By Hassan G. Koroma
The beleaguered Minority Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has voiced the need for the party to spend money on the Ebola outbreak which has killed at least 49 people in their stronghold in the east of the country than on court cases.
According to Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, “The money which the Sierra Leone People’s Party is spending on all court cases would have been used to help in the fight against the Ebola virus that is killing people in the country.”
Hon. Lahai told our reporter that because Kailahun, which is the epicentre of the virus, is a stronghold of the opposition party, preventing the spread of the outbreak should have been a serious concern to party members and supporters instead of being embroiled in perennial internal conflicts.
The party is involved in a number of legal matters in both the High Court and the Supreme Court, with Hon. Lahai ironically being one of those who has gone to court to prevent a decision by the National Executive Council to replace her with Hon. Emma Kowa as Minority Leader.
The agriculturist-cum-lawmaker said that the main opposition party should play a major role in the ongoing constitutional review process, sensitizing their members and supporters on how to contribute to the process for the benefit of the nation, although she was remiss in stating what she has done as a parliamentarian in drumming the party’s stance on contentious issues in the process.
While on Radio Democracy 98.1 Good Morning Show few weeks ago, the Kenema lawmaker was evasive as to her position on the planned tenure elongation by the current executive, prompting many texters to condemn her double posture.
Sequel to that, she also raised the issue of amending Section 77(k) of the 1991 Constitution because – in her opinion – it undermines democracy. The said section provides that an MP should vacate his seat if he or she ceases to be a member of the party under which symbol he was elected.
She also mentioned the housing and population census that is on-going, which she said the party should pay attention to.
She blamed few executive members of the party for the current imbroglio, referring to them as ‘architects’ of the multiple internal conflicts within the party. She named the ‘architects’ as Dr. Prince Harding, Deputy Chairman; Hon. Musa Tamba Sam, the party’s spokesman; Hon. Emma Kowa; Manso Dumbuya and others she said think they own the party and are holding it to ransom.
Hon. Lahai was speaking yesterday to pressmen outside the main Law Court building after Justice Abdulai Cham again failed to deliver his verdict in the legality or otherwise of the injunction she had sought and got to effectively stop the party from replacing her as leader in Parliament.
She said she saw nothing wrong with persistent absence of the trial judge, although the minor issue of the injunction has dragged on for months, noting that the Judiciary is an independent body and that they operate independently.
“I only have problem with my party, which is still engulfed in internal conflict instead of us putting in place a strategy for the 2018 elections,” she said.
Dr. Lahai aimed a swipe at Hon. Tamba Sam, accusing the former lawmaker of failing the party because, in her opinion, he lost his parliamentary seat in 2012. She said Hon. Sam should be thinking about how to win back his seat in 2018.
Meanwhile, the ruling over the petition against the injunction granted by the High Court – which put paid to moves to remove Dr. Lahai as Minority Leader, albeit temporarily – was again adjourned to 3rd July, 2014, after a medical report of the judge was shown in court, indicating that the judge had started treatment for an unknown ailment since 18th June and is expected to finish on 2nd July.