By Alpha Bedoh Kamara
While he was a young boy tending to the caprices of young people of that time, Kandeh was the handsome jovial pupil amongst his friends, a joke maker but studious and creative thinker. Had he ever thought he will one day be looked at as a source for hope for national development? Had he been preparing for the future of Sierra Leone?
Somebody who happened to know him is upbeat and believes he will, if given the opportunity to serve his country. But when, and in which political party will he raise the banner of hope?
Some people had thought he may pitch tent with the All People Congress Party (APC) until now when the whole nation is made to ponder how one of the country’s most talented and exposed individuals will survive the tarmac of the SLPP platform.
For critics of the SLPP, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella is bound for a rough political passage that will take him through hot waters. Their argument is based on the treatment meted on others, who like him clouded the atmosphere with great academic laurels and international recognition, but could not withstand the hit in the SLPP.
But then, like the others, he resigned his job to help develop his nation by taking an active role in national politics through the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP); but again like the others, the barrages of calumny are being unleashed to dampen his resolve.
According to the New Vision publication of Wednesday April 1, 2015; headline caption ‘Dr. Yumkella’s Registration is Fake’, quoting the Southern Regional Chairman of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Hon. Edward Soloku, that “…the former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Sustainable Energy, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, is not a registered member of the party as of now contrary to what the National Secretary General Sulaiman Banja Tejan-sie said.
“SLPP Okays Dr. Yumkella” the Exclusive newspaper reported on Wednesday April 1, 2015 publication.
“The National Secretary General of the Opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, has informed journalists in Freetown that former Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sustainable Energy, Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, is a bona fide member of the party,” said Tejan-Sie.
Yumkella, according to the SLPP scribe as reported by the Exclusive newspaper “…is even over qualified to bid for the flag bearer contest of the party in 2016”.
“He is a card carrier member of SLPP and holds the status of ‘Grand Chief Patron’ in the party,” Tejan-Sie reiterated.
Now it seems the war is between the National Secretary General and the SLPP Southern chairman…and logically, a fight being fought in the shadows between Dr. Yumkella and someone strong in the SLPP.
This is the present state of the internal politics of the opposition SLPP and though such battles have impacted negatively in their active participation in major political platforms the pin-pricks are still there and pitching members against members. Some may want to argue such developments are not new and in fact, other political parties are going through the same process; yet they are failing to know that the violence associated with such conflicts are the bad omen. And whether the SLPP likes it or not the membership should know that infightings of such…as being displayed by the utterances of the SLPP Secretary General and the SLPP Southern Chairman do not go well with the wider public.
Better governance is often viewed as practices of the government in implementing policies and development projects; however, from a wider perspective it can also be related to the developments taking place in all political parties active in the political dispensation of the country. The importance of the role of the SLPP and the PMDC in Parliament have shown how vital the opposition is in ensuring transparency and accountability in democratic dispensation but indifferences in this sector, especially the major opposition political party, could lead to lapses in their active participation in governance.
The role of the SLPP should therefore be one that can help foster positive democratic practices in all sectors in society through positive collaboration with other political parties, even if when being critical about certain state actors, and also ensuring tolerance amongst their membership- such as allowing the participation of members wanting to contest the flag bearer position.
Like when he was a young boy tending to the caprices of young people of that time, Dr. Kandeh, I believe, abreast of the stories of others that have dared to contest the flag bearer of the SLPP, will adapt to face the challenges. Adaptability and assertiveness are vital for a budding politician for the membership to believe in ones maturity to lead, and considering the African mentality juxtaposed with democratic cleavages, one must be strong headed, influential, financially rooted and popular.
I cannot tell if Dr. Kandeh is still strong headed as was the case when he was a young man taking on the challenges of academia but he is ‘influential and financially rooted’, and with popularity, the present challenge in the SLPP for the flag bearer will tell how popular he is in the party.
The SLPP, APC and other political parties need financially strong, affluent, and role models to champion their cause for the Presidency of the Republic of Sierra Leone. We should no longer be hoodwinked to vote people for the sake of tribe, region or society but rather taking the right decisions based on issues.
And the better way that the people would be able to take the right decision is when the executives of the political parties ensure accountability and transparency in their dealings regarding the choice of individuals to raise the flag on behalf of the group.
Welcome home Dr. Kandeh. The people’s resolve for a better Sierra Leone is for better sound minded Sierra Leoneans to come onboard the platform of national politics and create change for the better. Whether that contribution falls on the opposing platform or the ruling government, it will be healthy for the betterment of the nation and people.