Subscribe

Sierra Leone's president fires VP amid growing distrust (+video)

President Koroma cited questions about the vice president's party loyalty. The controversial move could create a constitutional crisis at a time when Sierra Leone is still working to fully eradicate Ebola.

  • close
    In this file photo taken on Sept. 25, 2015, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo, left, stand next to Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma, center, and Sierra Leone's Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana, right, during the opening ceremony of the China Friendship Hospital catering for Ebola virus patience in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone’s vice president sought asylum on the United States on Saturday, March 14, 2015, saying he no longer felt safe in the country after soldiers disarmed the security team at his residence. “I don’t feel safe this morning as vice president,” Samuel Sam-Sumana told The Associated Press by phone.
    Michael Duff/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

Sierra Leone's president on Wednesday fired his vice president, who was kicked out of their political party earlier this month on accusations of fomenting violence and trying to form a new party.

Early Wednesday, President Ernest Bai Koroma announced that he had removed Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana from office, citing a constitutional requirement that anyone running for vice president be a member of a political party.

Sam-Sumana was expelled from the ruling All People's Congress political party on March 6. The party statement made several accusations against Sam-Sumana including that he was instigating unrest. Sam-Sumana has rejected the accusations against him.

On March 14, soldiers disarmed the security team at Sam-Sumana's residence. He then fled, saying he didn't feel safe, and asked the U.S. embassy for asylum. The U.S. did not grant asylum and urged all sides to resolve the problem through the rule of law.

Earlier this week, Sam-Sumana returned to his home and a group of the country's political parties tried to negotiate a solution.

When Koroma dismissed Sam-Sumana from his post on Wednesday, the president said that by seeking asylum, Sam-Sumana showed "a willingness to abandon his duties and office as vice president of our beloved republic."

Koroma's move is likely to be controversial because it is not clear if membership in a political party is a requirement for sitting vice presidents. Already, the main opposition party has criticized Sam-Sumana's expulsion from his party, warning it could create a constitutional crisis at a time when the country is struggling to beat Ebola.

While Sierra Leone's Ebola epidemic has slowed somewhat, the disease continues to spread in some parts of the country. Sam-Sumana himself was under self-quarantine because of possible exposure to one of his body guards who came down with Ebola. Sam-Sumana's 21-day incubation period ended on Tuesday.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK