March 24, 2015 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The National Executive Council (NEC) of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has called on their parliamentarians to initiate an impeachment motion against President Ernest Bai Koroma for his “unconstitutional sacking of Vice President Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana”.
President Koroma sacked his vice Sam-Sumana of 17 March and replaced him with Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh on 19 March, drawing irk from a large section of society who argue the action is “unconstitutional”.
But State House insists the move has legal merit, citing sections of the 1991 Constitution which they say grant the President “supreme executive authority” as “guardian of the Constitution” to sack his vice, after the later was expelled by the ruling All Peoples Party for alleged deceit, fraud and violence, and abandoning his post by seeking asylum in a foreign embassy.
However, the SLPP NEC members, after extensive deliberations at the party’s headquarters in Freetown last Saturday (21 March) on the legal and political implications of the Vice President’s dismissal and the decision by the President to appoint another Vice President, concluded that the President had violated the country’s Constitution which brought him and Vice President Alhaji Chief Sam-Sumana into governance, thus calling for his impeachment.
“Now this emergency session of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the SLPP…hereby resolves that our MPs work towards the possibility of commencing impeachment proceedings against the President for violation of the 1991 Constitution pursuant to section 51 of the said Constitution.
“We also want our legal team to institute proceedings in the Supreme Court requesting judicial declaration(s) on the relevant sections relating to the dismissal and purported replacement of the Vice President of Sierra Leone and other constitutional issues allied to this contravention,” a statement from the party said, signed by Secretary General Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie.
The statement further said the party would not cooperate with the new Vice President, but rather would continue to recognise “the constitutionally elected de jure Vice President”, adding that their lawmakers, who form at least a third of Parliament, would stage a walk out when the President and/or the “purported Vice President” are in attendance or presiding.
“Furthermore, that SLPP Members of Parliament and National Officers consider a temporary boycott of Parliament whenever deemed necessary,” the release further threatened.
Meanwhile, the opposition party has also threatened to engage in “political actions, including but not limited to peaceful demonstrations, strikes and other civil disobedience actions across the country and in the Diaspora, effective seven days from the adoption of this resolution until our demand is met”, as well as “cease to cooperate with government on State matters as may be determined by National Officers”.