The Speaker reminded the House that MPs are honourable people and must be seen presenting themselves in the most honourable manner.
Yesterday’s plenary sitting of Parliament unilaterally focused on “Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President Julius Maada Bio,” for the gracious address he delivered on the occasion of the State Opening of the Second Session of the Fifth Parliament of Second Republic of Sierra Leone.
The sitting itself commenced with a point of order registered by the main opposition about the absence of senior officials of MDAs which caused the House to be adjourned for an hour to allow the said officials and the Head of the Civil Service (John Sumaila) to be in late attendance tendering an unreserved apology with a communication advice.
Also, the main opposition took it unkindly when a government MP (Hon. Sarh Juana) gimmicked and described officials of the last administration as criminals. Mr. Speaker described such comments as unparliamentary as no one has been convicted by any courts and thus ordered the withdrawal of the statement which was accordingly done.
A clarification was also made by an MP who felt his remarks had been taken off context.
Mr. Speaker as natural displayed maturity and fairness almost entirely – rebuking erroneous and unparliamentary comments and commending salient contributions.
He also displayed commitment to consultation at a critical moment in the sitting when he ordered the leaders of government and opposition to approach him. In one unnoticed occasion he was accused of allegedly selecting and including a certain unscripted debater to contribute for the opposition.
Again, Mr. Speaker’s moderation was apparently observed to have been curtailed due to his handling of the newly installed technologically-integrated and networked microphone system. Mr. Speaker is a technology friendly person but perhaps needs tutoring on the Chinese installed PA system which can be helpful or unhelpful in a frequently rancorous parliament.
Apparently, the issues spoken to were diverse and sensitive; – MDAs respecting the authority of Parliament, Bintumani 3 conference, the government inheriting an economy in shambles, health, education, agriculture, equitable distribution of national resources and development, need for time in righting the wrongs of the past, victimization and marginalization of opposition supporters, , paramount chieftaincy elections, revenue mobilisation and corruption, late payment of salaries, an alleged eighteen million dollars embezzlement, legacies of former president Ernest Bai Koroma, the environment.
In total, seven MPs (three APC, three SLPP, one C4C) contributed to the first allotted day of what can be simply described as an impressive and spirited debate.
At the end of the debate, an MP (Hon. Abdul Kargbo) raised the issue of two MPs being attacked by armed robbers making a case for MPs having bodyguards.
The sitting stands adjourned to today 28th May, 2019.