Sierra Leone opposition party considers impeaching president

AP News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2015 10:46 AM

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone's opposition party is considering launching impeachment proceedings against the president and will refuse all cooperation with the government because of the way the vice president was fired.

The Sierra Leone People's Party said it will also ask the Supreme Court to review Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana's removal from office, the party said after an emergency meeting Saturday.

President Ernest Bai Koroma fired Sam-Sumana last week, saying such a move was necessary because the vice president had been expelled from the ruling political party. Several groups have called the move unconstitutional, and Sam-Sumana is challenging it in court. Koroma has named a new vice president.

Sam-Sumana's removal has raised tensions in Sierra Leone, which is fighting Ebola and only recently recovered from years of civil war. The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has warned that police are stifling dissent, using emergency measures meant to help contain Ebola.

The opposition party resolved that "SLPP members of parliament walk out from all functions and proceedings where President Koroma or the purported Vice-President is in attendance or presiding."

That raises the stakes of Koroma's move and is likely to disrupt government operations since the party has a significant number of seats in parliament and controls local councils as well.

In a sign of the U.N.'s concern, Special Representative Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who heads the U.N. office in West Africa, met Kormoa on Saturday to discuss the situation, the U.N. said Sunday. Chambas urged Koroma to keep the country's focus on eradicating Ebola and reminded him that all political decisions should follow the constitution.