Disciplinary actions for absenteeism in Parliament

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By Jariatu S. Bangura

 In a recent session, Hon. Segepor Solomon Thomas, the Presiding Speaker of the Sixth Parliament, emphasized the need for disciplinary action against Chairpersons and committee members who habitually absent themselves from plenary sittings.

The Speaker’s assertion highlights a growing concern over absenteeism, which undermines the legislative process and the effective functioning of Parliament.

Hon. Dickson Rogers pointed out a troubling trend where committee members conduct oversight activities without informing the leadership.

He stressed that the practice is unacceptable and proposed that no committee should engage in oversight activities during plenary sittings or the Constitutional review period without proper authorization.

Leader of Government Business, Hon. Matthew Nyuma, echoed the sentiments, emphasizing that no oversight activities should occur during plenary sittings.

He criticized the lack of accountability, noting that committees, such as the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Minerals Development, often fail to submit reports after conducting oversight.

He called for strict measures to ensure that all oversight activities are conducted with the Chief Whip’s knowledge and stressed that no committee is exempt from the rule. “No committee is allowed to conduct oversight or hold meetings during plenary sittings,” he stated firmly.

Hon. Segepor Solomon Thomas announced plans to meet with leaders from both sides of the aisle to establish clear ground rules for committee activities.

He warned that any Chairperson who fails to adhere to those rules would be promptly removed from their position. “We must discipline ourselves. As lawmakers, we should set the example. We cannot make rules and then be the first to break them,” he declared.

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