Political tension rises in Koidu – eastern district of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 February 2016


There are unconfirmed reports from Sierra Leone this afternoon, of a raid by paramilitary police in Koidu, forcefully removing Mayor Emerson Lamina (Photo) from his office.

Eyewitness reports say that heavily armed police have unleashed tear gas canisters on youths supporting the mayor.

This action by the police, comes just twenty-four hours after a letter signed by the secretary to president Koroma ordered the suspension of mayor Lamina from office, without due process.

The 2004 Local Government Act, does not make provision, nor grant any power to the president or minister to suspend or sack a mayor in any part of the country.

Speaking to the editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph – Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas this morning, mayor Lamina refuted all allegations of wrong doing. He said that no one has the authority to suspend or dismiss him from office, without the consent of two-thirds of the elected councillors of Koidu City Council.

A letter seen by the Sierra Leone Telegraph, dated 26th February, 2016, and written by the secretary to president Koroma of Sierra Leone, addressed to the permanent secretary of the ministry of local government and copied to the minister – Diana Konomanyi, is quoted saying:

Diana Konomanyi and Ernest Koroma“Please be informed that His Excellency the President has graciously approved the recommendation of the minister, that the mayor and deputy mayor of Koidu New Sembenhun City Council, should be suspended from office, pending the outcome of investigations into the Internal Audit Report of the Koidu New Sembenhun City Council, Conducted by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.”

But the letter neither cites, nor made any specific reference to the allegations of impropriety or misconduct supposedly to have been committed by the mayor and his deputy.

Quite simply, this latest unconstitutional fiasco seems like another abuse of office by those occupying the most powerful seats in the government, for political reasons.

Political observers in the country told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the suspension of the mayor and deputy mayor of the city of Koidu, in the eastern district of the country, is a witch hunt instigated by the embattled minister of local government – Diana Konomanyi.

It is understood that there has been a long running political campaign to unseat the mayor, who is not a supporter of president Koroma’s ambition to be coronated by the country’s parliament to seek a third term in office in 2018.

Saa-Emerson-LaminaSpeaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph this morning, mayor Lamina (Photo) said that the allegation of corruption is nothing but an attack on his integrity and good reputation in the city of Koidu in particular, and the country in general.

Although the mayor confirmed receiving a letter from Minister Diana Konomanyi informing him about the decision to suspend him from office, he told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that he had no knowledge of the letter written on behalf of president Koroma, ordering his suspension.

This letter (See below) signed by the president’s secretary, has once again raised serious questions about president Koroma’s persistent meddling and micro-managing of public institutions in the country.

Critics say that he is now running the country as his personal and family enterprise, to which only those close to the president enjoy special privileges, as well as granted immense power.

Political observers believe that this latest action by the government is not unconnected to the ongoing battle between the government of Sierra Leone and the gold mining company Octéa Limited, which mayor Lamina is understood to have demanded the payment of all taxes owed to the people of Sierra Leone by the company.

miningA report by Africa Confidential, published a few months ago, said that the heavily-indebted Octéa Limited, owner of the country’s biggest diamond mine at Koidu, owes payroll and other taxes of more than $13 million to the government of Sierra Leone – and by extension the people of Koidu, and mayor Lamina has not kept quiet.

Mayor Lamina’s brush with president Koroma is nothing new.

When vice president Sam Sumana was unconstitutionally sacked by president Koroma, the mayor told local media that the crisis was the “darkest period in the history of Kono and Sierra Leone.”

The outspoken mayor also said that the people of Kono are faced with a serious problem, whereby the larger and dominant tribes in control of power in the country, are manipulating the minority Kono people to suit their own political interests.

This remark did not go down too well with the president and his executives of the ruling APC party. Now it seems, the young mayor is paying a heavy price.

And in response to the sacking of vice president Sam Sumana, the mayor mobilised his seventy strong local councillors of the district, including the chairman of the council, to issues a press statement.

sam sumana 6Their statement spoke of “dismay and dissatisfaction over the expulsion of Chief Sam Sumana (Photo) from the APC, being an empirical fact that the very action is unconstitutional and the grounds, baseless, unfounded and deficient of any substance, we condemn it outright.”

“Whereas we do not (and cannot) subscribe to the very unconstitutional and undemocratic decision, we would like to implore the nine-man Committee of the All Peoples Congress (APC) Party to see reason and go back to the drawing board (in accordance with Article 8 (i)) with the view to ascertain the veracity or raison d’être regarding the grounds on which such action has been taken against Chief Sam-Sumana.”

“Expelling such a public figure from the Party at this time will have the potential to create a divide amongst the Kono people; and which we the key stakeholders in local governance would not want to see in the District and perhaps the rest of the country. And being a very responsible thing to act with prudence in this matter, we are expecting a sound executive outcome that would have to clarify as to whether the decision can be reversed or shall remain irrevocable,” the statement reads.

A resident of Koidu – Mr. Lebbie, said this about the suspension of mayor Lamina, this morning: “The signs are clear that mayor Saa Emerson Lamina, the Peoples’ Leader, will defeat Octea Mining Limited in court, and so Diana Konomanyi and Chief Paul Saquee have vouched that this ‘Hero’ will never be in charge.

“The same vendetta, persecution, hate, Political bulldozing, and political witch-hunt is still alive and well. It brought down VP Sam Sumana, now it is extended to the Koidu City mayor -Saa Emerson Lamina.

Diana-F-Konomanyi“News making the round that Diana Konomanyi is singlehandedly about to bring down the Koidu City Mayor is truth, and no one should be surprised. It is the accomplishing state of her vow – bringing down all other stars so that only hers can be seen.

“The corruption allegation is only a pretext. But I can assure all and sundry, and even the enemy knows that the attack is not on Koidu City Administration, headed by the Chief Administrator, rather it is aimed at the humble Mayor, who is the political leader of the council.

“Diana came to Koidu a week ago, and incited unscrupulous and misguided youth– hooligans; against this gentleman. The plan is to eliminate him.

“The project to smear the Mayor is an ongoing project. That is in fact why the council has changed Chief Administrators (CAs) far more than any other council. Those CAs were programmed and planted on him, and because they couldn’t succeed, most were retired whilst others with strong counter- political backing were thrown to other councils. Equally so for the Finance Officers (FOs).

“Mayor Lamina ‘s council has received and exchanged FOs far more than all other councils. Even where the Local Government Act of 2004 specifies that an administrative staff should take a minimum of three years in one station before they are transferred, yet in just the same three years (2013 to date), the Koidu City Council has received and passed on five CAs; namely CPJ Kallon, Rapid, Alhaji Alhaji, Konkoro and now Musa.

“These well experienced senior staff have not been able to implicate the Mayor. And sadly, most have met their administrative demise when they failed in their mission.

“Though we’ve not seen the letter in question, however; since we’re here in Kono and close to issues, the writing is clear that, because signs are boldly on the wall that the mayor will win the tax evasion case against Octea.

“Octea sit in the hearts of Diana Konomanyi and Chief Paul Saquee, because it is the company that had financed most of their demeaning projects against the sacked vice president in Kono. By standing against them, or asking the company to pay tax, is regarded as an additional burden which the ‘greedy two’ think the company cannot bear.

“I can assure you that among the nineteen councils, Koidu City Council is the most transparent. The council has received an endless number of visits from the auditing teams sent by central government, including the Deputy Permanent Secretary who also joined the auditing team, although it is not his job. The ‘minister’ wants to get at the mayor.”

The Sierra Leone Telegraph will bring you more on this development as they happen. But for now, the latest is that the mayor has this afternoon been forcefully removed from his office by heavily armed police officers, firing tear gas at local youths supporting the mayor. The city remains tense.

President Koroma suspends mayor Lamina of koidu


  1. The author of this article is an APC propagandist. Did the author of this article condemn the unlawful sacking and removal of then vice president Sam Sumana by then president Ernest Bai Koroma in 2015. Did the author of this article criticize then president Koroma when Armed soldiers reportedly surrounded the home of then sacked and removed former vice president Sam-Sumana in 2015. Sam-Sumana fled to the U.S. embassy in Freetown seeking an asylum as he feard for his life, as reported in international news. Sam-Sumana was quoted in 2015 as saying:I have fled my house andam with my wife in a place I cannot disclose, waiting to hear from the U.S. ambassador, whom I have asked for asylum,” Sam-Sumana told Reuters. Did the author of this article criticize then president Koroma when he gave the order to remove the elected Mayor of Koidu Town Sah Lamina in 2016. Our newspaper here, Sierra Leone telegraph reported the removal of Mayor Lamin.

    After then elected Mayor Lamina was removed as mayor, our newspaper here Sierra Leone Telegraph wrotes in 2016 in This same website:The 2004 Local Government Act, does not make provision, nor grant any power to the president or minister to suspend or sack a mayor in any part of the country. It was also reported in 2015, including by our own Sierra Leone Telegraph, that senior lawyers of the Sierra Leone Bar Association were arrested by armed security forces during their discussion about the unlawful removal of then former vice president Sam-Sumana.

    Sierra Leone Telegraph wrote on this website in 2015:There are shocking reports from Freetown of the arrest and detention of one of Sierra Leone’s senior lawyers belonging to the Bar Association, at a meeting where they were discussing the decision of president Koroma to relieve vice president Sam Sumana of his duties contrary to the constitution. The writer of this article had no issues of the facts I stated above because apparently he had some influence and connections in the previous APC government.

    • “Did the author of this article condemn the unlawful sacking and removal of then vice president Sam Sumana by then president Ernest Bai Koroma in 2015. Did the author of this article criticize then president Koroma when Armed soldiers reportedly surrounded the home of then sacked and removed former vice president Sam-Sumana in 2015.” Yes to both questions.

      If only you can take the time to search our archives and be honest with yourself, you will see that the Sierra Leone Telegraph did criticise the APC government for its abuse of Sam Sumana’s human rights. We also condemned the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold President Koroma’s decision to sack Sam. Please do your homework properly before exposoing yourself. Thank you.

      • … and the editor even called for Ernest Bai Koroma’s impeachment and rightly so. We all know Sierra Leone is no Thomas Sankara Burkina Faso – a land then of honest people with integrity. Abdul Rahman Thomas and some of us few Sierra Leoneans buck that trend. The way i am feeling is the same way i felt every time one of our nation-wreckers went rogue. A litany of those rogue actions include: Albert Margai’s futile attempt to impose a one-party state, the soldier Lansana staging a coup to prevent the winner of the 1967 elections to take power against the election verdict of the electorate, Siaka Stevens’ rigged referendum to create a one-party state in 1978, Siaka Stevens’ tinkering with the constitution to impose the soldier J S Momoh upon the people in lieu of his presumptous successor vice-president Sorie Koroma, Ernest Bai Koroma acting ultra vires to dump with the acquiescence of the perrenial incorrrigible and compromised Sierra Leone Judiciary his then vice-president Sam Sumanna with one of even more dubious character Victor Foh, the clamouring for a third term for Ernest Bai Koroma by his sycophants and accolytes, and now the blatant hijacking of the people’s franchise and preferred choices in this year’s election by doing a konneh.

        I know the editor is always siding with the majority of Sierra Leoneans. The only time we had our differences is when i wanted to start a class war here when an article was written here publishing the outstanding A Level results of the daughter of an elite Ady Macauley – the former ACC Commissioner – and me stating it is a non-story as i believe the world is moving towards contextualized educational outcomes. My viewpoint was that he outstanding candidate was no daughter of a petty trader from the slums of Freetown.

  2. I totally disagree with the Mayor Emerson Lamina that bigger tribes in Sierra Leone are bullying the minority Kono people. The problem is that politics in Sierra Leone with the APC and SLPP is characterised by ethnic bigotry, misguided beliefs and dissonance.

    A look at what is happening in Sierra Leone’s national body polity, one will understand who the political godfathers of the nation are and where actually they originated in the country. I am beginning to sense that foreign multinationals in Sierra Leone are at war with our people. The other day was Tonkolili, then Pujehun and now Kono districts. I believe will from the above agree that the bigger ethnic groups in Sierra Leone suffer the social injustice, economic disarray and political gangsterism-the trademark of the current dispensation. As for the actions of the Sierra Leone police in political crises in the country is undesirable, this I know and conscious of. The one billion dollar question now is-who to blame?

  3. I was a supporter of APC and Koroma. But today it is shocking to observe that after nine years in power president Koroma has not learnt about political finesse and how to behave like a true statesman that can galvanise the whole nation.

    All I see today is a leader who is increasingly behaving like the head of a local criminal syndicate. How sad.
    Mayor Lamina is a young man. In fact he is young enough to be president Koroma’s son. When as a leader you keep referring to yourself as father of the nation, you must live up to expectations.

    Whatever his faults if any, mayor Lamina does not deserve to be treated the way he is by president Koroma because of partisan politics.

    Good leaders rise above petty local politics just like good cream will always rise to the top.

    Did president Koroma seek advice from the attorney general before ordering the suspension of an elected mayor?
    If he did and was advised by the attorney general to go ahead, then both the president and his legal adviser have learnt nothing from the Sam Sumana fiasco.

    But the this is salone. Shame nor dey o. Not even from our leaders who ought to know better. We live in sad days in this country.

  4. Sierra Leone’s politics is just like fire. Fire can be a good servant, but bad master also. So it is with the politicians in our beloved Country Sierra Leone.

  5. Prez Koroma knows that his days are numbered.

    EB Koroma, please be aware that gone are the days of tyranny and bullying by your previous APC governments in Sierra Leone, whose legacies are mass unemployment, rampant corruption and lack of any longterm development goals.

    You think by being vindictive and embarrassing your opponents is the way forward. God above and the whole world are watching you. And do remember that power belongs to God, and God has the authority and control to give it to any person that He (God) chooses.

    You are behaving like Satan the devil, but the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein

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