October 22, 2018
By Jariatu S Bangura
Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government and Rural Development have expressed disappointment over the way and manner in which the Western Area District Council (WARDC) is ‘disrespecting’ them.
According to chairman of the committee, Hon. Kemokoh Conteh, the committee last Saturday conducted an oversight visit to the council and discovered that the District Medical Officer (DMO) and other devolved sector officials were not present for the meeting, although letters had been sent to them.
“It is disappointing and unparliamentarily when we visited you, the DMO failed to show up in the name of not having what it takes to appear before us. Today, the other devolved sectors in the council are not here. You requested that we grant you permission to come today and we did that, but you fail to do likewise. We want to see all sectors. This is a national issue and people have to account for monies spent as we are about to end the 2018 fiscal year. But it appears is as if you don’t want to respect us,” fumed Hon. Conteh, adding that taxpayers’ money should be accounted for.
“Nobody will tell me about WARDC as I have been a councillor and I know all the issues surrounding there. It is very demeaning for you to treat national issues like that of personal. As an MP from that area, I have been embarrassed by the behaviour of the council to my colleagues and will not continue to tolerate such anymore,” he added.
According to Hon. Abdul Karim Kamara, the council treated parliament with utter contemp.
“This behaviour shows that there is no respect for Parliament in you as you came here disunited. Let us not take fatality to impede our work. We have been here since morning to wait for this people and some of us forego going to our different constituencies, but you failed to come with the sectors concerned,” he stated.
On his part, Hon Mustapha Sellu of the Sierra Leone People’s Party accused WARDC of trivialising the importance of parliament as a personal business, adding that if such continues other councils would do likewise.
“We here are all coming from different districts and if WARDC, where the Committee Chairman is hailing from, is not giving the punishment they deserve, we will have nothing but to be honest and tell our different councils not to come before this committee. We will use the same way when we go to our councils,” he said.
According to Chief Administrator Aminata Kargbo, all sectors officials were informed about the meeting but could not ascertain why some did not show up for the meeting with lawmakers.
“I told them that our appearance before the committee was very important, but they failed to show up, and it is unfortunate that such happened. This is one of the challenges I am facing there as CA. Whenever meetings are arranged, they will not show up and it has been done severally. I have been calling them since you told us to stand outside, some responded whilst others didn’t. I respect Parliament and I will always be ready to come whenever I am summoned to appear. I am appealing for Members to give us another date and I will try to make sure all the sectors are represented,” she promised.
But Hon. Abdul Kargbo charged that if the CA couldn’t assert control over her staff, then it showed the level of their disobedience at the council.
“The disobedience of these sectors must be looked into properly and we should make sure that these sectors are given the punishment they deserve as it calls for a national dialogue. The committee will have to withhold this budget if they fail to explain thoroughly how monies given [to them] were spent,” he said.