After five arduous years in Opposition, the NGC Party summoned its first Loya Jirga, of elected officers from across the country, last Saturday, January 28th.  

At Issue: for months the political rumor mill has it that Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, the 2018 NGC Flagbearer and Founder Member, has been in secret talks with President Julius Maada Bio – A flash point that was highlighted back in February 2022, when Bio visited Yumkella in his hometown and publicly fell at the feet of Kitchum’s first Son; begging for his return to the SLPP.  Eye brows were also raised when Yumkella, reciprocated by attending ‘2023 New Year’s Sunday Service’ at Bio’s hometown of Tihun, Bonthe District.

This Jirga was convened to address concerns of the rank and file of the party given Bio’s toxicity and very low poll ratings just six months away from the elections.  What’s the reason for these talks? What is it that Bio has offered Yumkella? Why now? Why an Alliance with Bio of all people?

Moreover, the Party has been engaged in coalition talks within COPPP (Coalition of Progressive Political Parties) – An amalgam of seventeen political parties, including the APC, the largest Opposition Party in Parliament.  Dr. Dennis Bright, the NGC Chairman and Leader, has publicly attended COPPP meetings, including joint radio and TV appearances on critical issues affecting the State.  Bright was thrown in jail by Bio’s rogue Chief of Police because of NGC’s association with COPPP.  Readers must know that Yumkella NEVER visited Bright in jail nor make a public condemnation of Bio’s handling of these infractions.

We are now led to believe that Dr. Yumkella has been in talks, with the SLPP, prior to the 2022 visit to Ketchum  by Bio.  It is alleged that Bio initiated talks with KKY in the immediate months preceding the loss of the NGC law maker’s mother in July 2019.

NGC Party’s Constitution does not make any provision, nor grants special right and privileges to Yumkella for him to initiate talks for and on behalf of the Party.  By his admission, last Saturday, Yumkella was way out of line and is guilty of gross violation of the Party’s Constitution.  For a man top heavy on Constitutionality, Strong Institutions, Governance and the Rule of Law, this is an inexcusable act – And he MUST be subjected to the Party’s Internal Disciplinary Committee.

Nevertheless, Jirga participants that were expecting a cool and genteel Alahaji KKY., fresh out of Mecca, were rudely awaken by a very combative, defiant, abrupt and flat out disrespectful Kandeh Yumkella.  He was accompanied by a band of political attack dogs, such as Ambassador Daboh and Andrew Keilie.  For good measure, Yumkella had a crack security and bodyguard team, with steroid induced muscles.  In a meele that ensued during a break out session, one of said security personnel, slapped the senses out of Wilfred Wyse, the NGC National Publicity Secretary, in the presence of Dr. Yumkella.

Moments later, the NGC Chairman for Western Area, Arthur Pearce, was chased down by thugs loyal to Yumkella.  When he got to his car, he discovered that his car tires had been knifed.  Again, Yumkella did nothing when notified!  This is a replay right out of Maada Bio’s playbook in the run up to the 2018 elections: One of Bio thugs stabbed and killed John Benjamin’s bodyguard.
KKY himself faced disrespect and humiliation under the hand of Bio’s thugs at the SLPP Headquarters.  KKY is now practicing exactly what was meted out to him but now he’s got his canon fire aimed at loyal members within the NGC.

To independent observers, it would appear as if Yumkella set up Dr. Bright for humiliation and politically charged attack.  As usual, Bright’s opening comments was cordial and conciliatory. However, Ambassador Daboh would have none of it.  Hints were thrown out that Bright had no such authority to represent NGC at COPPP.  Daboh went on to attempt a denial of Bright’s access to any discussions with Bio.

Most egregious of all, was Yumkella’s mocking NGC members in the Diaspora – particularly, those making one hundred dollars contribution.  It goes to show how disrespectful and ungrateful these politicians are – they hold voters in contempt and show no regard for their input and basic needs.

For the record, we must note acts of heroism and unparalleled sacrifices made by KKY in a bid to offer his services to the nation: he gave up his US Citizenship and subjected his family through gruesome attacks by Maada Bio and Ernst Koroma. It was a courageous display of faith and altruism. But, within five years, the cracks are visible and the Bio toxicity seem to be getting the better of Yumkella. Human Rights, Civil liberties, Rule of Law and respect for concerns of the people are now in the distant past.

Perhaps, it’s a good thing that KKY announced his retirement at the meeting.  Clearly, he is in over his head and has disgracefully demonstrated that he cannot lead a political party.  Under the circumstances, NGC members must be aware that they’ve come a long way to build a national presence for their party and they MUST not capitulate to the demands of KKY.  He’s got nothing more to offer the Party – There’s got to be another Moses that is willing and capable of leading this party and nation to victory.