President Ernest Koroma  versus Sam Sumana – an unprecedented constitutional ECOWAS Court case

Tamba Gborie

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 November 2017

The defence from various Media practitioners and political pundits on behalf of the president’s extraordinary action hinging on a constitutional violation came too little too late. Such a defense could have come at a time when the ECOWAS Court wrote to the president to defend his actions. He had the best opportunity then to explain his actions but he squandered it.

Any defence now that the final verdict is less than a week away is a rain drop on back of a duck or academic to be precise.

The Attorney General’s (Photo: Joseph Kamara) response to the ECOWAS Court then was that: “The ECOWAS Court has no jurisdiction in the constitutional crisis caused by president. Koroma”.

On the second request it is not clear whether the Attorney General repeated the statement aforementioned out of genuine lack of understanding of how the ECOWAS Court works; or whether he was just plain contemptuous of the Court. But it will be better left in the annals of history for posterity to judge.

No matter how long it takes, when the dust shall have settled, the truth will come to light.

The Attorney General shove the truth under the carpet to protect president Koroma as he is aware that in October 1999, ECOWAS decided to establish a Court of Justice following a two-day meeting of Justice Ministers in Abuja. The  court addresses complaints by member states, their institutions, as well as issues relating to defaulting nations.

The court has a president, chief registrar and seven judges and is a permanent institution. Draft rules of procedure for the Court are being finalised.

For the Attorney General to then make such an utterance when Sierra Leone is signatory to the ECOWAS Court is a very unfortunate development that leaves  concerned Sierra Leoneans wondering whether the Koroma government is informed, or if it means anything good for Sierra Leone. Or is it a case of lawlessness at its best?

President Koroma’s excuse

President Koroma’s excuse for unlawfully sacking the elected VP Chief Alhaji  Abubakarr Sidique Sam Sumana is that he left his post of duty to seek asylum at the American Embassy in Freetown.

This is childish, laughable, preposterous and unsubstantiated excuse that American Embassy are naïve to allow a man under Ebola Quarantine to enter their premises. It is definitely a non-starter and does not add up by any measure.

The question certain Media people, including the desperate Kabs Kanu (the APC mouthpiece and defender of president Koroma’s unprecedented actions) need to answer is; “Does the president have the right to sack an elected VP?  If the answer is no, Kabs Kanu and others should keep their defence to themselves as it makes no difference to the case; it is closed, done and dusted with.

The ECOWAS Court has the last drop of the hammer to finally put an end to dictatorial- and draconian-style leadership in West Africa and Sierra Leone in particular. Remember; the guilty are always afraid to confront the law. Is president Koroma guilty?

If he was not guilty of perpetrating a heinous offense by tampering with the nation’s constitution, he would have been proud of himself and would have made sure that his government was represented at the ECOWAS Courts in Abuja.

2 Comments

  1. The decision by the ECOWAS court is a welcome news to all Sierra Leoneans but viewed by many as too late. At least there is a body that is above every state authority. Besides, Sierra Leone and all member states of ECOWAS signed and established this court. Many viewed this court as a dog that barks but does not bite.

    It is considered as an action copied from the constitutional crisis that engulfed Zimbabwe that the military averted and persuaded former President Robert Mugabe to resign amidst street protests. But this will not happen here. No body is willing to go on to the streets to demonstrate and sacrifice his or her life at the bullet of the police gun.

    We saw similar incidence in Kabala and Bo and how many the media reported killed during those two instances. If this is what the ECOWAS court wants after the case was presented to it for some long time now, it will not happen here. Why have they waited for so long? Why have they acted now only after seen what happened in the Zimbabwe?

    With barely few months for President Ernest to go, who will pay the money owe to Sam Sumana? Can ECOWAS force him to pay the salaries he owe to Sam Sumana? If the APC Government refused to abide by the court ruling which action(s) will ECOWAS take? My suggestion is to ban all APC top brass (senior APC politicians and executive members of the party) from traveling out of Sierra Leone and ask President Ernest to pay all he owe Sam Sumana before he leaves office.

  2. I have always believed that president Koroma lacks commonsense as compared to his predecessor and role model late president Stevens who used to do things through the parliament (even through manipulation), but at the end always trying to make him political maneuvers looked legitimate.

    Defying a court order from the Ecowas can be counterproductive for him and the country, because the Ecowas nations are serious about restoring democracy and the rule of law in our region as was displayed in our country, Ivory Coast and recently The Gambia.

    Just in case he is found guilty of wrongdoing in a civil case, he will have to pay punitive damages to Mr. Sam Sumana and I hope the money will come from his foreign account – from all the money that he stole from our nation.

    The Ecowas are patiently waiting to see what will be the outcome of our election since he imposed a successor on his party members, and just in case he attempt to do the same with the nation in order to protect his skin, the Ecowas will eventually send former president Laurent Gbagbo and Yayah Jammeh to convince him to respect the will of his people and uphold democracy.

    President Koroma is even fortunate to still be in power after firing an elected Vice President and within 2 years humiliated his handpicked stooge Vice President as compared to President Mugabe.

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