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America urges respect for due process in Salone

…40 Kono Councilors petition VP expulsion

March 17, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi

HOUNDED … Veep Sam-Sumana is being ‘compelled’ to resign his position 

HOUNDED … Veep Sam-Sumana is being ‘compelled’ to resign his position

As the political chess game continues between Vice President Alhaji Abubakarr Sidikie Sam-Sumana and the ruling All Peoples Congress, the U.S. State Department said on Sunday that they are in touch with authorities in Freetown to try to resolve the political standoff.

“Our Embassy in Freetown has been in contact with relevant officials and we urge all concerned to resolve the situation through appropriate procedures that respect due process and the rule of law,” Darby Holladay, a State Department spokesman, was quoted by the AFP news agency.

Holladay also denied Vice President Sam-Sumana was being sheltered in the U.S. embassy in the capital.

“The United States can confirm that Sierra Leonean Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana is not at the U.S. embassy in Freetown, as some media outlets have erroneously reported,” Holladay said.

The vice president has since returned to his Hill Station residence yesterday, according to confirmed reports. His self-imposed quarantine is due to end today, and will be expected to return to work, although it remains unclear whether his preferred security details have been reinstated after their sudden rotation last Saturday, which prompted him to go into hiding.

Meanwhile, over 40 councilors from both the Kono district and city councils have issued a strong press statement with regards the decision to expel the vice president from the ruling party.

“We the Councilors (undersigned) of the Kono District Council and Koidu New Sembehun City Council (including District Council Chairman H.W. the Mayor) would like to express our dismay and dissatisfaction over the explosion of Chief Sam-Sumana from the APC,” a statement released yesterday said, and out rightly condemned the decision of the National Advisory Council of the ruling party to expel the vice president as it was “unconstitutional and the grounds baseless, unfounded and deficient of any substance”.

The statement added: “We believe that Article 8.1 iv of the 1995 APC Constitution makes provision for fair hearing by individuals in matters regarding discipline; and as stipulated in Article 8.(i) the party has to consider during its appeal period.”

The petitioners said they would not subscribe to “the very unconstitutional and undemocratic decision”, and called on the nine-man investigating committee, which recommended the expulsion of the vice president, “to see reason and go back to the drawing board….with the view to ascertain the veracity or raison d’être regarding the grounds on which such action has been taken against Chief Sam-Sumana”.

They added: “We hold the believe that expelling such a public figure from the party at this time will have the potential to create a divide among the Kono people, and which we the stakeholders in local governance would want to see in the district and perhaps the rest of the country.”

The statement was signed by Richard Abdurahman Koninga, Chairman, Kono District Council, and Saa Emerson Lamina, Mayor, Koidu New Sembehun City Council.