Sam Sumana breaks silence on APC – C4C relationship

John B. Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 August 2019:

Chief Samuel Sam-Sumana was Sierra Leone’s Vice President from September 17, 2007 to March 17, 2015.  He was in 2015, expelled from the All People’s Congress, after he was accused of trying to form a breakaway party, among other charges, all of which he denied. This decision paved way for his sacking.

Sumana then went on to form his own party, the Coalition For Change (C4C), less than ninety days to the 2018 general elections. The C4C won all, but one of the nine parliamentary seats in Kono district, also winning both the Kono district and city council elections.

Close to two years after the general elections, Sam Sumana’s relevance in the political sphere remains intact, recently winning a local council seat in his Kono hometown in a bye-election.

But are there plans by the former VP to return to his former party – the APC, after his recent meetings with the APC leadership at the party’s headquarters in Freetown and Chairman Ernest Bai Koroma’s residence in Makeni?

In this exclusive interview held at his residence, Chief Sam Sumana cast aside discussions about any possible return or otherwise to the APC to “providence”;  saying, there is no reason to spend time on  “issues that had put us apart”, rather, “we should dwell on those issues that would bring us together…”

He also criticized the current government, especially their refusal to pay him his pension and benefit, something he referred to as “pettiness”, saying emphatically that he will not be intimidated because he is not a coward.

He called on the SLPP government to be seen running the country “as a government, and not as a political party.”

He started this exclusive interview, speaking about his C4C party and why they did not win the 2018 elections, though winning eight parliamentary seats. This is what he said:

Chief: The Coalition For Change came into being as a result of our enthusiasm to bring positive change in the political landscape of our country. As you would agree with me, it is a very young political party.

When we received our certification less than two months to the 2018 general elections, we indeed were able to show to the general public that it was a force to reckon with.

Our expectation was to win the elections but we accepted the outcome. We are today carrying parliamentary seats, eight in total and two local councils – the district and city councils of Kono.

C4C is a national party as we are entrenched in other parts of the country in terms of party establishment. We were not fortunate to win seats but we were very close, in some areas, to have won seats. We were almost going to win a seat in Bonthe and Moyamba districts.

We did not have enough time as a party to establish ourselves strongly but we made sure that our presence was felt as the third most populous party in terms of representation and in terms of candidates. So, we continue to sustain that as a party. We believe that change would come positively for the people.

Ques: It is a national party, from what you said, but you tend to be concentrated in Kono district?

Chief: We were registered as a national party and not for Kono district.  We have our offices and membership across the country. Political parties have their strongholds. You would agree with me that the north is the stronghold of the APC, the south is stronghold of SLPP and Kono is our stronghold.

If we reflect back to the late 1960s, the era of the forerunners of political party representation in Kono district, Kono has always been following a particular pattern. That pattern we have been following and that is the same thing we are carrying today. Irrespective of that yes we know Kono is our stronghold but the ideals of the party will continue to spread across the country.

Ques: Prior to the 2018 elections, there was supposed to be a coalition of smaller parties that would have formed a third force to the two main parties. That failed to happen.  Do you however see a coalition of the willing, coming together towards a common goal in 2023?

Chief: I won’t refer to it as a third force. I refer to it as an alternate force. Yes we had a desire of coming together and it was not just smaller political parties.  The C4C was comprised of members of other political parties before and Sierra Leoneans that were nonpartisan.

Yes we wanted to have an alternate force from the conventional two political parties but that didn’t work.  I am a Sierra Leonean first. My options are open to merge with other political parties or for them to come to the coalition for us to have a formidable team.

Ques: Let us look at your relationship with the All People’s Congress to which you were made running mate for the 2007 elections. Along the way, something happened and you were removed as Vice President. How was it like?

Chief: I believe in destiny and by providence that is the path my maker had paved for me. There is no issue of animosity. We should accept destiny. Having been privileged to be given the opportunity by President Koroma and the APC to take me from my little corner in Kono and come out to be a national figure, I am very grateful for that.

I am not an ingrate. I served my country diligently during my first term and also the second term. Like you said, some issues happened but we have gone past that. There is no reason for us to be spending time on those issues that had put us apart. We should dwell on those issues that would bring us together, and that is my drive.

Ques: What is your relationship with the former president, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma someone you worked with and supported in transforming the country?

Chief: I have a very healthy relationship with former President Koroma. If you recall, the time I was removed from the APC, I made it very clear that President Koroma was my boss and at the same time an in-law and my elder brother according to the tradition and culture of Kono. He is married to my cousin and I respect that. Party politics would come and go but we have a binding relationship which is matrimonial between him and my cousin and that will never change.

Ques: There have been talks regarding your recent visitations to the former president. You also just recently visited the APC headquarters. Are you looking forward to, sooner or later, mending fence with that party?

Chief: I understand that. For now, I have a political party. You can never tell whether the APC would come and join the C4C. It is an option. Whatever it takes for us to bring a positive change for Sierra Leone, it is my drive. I am not very particular about which vehicle we will use to bring the change. I am open and whatever it takes to bring that change, I am in for that.

Ques: Has the APC ever approached you?

Chief: No. I had extended an olive branch to any party that might have thought they wronged me. At the same time, I have asked for forgiveness if I have wronged any party.  I am a peace ambassador and charity begins at home. So, if am going out there in the world preaching peace and if I cannot consolidate peace in my backyard, then I am being hypocritical. I have to give peace a chance, forgive and move forward. So, for me, approaching me is a good idea but to be honest, I have gone past that.

Ques: How did you receive the decision by the APC in 2015 to expel you?

Chief: It was not a piece of information that was pleasant but I did make a statement that I had the responsibility to uphold the dignity of the constitution of Sierra Leone- there was no need for violence. At the same time, I stood my grounds and won my case at ECOWAS. Knowing what had happened before in the civil strife, coming back to office after the verdict at ECOWAS maybe, could have created another issue. So, I decided that enough was enough.

Ques: At present, both the C4C and the APC appear as bedfellows. In Kono, though there was no official position, it was muted that the APC supported the C4C in winning a seat during a bye-election. Is the C4C going to do same for the APC in constituency 110, in Freetown?

Chief: APC at some point took a decision that they were not going to contest any bye-election. It was after the Kono bye-election that they decided that they will be participating henceforth. In Kono, they were not ready to contest. Don’t get me wrong, but Freetown is the stronghold of the APC.

I am sure that APC have political mavericks that can do things to win the elections. In politics, you have to be calculative.  It will be foolhardy on my part to put a candidate up for a bye-election somewhere that I know is a stronghold of another party. Yes I can participate, yes I should participate but my party normally decides what to do and it has decided.

Ques: What is your assessment of the current government?

Chief: I don’t feel very comfortable talking about this current dispensation.  My advice though is for them to lead the country as a government and not as a political party.

We have to look at the bigger picture, Sierra Leone. We should not be seen dividing our country.

There were issues in Port Loko following my arrival; there are issues with my pension and benefit; paying everybody and then refusing to pay me. To be honest enough it is immaturity. I cannot be intimidated. If you deprive me, so be it. Maybe one day somebody would pay me.

Don’t forget, this is the same party-the SLPP that used the verdict of my case five times to campaign; in 2015 they came out with a press release against it; when I won the case they came out with a release; in their manifesto they mentioned it; in their Government Transition Team report they mentioned it and when the President had his inaugural address in parliament, he mentioned it.

So, having done all of that and then they reneged on those statements, to me it is pettiness.

Ques: Are you in communication with His Excellency the president?

Chief: Before I would call him and we would talk. But now he doesn’t answer my calls and that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me most is if we can only look at governance from a nationalistic point of view than the partisan point of view.

Ques: In Nigeria, Atiku Abubakarr was expelled from his party, later re-joined and took it to elections though he couldn’t win. What next for Sam Sumana?

Chief: I saw same at one point in the newspapers that I was to lead the APC. Like I keep saying, providence. I don’t know if that would happen in my case like Atiku but it is all about providence. Should that happen, I don’t know if I can deny or accept but when the time is ripe we would know.  I will continue to maintain my position as an active politician and as a goodwill ambassador preaching peace around the world and maintaining that status quo in my country.

To be honest with you, I cannot be intimidated. I am not a coward. I believe in the rule of law and I believe that I have to contribute to the socio-economic development of our country.

15 Comments

  1. After ten years since my graduation from a university in Australia, I am back studying and one of my units based on the course I was pursuring is called Professional Health Competencies (PHC), which I confess I had to repeat the course to finally pass it. What I can vividly remember in that unit (PHC) is the legal requirements of consent between a clinician/practitioner and patient/client. It is an assault to render treatment/therapy to a client/patient deespite the deplorable conditions of the patient/client without their consent. I can coorelate this to Chief Samsumanna as rightfully illustrated by Sheku Kamara comment that If I were Sam, I would never meet with EBK in my life time, but this guy is different from any Kono man I’ve ever come across.

    The whole ECOWAS committee was so angry about the maltreatment he received from EBK but I think he deserved more. Let me tell Sam Summana – you have totally desrespected, being ungrateful and unthankful by throwing sands in the faces of your sympathesers and helpers despite the numerous assistance that where rendered to you during those dark and dreadful days especially from the government of Ghana whose president is a Human Right lawyer that provided you the necessary financial and legal resources and assistance that allowed you to win your case at the ECOWAS court in Abuja.

    Look Mr Matturi, my grandfather hails from the Kono district and we are the BOIMA-KOIGON descendants of the original Kono tribe if you check our history. And your blindly supporting Sam without telling him the truth is grossly unfortunate. This man (Sam) is a divisionist, opportunist, enemy of progress, etc trying to distabilise this current government despite the abysmal failure of the past APC party led government tnat he served in and disgracefully expelled out of the party.

    Instead of him thanking the almighty God every day for delivering him from the venom and clutches/tentacles of the APC party (let him think of the late Mr F. M Minah) that he is alive uptil now. Even in answering this question:

    “Ques: Are you in communication with His Excellency the president?

    “Chief: Before I would call him and we would talk. But now he doesn’t answer my calls and that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me most is if we can only look at governance from a nationalistic point of view than the partisan point of view. Since the APC life chairman had got what he want from Sam Sumanna he (EBK) isn’t even taken his (Sam) calls when he ring him (EBK)”.

    Your so-called chief Sam, please realise that the current ruling SLPP party led government will do what they promised to do for the district of Kono – that is, the building of a tertiary institution will still go ahead. That district is the only district that ever had tertiarty/technical institutions that can train/develop the required technical/vocational skills so that its citizens can gainfully be employable/employed.

    You are preparing your own down fall and predicament and God forbid no one will ever come to your aid, peradventure something similar but not of the same dimension comes your way as you see/met in 2015.

  2. Mr. Matturi, Political Integrity and Steadfastness are Fundamental Values that our politicians must cherish in our country.
    The best way forward for Mr. Sam Sumana is to leave the Progressives in the Party to lead it. He has manouverd his political ship in the wrong direction and has to step down for young and dynamic politicians in the like of Emerson Lamina. C4C is greater than Mr. Sam Sumana and my advice to you my friend, please stop wasting your time fighting a long lost battle.

    • OK Mr Moiba. 2023 is just a stone’s throw away. You will be proved wrong. Believe me.
      Thanks for your candid contribution Anthony and may GOD BLESS YOU.

  3. People have realised that this well RESPECTED platform is a place where they must make sure their comments are based on facts.
    I am also very pleased that people have realised that, the faked ALJAZEERA reporting/documentary regarding the well RESPECTED Chief was a HOAX. May be, they have consulted the right sources for correct and accurate information.
    I don’t give a DAMN and so do many people who read and followed that issue then about the NOBLE CHIEF. The TRUTH is the TRUTH and FALSE and FAKE are the same. HOAX is the master of FALSE and FAKE. Birds of the same feather flock together. ARGUE!
    I observed that, the NARATIVE/ISSUE is shifting to the judicial aspect of the matter which is very interesting.
    The discussions will continue and remain live until DOOMSDAY. Do you agree with me?

  4. Hi Young4na. I respect you for asking legitimate questions. Fair enough. To be honest, I respect your views. What happened between Chief Sam Sumana and the APC was not of concern to me because it was an internal party matter which no one I presume will ever have a clear idea of. My concern was about the unlawful dismissal of the former Vice President. The case was very clear and he won against the Government of The Republic of Sierra Leone. Not the APC.

    So, sooner or later, the government of the day will come to its senses and sort out the legal and legitimate entitlements of the most famous politician in Sierra Leone presently. The person no other than Chief Sam Sumana. Whether you like it or not. It’s just a fact. Just read the article properly and judge for yourself.

    Finally, I don’t know whether Young4na is your first name, family name or alias. I am not asking in anyway to embarrass you. Will you please tell us your true name? I am very sorry if I hurt. Thanks for your contribution and GOD BLESS YOU.

    • Matturi, the questions I asked were not actually directed to you sir. Frankly, I decided to post the questions after reading comments by Bilal and others who by all indications were for the most part against the unconstitutional sacking of the former VP.

      In fact many of the ones criticizing former VP now were on his side, crying out the undemocratic nature of the former regime. Most of them never supported the verdict pass by the supreme court of Sierra Leone, calling it a Kangaroo court and the sacking unjustifiable.

      These sentiments remains the same for a long time until former VP decided to reconcile with the former regime. All of a sudden, those who once advocate for him change their stances towards him. Henceforth, the vilification of him continues. Personally, while I don’t support his action of going back to the very regime that treated him as an enemy; I cannot take away the human aspect of him and by extension, having the freedom to do what he deems necessary to advance his goals.

      We can all disagree with his moves or actions, however, justice must always prevail. Its highly unfair for anyone to treat him with disdain simply because he does not toe our line of thinking or political ideology.

    • Mr. Samuel Samsumana may have won in ECOWAS courts. But the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone is the highest court in Sierra Leone. If Samsumana’s dismissal was upheld by Sierra Leone’s highest court, then the verdict of that court stands. The government of Sierra Leone does not owe Samsumana a dime. He is a fired vice president.

      Moreover, Samsumana’s reunion with Ernest Koroma only underscores Koroma’s allegations of him (Samsumana) which were upheld by the country’s supreme court. Interestingly, Samsumana believes that the way to the presidency of Sierra Leone is through Ernest Koroma. Good luck to him.

  5. Let’s give a break my dear, this man doesn’t look presidential at all. Do not compare die and sleep brother. This man betrayed us but if Sam Sumana thinks he can assume leadership through Ernest Bai Koroma, definitely he’s dreaming.

    Brother Bilal Coleman you are on point; keep on going, I do like your comments. If I were Sam, I would never meet with EBK in my life time, but this guy is different from any Kono man I’ve ever come across. The whole ECOWAS committee was so angry about the maltreatment he received from EBK but I think he deserved more.

    APC accused him of all allegations… that he lied about and faked his degree; that he’s not a real Muslim; breaking away to form another party; etc. This man fear nothing even God and went back to EBK and ask him for help. SLPP gov’t owes you nothing. He is not qualified for pension. Go ask koroma to pay you.

  6. Mr. Samuel Samsumana should stop blaming the government of Sierra Leone for the non-payment of his pension and other benefits. He was fired from the vice-presidency and his firing was upheld by the courts of Sierra Leone. Therefore, legally, Samsumana is not entitled to a pension. He is not a retired vice-president in the mould of Victor Bockarie Foh or Dr. Joe Demby.

    As far as forming and leading a political party is concerned, Samsumana has the constitutional right to do so. But it is left to be seen whether a man who was once caught on tape by AL-Jazzeira journalists negotiating a bribe and a man who was recently seen on national television having a physical confrontation with the police in PortLoko when the police were discharging their rightful duties, is a man that can be elected president of Sierra Leone.

    In closing, I hope Mr. Samsumana is adequately preparing for his pending appearance before one of the Commissions of Inquiry in Freetown. Pride comes before the fall.

    • If I may ask you sir, were you not among the people calling his sacking unconstitutional? Also, were you not protesting that the former regime was being undemocratic for dismissing without due process? When he went to the ecowas to seek redress, were you not among the individual advocating for justice to prevail?

      If any of your answers to the above is yes, what has made you change your stance now? Could it be because your party is in power now, hence what use to be a crime or injustices in your eyes have changed?

  7. Statements from the former sacked Veep are completely deceptive. The A.P.C past government must have started to pay all what you are asking for the present government to pay you now. You cannot cast the blame on the current government but the past A.P.C government for sacking you and not paying your benefits that you are due to.

    In fact, this kind of man must not be listened to or regarded, as he has properly been described by his former A.P.C party as a liar, crook, etc and now he wants to present himself as a saint. No Mr. Sumana, I pity you so much in the direction that are going. This time as far as it concerns me as a citizen of Sierra Leone, I say no to TRIBALISM and follow the right thing.

    If the A.P.C means business, let them give you the flag bearer symbol and they will know if Kono is for you. Most of us are ready to tell the truth to our people including Hon. Emmerson Sahr Lamina, Hon. Tamba Lamina, Professor Aiah Gbakima, Hon. Philip Tondoneh etc. They always provoke us that the Kono people are fools and that is the kind of madness you want to show to the whole world.

    If you are bankrupt and you are always visiting Mr. Ernest Koroma for him to tip you, just carry on but don`t depend on our people this time round. And thank God you saw the total drastic fall in your C4C votes in the past bye-elections. We are waiting for the general election now.

    • It seems to me Mr. Sahr Yajah that, you have very little knowledge about Chief Sam Sumana. Are you basing your accusations from your own facts or just getting your information from fake outlets. I want to remind you that you are on a platform where we deal with FACTS and not FAKES.

      You are talking about TRIBALISM with regards to Chief Sam Sumana without proof. All what you have accused Chief Sam Sumana in all your four bungled paragraphs are simply not true. DISCUSS.

      I challenge you to show evidence of your accusations. I have enough proof to counter your bogus accusations. ARGUE.

      Anxiously awaiting your response. Be rest assured that this matter will not go away until you clarify your accusations with FACTS.

      Mr. Sahr Yajah there, confused about the personality, integrity and political potentials of Chief Sam Sumana. GOD BLESS YOU Mr. Sahr Yajah. See you soon.

  8. Just see how Presidential he looks and how wise he answers the questions. He has no time to be seen as HUMPTY DUMPTY had a great fall. The pictures just tell all. I will visit this article later. LONG LIVE THE CHIEF.

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