By Rev. S.M. Williams.
That the SLPP is not the same as it was before Dr. Kandeh Yumkella suspended his flag bearer bid is self-evident. It triggered a knee-jack reaction. Could this have happened if the man was of no consequence?
I think not. Otherwise his withdrawal could have been ignored as one of those things. Visibly nettled flag bearers were at the meeting to confirm their commitment to the race and to distance themselves from the KKY Movement in the process.
Notable among reactions to Dr. Yumkella’s withdrawal was that of John Benjamin, former Chairman and Leader of the Party who opined that Dr. Kandeh’s action was regrettable.
He called for efforts to get the flag bearer to hoist his flag again because he said the learned doctor’s action would engender similar moves by others. How right he was!
But the sourpuss of a Public Relations Officer reveled in the knowledge that there was jubilation on the occasion.
In his exuberance he seemed to be oblivious of the fact that defection of party members does not add to the party membership in this game of numbers. He cannot feign ignorance of the fact that only two aggrieved SLPP members K.I. Kaisamba and Luseni Mbriwa were responsible for the beginning of the APC grip on power to this day.
Party divisions are inseparable from free government according to Edmund Burke but he did not add that these divisions should be along tribal or regional lines. The philosophies of the two apparent front runners of the party can be gleaned from the way they have been conducting themselves in the public domain.
Julius Maada Bio seems to believe in the maxim “If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again”.
If President Buhari of Nigeria succeeded in his fourth attempt why not him? He had his first shot at the Presidency with the late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and Co and he is still in the race slugging on relentlessly and getting ever more assured. Great has been his tenacity. But whether the citizenry as a whole can demonstrate appreciation for his landmark sacrifices is another cup of tea. That’s a man who could have been another Yayah Jammeh if he had the requisite guts in his brain. The opportunity slipped out of his hands and can never be regained. As if higher education is a sine qua non for state leadership in this predominantly illiterate country, Maada Bio was until recently pursuing higher post graduate education. He has arguably been the most popular Politician in the Southern Province from where he hails. Whether this popularity is spilling over into the other regions of the country remains to be seen.
“Life is a risk” seems to be the philosophy of Dr. Kandeh Yumkella which is why he could voluntarily quit his lucrative United Nations job for a national job that couldn’t be had on a golden platter but against overwhelming odds.
Can Kandeh Yumkella convince us that if he succeeds he would distance himself from the United Nations-oriented policies of the Late Dr. Tejan Kabbah in our setting? Will his education in the South serve as a counterbalance to his birth in the North? These questions will be pondered over by the electorate. But does it serve any useful purpose to discriminate against any candidate on technical grounds? It’s cowardice and nothing else for heaven’s sake.
The flag bearership is not going to be a two-horse race. There are others formidable in their respective strongholds who may yet spring surprises. Was Emmanuel Macron’s victory in France a foregone conclusion?
I may be wrong but let me end with the belief that the SLPP is under demonic power imported into this country. How else can we explain the endless litigations among party members and continuing expulsions from the party in this game of numbers? And these decisions are taken by a party replete with top intellectuals. If this is not due to induced cock-eyed thinking I wouldn’t know what it is.
The fact is that those under a demonic spell would hardly admit to its insidious influence. They hope against hope to win the next elections in the first round. In this regard let me state that hope is the last thing extinguished in the heart of man.
Are we revving towards a repeat of the one-party history? The SLPP should stay the course and avoid breaking up in pieces to become Sierra Leone Pieces Party.
Fractures are curable. These thoughts are worth mulling over.