September 6, 2017 By Memunatu Bangura
Former Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and aspiring flagbearer for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, together with former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Albert Joe Demby and other members have resigned from the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
“It is with a heavy heart that I hereby publicly declare that, with effect from today 5th September, 2017, I cease to be a member of the SLPP. I am not leaving alone. As you can see gathered here with me are many of the leaders of the party especially the critical leaders at the constituency level,” Dr. Yumkella stated.
Dr. Yumkella made the above announcement yesterday (5th September, 2017) at a well -attended meeting at the Sierra Light House hotel.
According to him, some of the members he was leaving with were those who have felt disenfranchised and shared his views about what the SLPP has become, hence decided that they could no longer remain on a ship that was fast sailing towards the breakers ahead.
Some of the stalwarts that tendered their resignation letter include the former Vice President, Albert Joe Demby, Dr. Momodu Yilla and several other men and women that have served the country in very high positions.
Dr. Yumkella said the SLPP he used to know was no more, as the party has lost its core values and morals.
“Our Party is no more. What we have today is a caricature of the SLPP of our founding fathers’ sufferings as it is currently under a mis-leadership that continues to thrive on violence, lack of respect for elders, falsehood, betrayal, violation of rules, manipulation of people with messages of division, dark schemes and designs, lack of focus and loss of credibility,” he charged.
The former UNIDO boss had suspended his flagbearer bid under the SLPP on 3rd July 2017, but promised to continue his bid for the presidency and sought to work with a Coalition of Progressives.
Dr. Yumkella said he has held discussions recently with several political movements and parties ,with the aim to assessing the best approach to integrate existing efforts and decided to form the National Grand Coalition (NGC) as a rallying point for those progressive minds.
“Therefore, I feel energised and charged today to move forward and join other people of like minds as part of a New Force of Hope and a Coalition of Progressives trying to assess the best approach for us to integrate into existing efforts. And my decision is now to work from within the National Grand Coalition (NGC) as a rallying point for those progressive minds, students, workers, traders, unemployed people, business people, elders, religious people, civil society groups, and women’s groups, that I have had the opportunity of meeting in my recent consultations,” he said.
Dr. Yumkella said the NGC Movement has already received its Provisional Certificate to operate as a political party and the global KKY Movement would fully transition into the National Grand Coalition by 31st October, 2017, when the Political Parties Registration Commission shall have issued the coalition its registration certificate.
He emphasised that the NGC was a political party with a different political dream that would incorporate a mass movement of Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad, who are committed to changing and working to ensure that ordinary people have ownership of the party.
“I have been impressed by the NGC’s ability to attract people from every region, religion and other political parties ; the integrity and dynamism of those at its helm, freshness of its outlook, high values and principles on which it stands and the confidence it commands in those who are yearning for a new kind of politics in Sierra Leone. It is indeed a Grand Coalition of Progressives,” he said.
Dr. Yumkella disclosed that Dr. Dennis Bright, who was also aspiring for the chairman and leader position of the SLPP would serve as an interim Chairman and Leader of NGC and would also formally take up his role in the party.
On his part, Albert Joe Demby told the presser that he did not only tendered his resignation, but that the party had earlier drove him.
“The current SLPP is not what we work for. We convinced KKY to dessert his job and come home. Since his return he has worked immensely for the party but his effort has been frustrated by few people in the party,” he said.
Meanwhile, the battle to lead the SLPP for the 2018 elections started when Dr. Kandeh Yumkella returned home from the United Nations, but his status at the party was shaky as many claimed he was not a registered member.
He insisted that he had registered in Bo since March 2013; while the party executives stressed that they have no record of his membership in their data. This issue was settled and Dr. Yumkella increased his status to grand chief patron and paid two years dues.
His presence however created fresh factions within the party, with Julius Maada Bio and Yumkella leading the race.
Warring factions had stuck to their guns after the party stakeholders waded into acrimony. None of the factions sheathed their swords even after party stalwarts signed a peace communique earlier this year.