Anarchy in Sierra Leone parliament as police swoops in

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 April 2018:

Sierra Leone’s parliament was officially opened today, as MPs from across the political divide took their seats, except for the 68 MPs representing the main opposition APC who refused to obey the Clerk of Parliament when called to order. And it got worse.

At about 10am, the Clerk decided to adjourn the opening session as APC MPs continued their protest of passive resistance, in anticipation of having 16 of their members thrown out by the Clerk after yesterday’s High Court injunction.

And as the noise level grew, with the APC MPs chanting their party’s anthem in defiance, the Clerk of Parliament reminded the MPs that until they have been sworn in, they will be treated as MPs elect and must therefore be mindful of their conduct.

Still there was no order in parliament. The Clerk adjourned the opening till 11am, as he went outside to receive the list of excluded APC MPs from lawyers acting for the government.

On his return he read out the names of 16 APC MPs and ordered them to leave the House. The APC MPs whose names were called out by the Clerk were: Isaac Tucker, John Conteh, Alusine Sesay, Amadu   Kanu, Kemokoh conteh, Rugiatu Kanu, Isaac Tarawallie, Wurie Jalloh, Momoh kamara, Mrs. Kadie Kallon, Ahmed Mansaray, Chernoh Bah, Sirajin Rollins – Kamara, Abu Bakarr Sillah, Osman Timbo, Billon Shaw.

Most, if not all of the 16 APC MPs were petitioned in the High Court for failing to resign their respective public offices at least twelve months prior to the elections. Instead, they have been illegally pocketing their monthly public service salaries, prompting accusations of corruption and theft of public funds.

The 16 MPs refused to obey the Clerk’s order to leave the House, as anarchy ensued. The remaining 52 APC MPs formed a chain around their 16 rebel colleagues, acting in defiance of the Clerk’s orders to vacate the House.

The Clerk was to have none of it. He then called in the police, who stormed parliament to force the 16 APC MPs out of parliament.

There were scuffles, as the remaining 52 MPs physically engaged with the police to prevent their colleagues being removed. But it was futile.

All 68 APC MPs finally left the House in protest as the police struggled to maintain the peace, decorum and order of parliament.

But as sanity returned, it was the business of the Clerk to proclaim the opening of parliament which started with a prayer, followed by the swearing of the remaining MPs, which comprised of 49 SLPP, 8 C4C, 4 NGC, 3 Independents and the 14 Paramount Chiefs. (Above Video courtesy of AYV TV).

Next business on the Clerk’s agenda was the election of a Speaker of Parliament, a thorny issue that has led to two days of rioting and anarchy in the wells of parliament by the opposition APC MPs, who are determined to make Sierra Leone ungovernable under the ruling SLPP.

There was only one nomination on the ballot, and that was the veteran SLPP lawyer and politician – Dr Abass Bundu. The opposition APC had, by their self-imposed absence in parliament today, squandered their opportunity to nominate their preferred candidate – the former Speaker Sheku B.B Dumbuya.

And when the secret ballot was taken, Dr Abass Bundu was elected Speaker of the House for the ensuing five years of SLPP governance.

This is a serious political miscalculation, which the opposition APC will come to regret in the coming days, weeks and months – if not years.

Reporting live from the wells of parliament, this is how Augustine Samba described the election result:  “The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has elected Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu as Speaker of Parliament.

“He was elected opposed. Voting was conducted in accordance with democratic precedence and as stated in the Constitution and Standing Orders of Parliament.

“Dr. Bundu won with 71 votes. There was 1 void and 5 MPs did not vote. According to Hon. Sidi Tunis, the newly elected speaker – Dr Bundu, is from Gbinti in the Port Loko District, Northern Sierra Leone.

“Honourable Tunis informed the House that the elected speaker had served as a Parliamentarian from 1982 to 1992, and has a wealth of experience in international affairs, including the ECOWAS. He is a barrister at law and will serve parliament well.”

With the election of Speaker of parliament today, amid chaos and rioting by the opposition APC MPs who walked out of parliament, after police stormed the building in order to remove their 16 excluded members, SLPP has scored a major victory in its battle to have some control over a parliament it had failed to win at last month’s general elections. (Photo: Empty seats vacated today by the opposition APC).

How the opposition APC respond now, is anyone’s guess. But what is certain is that some senior APC party grandees, including their presidential candidate – Dr. Samura Kamara had promised to make Sierra Leone ungovernable, should the APC lose the 2018 elections.

Losing the 2018 elections, they did. They have a majority in parliament but failed to win the presidency.

Are they now going to destabilise the country, thus ensuring that the SLPP government cannot govern effectively?

8 Comments

  1. I am not in the least surprised at the behavior of the APC boys (for grown ups wouldn’t degenerate into such display of disrespect for the people they claim to represent). They are known for violence. Thankfully, SLPP did not and will never go down that path.

    What however surprises me most is the position of the NGC in all of this saga – to abstain after such a display of arrogance? My God, I thought these NGC representatives meant business. Were they expecting APC to hold SL at ransome? I won’t be surprised to see Yumkella pitch in with APC to sabotage SLPP in working for the people of SL. History will judge them and God will continue to guide and protect His Excellency, Julius Maada Bio and his executive.

    • I was equally surprised to see the NGC parliamentarians condoning the actions of ragamuffins. Well, well, well, if KKY ever pitches tent with the APC, then that will surely be the end of his political career.

  2. What a shame!!. My stomach aches to think these have been the ‘rulers’ of Sierra Leone for decades. People who have no respect for authority.

    I watched in disbelief as the carrier of the ‘MACE’,the staff of authority and democracy was ignored by the rioting APC. Shows the ignorance and brutality which is the landmark of APC rule.

    However many of us are very, very proud of the dignified response of the SLPP and that IS WHAT WE ARE, PEOPLE OF RESILIENCE AND INTEGRITY. The APC and its violent supporters will NEVER EVER drag US down to their level.

    We pray for God’s anointing on President Bio, his government and the people of Sierra Leone and may God uproot all evil forces and leadership from our nation in Jesus’s name.

  3. The best way to resolve a deteriorating situation that was escalating to violence and destruction which the APC party and previous government were always proud of was to get the police involved in order to restore law and order in the well of parliament.

  4. Congratulations to Dr Abass Bundu for becoming the Speaker of Parliament. I must express a fear that he will find it very difficult as APC will try to sabotage each and every Motion in the House

  5. The Laws of Karma or Reciprocity: What goes around will surely come around someday. If Sierra Leoneans could remember in the 1970’s leading to the APC government declaring a One Party State, all the then opposition SLPP MP seats were petitioned and it’s core leaders arrested, and some of them forced at gun point to cross-carpet. I pray the SLPP party will not allow any cross-carpeting from the APC. The APC parliamentarians are anti to the progress of Mama Salone and would be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Lonta!!!!

    The APC need to be obliterated from the walls of our Parliament and the annals of our political landscape of Sierra Leone.

    What happened in the wells of our Parliament today shows the true colors of the APC and who they are.

  6. I can foresee an unpleasant and undesirable development – SL Police and SL Army having to be summoned to establish and reinstate properties; assistance from The African Union and The UN may have to be summoned! What a disgrace!

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