Veep Sam Sumana speaks out… ‘I am not worried’
‘I am not worried… it is the prerogative of my boss, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to name his running mate for the 2012 general elections… but I tell you, I have always enjoyed a good working relationship with my boss,’ these were the words of Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Chief Samuel Sam Sumana, who is also Acting President of the Republic, as His Excellency, the President is out of the country, attending to other official matters.
The Vice President spoke to this columist during an interview in his office at State Avenue, on Wednesday, 26th October, 2011. Sam Sumana has been serving the country as Vice President for the last four years,and has acted as President of the Republic on several occasions, at leats 35 times.
Veep says, “dictators are not needed anymore in Sierra Leone”
The issue of naming a running mate is purely the prerogative of His Ecxcellecny. In the last couple of months, running up to the 2012 general elections, the issue of running mate for the All People’s Congress gained momemtum, especially when the media took up the issue, speculating names of potential running mates. There have even being reports from a section of the media that the current Vice President,Chief Sam Sumana will not survive the coming general elections. His critiques have argued that, the Vice President has not performed to their expectation, but his supporters think otherwise, believing that, he has been a quite performer.
When asked whether he was worried that the issue of running mate has been topical in recent time even as the country moves to the 2012 general elections, Sam Sumana replied thus, ‘in the first place, it is the prerogatrive of my boss, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to name his running mate but I tell you, I have always enjoyed a good working relationship with my boss… what I will want to assure you is that, I am not worried… I have a boss that is God fearing and one that I should be behind, not at per with him…’
Chief Sam Sumana said, ‘there is always one captain on a ship ….’ and that he(VP) is a co-captain that works with his boss. I work with my boss and I should not go beyond his instruction and mandate. I believe in his vision… I have no hestitation. When I was growing up, I never thought of being in this position but I look up to God, through President Koroma, to keep me growing…’
Asked to elaborate on how it has been, with him in governance for the last four years, the Vice President said, he has been able to gain a whole lot of experience and apprenticeship ‘that can be utilised… I have acted on several occassions as President and I am enjoying a cordial working relationship with my boss, His Excellency the President, Dr.Ernest Bai Koroma’ . On the type of boss he thinks President Koroma is, the Vice President spoke thus, ‘He is a God fearing person, he is very patriotic… he prefers working with people who have a common understanding … for him, co-existence is always part of him…’ Sam Sumana further highlighted that President Ernest Bai Koroma ‘is a good manager that manages issues and affairs for the general good of all… he is a leader beyond Sierra Leone…’
The 2012 pending elections are expected to be ‘fought’ on ideas and issues. So far, the APC has presented President Koroma as a candidate for the elections, with a retired military officer, Julius Bio, standing for the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party. The Koroma administration has, for the last four years, been making political, social, economic and infrastructural gains, with particular reference to the electrification of the country and the area of road infrastructure. The retired military officer, Julius Bio on the other hand, has a track record of introducing the ‘Saturday general cleaning excercise’ when they (NPRC) were in power. Another serious issue that has been hunting his candidature since his election as flag bearer for the SLPP has been the allegations of extra-judicial killings by his then NPRC governmnet, to which he was a key player. A case in point being the extra-judicial killings of Bambay Kamara et el.
Asked to look at what it means for the general elections in 2012 and the chances of his party winning the election, when the main opposition has put up a candidate with military background, Sam Sumana said, ‘to start with, both candidates have had experience in leading and managing the affairs of the state and they both have a track record to show…’ The Vice President also commented that from the two candidates, people can go for the one that has democratic credentials, in the person of Ernest Bai Koroma, than going for a military dictator. He said with the military background of one of the candidates, he is not sure that is what Sierra Leoneans may be looking for at the moment, rather ‘they (Sierra Leoneans) are looking for a leader and President that is pro-active and with good intentions…’
Sierra Leone, the Acting President said, has gone through a wretched history that people can’t afford to witness anymore and that ‘the NPRC (of which Maada Bio was a major player), had no vision at the time… we will not be intimidated by any party putting up a military person… H E has even called on the ICC to give closer eyes to the conduct of the elections… we need to mantain the status quo and the democracy we have worked had for…’ Chief Sam Sumana said.
About Alhaji Sam Sumana
Alhaji Sahr Samuel Sam-Sumana (born April 7, 1962 in Koidu Town, Kono District) is a Sierra Leonean politician, and the current Vice President of Sierra Leone. He became the newest Vice President on September 17, 2007, running as part of the All People’s Congress (APC) alongside Presidential candidate Ernest Bai Koroma that defeated Presidential candidate Solomon Berewa and his Vice Presidential candidate Momodou Koroma on the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) ticket. Sam-Sumana is the first Sierra Leonean Vice president from Kono District and the country’s first vice president from the Kono ethnic group. He holds a Bachelor degree of Science (BSC) in Management Information System from the Metropolitan State University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. He also holds a diploma in Computer Network Support Specialist from Knollwood Computer and Business School, in St Louis Park, Minnesota, United States.
Sam-Sumana is married to Khadija Sam-Sumana. The couple were residing in Minnesota, but returned to Freetown when Sam-Sumana was named as the running mate by the then main opposition leader and current Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma on the ticket of the All People’s Congress (APC).( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Sam-Sumana)
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