Those who reacted cynically against Hon. (Dr.) Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella after hearing highlights of his talk at the NGC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and the inconclusive reports by the few aggrieved NEC members are encouraged to review important overlooked details.

The mandate for NGC to pursue a strategic alliance was granted by the supreme and highest decision-making authority of that Party, the National Delegates Conference. Following that mandate, the infamous NEC meeting was convened with the hope to get updates on COPP, KKY’s discussions with President Bio, developing guidelines for the alliance process, and giving the required mandate for the formation of an alliance committee (ad hoc) and to its presumptive leader, Dr Yumkella.

Although Dr Yumkella received an olive branch from President Bio about a year ago in Kychom to return to the SLPP and their engagements and deliberations that followed thereafter, KKY never spoke to anyone or a group about his private meetings with the President, not even his family.

With the utmost respect that Dr Yumkella has for NGC members and the Party’s structures, he chose the NEC meeting to speak for the first time about his ongoing discussions with President Bio for the formation of a national unity government for social cohesion and economic development. The cause of strife at that NEC meeting was the disapproval of a request for the Chairman to lead the negotiations with SLPP. That decision by the majority of NEC members was approved to protect the credibility of the NGC Party, given that KKY has been the face and voice of the consultations.

Not understanding KKY’s ideology is, perhaps, a contributing factor to the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of his current political positioning that has taken centre stage in the Sierra Leone politique. Some argue that Dr Yumkella should not stay with NGC; he should go back to SLPP; he is just like the others; he needs to lead the opposition. Yumkella’s critics continue to submit their arguments despite not knowing for sure what his decision will be and the rationale of the influence. If we pause and ponder on Yumkella’s quest for a national unity government, then, conceivably, we could form better arguments about his political decisions.

Dr Yumkella is a progressive who seeks to work with like-minded Sierra Leoneans and political groups to implement significant social and political reforms that will accomplish economic and other sustainable development initiatives and improve the lives of all citizens. His vision is centred on key tactical coalitions that are aimed at creating a better future for the country.

Dr Yumkella has lived the ideology of collaborating with willing partners to put first the interest of the country above self-seeking goals. Since 2014, he has consistently advocated for a government of national unity that represents the beautiful diversity of Sierra Leone. That is the reason he organized his 2018 presidential bid around the ideology of “Salon Fos.” That is why he went to Parliament and worked with colleagues in the SLPP, APC, C4C, and independent. That is why he spoke up against the wrongs of the government and supported the Bio Administration when it made good decisions. That is why he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the opposition in times of need. That is why Yumkella is willing to continue to dialogue with President Bio to reciprocate respect and work together in the interest of the people of Sierra Leone.

Dr Yumkella’s consideration to work with President Bio is motivated by his conviction that he owes Sierra Leone his skills and expertise to help develop the country and cooperation with the democratically elected leaders to foster social cohesion and ensure the sustenance of peace. Before now, Dr Yumkella genuinely supported all governments after the Stevens and Momoh administrations.

He served as Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises (1994-1995) under the NPRC regime during the civil war. Immediately after Yumkella was appointed Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 2005, he contacted President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and pledged his support and that of his office to help rebuild Sierra Leone. That same support was accorded to President Ernest Bai Koroma to move the country from postwar recovery to championing developments.

The above examples of Yumkella’s ideology of putting the country above other interests and working strategically with leaders and groups across the political aisles evidenced his consistency as a statesman and position in the political spectrum.

These leadership qualities are the primary reason President Bio extended Dr Yumkella an invitation to partner with the ruling government to help build a better, stronger Sierra Leone. It was the same realization that influenced a large group of Paramount Chiefs across the country to pay a courtesy call on Dr Yumkella to consider co-leading the efforts to build a united, prosperous nation.

That is Dr Yumkella’s vision and commitment.