The two questions which the former Vice-President Alhaji Sam Sumana sent to the Supreme Court for determination are:
|Hon. Ajibola Manly-Spaine: A Brain
(a) Whether the Constitution of Sierra Leone empowers the PRESIDENT “to relieve the Vice-President of his Office and duties” in any way Other than by the procedure set out in Sections 50 and 51 of the said Constitution?
(b) Whether the “Supreme executive authority” of the President mentioned in Section 40(1) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone includes the power to “relieve the Vice-President of his Office and duties” other than by the procedure set out in Sections 50 and 51 of the said Constitution?
However in his oral submissions to the courts, Honourable Ajibola Manly-Spaine, the lawyer for the second defendant, has made a mockery of the questions as drafted for the attention of the Supreme Court. Manly-Spaine carefully and diligently showed why the questions as submitted, were not fit to be countenanced as they were based on a false supposition. He insisted that the entire case sent to the court for a determination of the two questions, was therefore a nullity and should be thrown out.
According to Manly-Spaine, the addition of the words, “other than by the procedure set out in Sections 50 and 51 of the said Constitution” at the end of the two questions, have rendered the questions as being based on a false supposition that the President (who is the Subject Matter in the said sentence), had powers to remove the Vice-President under those specific sections. As a result of being based on false premise, Manly-Spaine said the questions were no longer questions but “non-questions” which cannot be answered.
Confidently continuing to make a mockery of the questions of Sam-Sumana, the brilliant Manly-Spaine used the very same evidence submitted by Sam-Sumana in the form of a letter written by Dr. Abdulai Conteh to President Koroma.
Lawyer Manly-Spaine recited the words of Dr. Abdulai Conteh which had clearly stated that President Koroma does not have powers under Sections 50 and 51 to remove his Vice-President. Manly-Spaine reminded the judges that Sam-Sumana through his lawyers had told Supreme Court that he agrees with Dr. Abdulai Conteh that the President does not have the power under Sections 50 and 51.
Lawyer Manly-Spaine then hit the point home that if indeed Sam Sumana agrees that the President does not have such powers under those Sections, why were the questions drafted as if the President does have powers but only under those sections?
He then asked the Supreme Court to simply throw out the entire case as the two questions claiming the President has powers under Sections 50 and 51, were grammatically flawed. He said, going by simple English language, the two questions posed were now non-questions that could not be realistically answered in the context in which they had been lexically posed.
Lawyer Manly Spaine also reminded the Supreme Court that President Koroma at no point in time, ever claimed to have powers under Sections 50 and 51 to remove his Vice-President. He repeatedly stated that the President had no such powers under Section 50 or 51 so including mention of them as clarifiers within the questions, meant such clarifiers made the questions to now be untenable and unanswerable as they were based on fallacious suppositions. He said the case in front of the court was now a nullity as the questions were now proven as non-questions.
Lawyer Manly Spaine pointed out that the powers exercised by the President were not derived from Sections 50 and 51 but from Section 40 in his capacity as the Supreme Executive Authority and the Guardian of the Constitution.
Manly-Spaine said that based on the dictates of Section 41(b) which was a mandatory continuous requirement to occupy the Office of Vice-President, His Excellency the President in an attempt to guard the sanctity of the Constitution, used his powers under Section 40 to relieve the former Vice-President of duties that the former Vice-President no longer had constitutional authority to do.
The brilliant submissions of Manly-Spaine especially adamant insistence on the fact that the President never claimed to have any powers under Sections 50 and 51, have been widely misunderstood by a misinformed section of the public to mean that Manly-Spaine does not support the decision of the President to relieve the former Vice-President of his duties.
On the contrary, the truth is that Hon. Ajibola Manly-Spaine has pointed out that the two questions as posed, were untenably drafted and so the Supreme Court should throw the entire case out as the Supreme Court cannot be expected to answer to non-questions.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.