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War of Words in Parliament: Opposition Lawmaker Thrown Out!

December 6, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

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Speaker Hon. SBB Dumbuya: heavy handed?

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Hon. Tarawallie: thrown out for speaking truth to power?

Opposition lawmaker Hon. Umar Paran Tarawallie was yesterday ordered by Speaker of Parliament Hon. Sheku Badara B. Dumbuya to leave the Well of Parliament.

The order came following some heated exchanges between ruling party parliamentarians and Hon. Tarawallie over a comment he had made on Radio Democracy 98.1 FM earlier.

Before the business of the house could officially commence, the Speaker notified the MP in question that his attention has been drawn to ‘wrong comments’ the latter had made on radio.

Hon. Paran had said on Radio Democracy’s popular ‘Good Morning Salone’ programme that, a Statutory Instrument on the proposed nomination fees was ‘not properly thrown out’ by parliament in accordance with subsection 7 of section 170 of the 1991 Constitution.

“Mr. Speaker, that particular statutory instrument can only be thrown out with a vote of two-third majority of all Members of Parliament,” argued Hon. Tarawallie.

The Speaker noted that every document that comes before parliament has to be properly tabled, adding that lawmakerswere in agreement that the said statutory instrument was not properly before the House.

The seemingly furious Speaker, who persistently hit the table, told Hon. Paran that he was ‘acting in ignorance’ and added: “I understand you read law. Did you(sic)? You are reading something in English that you don’t understand. It is pathetic. A responsible and truly honourable Member of Parliament should enlighten and not mislead the public. I wonder what kind of MP you are.”

The opposition lawmaker viewed the speaker’s comments as an attack on his personality, thus prompting an angry reaction and an equally hostile verbal exchange between opposition and ruling party lawmakers.

While the heated argument continued in the Well, Minority Leader Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, who unlike Hon. Rado Yokie failed to side with her opposition members, approached the Speaker and whispered some words into his ears.

The irate Speaker eventually asked the opposition MP out of the Well, and threatened another, who attempted to defend his colleague, with similar punishment.

Meanwhile, a raft of bills and agreements, including the Financing Agreement between the government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) and International Development Association (IDA), National Electricity Amendment Act 2017, were yesterday ratified ahead of parliament’s dissolution tomorrow (7 December).