-Says Hon. Yumkella
May 8 2020
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Honorable Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has called on President Julius Maada Bio, ex-President Ernest Bai Koroma and other opposition party members to collectively come together and fight COVID-19, adding that the fight is not a political party or tribal, but a national fight that requires the effort of all.
“It is important for President Julius Maada Bio to mobilize the nation to fight COVID-19 and it is very important for former Ernest Bai Koroma to go on air and talk to the nation about his experience during the Ebola virus fight and he is ready to join hands to fight COVID-19 as well,” he said.
The National Grand Coalition (NGC) Member of Parliament representing Constituency 062 in the Samu Chiefdom, Kambia District, on Wednesday, May 6th, made the call while speaking as one of the guests at the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Morning Coffee’ programme.
Alhaji Dr. Kandeh YumKella, former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, Former Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and Former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), was one of the presidential contestants in the 2018 General elections.
He opined that his political party was the first to respond to the call of the government to join the fight against the COVID-19 in the country, adding that together with his colleagues, Members of Parliament from the same political party went to their constituencies and sensitised their constituents about the virus and donated hand washing items.
He said as a political party they believe that the presence of the coronavirus in the country is an opportunity to unite the nation, adding that as a constructive opposition they have decided to support the effort of the fight against COVID-19.
He said the government has done well in the fight by instituting a national mobilization across the country before even the arrival of the coronavirus in the country, stating that as parliamentarians they also looked at the virus at the health stand point, security and the economy.
He said they had invited the Bank Governor, and the finance ministry and others to talk to parliament on how the country can collaboratively and effectively fight the coronavirus.
He further stated that as members of parliament they still have outstanding issues with the regulations, nothing that the opposition in parliament still believes that those regulations should be laid to parliament so that they can look at them for proper implementation.
He said there are certain things in the regulations that might need more legal bases and reinforce them legality, adding that COVID-19 is a disease that may not end quickly as expected and that there will be challenges during the fight, including tightening restrictions.
He said economic situation will become harder and that people will challenge rules and regulations.
He said that was the more reason for the regulations needed legality and more importantly the government should ensure that everybody get involved in the process, including the parliament.
He said had the regulations been taken to parliament, they would have far gone beyond discussions on it and that what they should have been doing now was to engage the government and stakeholders to ensure that monies that are coming in are well utilised by boosting small businesses and farming that will help boost the economy during difficult times.
“This coronavirus should be able to bring the nation together; before the country recorded its first case other countries were already removing their citizens out of the country. I had opportunity to talk to one of the people that were leaving the country and the person told me that, according to all the analysis, the coronavirus will be worst in Africa than any other country,” he said.
He further stated that it was very disturbing that some hate messages were making the rounds on social media, with people talking about war, raise political tensions and other issues that do don’t mean good for the country.
He recalled that in the past two weeks, there was tension across the country which is not good, noting that it will be good for the current president and the former to join hands together.