KKY Throws Bombshell

 

With the nation at a critical crossroad between the past, the present and as future lies ahead, National Leader of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Alhaji Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has gone public with his opinion about recent happenings in the country since the March 2018 national elections running up to the pending Commissions of Inquiry into the activities of the former All People’s Congress (APC) government.

Speaking on Radio Democracy Tuesday morning, the NGC Leader reeled off the positive contributions made by him and his party in Parliament since the ‘New Direction’ administration took over the reins of power in April, 2018.

At the party level, as NGC Leader, KKY, as he is fondly called, said he has been paying frequent visits to his constituency in order to meet with his constituents and to know their problems with a view to helping solve them. He spoke of his taking the Minister of Basic Education to explain to his people in Kambia what the government’s free quality education program is about. To improve the lives of his people, he said, he continues engagement on how to improve agriculture and fisheries in the district.

As NGC Leader further said in his national role, he consults with government, including visiting ministers, to see how they can work together to move the economy as well as ensure good governance and to understand public policy. He also dialogues with the other opposition parties.

In his peregrination across the country, politically, KKY noted that the country is tense. “People are worried about stability,” he said, citing violent clashes in Mile 91, Kambia and Freetown involving the APC elected city Mayor. “People are scared,” KKY added, and called for the government and other political stakeholders to address the issues. “His Excellency President Bio should make efforts to calm down political tension in the country,” KKY advised.

KKY also commented on the invitation and arrest of political opponents by the CID, which also, he said, is worrisome. He also noted mobilization by APC of its supporters which KKY worries could cause clashes as happened in Freetown when CID invited Paolo Conteh for questioning towards the end of 2018. He warned the opposition not to cry wolf when nothing is happening.

Tribalism, he said, is on the rise, citing that politicians are advocating tribalism. He called the government to listen to APC’s concern that hiring and firing is allegedly being done by the government based on region and tribe. “Reasons for redundancy must be very clear – regional bias should not feature,” the NGC leader said.

On the highly controversial issue of the Commissions of Inquiry (COI) that has caused a sharp divide between SLPP and APC, the NGC leader said that he and his party fully support the COI. The COI, he furthered, is about responsible leadership, noting that the fight against corruption is “non-negotiable”, adding that government has a responsibility to ensure that the process goes well.

The COI, he furthered, should not be seen as a witch-hunt but should be devoid of regional and ethnic discrimination. Under the principle of collective responsibility, the NGC leader said that all those who were in command and control positions in the former government in the MDAs must be summoned to testify before the commissions; citing that in actual fact, ministers are not vote controllers and that although the political heads, they do not take decisions alone, citing that he was once a minister of government.

“If a government functionary commits a crime whilst in office, it should not be associated with tribe. That officer is duty bound to give account when called upon to do so,” KKY said. However, he cautioned that the process must be transparent, with rules of evidence based on best practice.

“We want the COI to go on well,” he said, adding that the education and enlightenment of the populace about accountability must be televised. “It is good education for the nation,” the NGC leader said.

He supported the stance of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) to take a petition to the Supreme Court demanding that the rule of engagement for the COI be laid down, noting that SLBA is not trying to stop the COI but to help it along on a proper legal and constitutional footing.

Again, he noted that anybody appearing before the COI is presumed innocent until proved guilty; adding that there should be no sacred cows, citing countries where even heads of state have been held to public account. As such, the Judiciary, which, he said, is not renowned for integrity and professionalism and characterized by equivocal judgments is under test.

On the issue of bread and butter, the NGC leader said, “The economy is tough,” citing cost of living, inflation, over-taxing of the private sector and high bank interest rates which he said discourages investments in agriculture.