Sierra Leone Bar Association calls VP's removal unconstitutional, says he should be reinstated

Sierra Leone's bar association says the removal of the country's vice president was unconstitutional and has asked the president to reinstate him.

The call by the Sierra Leone Bar Association adds to increasing concern over President Ernest Bai Koroma's surprise firing of his vice president. A group of good governance organizations and the opposition party have also called the move unconstitutional.

Koroma fired Sam-Sumana on Wednesday, citing his vice president's recent expulsion from their political party. Sam-Sumana has said he will challenge his removal at the Supreme Court.

If Koroma thinks ousted Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana acted improperly, the president should start impeachment proceedings against him or ask the country's courts to decide on his removal, the bar association said Friday. In the meantime, the lawyers said the president should withdraw the appointment of the new vice president, Victor Foh, and reinstate Sam-Sumana.

Earlier this month, the All People's Congress expelled Sam-Sumana, making several accusations against him, including that he was instigating unrest. He has denied the accusations. It is unclear what triggered the dispute.

After the expulsion from the ruling party, Sam-Sumana said his security team was disarmed and he fled his residence in fear. He then sought asylum with the U.S. Embassy, which did not grant the request. He returned to his residence only to be fired. A relative said on Friday that the former vice president is now mostly confined to his home by security guards, and his access to visitors is restricted.