Sierra Leone’s Vice President Fired For Foregoing Duties

In a recent scandalous upheaval, Sierra Leone’s President, Ernest Bai Koroma, fired the vice president, Samuel Sam-Sumama, stating that Sam-Sumama had “abandoned” his duties to seek asylum in the US embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sam-Sumama claimed that the move was necessary because his life was in jeopardy due to one of his bodyguard’s contracting the Ebola virus.

The decision to remove Sum-Sumama from his post was delegated by the president himself, although the All People’s Congress, the governing body, had previously expelled Sum-Sumama for inciting violence and for defection from the party. It is believed that perhaps the rich deposit of diamonds in Sierra Leone could have been a motivating factor for the vice president to have defected in order to form his own political party.

Aside from this, the decision has remained incongruous for many who are unsure whether the president had the authority to dismiss vice president Sum-Sumama or not. According to Reuters, the Sierra Leonean 1991 constitution states that only a two–thirds vote from parliament is enough to dismiss a vice president. The decision has created uncertainty for the people of Sierra Leone who worry about the future stability of the nation.

Sierra Leone is one the three nations in West Africa hit hardest by the Ebola Virus. Over 3,600 people have died in country from the virulent virus that has wrought havoc there. Although Sum-Sumama had stated that his bodyguard’s death from the virus was the reason he had self-quarantined himself in the US. Embassy for the 21 days, he has not made any comments so far.

The vice-president’s lawyer said in an interview with Reuters that they would meet on Wednesday to battle the charges and weigh out options for the vice president. The US. Government also has stated that they urge the Sierra Leonean government to handle this situation “through appropriate procedures that respect due process and the rule of law”. The State Department spokesman, Darby Holladay has denied reports that the US. Embassy was sheltering the vice president at this time.