On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Sierra Leone News: Remembering The Sumanan Saga!

You might want to forget that singular action, the reverberations of which we are still feeling today. Except if you want to be part of the political sycophants who have continued to wreck this nation, the former VP’s saga will be very difficult to forget. Check what is happening to the CRC report, then you will know how much deep a shit we seem to have been plunged in. it may have emerging very loudly and clearly by now that the Hon. Vice President was wrongfully removed from office. If anybody denies this let the due process of the law take its course. Let us don’t forget that good Governance is a situation where there is participatory decision making, justice, transparency, accountability and mutual respect between the leadership and the governed, leading to peaceful co-existence and equitable distribution of resources. Many people would by now think it’s all over about the Vice Presidency, but if you have any conscience you will realize that we give authority to government to work for us in the true spirit of the constitution. We have to look at good governance, democracy, Human Rights and all their related concepts in a holistic and wholesome manner. It is never a question of your liking the monkey soup but will not eat the monkey. No.
You see when bad things happen to good people, we still have a chance to give our opinion on it. Hon Sam Sumana’s case is one such. Shakespeare will remind you that when beggars die, there are no comets seen but the heavens themselves bring forth the death of princes. Hon Sam Sumana’s position is not one of any mean standing. If you like to know, the Vice- Presidency is actually part of the Presidency. This is why the same vote is cast for the two of them at election time. I have been reading a lot of comments from our compatriots both at home and in the diaspora and I have not seen any one who clearly supports the move to remove the Vice President in the manner in which it was done. For me the best argument is from Dr. Abdulai Conteh who is Attorney for the commonwealth Appeal Court in the Bahamas. Dr. Abdulai Conteh is an erudite Lawyer and had held very important positions in the Sierra Leone government including that of foreign Minister during whose tenure Sierra Leone Hosted the OAU Summit in Freetown.
Now let us come to the issues involving the removal of the Vice President. Firstly to my mind it was morally wrong for him to be expelled while still serving an Ebola quarantine period. I find this quite a cowardly act that smacks of some ridicule of the body that did it. If there was no inkling of a conspiracy, they could have waited till the quarantine period lapsed. It is like stoning somebody locked up in a cage, like dismembering a dying man. Oh Salone, wus tem we go lef?  Like I said earlier in our current Constitution the Vice President is elective. We actually voted for a Vice- President by voting in the Presidency. This is what a lot of people missed. Dr Abdualai Conteh has raised a lot of arguments that are really difficult to contest. What is the implication of this? It means that the Vice President cannot be removed by the President Executive powers since the Vice President came to office through the mandate of the People of Salone who voted for him alongside the presidency.
Now let’s look at the Action by the APC National Advisory Council. This Body expelled the VP from the party, suspended some others and fined others. I think it is actually NAC that created the constitutional saga. Let us remember that when once elected the President and his Vice becomes National Figures and not just party guys. For a very long time this country has seen the Policalparties getting sway over the Nation. How can a party just wake up one day and expel a top position like that? I think I blame PPRC for allowing anomalies in party constitutions because they are supposed to get their approval before they come into effect. The Party did a lot of fast tracking, like not waiting for the 30 day period for appeal to lapse. A basic fundamental right in cases like this is to hear the other side of the story. This was so embarrassing for one of that level of position.
The whole idea of a running mate for elections was to have a vice in waiting for the elections. The position of the running mate is very important here because without a running mate nobody was going to vote for the president. Whatever happened between the President and his Vice should have been managed by the very party that decided to fall heavily on the VP. Like former British Premier once said, “… 50 % of our so-called enemies are made by us.” I really can’t understand the two gentlemen went through the first term and have come this far in the second term and this is the time the NAC thinks they could use expulsion. Sometimes it may not matter what you do but rather how you do it and when you do it.
Diallo’s death in the US of A some years back was perhaps not so much that a black man was killed, but that several bullets pumped into the poor defenseless young man. Definitely what has been endured for seven years can still be endured for another three years. The other issue was the alleged attempt of the VP to seek asylum. I think every person reserves the right to decide when he is safe of not. Now granted that the VP had flawed, the constitutional provision on impeachment should have been invoked to make it look procedural. The other issue of belonging to a political party is tenable only for the sake of the election. As said earlier the two positions of President and Vice are tied together when its election Time. Of course you cannot take a running mate from another party.
In all this I do not understand is the speed with which it all happened. The VP could have been dropped at the end of the first term to make way for the other election. This was not done. Well the voting population may not be bothered right now. But remember precedents like this go a long way to kill the banana demon- crazy we claim to be practicing. Right now we are held to ransom by the Supreme Executive issue. Where do we turn?
By Ben Cambayma
Monday December 19, 2016

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