.  We also risk setting a bad precedent for flouting constitutional order.

Unconstitutional Conduct

The SLPP constitution is clear about who has the mandate to conduct lower level elections at ward, section, chiefdom and zonal levels. Clause (5) Section 2 states that forward, sections and zonal levels “Elections shall be conducted under the supervision of the district chairman or his representative chosen from among the district executive”.

This is why the cabal doctored the rules and regulations to vest power in the hands of himself and the Regional Chairs.

Many objections were sent to the PPRC on this particular issue, and the section was expunged from the revised rules and regulations (now you know why they insist on using the “draft gazetted version” of the rules and regulations).

For Abass Bundu (Photo) and Manso Dumbuya to arbitrarily conduct illegal elections, and then singlehandedly choose who the chairman / chairlady, women’s leader and young generation leader should be is tantamount to denying 3,900 party members their right to vote.

This is not only plain wrong, but immoral and completely unfair. Such unjust actions will elicit reactions in ways that will disadvantage our party in 2018.

Legality versus Constitutionality 

Finally, if we assume that all this hegemony has been done by so-called experienced, political tacticians, then one must conclude that they know that the achievement of their coronation plan will be at a massive cost to the party and of hundreds of thousands of votes from the North-West.

This leads me to ask the questions: Are they working in the interest of our opponents to destroy the SLPP? Are they blinded by the coronation agenda, or is it a combination of both?

Experience tells us that every voice matters and politicians should listen to their constituents.

As a party, we must ensure that our constituents’ voices are heard. This injustice must be corrected and due process must be respected and followed.

This injustice cannot be swept away, and the use of bad language or intimidation will not silence us.

More importantly, whether you are Paopa, Alliance, or Independent, the coronation agenda must not destroy the chances of an SLPP victory in 2018.

Instead of deliberately misinforming the public with false stories, or pretending to know the issues when you seem not to understand the big picture, I hope you now see the issues as they are and you understand how high the stakes are.

If you care deeply about our country Sierra Leone and our party, perhaps it is best to ask yourself: what are you prepared to do to help salvage the problems we have in our party?

What is your own peace formula? Can we have peace if we sacrifice constitutionality for a false claim of legality?  What side are you on?

A Luta continua!


  1. Kudos to Dr. Yumkellah for laying his finger on the key problem that will prevent the SLPP from forming the next government post the 2018 presidential elections. However, the learned doctor should not just stop at highlighting the problem, but go one step further by conceptualizing the problem, and help key stakeholders find a solution that will help the party solve this problem and gain momentum toward winning the 2018 presidential elections in Sierra Leone.

    Conceptualizing a problem involves synthesizing the problem by reasoning and identifying the primary and secondary components of the problem, and understanding how these components fit together. Once a practitioner succeeds in doing that, the next step is to find a model or theory that will help the individual understand how the problem fit together, thereby providing him or her a logical structure for organizing and analyzing the problem.

    For example, stakeholders in the SLPP can look around the world for best practices of how similar problems were resolved in contemporary times. The modalities of recent models and best practices in places like Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Gambia and Senegal can be investigated to see what the SLPP can learn from those situations and apply to its present predicament.

    The key stakeholders in the SLPP should therefore not give up and leave the party’s fate to the shenanigans, being played by some rogue and dishonest players within the party and resign the party’s faith to the dictates of the whims and caprices of such players, but continue to work very hard to device theories and models they can use to point to a better way forward for the party.

    This is because Sierra Leone is moving towards economic collapse, and therefore need its brave sons and daughters to pull it from the brink. The only honest and serious way to do that is to utilize the efforts, charisma and technical know-how of its honest and forward thinking sons and daughters. An attempt to copy the wrong model or theory to solve the problem will lead to naught.

    To put this situation into a better framework, economist Pierce had this to say, “A person can stare stupidly at facts and data till the cows crow. It is only with imagination and theory that can one begin to understand the issue”.

    Same phenomena apply to the problem in the SLPP. The search for a better theory or model to solve this problem is therefore urgent.

  2. There is nothing wrong with getting others to throw their own hats in the political leadership competition as the fight is meant to be tough.

    When the decision reaches in the hands of voters, one should always be sensible to observe the majority winner and that will be the decision to know the direction of movement.

    Dr. Kandeh Koleh Yumkella and all other SLPP flag bearer aspirants must have by now noticed from the public poll that Dr. Julius Maada Bio is the winner and must therefore be voted for to take the party and the country forward.

  3. Of course Dr. Yumkella you are right. My problem is this whole saga should have been solved if the court case was brought to our party office.

    We cannot be trying to organise our house while we sell our party to our enemies. It is a no win situation.

    Consider the APC rules the judiciary in Sierra Leone. Whether you like it or not it will be a no win situation for us.

    The peace process could have been put to bed if only you trusted the very people you and the others appointed to solve the huge problems we have in our party.

    The issue of 39 constituencies is a huge problem that will disenfranchise most of our members and it will also favour some other flag bearer aspirants; but AGAIN would it not have been easier to remove the case from the court and allow the party to solve things?

    Now we are in a messy pothole that we cannot come out of. Lets pray for some magic!!!!!!!

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