Sam Sumana is now caught between the devil and the deep blue sea

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 1 April 2015

sam sumana 6Vice president Sam Sumana is awaiting the deliberations of Sierra Leone’s Supreme Court in two weeks, upon whose fiat, judgement as to whether president Koroma acted unlawfully or not rests.

But in the meantime, he has opened up another battle-front with the ruling APC executives, who had earlier decided to throw him out of the party, for reasons they considered to be contrary to the party’s constitution.

Whiles  Sam Sumana is capable of making up his own mind, as to which fight is worth pursuing and dying for – including seeking a return to his VP job, he must however think twice about returning to the ruling APC party.

Some fights are simply not worth the effort, especially as the Supreme Court’s ruling may well force the ruling party to present all the evidence for judicial arbitration. This is destined to become a very long drawn, all out war.

For Sam Sumana to naively believe that winning his appeal against the ruling APC party executives’ decision to expel him from the party, would result in a warm embrace from his arch-enemy Koroma, smacks of desperation beyond belief.

president koroma washes hands at lungi airport 2015But, should the Supreme Court find that president Koroma acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally, there will be no need for him to return to the APC.

In which case, he must seriously consider forming his own party.

The decision of the Supreme Court Judges would very much hinge upon the question as to whether membership of a political party is a continuous requirement for holding the office of vice presidency, rather than a qualification for election purposes, in accordance with the constitution.

Assuming that the Judges found that membership of a political party is indeed a continuous requirement for the office of vice presidency, they will need to satisfy themselves of the fairness of the decision to expel Sam Sumana from the party.

So, the question that the Judges would need to ask themselves is whether his dismissal was orchestrated, internally engineered – similar to what is commonly referred to in employment law as constructive dismissal.

In that case, it is possible that the Judges may conclude that they are unable to reach a conclusion of the matter, until Sam Sumana has received a fair appeal hearing from the ruling APC party.

And it seems last week, Sam Sumana may have pre-empted this possibility, and is now seeking an appeal against the decision of the ruling APC to dismiss him from the party.

This is what he said in his letter of appeal to the party:   

I hereby submit to you, for the attention of our Party (the All Peoples Congress)’s National Delegates Conference (herein called “the NDC”), my Appeal against what I consider as my ‘unconstitutional and unlawful expulsion’ from our Party (the APC).

Background:

Mr. Chairman/Leader, on or about the 10th day of March, 2015, I received a letter dated 6th March, 2015 written by our Party’s National Secretary General, Amb. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh, and addressed to me expelling me from our Party with effect from Friday, 6th March 2015, pursuant to article 8 of our Party’s 5thDecember, 1995 Constitution, and upon the approval of our Party’s National Advisory Council (the NAC).

The reasons for the expulsion, according to Alhaji Yansaneh, are “for behaviour amounting to gross misconduct, anti-party activity, fermenting violence, deceit, false statement amounting to fraud, inciting hate, threatening personal security of key Party Officials, carrying out anti-party propaganda and engaging in activities inconsistent with the Party’s objectives”.

The said letter, whilst failing to outline what I was alleged to have done under each of the categories of activities amounting to “gross misconduct”, further requested me “to surrender any property belonging to the Party”, including my membership card to him, as our Party’s National Secretary General.

Whilst I am also yet to formally receive any detailed Report of the matters culminating into my expulsion from our Party, Alhaji Yansaneh and other Party Officials have, on several occasions gone on the Media and accused me of, inter alia, fermenting trouble and violence in my home district of Kono; lying about my faith/religion that I was/am a Muslim when, according to them, I was/am not; lying about my academic qualifications that I hold a Masters Degree when I do not; putting Party Officials, including Mr. Karamoh Kabba and others, in harm’s way; and accusing me of having formed a Political Party, which they called Rainbow Coalition etc.

I have, on all occasions, both through the Media and my Solicitor, Mr. Jenkins Johnston’s letter of 10th March 2015, vehemently denied the above allegations and had gone forward to request for both the letter of my expulsion (which I only received on the 10th March, 2015 aforesaid) and the detailed basis/report of the matters that led to my expulsion from our Party by the NAC.

I am yet to have any response in the latter regard.

Of note too, is the fact that on the 17th March, 2015, you, as President of our Dear Republic of Sierra Leone, released a Press Statement in which you purported to relieve me of my office and duties as Vice President, citing, among other things, that our Party’s NAC had taken a decision on the 6th March, 2015 to expel me from the Party; and that because, according to your said Release, I am “no longer a member of a political party in Sierra Leone”, you were relieving me of my office and duties as Vice-President, pursuant to both section 41(b) of our Country’s Constitution (1991) and your “supreme executive authority as President of the Republic”.

As you are of course aware, I came out with a Statement on the 18th March, 2015 refuting your attempt to relieve me of my office and duties as Vice-President, and referring to your said attempt as “unconstitutional and unlawful”.

As this Appeal will unfold, article 8(i) empowers ‘every member of our Party aggrieved by a decision of any organs of the Party, with a right of appeal within 30 days of the decision to the immediate higher organs of the Party, in a successive order, up to the NDC of the Party whose decision shall be FINAL’.

It is therefore unclear to me, and certainly to our dear members of the NDC, as to how our Party can continue to vest me with a right, including the right to appeal to its highest organ (the NDC, which is yet to convene), and yet you doggedly continue to regard me as a non-member of our Party pending the hearing and determination of my Appeal to the said NDC and within the specified appeal period of 30 days from the NAC’s questionable decision.

Simply put, our Party cannot vest in me a right that is yet to be fully exercised and exhausted, whilst its Officials, including you, consider me expelled. Logically too, I cannot exercise my right of appeal within our dear Party if I am no longer a member of it!

Grounds of My Appeal:

Below are therefore the grounds of my Appeal, which I urgently urge our Party’s NDC to consider with utmost sincerity and honesty of purpose for the unity, progress, action and commitment of our Party in line with its Motto, as well as for the development of our dear Country:

  1. That the Party’s Executive Committee at each level of the Party shall have the power to decide on “any of the disciplinary measures against any of its Members” as specified in article 8 (ii) of the Party’s Constitution. It is after the Executive Committee’s decision that the NAC shall be notified of the decision against the Party Member and present NAC with records of its actions. (See article 8 (iii-v)).

It is my contention that I was never summoned by any Executive Committee of our Party to any disciplinary hearing in respect of the above allegations against me. As Alhaji Yansaneh’s letter of 6th March, 2015 shows, I was only invited to appear before an Investigation Committee that was, according to Alhaji Yansaneh, constituted by NAC, and not an Executive Committee of the Party.

Besides, apart from the fact that the NAC is not the proper organ of the Party to investigate and take ‘disciplinary measures’ against a defaulting Member of the Party at the first instance, it is my contention that the NAC itself never met to decide on forming an Investigation Committee to investigate me and other Members.

The letter of Alhaji Yansaneh dated 24th November, 2014 addressed to various Party Members, including Hon. Dr. Jengo Stevens (a member of the NAC), inviting them to participate in an Investigation Committee that was approved and set up by the Party’s NAC has been challenged.

For example, Hon. Dr. Jengo Stevens, in his letter dated 6th February, 2015 addressed to Alhaji Yansaneh as National Secretary General, stated, inter alia, as follows in respect of a similar letter signed by Mr. Bai Mamoud Bangura as Secretary:

“In the letter it is stated “pursuant to the National Advisory Committee (NAC) meeting held on Thursday 13thNovember 2014, a resolution was passed that led to the establishment of an Investigation Committee of the All People’s Congress (APC) Party. Furthermore it was stated in the letter “complaint made against the Hon. Vice President, Alhaji Chief Sam Samuna by Hon. Karamokoh Kabba”. I wish to bring to your notice that no such complaint was addressed to or referred to that meeting neither was the said complaint an agenda item nor brought up under any other business (AOB). It therefore follows that NAC at that meeting could not have taken such a resolution on a subject that was in fact never before it. This is a blatant misrepresentation of NAC which should be censored”.

Fortunately too, I was myself at NAC’s meeting of Thursday 13th November 2014 (being a Member in attendance) and nothing about a report against me by Mr. Karamoh Kabba and the setting up of an Investigation Committee was raised or discussed.

In the premise, I contend and state firmly that the so-called Investigation Committee set up to investigate me and other Members leading to my expulsion from the Party lacks mandate, and that its establishment, report and recommendations are null and void as they violate article 8 of our Party’s constitution aforesaid.

  1. That the NAC should itself not be involved in the investigation of Members of our Party on allegations of indiscipline (see article 8 (iii-v)). All of the nine Members of the Investigation Committee were NAC Members, and although the Party’s Constitution limits NAC’s membership to 21 members (see article 6.10.1 (ii)), there is at present 40 members of the NAC in existence. 

Therefore, NAC’s quorum of one-third membership for meetings (about 14 members) was not met (see article 6.10.11 (iii)). I submit that article 6.10.11.1 of our Party’s Constitution under the rubric “Powers and Functions of NAC” vests NAC with no such powers to conduct disciplinary investigations against Party members. Even article 6.10.11.1(v) only vests NAC with powers to “remove, re-schedule, suspend, sanction etc. any or all functions and powersof all Party Organs”, and not individual members. NAC’s role is advisory, supervisory and policy oriented only.

  1. I submit that all of the allegations levelled against me by the said purported Investigation Committee and approved by the NAC as contained in the National Secretary General’s letter of 6th March, 2015 are completely false, lacking in merit and without substance.

In particular, after attending the hearing of the so-called Investigation Committee, the establishment of which I now challenge, I was never confronted with its findings and recommendations in order to give me the opportunity to challenge the same before any decision could be taken against me.

I was thus expelled from our dear Party without reference to me by the NAC after receiving the Committee’s Report, notwithstanding that our Party’s Constitution considers me a very Senior Official and Member of the Party – I am a member of the Party’s NDC, NAC and its National Committee.

  1. I hold that I have completely refuted all allegations levelled against me by Mr. Karamoh Kabba both in his letter dated 11th November, 2014 and in his explanations to the Investigation Committee on Monday, 15th December, 2014.

Mr. Kabba’s allegations were unfounded, malicious and ill-motivated against me and was calculated to create a rift between me and H.E. The President, our Party and its Officials. It was also meant to sow seeds of discord in Kono district in order to give our Party a bad name there.

 The so-called perpetrators of violence he mentioned in his complaint, including Mr. Adamu and members of the CYDO, were never confronted with the allegations in order to link them up with me.

I submit that it is Mr. Kabba and the other Party Officials who lied on me that ought to have faced disciplinary measures for anti-party activities, not me. I am a peaceful man and hate violence. Members of our Party and our people in Kono and nationally can attest to that.

I fully stand by the contents of my narration to the Investigation Committee made on the 6th January, 2015, even though I consider the Committee as unconstitutional in its establishment and composition.

  1. I reiterate that I am not guilty or liable for any misconduct, whether gross or otherwise, against the Party. I firmly deny and resist all allegations and findings against me by the said Committee of “anti-party activity, fermenting violence, deceit, false statement amounting to fraud, inciting hate, threatening personal security of key Party Officials, carrying out anti-party propaganda and engaging in activities inconsistent with the Party’s objectives”.
  1. Moreover, I am and have always been a fervent Muslim, even though I attended a Christian school, which portrays our beloved Country’s religious tolerance and diversity. My parents have been Muslims as well; my mother and I have done the holy Pilgrimage to Mecca couple of times. 
  1. Also, I have never stated anywhere that I hold a Masters Degree, despite the fact that I am educated enough to serve my Party and country. The State House website and the Nomination Form that I filled for NEC can attest to this.
  1. Finally, I have never formed, established or registered any Political Party both within and outside Sierra Leone. I love my APC Party and my dear Sierra Leone.

 Conclusion:

 I faithfully submit this Appeal to the NDC in order for the members thereof to genuinely consider my Appeal in the interest of the truth, our Party and the unity, stability and development of our Country.

I note that the NDC of our Party is, according to Article 6.9.3 “the final authority of the Party”, it “elects or removes from office the National Officers of the Party”, it “approves or endorses the selection by the Presidential candidate of the running mate”, and, inter alia, “exercises control and take disciplinary actions on all organs, officers and members of the Party and determines appeals brought before it by any member or organ of the Party”.

As we now have a purported Vice President in the person of Mr. Victor Bockarie Foh, a Party member who is and was not “a Presidential running mate” in our Country’s last elections as provided for by Article 6.9.3 (iii)(g) of our Party’s Constitution, our Party must resist and overturn this blatant violation of both its Constitution and of the National Constitution.

I urge the NDC to accept my Appeal herein and immediately overturn the NAC’s decision to expel me from our dear and beloved Party, the APC!

Comrade Alhaji Chief Samuel Sam-Sumana (Appellant)

Dated this 26th Day of March, 2015.

CC: Comrade Amb. Alhaji Osman Foday Yansaneh (The National Secretary General, APC Party).

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