January 23, 2018 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Campaign Spokesperson for the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Dr. Julius Spencer, has reacted to a petition filed against their Presidential Candidate Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, who also doubles as Parliamentary Candidate in Constituency 062 in Kambia district, northern Sierra Leone.
Last week, Parliamentary Candidate for the All People’s Congress (APC) in Constituency 062, Abu Bakarr Sankoh, filed an objection to the nomination of Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella on the grounds that the latter holds dual citizenship.
The petitions reads that: “The Said Kandeh Yumkella with voter identification card number 228210 is a dual citizen of the republic of Sierra Leone and the United Stets of America in violation of section 76(1a) of the constitution (Act No 6) of 1991 and the Public Elections (Act No 4) of 2012.”
The APC Parliamentary Candidate is of the view that Dr. Yumkella holds a dual citizenship, which according to him makes him ineligible to contest under section 75 and 76 (1a) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
But Dr. Spencer, who was on Radio Democracy 98.1 ‘Gud Morning Salone’ programme, charged that the petition was ‘frivolous’ and that the party’s lawyers will deal with it appropriately.
“The petition matter has reached the attention of our lawyers and they will prepare a response. It is under investigation by our lawyers to make sure that it is resolved,” he said.
The NGC Spokesperson said Dr. Yumkella has all his papers intact but that they could not make them available to the public because they are personal documents, adding that the party would tender them in court when the need arises.
He said the party had in a press conference informed the media that Dr. Yumkella had renounced his US citizenship since last November, and that the latter himself emphasised that he holds no dual citizenship anymore.
The NGC spokesperson claimed that the issue of dual citizenship was a deliberate ploy by the APC to disenfranchise certain individuals from participating in the March 7th elections, adding that it was also a calculated move by the APC to continuously hold on to power.
He reiterated that the ruling party was trying to divert the NGC’s and public attention from the real discourse because they don’t have any grounds to stand on the issue.
“We will not allow them to divert our attention,” he stated.
It could be recalled that earlier this year, on the 9th January, the ruling APC put out notice that they would not award party symbol to people with dual citizenship who aspired to contest as parliamentary candidates in the forthcoming elections, citing Section 76(1) of the 199 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
The said section provides that: “No person shall be qualified for elections as a Member of Parliament if he is a naturalised citizen of Sierra Leone or if he is a citizen of a country other than Sierra Leone having become such a citizen voluntarily or is under a declaration of allegiance to such country.”