‘We’ll be the independent voices in Parliament’

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-Hon. Shaka M. Sama

April 19, 2018 By Regina Pratt

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Hon. Sama: lawmaker and land rights activist

One of the independent Members of Parliament has assured of their determination and commitment to be independent voices in the new parliament so as to ensure that things work in the interest of the masses.

Hon. Shaka Musa Sama, representing Constituency 104 in the Pujehun District, was speaking yesterday in an interview on Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Morning Coffee’ programme.

Hon. Sama had served as lawmaker for Constituency 88 in the same district from 2007 to 2012 under the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and was instrumental in enacting several laws.

He said the five days orientation for new parliamentarians was very useful, especially for first timers, adding that the orientation focuses on procedures and processes on how parliament operates.

“The orientation was very good and helpful because the expectations of the people are not what entail there. Majority of the MPs are below 35 years and it shows that young people are ready to move the country forward,” he said and expressed hope that the new crop of parliamentarians would be better than their predecessors.

He claimed that some of the new lawmakers were not familiar with the country’s 1991 Constitution, which makes the orientation timely and important.

As independent Members of Parliament, Hon. Sama noted that the interest of their constituents would be paramount.

“We will be holding meetings on issues of importance and decide what to do for the country by listening to what the ordinary people out there are saying. In the past, bills were passed in parliament by the majority party, but this time around it will not be like a rubber stamp parliament. We will vote for the people and not for the President or party interest,” Hon. Sama said.

As a strong advocate for land rights, the lawmaker said he was jailed because he fought for his people in Sahn Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun district.

With regards the land issue at Sahn Malen with SOCFIN agricultural company, Hon. Sama alleged that the company had attempted to bribe him during his first parliamentary inning, but he refused to accept the money.

“Some individuals take it as an opportunity for them to make massive profit on our people and I was not recognised as the Member of Parliament. They went ahead to the chiefdom and met some of the people who signed documents,” he stated.

He added that even though he lost the parliamentary election in 2012 as an independent candidate, he continued his advocacy on the rights of his people.

“I was arrested after some people made false allegations against me that I came from Bo district with five people to cause havoc and in the process destroyed some palm kernel trees at SOCFIN agricultural company in Pujehun district,” the lawmaker explained his ordeal with the company, adding that he and five others were subsequently charged, convicted and fined.