Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 July 2020:
Last Friday, 3rd July 2020, members of Parliament in Sierra Leone continued their discussion of the president’s statement that he delivered to parliament on Thursday, 28th May 2020.
Sulaiman Marray-Conteh MP of the ruling SLPP spoke about the pivotal role the media is playing in the development of the country, which is why President Bio has promised and committed his Government to taking the necessary steps to repeal Part 5 of the Public Order Act of 1965 that encompasses the obnoxious seditious libel laws.
Abdul Karim Kamara MP, speaking for the main opposition APC said that he is surprised by contributions made by MPs that fail to raise critical issues and offer solutions to the President, in order to address the challenges of governance in the country.
He criticised his colleague MPs for praise-singing the President. Speaking about the government’s education and health policies, Abdul Karim Kamara said that the government’s strategies are not working, given the data presented by Government to Parliament.
Joseph Williams Lamin MP of the SLPP, commended President Bio for his statement to parliament, and said that Sierra Leone is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. He applauded the Government of President Bio for advancing the development agenda of the country.
Dr. Roland Kargbo of the APC observed that the President’s statement had left out vital information for the education of the people. He praised the Government for the recruitment of more teachers to the classrooms but criticised the Government “for failing to pay salaries to teachers with pin codes”.
Hindolo M. Gevao MP for the SLPP, said that the previous Government had indulged in massive corruption and failed to develop the country, as he spoke highly of the President’s efforts in rebranding what he referred to as the battered image of the country left behind by the former Government.
Hindolo M. Gevao commended the good leadership of the Anti-Corruption Commission Czar – Francis Ben Kaifala, for recovering funds from officials of the previous Government “to the tune of thirty-one billion Leones” he said.
Gevao also said that since the Bio-led government came to office, Sierra Leone has done remarkably well in the fight against corruption. He praised the fairness and independence of the Judiciary under the leadership of President Bio and applauded President Bio’s administration for not interfering in the work of the judiciary.
Haja Miatta Amara of the APC, thanked President Bio for his statement but expressed surprise that his address did not capture issues affecting people with disability. She called on the government to provide basic skills training for persons with disability; and also spoke on the need for women’s empowerment.
Emilia L. Tongi – an Independent MP from Kailahun district, said she appreciates the president’s statement to parliament, and commended the President for work done in addressing sexual and gender-based violence by enacting tougher laws.
She called for laws aimed at combatting rape to be put into practice by punishing perpetrators of such terrible offences against women, children and girls in the country.
Musa Fofanah of the C4C party, praised President Bio for the his statement, and thanked him for implementing some of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Local Government Committee, especially the payment of salaries to Mayors and Chairpersons of Local Councils for the first time since the re-introduction of local governance in 2004.
He commended the leadership of Parliament for supporting the work of his committee, in reviewing the Local Government Act of 2004 and the Decentralization Policy of 2010. He also commended the Minister of Water Resources and his sectorial team for consulting with stakeholders to improve the management of the water sector in the country, whilst encouraging officials of the water sector to intensify their monitoring and supervision of the ongoing water projects around the country.
Mohamed Sheriff Rahman-Coker MP for the ruling of SLPP, advised his colleague MPs to avoid partisanship, and called on them to assist the President in his vision to shape the socio-economic development of the nation.
He commended the President for the Integrated Resilience Project aimed at transforming the transport sector in the country. He also recognized the efforts made by the President in the fight against corruption.
Ibrahim Ben Kargbo MP for the opposition APC (Photo), who is the Deputy Leader of the party, recalled the efforts of the previous APC government in the development of information and communication technology in the country. He spoke about the establishment of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, SALCAB and the landing of the fibre optic cables for cheaper, reliant, effective and efficient communication by the APC government.
Speaking about national peace and reconciliation, IB Kargbo said that the promotion of peace and national political cohesion is fundamental to good governance in the country. “The country needs peace, stability and political inclusion at this moment”, he said.
Kargbo said that much needs to be done by the government to improve the free quality education programme.
Sahr Juana MP of the SLPP, commended President Bio for his statement to the Houses of parliament which he said was “clear and straight forward”. He applauded the government for seeing the need to repeal the criminal libel laws. He also applauded the President for the fight against corruption and the improvement of infrastructural development, especially the country’s road network.
Boston Munda MP of the SLPP, also commended the President for his stance in tackling corruption, and spoke about the need to repeal the criminal libel laws for the development of the media industry.
Hamidu Holla Mansaray of the APC, called on President Bio to capacitate the youth and called for equal distribution of the nation’s resources across every region in the country.
The debate continued yesterday, Monday 6th July 2020.