Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Yumkella has called on Sierra Leone's main opposition party, the SLPP, to open up its doors and not become a party of exclusion. He was speaking in Manchester, United Kingdom on Saturday 25th July 2015 to a gathering of mostly SLPP members and others curious to hear him speak about his intention to be the next president of Sierra Leone under the SLPP.
Yumkella's call for the SLPP to be inclusive follows disputes over whether or not he is an SLPP member. Yumkella has picked up numerous honorary membership cards but is alleged to have failed to contact the legitimate channels to get registered through recognised party structures. Yumkella and his supporters say that Yumkella is being deliberately excluded from being recognised as an SLPP member.
However Madam Martha Kanagbo, the National Treasurer of SLPP whom it is who collects membership dues and handles the party's membership database, has debunked claims that SLPP is excluding persons from it. Rather, she writes in a letter to the UK branch that the party's doors are open for Yumkella to walk in and take up membership. Sources close to Kanagbo confirm that she has recently been registering other Diaspora based SLPP presidential aspirants with no hitches. Our SLPP sources cite the case of Alie Kabba, Dr. Tengbeh and one Mr. Jamiru in South Africa as having all remotely applied for membership which were speedily processed.
"Alie Kabba applied through Internet and Phone and sent his photo through Whatsapp to Martha Kanagbo who has duly registered him without him even stepping his feet on the country. Yumkella has visited Sierra Leone many times and always is seen at State House & State Lodge with President Koroma but he had never come to SLPP building to officially apply for membership. He thinks he is too big to apply for membership to be served him on a platter," our source said.
Meanwhile, the following is the full text of the Statement delivered by Kandeh Yumkella in Manchester:
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 so unhappy 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.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.