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.
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!