Plausible possibilities of President Bio’s Succession:J.Jalloh,K.Yumkella, M.Tarallie, D.Sengeh, T. Kabba

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President Bio is serving his last and final term. And like his predecessor, he would have to hander over to a successor after an election that’s likely to take place in 2028.

It’s simple. Who wins the next presidential election will be our next President. But the biggest question is,who will succeed President Bio as flagbearer of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)?

We don’t have the exact answer now, but we will give you a glance of the big names coming up and what we think about their abilities to succeed the President.

Getting a successor to lead the SLPP is a crucial decision that the President himself would have to be careful about. Since the commencement of multi-party democracy in Sierra Leone, the issue of successor has not gone well for incumbent parties. The problem often stems from outgoing Presidents trying to directly or indirectly impose their successors on their political party’s membership.  

Whiles ending his term as President in 2018, Ernest Bai Koroma authoritatively handpicked Dr. Samura Kamara to succeed him as flagbearer of the All Peoples Congress (APC) against the wish of the party members. Samura did not only lose 2018 election, he has been the easiest way of defeating APC in an election. 

Unlike Koroma, President Ahmed Tejan Kabba never single handedly selected Solomon Berewa, but influenced his election as SLPP Presidential candidate in 2007, forcing provoked Charles Margai to form PMDC, breaking away from the SLPP, the party of his pedigrees. The SLPP had everything to win 2007 election, but the party’s failure to maintain Charles Margai, eventually brought the Koroma led APC to power. 

Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, Vice President

VP Juldeh is among the names featured to replace President Bio in 2028. He has a special page in history by becoming the first Sierra Leonean Fula to be elected Vice President of Sierra Leone, serving under the first Military Leader to be democratically elected President. And it appears VP Juldeh would be the first two-termed Vice President of the country. But would he continue making the history by succeeding his boss?

Serving as Vice President since 2018 means Dr. Juldeh has it all to become President. That’s in addition the wide experience he’s gathered over the years while with UN. He is a strategic political scientist, businessman and a former United Nations official. But to succeed President Bio, he would need to play more effectively to breach the culture of the tribal politics which might hinder his ambition to lead the ruling Party in the next general election. After all, no Vice President has succeeded in becoming President of Sierra Leone.

Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, Chairman, Presidential Initiative for Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Food Security

Another top name eyeing to succeed President Bio is Hon Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, founder and former leader of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) in the 2018 Presidential and Parliamentary election. He ended up winning a Parliamentary seat in Kambia and became the Leader of the NGC in Parliament.

 Yumkella was one of the major contenders of the SLPP flagbearer position to lead the party in the 2018 election. But he resigned from the Party in 2017 along with a number of SLPPP members and supporters to form the NGC.  His decision came after a tensed political conflicts and tensions between his camp and the Julius Maada Bio’s Paopa Camp of the SLPP which was then in opposition.  

From a staunch critic of the Bio-led administration, Yumkella made a surprising U-turn before June 2023 election, reuniting with the SLPP and signing an agreement to work as an alliance and have President Bio as presidential candidate for both NGC and SLPP. Shortly after President Bio’s re-election, Yumkella accepted an offer from the President to head the Presidential Initiative for Climate Change, Renewable Energy and Food Security eventually. Few months later, he announced his resignation from NGC and rejoined the SLPP.

The former UN Diplomat has an unrelenting ambition to lead Sierra Leone, a dream he could only realise under one of the two main political parties. No doubt, this is the reason behind his bold return to the SLPP.

Yumkella is a true Presidential material that has everything it takes to be a President. He is a gifted public speaker, highly educated, and internationally connected, having held top diplomatic positions at the UN. It is widely assumed that, after Bio, there can be no better candidate for SLPP than Yumkella.

 Chief Minister, Dr. David Sengeh

Generally, David Sengeh is viewed as the architect and chief innovator of the current SLPP Government. He is the blue eye of President Bio and rumors are going round that the President is grooming Sengeh to succeed him. President Bio has rapidly promoted him to senior cabinet positions on to the point of appointing him as Chief Minister. 

What else could have influenced the Chief Minister to relinquish his popular ghetto boy looks by shaving his dreadlocks? It’s an indication that he is preparing for something big. Possessed with high energetic and innovative skills, Dr. Sengeh could make a good successor to the President.

Sengeh started gaining public attention after he was appointed in 2019 to head President Bio’s top priority, the Free Quality Education Project as Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education.    

Leading the  education sector, he introduced several reforms, including the radical inclusion policy which allows for pregnant girls, persons with disabilities and learners in remote communities to access education, increasing school enrolment and making Sierra Leone a significant force in the global education discuss.

Under his leadership, Sierra Leone led the global policy and financing for education, chairs monitoring education globally and hosted two major international conferences on education.

 At the World Government Summit in Dubai last year, Sengeh was awarded Best Minister of the World for 2023.  His leadership saw a record number of pass rate of pupils in public exams with female pupils being at the top.

Timothy Musa Kabba, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Nothing more was surprising than the appointment of Timothy Musa Kabba as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, succeeding Prof. David Francis, a top ranking official in President Bio first five-year term.

 Before that appointment, Ing. Kabba was Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, having served as Director-General of the Petroleum Directorate.

Like David Sengeh, Ing. Kabba is in the good books of President Bio, named among those rumored as likely successor of the President to represent SLPP in the next election. If that becomes the case, then we would have been in a similar situation as in 2018. That’s because when President Koroma wanted to make Samura Kamara his successor, he first made him Foreign Affairs Minister and skillfully sent him to represent him at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly instead of the then Vice President.

An oil and gas expert with vast experience, Kabba is also an enticing Presidential material. He is presentable, highly charismatic and outspoken. When he was appointed to head Foreign Affairs, Chief Minister Dr. Sengeh hailed his appointment, tweeting: “Tim is someone whom I learnt a lot from in Sierra Leone.” According to Dr. Sengeh, Kabba speaks about 8 languages.

Prior to joining the Petroleum Directorate, the Foreign Affairs Minister was the project management consultant for Total E & P C LTD. And as Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, he introduced several reformations in the mining sector and implemented the Mines and Minerals Act of 2009 that paved the way for mining communities to benefit more from mining companies.

Hon. Alhaji Musa Tarawallie, Former Minister

The name Alhaji Musa Tarawallie is not new in Sierra Leone politics, at least in the last two decades. He submerged in the APC and appeared to have resurfaced, rumored as one of the possible contenders of the SLPP flagbearer position.  

 Musa as well has the experience it takes to become President. He is a business tycoon with governance and private sector experience for over three decades.

 He served as MP from 2002 to 2007 parliamentary, representing the SLPP. From 2007 to 2015, he served in various Ministerial positions under the APC. Musa is a strategic politician who knows how to successfully navigate his way. But will he succeed in becoming the next SLPP flagbearer? We wait to see.

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