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.

7 Comments

  1. Thank you very much Alimamy for paying attention to my comment and I quote what you wrote “The development of Kono district should not be a partisan issue”. Which means, if it is not partisan, then it is bi-partisan. I agree with you in that sense. Well done.

    Bi-partisan was exactly what I meant. I am not talking about any political alignment but co-operation between C4C (including our Chief) and the SLPP government (including president Bio). The SLPP is the government of the day. Every Sierra Leonean knows that.

    We should know that President Bio was not elected for 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks or 5 months. He was elected for 5 years. Smart MP’s just have to work with the president Bio to promote any development agenda they have for their constituents.

    Are they going to wait after 5 years? If president Bio wins again, would they wait for ten years before they start to negotiate with the president on development projects affecting their areas? They will be foolish if they wait.

    Chief has the right to be a member of any political party. That is his decision. Alimamy, all of us should be open to criticism. We should also be in position to explain to each other in what context we say things. We must not be nebulous in whatever we right or say.

    Your approach to my comment(saying something legitimate) and my answer, is what most of our politicians lack. Most of them see criticisms as an insult or dehumanization.

    I hope I have satisfied any issues you would have had with my comments. We all agree that not everyone in the SLPP, APC, C4C, NGC or any other political party is corrupt or not noble. Let us support where the government needs support and let us oppose with vigour where they go wrong or make mistakes. We can also correct them at times.

    If we as ordinary citizens do all what we can and our politicians still fail us, then the people should start electing people that are not aligned or affiliated with any political party. Sierra Leoneans must start thinking about such non-aligned political movement after 2023. As I said before, we don’t have a SLPP, APC, C4C, NGC or whatever Sierra Leone; we have the Republic of Sierra Loene. COOL.

    Lets concentrate for now on what is facing our country. There are serious challenges ahead. There are more bombshells to come. Believe me. A word for the wise is quite sufficient.

  2. Mr Matturi

    If the Chief’s political doctrine is inclined with that of the APC, then there is no cause for alarm if he wants to go back to ‘his roots, irrespective of his past conflict with the APC party.

    It is like saying a muslim should convert to Christianity because he had a problem with the local Imam; even though his beliefs are not compatible with that of Christianity.

    The Chief – Alhaji Sam-Sumana – does not have to align himself with the current SLPP government in order to pursue a strong case for the development of Kono district. The development of Kono district should not be a partisan issue; likewise the development of any region in the country.

    I do not want to dilate too much on this issue, because I have been admiring your inputs lately. My advice for you is to stay on course – don’t drift. Keep it up.

    • “Go back to his root” you said ; What root? Chief has left APC for good. How could he do such a hideous thing to the Kono People who massively voted for his so – called C4C party?

      This is the most unfortunate thing that I have ever seen in the political arena of this country. Mr. Maturri thumbs up my brother….

  3. Indeed Alusine. If it is true that Chief Sam Sumana wants to return to the APC, then it will be a political suicide for him. That I will tell you. But that is his choice if he wants to. We can’t do anything about that.

    One thing is for certain – the present political situation in the country does not warrant such a silly decision by our beloved chief.

    The people of Kono like chief Sam Sumana. He is popular. everyone knows that. The question is, will he maintain that popularity till 2023? Was it just opportunistic because of the problems he had with the APC?

    Most of the Kono people voted for C4C. It was very clear that the Kono people were in solidarity with Chief because of what happened between chief and the APC.

    But here is the deal. Chief has a political base not only in Kono, but also in both SLPP and APC zones. His time will come if he plays his political cards very well.

    What Chief should now be doing to cement that base, is to work with the present SLPP government to bring progress and development to Kono. He should for example start lobbying with the government and President Bio to build the Bikongo Waterfall. He could for example say, forget Mr. President about building that Lungi bridge.

    Tell the Chinese Mr. President, to build the Bikongo Waterfall and invest in the farmers (the Chinese are very good at farming) instead. The Chief should just take advantage of what President Bio said in his New Year’s speech. With the construction of the Dam, Kono will have sufficient electricity to immediately start its manufacturing industry. Companies that manufacture fruit juice, nails, to name a few will come. The Economy of Kono will boom. Would that not be nice? Wake up C4C.

    If he succeeds in such projects, then he will be in a better position after 2023. Such projects definitely will give president Bio a boost politically; because he is the sitting president to accomplish such a project for the Kono people and the country.

    Chief and his C4C should also lobby for the mining industry to be given to a reputable company overseas to not only mine our diamonds, but to also cut them. This will provide well paid jobs to the youths of Kono. Also, the C4C should lobby with the SLPP government to introduce the permit system for anyone who wants to enter the controlled diamond mining areas.
    Think about that Chief and the C4C.

    My advice to you Chief, is to cooperate with the SLPP government to bring progress and development to Kono. If you want to return to the APC it is your choice. No problem.

    Finally, forget about party politics. Just do what is right for the people of Kono. Even if it means giving a political boost to president Bio. Your time will come.

    God bless you and give you the strength and energy Chief Sam Sumana, to lobby for progress and development for the people of Kono.

  4. If Sam Sumana returns to APC, then he is stupid. They will never accept him to be a flag bearer come next election. The APC will further frustrate him more.

  5. 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.

  6. 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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