Sacked Sierra Leone VP to run for president

A supporter of former Sierra Leone Vice-President Samuel Sam-Sumana with his banner in Freetown. Mr Sam-Sumana will run for president in the 2018 election. KEMO CHAM | NATON MEDIA GROUP 

Sierra Leone’s former Vice-President Samuel Sam-Sumana has thrown his hat into the increasingly crowded presidential race slated for next year.

Mr Sam-Sumana, who returned home Thursday after nearly two years in self-imposed exile in Ghana, is contesting under the Coalition for Change (C4C) ticket.

C4C comprises fairly newly-registered parties.

Ruled against him

The VP from 2007, was forced out of office in 2015 after falling out with President Ernest Bai Koroma, in what was described as a power struggle.

He had been stripped off his membership of the governing All People's Congress (APC), which accused him of anti-party activities.

His removal from office was the subject of a Supreme Court hearing, which eventually ruled against him.

Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Sam-Sumana has since filed a case with the the regional bloc Ecowas court, seeking over $200m in damages from the government over alleged unfair treatment.

He was received at the Lungi Airport by close family members and friends.

Family sources said Friday the former VP had his diplomatic passport withdrawn by immigration authorities as soon as he stepped out of the Kenya Airways plane that flew him in.

Mr Sam-Sumana said in an interview prior to his return that he was coming to register to vote and run for president and that he feared for his safety.

Two-horse race

C4C bid was likely to change the dynamics in the presidential race.

Elections in Sierra Leone have in the past been more or less a two-horse race between President Koroma’s APC and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party.

Mr Sam-Sumana hails from the eastern diamond-rich Kono District, which has always been a swing state in the highly regionalised politics.

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