Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella, presidential flag-bearer aspirant, is poised to exit from the opposition Sierra Leone’s People Party (SLPP). The announcement which is reportedly scheduled for this week will see about forty (40) senior officials also abandon the party.
Sierra Leoneans will recall that almost two months ago, Dr. Yumkella formally announced the suspension of his flag-bearer bid under the SLPP – promising to vigorously maintain his bid and campaign for the Presidency of Sierra Leone. “The current socio-political conditions in our country,” said Yumkella, “make it imperative that we should take far reaching decisions now for the survival of our country rather than just to be flag bearer of SLPP.
According to sources who prefer their identities remain anonymous since they were not authorized to speak about it, Yumkella’s resignation will see hundreds of senior party officials do the same barely ten (10) days to the party convention. It is estimated that the bulk of the senior party officials from the Northern and Western Regions will follow Dr. Yumkella.
Should the resignation reports prove to be true, Dr. Yumkella may finally get “the environment needed to deal with the existing and future critical national issues” he has spoken about to pursue his vision and message of “HOPE, OPPORTUNITY and TRANSFORMATION (HOT).”
For the SLPP, such a move will undoubtedly spell doom for the party. The reason being that 62% of the total registered voters in the country are in the North-West Axis and it must be noted that the party lost all the parliamentary and local government seats there in 2012. The SLPP South-Eastern hold becomes even more vulnerable should the current APC government chooses vice president Victor Bockarie Foh as flag-bearer among the numerous aspirants as rumours make the rounds.
Thus having Mr. Bio as the same presidential candidate for two presidential elections (and now attempting his third) promises another devastating defeat in the hands of the ruling party. Furthermore, the historical two decades battle between the PAOPA faction and the John Benjamin (JOB) faction has intensified and continues unabated without Kandeh Yumkella.
Such internal fighting has the potential to further haemorrhage the party’s chance, if they have any in the first place. However, what is clear is that these internal divisions will affect the very survival of the party which has failed to provide a credible opposition for almost a decade. In the minds of political analysts, Yumkella may have very credible reasons to provide the nation with a “third force.”
With all these scenarios, Yumkella’s original ambition to build a “Grand Coalition of Progressives” to fight for the common man – to ensure a better education and health care for their children; that the youth have decent and productive jobs; and leads efforts to eradicate poverty through sound economic management and wealth creation MAY just come true.
Could a third force make a difference this time in Sierra Leone? Could Yumkella become Sierra Leone’s Macron?