The Rise of His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh
On Thursday 19th March, 2015, it pleased His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to appoint Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Victor Bockarie Foh’s (in photo) appointment comes following a political drama that saw the expulsion of the incumbent Vice President, Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana from the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) Party on 6th March, 2015.
As President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, and guardian of the Constitution of Sierra Leone pursuant to Section 40 (3) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of I991, I have taken note of the decision of the APC, a Press Release from the Office of the President earlier said.
“The public will recall, and I have also taken note of the fact that on Saturday March 14, 2015, Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana sought asylum from a foreign embassy demonstrating a willingness to abandon his duties and office as Vice President of our beloved Republic.”
“And whereas Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana is no longer a member of a political party in Sierra Leone and therefore does not have the continuous requirement to hold office as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, as provided for in Section 41(b) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No. 6 of 1991, I hereby relieve Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana of the duties and from the Office of Vice President of Sierra Leone with immediate effect, pursuant to my supreme executive authority as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone as enshrined in Section 40 (I) of the said Constitution of Sierra Leone,” a release signed by the President stated.
Shortly after Mr. Sumana’s dismissal, Mr. Victor Bockarie Foh was appointed as Sierra Leone’s new Vice President by President Ernest Koroma through a press release from the Office of the President. He has since been sworn-in. The appointment of His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone by His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma surprised many Sierra Leone especially when his name was never amongst the numerous names people were speculating to replace Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana. Nonetheless, his appointment as Vice President has been lauded by most APC supporters and members as well as some members of the public who believe that Vice President Foh deserves the appointment given his years of dedicated service, loyalty and the sacrifices he has made for the APC party since 1970.
Sierra Leoneans have also praised His Excellency President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma for promoting regional and tribal balance by appointing another South-easterner to replace Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana, who is also a South-easterner.
Who is Victor Foh ?
The name Victor Bockarie Foh is synonymous with the APC everywhere you go in the country; be it for better or for worse. Mr. Foh is a seasoned politician and experienced administrator who had served various capacities as civil servant.
Before his dramatic appointment as Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Victor Bockarie Foh was the country’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. So one would start to imagine the confidence the Head of State had in him to represent our country in the most populous country in the world with over 1.5 billion people.
Born 69 years ago at Jimmi Bagbo Chiefdom in Bo District, Southern Province, His Excellency Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh was educated in that chiefdom and the Government Secondary School, Bo, better known as ‘Bo School’ before he entered the oldest college South of the Sahara – Fourah Bay College (FBC) – and graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1969.
During the 1969/70 academic year, the young graduate taught Economics and Government at the Ahmadiyya Secondary School, Kissy Dockyard, Freetown, and made history as the first indigenous Sierra Leonean graduate teacher in that school whose staff at the time was dominated by foreign teachers including Pakistanis.
After a transient period in the classroom as a young Sierra Leonean graduate, Mr. Foh found it expedient to join the Sierra Leone Civil Service in 1970 and rose to the rank of Senior District Officer before he quit the service in 1982 respectively.
As government official who worked in eight of the twelve administrative districts in Sierra Leone, the seasoned politician is abreast of the geopolitics of that country. Having left the Sierra Leone Public Service, Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh decided to inject his wealth of administrative expertise and knowledge of the country into the All People’s Congress (APC) Party.
Barely a year after he graduated from FBC, he formally joined the APC as a registered and paid up member. And because of his loyalty to the party, many Sierra Leoneans have respect and admiration for his political stance especially a man who hails from a region that is almost dominated by another political party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).
In fact, many Sierra Leoneans have often compared his party loyalty to the late Hon. Mannah Kpaka of the SLPP fame, who remained a blue-blood SLPP until he died a few years ago. The late man would have pitched tent with the APC because of his relationship with the founder of the APC, the late President Siaka Probyn Stevens, but he refused to be convinced as a result of his undying loyalty to the SLPP.
Since 1970, the newly appointed VP had loyally and devotedly served the APC Party in several capacities including Regional Chairman, Southern Province, Assistant National Secretary General and National Secretary General, a position he held for two consecutive terms before he was appointed as Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
Like the late Hon. Mannah Kpaka, the new Vice President had never parted company with the APC Party even at the trying times of the party, a feat that has made him unique in the party. His unflinching loyalty and invaluable services to his party and country in 1980 earned him the coveted national award of Member of the Order of the Rokel (MR) by the late President Siaka Probyn Stevens.
Mr. Foh’s was very instrumental in the drafting of the current 1995 APC Constitution and coincidentally became the first Assistant Secretary General under the constitution. It is the same constitution that was used to expel former Vice President Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana from the APC for “anti-party activities and dishonesty”.
He was later elected National Secretary General of the APC at the Party’s National Delegates Conference in Port Loko in 2005, which also coincided with the National Delegates’ Conference of the SLPP in Makeni. H.E Victor Foh also proved his worth not only to the APC but also to the nation when it came to bringing pressure to bear on the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta to wash their hands off partisan politics. He was amongst the forerunners for ushering in democracy and political pluralism in the country’s new political dispensation.
The seasoned politician together with few others established the All Political Parties Association (APPA) to mount pressure on the military junta to quit the political scene. He served that Association as National Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer respectively before he concentrated on serving his party through and through.
Upon the restoration of constitutional order in 1996, Mr. Foh continued to play vital role in ensuring that the APC was alive and kicking. During the 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections, he was the running mate of the APC presidential candidate, Eddie Turay. That was the time majority of the members, supporters and sympathizers had abandoned the party. But he was one of the steadfast members of the party and he was amongst the five members that represented the APC in Parliament that year, where he made a niche at the temple of fame because of his vast knowledge of the 1991 Constitution and his finesse in debating pertinent issues in the august body.
Though a few organizations have vehemently condemned the President for relieving the former Vice President of his duties saying it is “unconstitutional”, the APC Party and its supporters are firmly backing the decision of their Chairman/Leader to sack the former Vice President and also his wise decision to replace him with a more matured, experienced, loyal and hard working politician. From the Arabian capital of Riyadh, I wish His Excellency, Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh everything he wishes for himself in his new appointment.
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