Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma has sworn in a new vice president a day after he dismissed Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana.
Sam-Sumana has said his “purported” removal is “unconstitutional and unlawful” and he has instructed his lawyers to pursue the matter in the Sierra Leone Supreme Court.
The new vice president is Victor Bockarie Foh, former secretary general of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party, who until his selection was Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to China.
Government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay said the new Vice President brings with him a wealth of experience.
“The President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has just administered the oath of office to the Honorable Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, who until few hours ago was our ambassador to the [People's] Republic of China,” he said.
Bayraytay also reiterated the legal justification for the dismissal of Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana.
“Absolutely, the former Vice President has every right to apply to the Supreme Court because at the end of the day the constitution of Sierra Leone makes it very clear that whosoever has a contention with a provision in the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone will have to appeal to the Sierra Court for interpretation,” she said.
Some Sierra Leoneans have said President Koroma took a unilateral decision without consulting the judiciary and even his own cabinet.
Bayraytay said President Koroma has constitutional backing and did not have to consult with either the judiciary or his cabinet.
“The constitution gives him that authority. Under Section 40 that gives him the supreme authority of the state. But in this... incident, the president relies on Section 54, sub-section 5 of the constitution that says in the event that somebody ceases to be a member of a political party as provided for in Section 41-b of the constitution, the president must fill that position immediately,” Bayraytay said.