Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 March 2015
As the row continues into the expulsion of vice president Sam Sumana (Photo) from the ruling APC party, by a handful of the party’s grandees – whom are known to be at the beckon call of the president, the country’s opposition SLPP has also thrown its weight behind the barrage of criticisms that are being mounted against the ruling party.
The SLPP party knows too well, the impact such political miscalculation can have on the fortunes of a sitting government.
In 2005, after a bitter struggle for the leadership and presidential candidacy for the 2007 election, Charles Margai left the SLPP party to form the PMDC, and took with him – over 30% of the party’s grass roots membership and electoral votes.
As a result of SLPP’s leadership miscalculation and self-inflicted debacle, the ruling SLPP party not only lost the 2007 elections, but has remained on the opposition benches in parliament for almost eight years and counting.
And should the opposition SLPP makes the same constitutional and presidential flagbearer blunder again at their forthcoming convention, they will remain on the opposition benches for several decades to come.
Hence, many would agree that the ruling APC party should take serious cognisance of what the opposition SLPP has to say, in what is now regarded as the malicious and vindictive expulsion of Sam Sumana from the ruling party.
This is what SLPP said in a statement published today:
The Sierra Leone People’s Party registers our total and unambiguous concern at the ugly and unprecedented political drama the All People’s Congress (APC) staged Friday, March 6th 2015.
The SLPP is concerned that this action has the unnerving potential of rolling back the democratic gains this nation has scored since the end of the civil war in 2002.
The public would recall that Chief Sam Sumana is the sitting Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Until his controversial expulsion on Friday, March 6th, the Vice President was a member of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC).
At a Press Conference held at their Party Headquarters in Freetown, the Secretary General of the APC, told the press that their party was expelling the sitting Vice President of the country, Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana.
He said their party has reached this decision following an investigation that found the Vice President guilty of deceit, false statements amounting to fraud, inciting hate, threatening the personal security of key party functionaries, flouting the rulings and decisions of the party, carrying out anti party propaganda and engaging in activities inconsistent with the party objectives.
On a radio programme on AYV radio that evening, the APC Secretary General informed the public that the findings of an internal APC Investigative Committee revealed that the credentials on which Vice President Sam Sumana was placed on their Presidential ticket in the 2007 and 2012 elections was fraudulent. He also asserted that Chief Sam Sumana lied about his education and religion.
The APC scribe also accused the Vice President of responsibility for the numerous acts of mindless political violence that elements within the APC have visited on people (including SLPP supporters) in the Kono district.
While the SLPP has no intention of dabbling into the internal affairs of the APC, we in the SLPP may wish to raise the salient question and that is: was the leadership of the APC not aware of all these acts of deceit, violence and insubordination?
Why only now, seven years after the alleged incidents?
We believe that the expulsion of the Vice President from the ruling party is not only malicious and anti democratic, but it stands the real risk of plunging our nation into a needless constitutional crisis, even at a time when the nation is slowly recovering from the debilitating scourge of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
We also totally decry the inhumane manner in which the Vice President was expelled from the ruling party; at a time when he is in self-quarantine as a result of one of his bodyguards’ alleged death from the virus.
We are concerned that the pervading scandals around the Presidency have grave implications for the decorum of the state, especially the revelation by the APC that their Presidential tickets for the 2007 and 2012 elections were deceptive.
This clearly calls the legitimacy of the Presidency as a whole into question, given that Sierra Leone’s Constitution and Electoral Laws call for joint presidency of the Head of State and his Vice. We believe that the leadership of the APC based on the principle of ‘vicarious liability’ have continuously
adopted a pattern of fraud and deceit in the electoral process over time. This has been the hallmark of the APC’s Vice Presidential candidacy since 2002. APC has since then perfected this act of deceit and have presented falsified tickets in 2007 and 2012.
To suggest that it was simply a case of the Vice President lying about his credentials and his religion without the knowledge and connivance of the leadership of the APC is not tenable; based on the fact that a responsible party should have a screening process for those who aspire to the highest offices in the land within their party.
While news of the acrimonious relationship between the President (Photo) and his Vice have been a public secret over the last several years, we believe that the timing of the events of Friday 6th March, was a deliberate ploy to drift public attention away from both the persisting new Ebola infection figures, and the ongoing investigation into the alleged misappropriation of Ebola funds involving senior government officials and close friends and relatives of high placed APC politicians.
We in the SLPP believe that this reinforces the point that the Presidency has not demonstrated the capability to be focused on the fight against Ebola and will not salvage this country in the midst of the constitutional crisis it has created.
While other governments in the sub region are busy mobilising their people and resources and making significant progress in the fight against Ebola, the deteriorating situation in Sierra Leone lately is principally due to the lack of commitment from the discordant Presidency.
The SLPP has been reliably informed by members of the ruling party who are averse to the current actions by the hierarchy of their party, that the move to remove the Vice President from the APC is part of a grand plan by the leadership of the APC to impeach the Vice President and replace him with a Vice President of their choice, who was not elected by the people of Sierra Leone in the last elections.
We believe that any impeachment proceedings for the disreputable conduct of the Presidency as revealed by the APC should include the President, who has presided over the flawed tickets in two consecutive elections.
Meanwhile, the SLPP as the Government in Waiting will use every constitutional means to ensure that we do not return to the dictatorship of yesteryears; which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report state was the main precursor of the brutal civil war our nation witnessed.
We urge Members of Parliament (MP’s) to put the interest of the nation over and above partisan interests and to ensure that they do not plunge our country into a constitutional and political crisis even as we wrestle with the Ebola scourge that continues to pervade our nation.
We also call on all peace-loving Sierra Leoneans, including civil society and other political parties to work with the SLPP to ensure that constitutionality and democratic governance remains the norm in our nation.
Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie – National Secretary General, Sierra Leone Peoples Party