NGC Chairman Dr. Bright protests the deplorable treatment of Yumkella by speaker of parliament

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 June 2021:

Mr. Speaker, I write in connection with the above subject and in my capacity as Chairman and Leader of the National Grand Coalition Party (NGC). The NGC’s representation in Parliament comprises four MPs headed by our Parliamentary Leader, the Hon. Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella.

The leadership of the NGC notes with grave concern a worrying trend of marginalization and undignified treatment of our Party’s Parliamentary Leader and, by extension, of our Party at the hands of the administration of the House of Parliament.

The most recent manifestation of such treatment is the decision to exclude the NGC Leader from the Supervisory Committee which monitors the activities of all Parliamentary committees.

This is in contravention of the provisions of Standing Order (70) sub-clause (13) (a) as follows: “A Supervisory Committee of all Committees consisting of all leaders, chaired by the Majority Leader of the House with Clerk of Parliament as Secretary, shall monitor the activities of all parliamentary committees to ensure the proper conduct of their mandate”.

It is difficult to fathom why one of the party leaders in Parliament, in this case the Hon. Dr. Yumkella, could be singled out for exclusion when the standing order so clearly indicates that he is as of right a member of that important committee.

My party is deeply worried that if basic rules such as this can be so easily flouted or ignored at the level of the Legislature, the stage is set for lawlessness in a society where disregard for rules and regulations would become the new normal.

We also note that our Parliamentary Leader sent you the attached letter requesting your assistance for his private member bill to be gazetted. This Bill would have opened up the political space giving women thirty percent of the seats in Parliament, allowing diaspora greater participation in governance and providing greater involvement of young professionals in Parliament.

It is almost a year now and he has not received a response, nor did the government printers publish the Bill. This particular issue is of greater concern because it implies unfortunately that Members who do not belong to the ruling party cannot present Bills to Parliament.

Furthermore, it is the tradition of Parliaments across the world for Party leaders in Parliament to take the floor at the end of debates, with ample time to react to the issues raised and present their parties’ position.

This tradition named “rounding up the debate” has been the convention in the Sierra Leone Parliament for decades. However, we have observed that since the third Session of this Fifth Parliament, you have refused to allow our leader to “round up the debate” but rather relegated him to compete for your attention along with other members.

This action thwarts the will of the people who, through the 2018 general elections, voted four political parties into Parliament.

The leaders of these parties, by the mandate of the people, are accorded rights and responsibilities, consistent with their selfless public service and the dignity of their honourable office.

Finally, to put this sad and unfortunate situation into context, you may be aware that there have been several attempts to frustrate the Hon. Dr. Yumkella by transferring him frequently around from one Committee to another, as if to prevent him from making any impact.

And in the recent allocation of vehicles to Party Leaders in Parliament, it was only the Hon. Dr. Yumkella who was not assigned an official vehicle. We have drawn our own conclusions about the reasons for these actions that are basically telling us the sad story of where our democracy currently stands.

However, on the precise issue of the exclusion of Hon. Dr. Yumkella from the Supervisory Committee, we believe that for as long as Hon. Dr. Yumkella continues to be the NGC Leader in Parliament, and in the spirit and letter of Standing Order 70 (13) (a), he is ipso facto member of the said committee.

I therefore have the honour to request that you intervene to effect his inclusion in the Supervisory Committee thereby restoring public faith in Parliament’s adherence to its own rules and regulations as inspired by the Constitution of Sierra Leone. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your kind attention and positive action.

Yours faithfully, Dennis Bright (PhD) Chairman and Leader, National Grand Coalition (NGC)

4 Comments

  1. Dr Bright, I humbly ask that you reflect on the the public life of Abass Bundu. Once you take on this nasty task, I have no doubt that you will find the so-called speaker of parliament (using small letters deliberately) is an innately crooked man. Perhaps the only time he was able to subdue his criminal crookedness was when he was employed at the British Commonwealth Secretariat . Upon being brought into politics by Siaka Stevens, his crooked ways were unhinged.

    It is the same Abass Bundu who sold our passports to foreigners. It is the same Abass Bundu who, as Secretary General of ECOWAS, became an arms merchant, selling weapons to rebel groups in the sub region. He couldn’t care less about the carnage he was facilitating. There are other dark sides to the man which I don’t have time to narrate here, other than to conclude that the nation is dealing with an individual who has never had a moral bearing. What he has been doing to Dr Yomkella further reveals two character flaws: Jealousy and inferiority complex. Abass Bundu knows that if he allows KKY to take to the floor of the House every time he will overshadow every one, including himself. But please keep fighting Dr Bright and watch the last kicks of a dying chicken.

  2. Dr Bright makes a clear, detailed and well-argued case, urging the Speaker of Parliament to amend his ways and respect the fundamental rules and regulations enshrined in our Constitution and governing the ways the very institution over which he presides operates. There is no doubt that the Speaker of the House is out for revenge: his treatment of the NGC Parliamentary Leader has no basis in law. And, ironically, the Speaker is a lawyer by training! His behaviour therefore amounts to pettiness, ill-will and bad faith combined and directed at a person of considerable political clout and standing, whom the ruling party considers to be a renegade (having once been one of its own) deserving of punishment and is out to get by any means, fair or, particularly in this case, foul.

    I make bold to claim that the Speaker and by extension his superior and head of the current government are leaving no stone unturned to undermine and frustrate a man they fear; a man that may well cause their downfall if given the latitude and wherewithal to prove to voters that he and his party are a force to reckon with, a credible alternative to those currently holding the reins of power. Dr Bundu’s unlawful behaviour is a calculated and sustained move to stop Dr Yumkella and the NGC in their tracks. If you are looking for unscrupulous politicians who will stop at nothing to keep their opponents away from power, come to Bio’s Sierra Leone and Bundu’s House of Parliament.

  3. “Silence in the face of injustice is complicity to oppression” Ginette Sanga. Totally agreed with those words. Dr. Bright is rigth in raising this issue regarding the unfortunate treatment, character assassinations and the attempts to side line , and frustrate the work of Hon. Dr Yumukella leader NGC, by the Dr Bundu and others.Two of the issues that he is championing, more political participation of the diaspora, and increase of women representation, I don’t think those two issues are mutually exclusive to Dr Yumukella, but to the vast majority of right thinking Sierra Leoneans. This for all intent and purpose is nothing sort of political school boy play ground bully tactics been used against his person. What was his crime? Well he left the SLPP party to join a different party, the NGC that shares his own beliefs and values.

    I don’t think changing your membership from one party to the other, or as in this case forming a different political party with a different political prospective and agenda is a political crime itself, that will warrant you to be sent in the deep end of political marginalisation. At the end of the day, every politician at some point in his career will be face with a stark choice. Either you tow the line on issues that goes against your political beliefs, or you take a stand, and try and promote your ideas and values by leaving your own party and forming a new one.Your light bulb moment. A lot of SLPP members switched or were forced to switch sides when our country was then declared a one party state in 1978 under the banner of the single All People’s Congress. No Former SLPP members were hassled or made to feel unwanted in their new APC party back then.

    So whats the big deal here? Right now the way things stands, the rule of law and the way our parliamentary democracy works, has been hijacked by a tiny mindless individuals led by Dr Bundu, a man that you would expect to know better to try and promote greater democracy, political awareness, participation and political debates on the way forward for our country.

  4. Can somebody please tell us the reason for such treatment. Relationship between Speaker and KKY have not been very good for quite sometime now, unlike others.

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