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The Sierra Leonean public was at the weekend baffled by the BBC’s report that the country’s Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana was seeking political asylum at the United States Embassy in Freetown after soldiers surrounded his house. Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana is reported to have told the BBC that he and his wife had fled the residence and another report stated that he had entered the US Embassy in Freetown. This development comes barely a week after his expulsion from the governing All People’s Congress (APC) on allegations of “anti-party activities.”

Amongst other allegations, Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana was accused of falsifying academic credentials, lying about his religious faith, holding secret meetings and perpetrating violence against APC Ministers and other people in his home district of Kono. But the Vice President denied the allegations and rejected calls for his resignation.

The expulsion of Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana from the governing APC and calls for his resignation by some party stalwarts including the Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji Alpha Khan, who is also the National Publicity Secretary and Spokesman of the ruling party has sparked serious debate among Sierra Leoneans despite a strict warning from the APC hierarchy that the expulsion of the Vice President from the governing party was an internal matter that should not concern the general public.

But why the expulsion of the country’s Vice President from the party on whose ticket he had run as a running mate for two consecutive presidential elections in 2007 and 2012 should not concern the public? If the National Advisory Committee of the APC - the second highest body of the party - had not wanted the findings and recommendations of the committee it mandated to investigate the Vice President and other party stalwarts Executive to go public, it should not have engaged the media on its decisions against the stalwarts that were under investigation. I think every citizen has the right to discuss the expulsion of Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana who is the second gentleman of the realm. It is only unfortunate that though opinions may vary over his expulsion, nobody outside the governing APC has the absolute right to twist the arm of the party to reverse their decision against the Vice President. But the freedom of expression and of the press gives us the right to discuss the issue freely as stipulated in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

Report that Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana on Saturday 14th March, 2015, sought asylum at the US Embassy in Freetown portended a significant shift in the APC hierarchy given the vacuum that would be left in the party leadership after an apparent forceful resignation of the Vice President. There is an adage that when a toad runs in a broad-day, it is either running after something or something running after it. Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana and his wife might have remained in quarantine for twenty-one days if there had been no serious threat from the governing APC to give up his position as Vice President. The fact that soldiers reportedly surrounded his official residence in Freetown gives the impression that he is under enormous pressure to resign his position in governance as quickly as possible to give way to an anointed party favourite to continue his term until the next presidential and parliamentary elections. Whether we argue in favour or against Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana’s expulsion, the fact remains that the governing party no longer needs his services on the grounds of so-called “anti-party activities.”    

I had often argued that if I were Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana I would have resigned as Vice President before the November 2012 multitier elections given the humiliations he had suffered at the hands of party officials that were supposed to be answerable to him. Pro-government newspapers that were supposed to protect him on partisan ground also antagonized him with apparent impunity. His Kono brothers and sisters, who have been at loggerheads with him, also undermined his authority and went the extra mile to expose the things he had allegedly falsified, including his religious faith which is now in public domain.

The latest development on Saturday was a harbinger of resignation for Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana. I will therefore advise the industrious businessman to gracefully resign to save his life and family instead of being obstinate about continuing to be with a political group that no longer needs him. Unlike other political parties, the APC was established on a Socialist platform wherein grassroots support and party loyalty takes primacy over everything else. The Vice President now has the opportunity to resign gracefully and hope that the US Government will grant him and family a political asylum as the way forward.

Many Sierra Leoneans had though that Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana could succeed President Ernest Bai Koroma when the latter would have completed his second term of office, but the disrobing of the former of his party membership has ended his political career in the governing APC. This latest development certainly marks Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana’s political downfall in Sierra Leone, at the very least, for now.  


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