By Yusufu S. Bangura
The Chief Executive Officer for Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), Abdul M. Fatoma on Thursday, November 24, expressed mix feelings about the scuffle that took place on Wednesday among Members of Parliament, stating that MPs who are supposed to be lawmakers were now seen as lawbreakers.
He was speaking at the Radio Democracy ‘Gud Morning Salone Program’ in response to the Wednesday physical fight among MPs in the Well of parliament at Tower Hill, in Freetown.
“MPs who we sent to parliament have the responsibility to play oversight role for government’s functioning, but they are the ones behaving lawlessly, an act which would bring them down and the people of this nation would not have trust in them,” he said.
He said the dishonest part of the incident was that the suffering of Sierra Leoneans at this current time is not easy because they are struggling to find something to eat and the cost of basic commodity is going up every day, so MPs needed to advocate for their constituents and not engage in fisticuff.
Chief Executive Officer for CHRDI said that was not the first time members of parliament were tearing proclamation, adding that while they were discussing the regulations to change the electoral system to proportional representation, members from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party made their contributions to the process.
He said after making their contributions, the Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Abass Chernor Bundu, told them that all what they have said didn’t add any relevance to the issues being debated.
He continued that after the speaker had made the above statement, the acting leader of the opposition, Hon. Abdul Kargbo stood up and noted that they needed to clarify some areas in the PR system before it being laid in the Well, but the speaker denied because they had made their contributions and that they should go ahead with the proceedings and instructed the Deputy Minister of Justice, Umaru Napoleon Koroma to go ahead with the introduction and laying of the PR system.
Fatoma said while in the process, someone from the opposition rushed towards the Mace-the symbol of authority in the House of parliament,thereafter the parliamentary security went to protect it while MPs from SLPP and APC also rushed to protect the same mace.
He said during the process, representatives from the SLPP party and the APC party were seen fighting and throwing chairs at one another.
“Basically, the whole issue that happened in the well of parliament clearly showed poor leadership in parliament because you can see that the opposition leader was not able to control his own men and also the SLPP leadership was not able to control his own men as well.So, if this continues to happen in the future it would seriously affect our country,” he said.
In the absence of the members of the opposition party, the Deputy Minister of Justice finally laid on the table of the house two major Electoral Regulations for the purposes of next year’s general elections.