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SLPP – reality or farce?

SLPP – reality or farce?

I have been following latest developments in the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) with regards the flag bearer contest which involves twelve aspirants notably Julius Maada Bio, the former Presidential flag-bearer in the 2012 multitier elections, and former Director General of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella.

In the line-up you also have the former National Chairman and Leader of the party, Mr. John Oponjo Benjamin, Engineer Andrew Kelie, Engineer Munda Rogers, Ambassador Bun-Wurie, Lawyer Alpha Osman Timbo, Alhaji Dr. Alie Kabba, Franklyn Rogers, Chief Ernest Ndomahina,  and a few others.

While the flag-bearer contest is heating up amidst the acrimonious situation in the SLPP, I recently read in two local publications that Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has formed his campaign committee which comprises senior stalwarts in the SLPP including former Vice Presidents Solomon Ekuma Berewa and Dr. Joe Demby as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the KKY Campaign Advisory Committee.

Other high-profile names in the party were mentioned in the KKY campaign committee, but the question is how authentic are those publications about the alleged KKY campaign committee?

The first person to have distanced himself from those publications was the SLPP Northern Region Secretary General, who made it clear that as an executive officer of the party, he would not support any flag-bearer aspirant but to create a level playing field for them to contest. Former Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa, who is one of the most respected party elders, has also debunked those publications, claiming that they are mischievous and misleading.

But according to my observation, those publications should not be far from the truth because those who witnessed the visit of Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella to Bo city on Friday, 27th November, 2015 would be convinced that some of the names that were mentioned in those publications as committee members are quite true.

For instance, former Vice President Dr. Joe Demby, whose name was mentioned as Deputy Chairman of the KKY Campaign Advisory Committee, was part of the KKY Movement’s preparations for the visit of Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella to Bo almost two weeks ago. Besides, it was the former Vice President that officially welcomed the flag-bearer aspirant to Bo and also attended the Saturday dinner that was organized by the KKY Movement in honour of their flag-bearer aspirant.

Whether by coincidence or by design, former Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa, who has debunked those publications, was also in Bo city during the visit of Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella and I was told that the latter announced the former’s presence in the city during his first address to supporters at the residence of his late mother-in-law along the Clock Tower. It may have been a coincidence but I was also told that the flag-bearer visited former Vice President Solomon Ekuma Berewa at his Bo residence and many other party elders in the city such as the former Minister of Trade and Industry in the former SLPP Government, Mr. Lawrence Kamara, and Pa Daramy Rogers, the father of Mr. Franklyn Rogers, who is one of the twelve flag-bearer aspirants in the SLPP.

Based on what happened in Bo during Alhaji Dr. Yumkella’s visit it to that city, it is difficult to dismiss those publications in their entirety because there is already substantial evidence to prove that some of the names that were mentioned in the KKY campaign committee are diehard supporters of the KKY Movement. Many of the party members whose names appeared on the KKY Campaign Committee list are not hypocritical about their support for the former senior United Nations official while others do not want to go public for now in view of the acrimonious situation in the party.

While many would doubt the authenticity of those publications given the high profile names in the KKY Campaign Committees, those publications have sent a clear signal to other flag-bearer aspirants in the SLPP that Alhaji Dr. Yumkella is doing his homework well to ensure he grabs the party’s Presidential candidacy for the 2018 Presidential election and he has the enviable qualities to woo national support in addition to his influence and wide support that he commands in both the national and international communities.

By Ensa Kondor

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