29th July 2020
By Andrew Freeman
On Tuesday, 28th July 2020, the Leader of Government Business Honourable Matthew Nyuma effectively incriminated and totally embarassed the PaOPa government of President Bio in the Well of Parliament.
The debate of the day was the appointment of the new Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
The Appointments Committee had approved the nomination of Mohamed K Konneh the previous day and it was then down to the full house to endorse or reject the decision.
Those in favour of President Bio’s appointee recorded 78 votes whereas the naysayers amounted to 51, according to the official Parliament press release.
Therefore, Mohamed K Konneh, following the nomination of President Bio had been duly approved.
In his statement after the said voting process, Leader of Government Business, Honourable Matthew Nyuma recalled how the APC had abrogated the Constitution of Sierra Leone by bypassing Parliament and unconstitutionally sacked the former Vice President, Chief Alhaji Sam Sumana.
He is correct and should be applauded for his bravery, but it must surely be a criminal act to know that the Constitution says an ex Vice President is entitled to retirement pension and benefits but deliberately act ultra vires.
Now, if the Leader of Government Business can go on official parliamentary record with the statement the APC acted unconstitutionally then he must be sure of what he is talking about.
After all, he is the incumbent Leader of Government Business in the House where laws of the land are made and he would surely not make a false statement in the Well of Parliament.
He would not be making a such a statement lightly because his words on Tuesday 28th July 2020 clearly contravenes the position of the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, who had erroneously supported the ALL PEOPLES CONGRESS view on the removal of Chief Sam Sumana from office; a decision that led the former Vice President and his case to the ECOWAS Court, which he win against the Government of Sierra Leone and not the APC party.
So, if the Leader of Government Business is sure that the sacking of the former Vice President Chief Sam Sumana was unconstitutional, why then has he not advised his Government and tabled a motion in Parliament (as Leader of their Business in Parliament) to right that constitutional wrong?
Keen independent and law abiding observers would hazard a guess that the Leader of Government Business is playing politics just like his boss, President Bio, by not advising this government accordingly.
Notwithstanding, the Leader of Government Business has put his government in a legal quandary.
The role of the government of the day is to uphold the laws of the land and not follow unconstitutional precedents.
One would hardly expect the APC government who had perpetrated the wrong in the first place to admit they had acted unconstitutionally, so to hear the incumbent Leader of Government Business state the obvious in the well of Parliament is either an unfortunate slip of tongue or divine progress for Sierra Leone.
Either way, he has said it and it shall not be expunged from the records nor ignored.
There is good precedence for the PaOPa government of President Bio to follow as the APC paid up in the Wanza case, in which the SLPP government had been found culpable for at the same ECOWAS Court but refused to honour the ruling of the ECOWAS Courts.
Upon their assumption, the APC led government made good on the nation’s obligation and settled the outstanding account without much delay.
However, the statement of the Leader of Government Business has indeed incriminated his government and exposed them to further international ridicule because they have REPEATEDLY leaned on the now indisputable UNCONSTITUTIONAL sacking of the former Vice President as the foundation for denying him what he is LEGALLY due.
The SLPP government of President Bio has used the sacking of the former Vice President as grounds for removing and withholding all State security from him and to not include him in the list of those former government officials recently (June/July 2020) paid their pensions that had been outstanding.
Therefore, open minded people all over the world understand why Sam Sumana has been targeted; precisely because he has shown command over a key voting block in the country – Kono District to be precise, by not only denying the ruling party any elected officials there but in addition, leading the party to which he is an indisputable Godfather though no longer a member (Coalition for Change aka C4C) to victory over them in a relatively recent bi-election in 2019.
However, the statement by the Leader of Government Business is game changing and could lead to legal action against the government sooner rather than later, for it must surely be criminal to go against the dictates of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone that brought the very Julius Maada Bio to power in the first place.