…says decision is ‘unconstitutional’
March 19, 2015 Alusine Sesay
Sacked Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana yesterday issued a statement challenging his “purported removal” by President Ernest Bai Koroma.
The embattled vice president revealed he had consulted his team of lawyers who advised him that the president has absolutely no power to relieve him of his duties as Vice President in any part of the 1991 Constitution.
State House on Tuesday night issued a press release in which they announced the sacking of the Vice President by President Ernest Bai Koroma, who used his executive powers to take what has been described by many as “a controversial action”.
The State House release said President Koroma took the decision based on sections 40(3) and 41(b) of the constitution, which relates to he being “guardian of the constitution” and a provision that only a member of a political party is eligible for election as Vice President, respectively.
The State House release also said the decision was based on the expulsion of the vice president by the ruling APC on 6 March, and the fact that he had “sought asylum from a foreign embassy demonstrating a willingness to abandon his duties and office”.
In his response, Mr. Sam-Sumana noted that, “I have heard on both SLBC radio and television of the action of the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in purporting to relieve me of my duties as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, having been duly elected into the said office, together with the President in 2012.”
While he acknowledged he received news of his sacking with “shock and dismay”, he said his legal team had advised him the action was fraught with illegality, as he was not appointed as Vice President by the President but duly elected to that office, in accordance with section 54(3) of the constitution.
He noted that his legal team further pointed out that the constitution makes provision at section 55 that the Office of the Vice President can only be vacant either “on the expiration of the term of office of the Vice President; if the Vice President is removed from office in accordance with either the provision of section 50 or 51 of the constitution; or upon the assumption by the Vice President to the Office of the President under section 49(4) of the said constitution”.
“I have been further advised by my legal team that my purported removal from the office of the Vice President, to which I was duly elected by the people of the Republic of Sierra Leone, is unconstitutional and unlawful,” he said, adding that he would seek redress in the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the decision to remove the Vice President by President Koroma without due regard to Parliament and procedures stipulated in section 55 of the constitution has been unequivocally condemned by some civil society organisations, including the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) and Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), as being unconstitutional and having no space in modern democracy as it violates due process.