Former United Nations Under-Secretary General, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, says he will defend his right in a robust and deliberate manner and he is thinking of a legal recourse to address the issue around his membership of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
He says he is very committed to peace within the SLPP and has been working within the law since his return home to declare his intention to lead the party in the coming Presidential election, “but the continued act of certain individuals to question my membership is worrisome”.
“Defending my right means a lot of things and a legal recourse is a key one which is very important on this issue,” the former UNIDO boss says.
His reaction comes after a Verification Committee of the SLPP declared yesterday that he’s not a registered member of the party and encouraged him to do so now.
The Committee further described the registration documents presented by Yumkella’s legal team as ‘fake’.
Dr. Yumkella alleges that it is obvious with what is going on that there is “a certain faction within the SLPP that is holding it hostage, attacking people and not ready for peace that the party is in dire need of”.
He adds that even though he is still committed to peace there is the need for a level playing field, transparency, decorum and an equal opportunity for all for the leadership of the party.
“If we are talking peace we should not be doing things that undermine the peace and impinge the reputation of others because, if it continues, we will have no choice but to resist any form of violence,” he says firmly.
Dr. Yumkella reiterates to SwitSalone that he is a registered member of the SLPP, an issue which he claims is not even relevant because his lawyers have provided documentary evidence but ‘certain individuals are skewing it’ to intimidate him.
He says the ongoing issues are indications of the fundamental problems within the party and it will continue in the next five months if they do not resolve to work as a united force in readiness for an upcoming bye election and the Presidential election in 2017/18.
“The party has a responsibility now to rein in some renegade folks and let them know that they should respect the structures within the party or else it will cost us greatly and we will never win an election,” he warns.
Earlier on Thursday September 10th, Dr. Yumkella was invited to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Sierra Leone Police for questioning relating to the prosecution of six of his supporters who were arrested on 22nd August 2015 at the Lungi International Airport for allegedly carrying pepper spray and military camouflage.
To this he says he was surprised and concerned that the Police would invite him to make statement on a matter that has been sent to court and the individuals granted bail.
He says he considers it as a test on whether he can be resilient or will quit.
“I am not intimidated at all and I am ready to face the music with a commitment to the vision and values that I stand for.
“However, these are actions that could amount to political intimidation and we should be careful that we don’t go back to what happened in this country some 40 years ago,” he says.
Meanwhile, head of the Sierra Leone Criminal Investigation Department, Ibrahim Koroma, confirmed to SwitSalone that Dr. Yumkella was invited on an ongoing investigation that has to do with the arrest of some individuals believed to be his close protection officers at the Lungi International Airport and statement has been obtained from him.
Report by Amadu Lamrana Bah