Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 July 2020:
Sierra Leone’s members of Parliament last Thursday, began their marathon debate on the statement delivered to parliament by President Bio, at his State opening of the Third Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, on Thursday, 28th May, 2020.
Proposing the motion for the debate, the Leader of Government Business – Mathew Sahr Nuyma MP, thanked the President for delivering his government’s performance scorecard to Parliament.
He pleaded with colleague MPs to contribute judiciously to the debate by focusing on areas such as health, agriculture, the environment, education and other related developmental programmes embedded in the “New Direction” manifesto.
Seconding the motion, Francis Amara Kai-Samba MP of the ruling SLPP said that the statement delivered by President Bio to parliament, captures some of the tremendous tasks that have been achieved by health workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the area of education, he said President Bio has accomplished a lot through the introduction and implementation of the free quality education programme, especially in budgetary allocation.
Rugiatu R. Kanu MP representing the main opposition APC, commended the President for the statement delivered to Parliament. But she criticised the government’s free quality education, stating that many aspects of the programme are not in place, which is putting more burden on parents instead of supporting them.
Saa F. Bhendu MP of the C4C party, acknowledged the significance of the President’s address. Speaking about the current high interest rates on loans charged by the banks, he commended Government for the introduction and implementation of the national safety net programme by transferring cash to vulnerable citizens in the country.
In his contribution to the debate, Ibrahim Tawa Conteh MP of the SLPP, said that the President’s address is a total manifestation of Government’s action to improve human capital development, citing an increase in the number of educational facilities in the country.
Speaking about road network, he said that the Government has done a lot of rehabilitation, maintenance and reconstruction of roads across the country. He also praised the Government for taking concrete steps aimed at improving the socio- economic development of the country.
Daniel Koroma MP of the main opposition APC, said that the role of the opposition is to help Government to achieve its aims and objectives. But he called on the Government to ensure peace and political stability for citizens.
He criticised the Government’s policies on the economy, especially the government’s performance reported in the Millennium Challenge Cooperation’s Report of 2020.
Komba M. Kamanda MP of the C4C party, commended the Government for the improvement of the health sector, and urged the people of Sierra Leone to love one another – devoid of political and tribal sentiments so as to promote the socio-economic development of the country.
Shiaka Musa Sama – an Independent MP from Pujehun District, applauded President Bio for his statement delivered to Parliament and commended him for putting together stronger laws to combat rape and related offences. He also called for reformation and upgrading of the prisons service.
Abdul Latiff Sesay MP of the APC, said at present there is a bloated public sector wage bill and called for salary harmonization. He also called on Government to capacitate the youth for better standard of living.
Kekura Vandy of the ruling SLPP, said that the energy sector under the leadership of President Bio has achieved a lot of reforms that are geared towards adequate and sustainable energy supplies in various parts of the country.
The debate was adjourned after several other MPs had spoken. The debate continued yesterday, Friday 3 July 2020.
The Parliament of Sierra Leone extended thanks and appreciation to the Management of SLBC for streaming the debate live on TV and their Facebook Page, because of the COVID-19 which meant that the public could not attend parliament to witness the debate.
AMEN! Mr Matturi!
First of all I wanna thank all the parliamentarians for their positive views, sorry that my point is not based on the topic itself but I really want you to put it in to consideration with pleasure: 1. Majority is against the press release made by the Minister of Education science and technology more especially my very self, that there would be no market Sellers in the schools – meaning parent should prepare sufficient food for their children because after entering the class at 8:00am No pupil would be allowed to leave the classroom until 2:00 pm which means even break hour time we are not allowed to leave the class until the Stipulated time made by the ministry.
My point is that not all the fingers are equal meaning not all parents are financially strong to prepare food every day. I believe this will surely lead 70-75℅ of pupils not going to school regularly unfortunately. The moment this happen the number of failures will surely increase. So my advice for the government is to choose one of the following:
1. To ensure that food is available for the pupils throughout the month or; 2. Let the government allow the school markets to function like it used to as we all know an empty bag can’t stand on its own.
I rest my case here. I hope and pray that the government will put it into consideration.
It good that MPs are debating president Bio’s new direction agenda for our country. They should also bear in mind that in order for our country to move forward, we need peace, security and stability. I wonder how many of these MPs know the enormous task facing us. Geographically, our country is located at a disadvantaged region, when it comes to attracting foreign direct investment. Apart from everything else, there is one problem no one seems to talk about. Its called the IMAGE PROBLEM. Thanks to the western press – to many people when you say Africa,it conjures images of tribal wars, corruption, diseases, no electricity, bad roads, a corrupt judiciary and host of other horror stories . Sometimes we say it’s bad PRESS, but in certain countries that’s the reality their people are living in. To them Africa is a country not a continent. So what can our politicians do to extract Sierra Leone, in the minds of potential investors that have those images embedded in their memory?
Sierra Leone or the continent of Africa is geographically by far closer to Europe and America, but the lion’s share of Foreign direct investments, always go to the Asia Pacific region. With good political leadership, Sierra Leone can set itself apart as an oasis of peace, by respecting the rule of law, free press and a robust independent judiciary. In the absence of that, we can debate about developing our country, but it will never happen if we can’t get rid of this image problem . The outcome of the Paolo Conteh case is just one building block in restoring that image, that sends a clear message to potential investors, that our judiciary is not corrupted by politics.
I am really delighted by the statements made by all the members of parliament, but the statements made by Mr. Komba M Kamanda – C4C and Mr Daniel P Koroma – APC, addressed the concerns of many Sierra Leoneans including myself. This was what Mr Komba M Kamanda – C4C said, he “commended the Government for the improvement of the health sector, and urged the people of Sierra Leone to love one another – devoid of political and tribal sentiments so as to promote the socio-economic development of the country” and this was what Mr Daniel P Koroma – APC said- he said “that the role of the opposition is to help Government to achieve its aims and objectives. But he called on the Government to ensure peace and political stability for citizens.”
My brothers and sisters, without political stability and notional cohesion, our country will never prosper. You talk about building bridges, road networks, 3D modelling, adequate sustainable energy, flying drones, free quality education, medical digitisation, “this en that” etc, when you have peace, unity and political stability as stated by Mr Komba M Kamanda – C4C and Mr Daniel P Koroma- APC. Without these, you end with nothing. God bless Mr Komba M Kamanda, Mr Daniel P Koroma and all our parliamentarians.