Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella: hype or hip?
An opinion piece by Farook Abdul-Karim Sesay, Canberra, Australia. Social justice and community advocate
An article online –“Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella: the diplomat versus the candidate… the man who could be the right successor of President Ernest Bai Koroma,” by Donald Roberts, (who seems to be a marching Soldier for the KKY movement) – is such an insightful piece. However, if only such a construct does not intrinsically subscribe to the Walt Disney narrative of a happy ending-and leaves all who love such genre to be shaken from their suspension of disbelief syndrome at the end of the run of the reel – or, in non-ethereal or non- allegorical timeline – but in hard knocks and gritty political realism – after the endorsement by the (in)fallible electorate come post 2017 Presidential race. Regardless who turns out as APC/ SLPP flag bearers. (Photo: Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella)
I passionately believe that the conventions and ultimate choice of presidential candidates (for APC/SLPP) would be the greatest twist in the 2017 presidential elections tail! Emerging victorious flag bearers and subsequent campaign trails will be the antithesis- and iridescently, could match 2007 and 2012 (presidential candidacy-Solo B; Maada Bio, respectively) choices as a fait accompli- in the punditry mindset of each political camp, where the candidates themselves are more towering or colossal than their toted party manifesto currencies. A seemingly new frontier has intractably emerged precariously on the star-struck qualities of candidates- than party power.
Aha! Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella! I reverently admire – even idolize his credentials, resume, and persona. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella reminds me, albeit on a higher pedestal or plane – of the ilk of Ping (African Union); Kofi Annan; and at home, the erstwhile President Ahmad Tejan-kabbah. However, the niggling doubt/reservation I harbour with such men-is that despite all these flowery accolades and bamboozling fanfare over Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella and being internationally lionized and feted-one wonders if there is more to the icon than silicon? As Sierra Leoneans, we should demystify our visceral pathological fixation with all things “international” at the laconic expense of stuff that is derided as “local”. Why are Ghanaians not scrambling over Kofi Annan to be President? Or does the rationale that Ghanaians have more superior “home grown” material at home-instead of craning their necks and searching far and wide, ring true? Maybe not. Maybe yes. Nevertheless, Ghana has exemplified that “made in Ghana” reposes comfortably well with them. Inversely, is Mama Salone inflicted with a dearth or paucity of perennially home grown-or brewed politicians, who are not “DNAed” with the prerequisite stuff? Or are we as Sierra Leoneans repugnantly fed up with the “professional politicians” or their nauseating emptiness and antics – and, want to subscribe to the musing of the French statesman, General Charles De Gaulle, that: “Politics is too serious a business to be left to politicians”?
Indeed, Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella a fresh face in our indicted political landscape and its shenanigans- (for those who are too magnanimous to overlook his NPRC years)! A diplomat. A technocrat. And, not a Politician, in our use of a narrow brush stroke of the painting of the definition of such imagery in our collective, conscientious mosaic or tapestry. So we branded Tejan-Kabbah-and, to a lesser extent, the incumbent, Ernest Bai Koroma-as not being career politicians-only to invariably tag them as non- effervescent compromised candidates, who only serve to win elections as smoke screens for their fledging parties and inextricably tethered to their real shadow masters. And, consequently failed us- and/or still failing us.
Is Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella a political hype or pugnacious hip?
Does this towering colossus with an international poster boy image, have what it takes, stoically, to run a socially turbulent and atavistic country like Salone? Can he decisively deal with the shadow(y) (non)state actors and figures – upon whose insidious and invidious influence and patronage he will have to ride? Steeliness of character; familiarity with the political terrain; an ample desire, dosage and herculean ability to trample on fanciful western forged human rights bundles- where the paramount interests of the people and nation are threatened? For instance, the Aegean stable economic corruption that is pervading and pervasively strangulating mama salone! Can Dr. Yumkella take a stern stance( like puny Yayah Jammeh of Gambia), and asphyxiate all cancerous corruption- so that financial thugs, chicaners, and other miscreants- will ponder twice if it is worth the draconian punitive consequences, if caught? We would not be needing the redundant, pilloried, puppeteered Anti – Corruption Commission-and self-regulating attitudinal and behavioural change will dramatically evolve – if only a seriously committed leader, who is intrinsically ethically, transformative, transgressively incorrigible, emerges. Can Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella have the patriotic heart and valour to put his well- earned international reputation as the darling of the West on the line – and not be squeamish and be ready to kill- yes, kill!, castrate, publicly flog economic saboteurs(in my book equivalent to political coupists) (and for good measure- video-tape the beatings to be shown routinely at public meetings and at schools)- value actions that should be entrenched in our revised constitution) and, sometimes, incarcerated for very long spells ,after confiscating the spoils and proceeds from their ill-gotten wealth? I fervently believe that as a citizen – belonging to the angry and disadvantaged patriotic majority – we cannot afford the misguided luxury of leaders who want to have their cake and eat it. Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, if you are ready to pander to the West and drink and dine with shadow(y) actors, the crown would not fit. However, if you are ready to be bloodied and denigrated for your courage of conviction by the Western vampires, and not working in cahoots with cohorts and complicit at home-in their corrupt game – then sir, with all due respect, you could have the unreserved and unflinching support of a manipulated, exploited, dispossessed, majority – waiting to exhale!
Kandeh Kiolleh Yumkella, you are been favourably quoted widely and your YouTube videos have gone viral. However, your most immediate viewers and audience should be our negligible percentage of the “bottom billion” you so passionately love to talk about – the poor, vulnerable, disadvantaged and dispossessed constituents in your beloved country – who do not have access to the internet- and would love to get to know you in those remote, god-forsaken towns and villages.
Furthermore, your philanthropic ventures, like the Trade Minister, Usman (Usu) Boie Kamara’s – will stand you in good stead. Forget about the billions of dollars you have to spend for your masters- forging or pushing international agendas or policies (monies that are not yours personally, for spending as you so wish!)-dig deep down your own pockets. Exploit catchy APC campaign slogans like –“action pass intention”- and let them be your guide post. And, eerie, resonating nuances like- “Den say one bag res (rice), u say book- book”- should also be land mines. Do not get shrouded too tightly like a mummy in a hype of a litany of bookishness.
Or am I just fretting over nothing, huffing and puffing over an elusive enigmatic mystification, here? Am I only jumping the gun and demonstrating an overarching anticipation in Kandeh Kolleh Yumnkella supposed soporific interest in Salone politics like Donald Robert’s article quoted-“… The man is not vocal about politics… (only doing what he does best – i.e. global diplomacy and diplomacy and public policy?” Or am I just been cast away by the wily waves of some mischievous fertile imagination showcasing KKY as a potential bogeyman candidate to give some political misfits the scare? Or at best, some stalling horse in the 2017 presidential search for the holy grail? And why the shifty, dodgy, conspiratorial silence over Kandeh kolleh Yumkella’s party allegiance or affiliation? The test of (political) manhood is the daring baring of political teeth and taking an unequivocal stance. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, if you are shrouded in too much the diplomat – rather than being exposed as a wannabe Presidential brass – you will face the law of unintended consequences. Sierra Leoneans cannot ill-afford another leader who got the throne on a golden platter! We had, and are still living with the palpable, harrowing, consequences. The early bird catches the worms. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, your people got to know you, assess you – in their own empirical people fashion – not through a hyped looking glass. Mystic construction is cultism! Parading you during conventions will not do the trick. You have as much enemies (real or imagined) – as friends. It pays handsomely to know them now – than at the eleventh hour. Like the iconic rapper, Eminem, asks: “Can the real Slim Shady please stand up?,”– we the people of Salone are asking – can the real Doctor Kandeh Kolleh Yumkellah, please stand up?
by Farook Abdul-Karim Sesay, Canberra, Australia. Social justice and community advocate
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