The 2018 presidential candidate of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party, Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella (KKY) has sent a message to the party’s elders, which one of them has described as “cryptic” and another as “a resignation from the party”.
Sources within the party have confirmed to Politico that the 64-year-old sent a message to their Strategic Alliance Forum WhatsApp Group, which one of them referred to as “short but telling” in which he apparently resigned from the party.
The message, which Politico has seen, reads in party thus:
“I have come to the end of the road. So best wishes and Godspeed to those who will now want to inherit the NGC”.
He said that after he and his now-late wifeh ad paid the rent for the party’s headquartersf or the last several years, he now wished them well.
Calls and an SMS put through to Dr Yumkella went unanswered, but our sources say they had seen his departure coming, with the likelihood of him returning to his father’s party – Sierra Leone People’s Party – which he left in the lead up to the 2018 elections in his quest to run for president.
Ahead of the June 2023 polls, he and the NGC formed a “strategic alliance” with President Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP. While the party did not put up a presidential candidate, they fielded candidates for the legislative elections including Dr Yumkella – but they won no seats.
His apparent resignation from the NGC comes amid fevered speculation that he plans to return to the SLPP party and run for the leadership ahead of the 2028 race. These speculations have been fueled by the fact that not much is known of the agreement he and President Bio went into, that made him thrown his weight behind him in the June polls.
Yumkella was most people’s second choice in the 2018 elections. He had run to become the SLPP’s presidential standard-bearer but later suspended his campaign after it became obvious that Bio was going to win the primaries. The agricultural economist later ran as the candidate of the NGC party and came third, winning a seat as a lawmaker.
Before then he had served as Minister of Trade in 1994 in the Ahmad Tejan Kabbah administration. He later left and joined the United Nations where he rose to the top echelons by becoming Under-Secretary General, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sustainable Energy and was twice elected Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).