Sam Sumana, from the beginning, never got the support of majority of the people because from the moment he was removed, it became a matter of ‘them’ and ‘us’ with Sam Sumana and members of his family and close friends being the ‘us’ and the rest of the people the ‘them’.
Never for once since his removal, did Sam Sumana go to the people to complain and wait on them to see what they were going to do.
By his own divide, he rendered the people of this country handicapped to rise up on his behalf.
In fact inside the courtyard, his burly guards separated him from even those who were just happy to see him in one piece after his ordeal.
People who tried to get close to him were pushed off and on one or two occasions, manhandle by his guards.
The message then went round that this was not the ‘people’s’ matter but strictly a Sam Sumana matter so the people of this country who could have asked questions on his behalf stood aloof of his matter as they deemed themselves to be outsiders looking in.
In the COMPETENT COURT OF LAW where were sitting five learned and honourable judges, there is nothing there about MORAL WRONGNESS.
Their task was to rule on only what was presented before them.
No tears, no sympathy, no joke!
In other words you don’t go there for them to feel sorry for you and decide their matter on the basis of you having suffered a MORAL WRONG.
MORAL WRONGNESS is corrected only through the COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION where anything could have gone on his behalf and through unpredictable means but that never happened as Sam Sumana had his own tricks up his sleeves.
For the Supreme Court judges it was what was presented before them that they acted on. Period!
And their final ruling to dismiss Sam Sumana’s case rested on only that.
It was Sam Sumana that asserted that what was done to him by the APC and President Koroma was wrong so the, onus was upon him to prove that the acts were wrong.
The Supreme Court is totally a different breed which bases its conclusions or rulings mainly on the LAW not on popular opinions or emotional or sentimental feelings.
Those who are taking their matters to the Supreme Court must first learn from the SLPP petition brought to challenge the validity of the 2012 Presidential Election.
That matter had two hurdles to cross before the court was to decide to hear the substantive matter itself.
The first hurdle was that of interpreting between REAL time and JUDICIAL time.
Lawyers for the government in that case argued that SLPP filed its case beyond the seven days after results were announced as provided for in the Public Elections Act of 2012 to file petitions.
JUDICIAL time does not include Saturdays and Sundays and public holidays which may happen to fall within the period of counting.
Since the result of that Presidential Election was announced on a Friday means that the counting of the JUDICIAL time was to start the following Monday.
Counting that way, according to SLPP, means that the filing was done within the time limit even though the filing was actually completed, not on the Tuesday after the presidential election result was announced, but the Tuesday after that.
The judges then ruled that SLPP didn’t file within the time provided for in the act.
The second hurdle was that of a name.
Government lawyers then claimed that because the name of the sole winning candidate, President Koroma, was not included in the petition, then the matter must not proceed on a matter of procedure since no more time could be given to file papers properly.
The five judges erred in that respect considering that the High Court Rules themselves make it plain that “no action shall be defeated either through a misjoinder or a non-joinder”.
This means that an action shall not fail by reason of a name and because of this the court gives itself inherent powers to either add or remove a name.
But in the case of the SLPP petition, the case never went on full trial where it could have been established whether or not President Koroma’s name was to be added since lawyers for the SLPP deliberately didn’t put his name on the petition since the Sierra Leone Constitution never allows for a sitting president to be sued either civil or criminal.
But did Sam Sumana at all prove that he was wronged before that COMPETENT COURT OF JUSTICE?
For the information of those who never knew, Sam Sumana’s case collapsed even before it started.
Blyden Jenkins- Johnston (may his gentle soul rest in perfect peace and may light perpetual shine on him always), Sam Sumana’s lead counsel then, originated his case from Sections 124 and 127 of the Sierra Leone Constitution which were the wrong Sections which therefore made his case a non starter.
When the Comment newspaper called his attention to it on the very day he filed his papers, he promised amending when the matter went to full trial but he never did.
Another major blunder was that from the beginning of the trial to the end of it, the APC Constitution never formed part of Sam Sumana’s bundle which means that it could not be referred to at all throughout the trial.
This was not a COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION or a KANGAROO COURT where it could have been assumed that APC never allowed for Sam Sumana to appeal his expulsion as provided for in its own Constitution whereas in the COMPETENT COURT OF JUSTICE, assumptions are not allowed. Videre est celere!
As far as the five honourable judges were concerned, an APC Constitution never existed before them since it was never filed by the Sam Sumana side.
And it was not for them to bind the lawyers of Sam Sumana to force them to file it.
At one stage during the trial, government lead counsel, Berthan Macauley Esq. appealed to the court for time to amend his statement of case.
The five judges in their wisdom, agreed by granting a whole fortnight for that but they said that both sides must amend.
That was then the opportunity for Blyden Jenkins-Johnston to file the APC Constitution but he never did again for reasons which he only knew before his death.
So it is clearly evident that Sam Sumana’s case was a non starter from the beginning.
If the court could not establish what actually triggered Sam’s expulsion from the party which triggered Sam’s eventual sacking, what else could it establish?
A few things were established in that court which, if Sam had pulled a fast one, could have helped him but because he was never decisive, he failed woefully.
First the Constitution says that one of the qualifications to become either a president or vice one must belong to a political party.
The indefinite article ‘a’ is used here which means any political party.
This means that after Sam had been expelled from the APC he could easily have run to another political party and register and then wait to see how the Supreme Court were going to interpret that.
But despite the days that were elapsing as APC planned an hurriedly arranged Ebola sensitization meeting where Sam’s fate was going to be decided, he wasted precious time hoping against hope that nothing was going to happen but rather rested his hopes on an appeal with this coming even though he saw the determination in the actions of his adversaries that they no longer wanted him in their midst.
Before the trial proper, Sam’s lawyers who then included also Pa Momo Fofana Esq., an interlocutory injunction was sought to restraint appointed Vice President, Victor Foh, from continuing in that office.
Using the American Cyanamide case which recommends thresholds for granting injunctions, the five judges, Hon. Justices Valesius Thomas, Nicholas Browne-Marke, Eku Robert, Vivian Solomon and Patrick Hamilton, ruled that because of public interest they cannot restrain Victor Foh from continuing in that office since the Sierra Leone Constitution says that “if the president becomes incapacitated or dies, then the vice president becomes president”.
They stressed that if the unforseen was to happen when there was no vice then there will be chaos.
The judges also ruled on the status quo that was there before Sam took his case to court.
After Sam was dismissed as vice president two days elapsed before he went to court and it was in between that Victor Foh was appointed in his position and Victor Foh as vice was the status quo at the time of the case going to court.
What was unclear during the trial was whether or not the president has supreme authority to sack his vice as they were both elected under the same ticket.
The judges made it plain that from the moment a flagbearer picks a running mate, the position becomes an APPOINTMENT position so no matter if the running mate ends up becoming Vice President, the position remains an appointment and he that hires, fires.
The ECOWAS Court has technically vindicated the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone by its ruling.
What is now left for this country is for the constitution to be amended to spell out exactly the position and standing of a sitting Vice President.