NGC parliamentarians abstain from voting for Speaker of the House

Anthony Kamara Jnr: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 April 2018:

Members of Parliament representing Kambia District under the National Grand Coalition (NGC) party have today taken the oath of office, becoming full-fledged representatives of the Sierra Leone House of Parliament.

Hon. Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, NGC parliamentary caucus leader representing Constituency 062 (Samu Chiefdom), Hon. Foday Mario Kamara, deputy leader representing Constituency 057, Hon. Abdul Titus Kamara, Whip, of Constituency 061 and Hon. Bai Sama Kamara, deputy whip, of Constituency 060 expressed gratitude and joy following the ceremony.

“We will now be able to formally represent our people,” said Hon. Foday Mario Kamara when asked about the memorable day he has just been part of.  Said Hon. Bai Sama Kamara, “We just want to get to work for our people who elected us.” For Hon. Abdul Titus Kamara, he noted that as parliamentarians under the NGC, they will always put “Country Fors.”

On the first order of business, election of Speaker – third in line after the President and Vice President should both become incapacitated, the NGC Members of Parliament abstained from voting because of the unconstitutional nature of the process.

“We will not support anything that we don’t consider constitutional,” said Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella.  According to Hon. Yumkella, the fact that 68 Members of the Opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) were forcibly removed from parliament by security forces and therefore prevented from voting was not only wrong but a scene never before seen in the well of parliament.

“That is unprecedented and wrong . We cannot replace APC unconstitutionality with Junta Democracy,” underscored Honourable Yumkella.

On the NGC party’s position, Honourable Yumkella, speaking on behalf of his colleagues emphasized that – “Our abstention is not in objection to the Speaker. Our abstention is about the process. The constitution is clear: all members should be here. The standing Orders are clear and all members should be here. So on principle, we cannot support to validate a process that we believe is against the constitution.”

Since he returned home to serve his people, Hon. Yumkella has been a staunch supporter of the constitution and following the due process of the law. The opposition APC has a reputation for tinkering with the constitution to justify their illegal actions including the sacking of the then Vice President, Mr. Alhaji Sam Sumana.

Yumkella is himself a victim of the APC which tried on many occasions to prevent him from becoming a presidential as well as Member of Parliament candidate among other injustices meted against him.

“I am here representing people because of democracy. Everybody knows I am not a friend of APC, they fought me non stop before the elections and I am not a sympathizer either. Otherwise, I would have walked out with them,” he further noted.

Hon. Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella of Constituency 062 made the below remarks to media following the refusal of the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Paran Tarawally, to grant him the opportunity, at the Well of Parliament, to inquire about and express his views on the process of electing a new Speaker of Parliament  for the First Session of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone.

“As a party, we in the National Grand Coalition (NGC) are always for constitutionality and we will not support anything that we don’t consider constitutional.

“This morning, we saw a spectacle that has never occurred in this parliament. Troops of police men forcibly removing 68 Members of Parliament, which is about 45 or 48 percent of members. That is unprecedented and wrong . We cannot replace APC unconstitutionality with Junta Democracy. It is not possible! Thus, we cannot support any process we consider that removes so many people from parliament.

“Our abstention is not an objection to the Speaker. Our abstention is to the process. The constitution is clear: all members should be here. The standing Orders are clear; all members should be here. So on principle, we cannot support the validation of a process that we believe is against the constitution.

“For NGC, we strongly believe in separation of powers. There is a clear distinction between the three arms of government. We don’t take instructions from the executive and we don’t want the judiciary also trying to upset the parliamentary process. We are guided by the constitution.

“For the NGC and I, we stand on principle. We will not endorse any processes that are undemocratic. We are victims of undemocratic practices. We stood by what we believe for morality and constitutionality and we acted accordingly because we are here for the people. We will do what we have to in parliament. We are not here to be praised . We are here to represent our people and to work under the guidance of the constitution.

“For me personally, I am not here for people to recognize me. I am here to do the peoples work with high morality and constitutionality. My father was a Member of Parliament in 1957  – so I grew up in a tradition for respecting the rule of law.

“Don’t forget that I did not yield to former President Ernest Bai Koroma or even the All Peoples Congress (APC)) with all their shenanigans. I am here through hard work  but also believing that yes, the rule of law must prevail.

“We have said we want to be a constructive opposition; we will work with government and with the opposition. When we have differences, we are prepared to stand alone. We are not here to curry favours.

“I believe we should have debated the election of the House Speaker. Having a gag rule preventing people from debating when almost 50 percent of parliament is forcibly removed – I believe strongly that is not good for democracy.

“That is what I believe and I hope it is recorded for history. I am here for a purpose and was elected by my people. I will always speak to what I believe not out of fear or favour. “

7 Comments

  1. Korthor Santhkie Sorie,

    The injuction obtained from the courts stated clearly that the affected lawmakers cannot participate in parliamentary deliberations. The SLPP followed the law, the APC did not, hence the removal of Tolongbo lawmakers by the police.

    Relative to Dr. Kandeh Yumkella and the NGC, there is not much leverage associated with four parliamentary seats and a 6.9% of presidential votes.

  2. My leader in the NGC ,Dr Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella , has indeed become an irritant for the political establishment and their supporters , a lethal weapon with the capability of mass destruction. To this is added stealthiness which denies the other sides the chance to run for cover.

    The man [KKY] is fearless , well educated , articulate and forceful -a combination which we have not seen in the Sierra Leone Parliament in decades. As an example , it was KKY who revealed to the people that it was only in their country that $250,000 was spent on repairing a single street light. Where was Bernadette Lahai as opposition leader for ten years when this took place. Was she scared or was she compromised ?

    It is this tendency to unnerve the powers that be and their toady hangers on which is inflicting so much agony in their camp that they have not tried to ascertain what an injunction means let alone to realise that , legally ,there are different types of injunction.

    Well KKY fully understands all the dimensions of an injunction , that’s why his Party [NGC] abstained from the vote to elect a speaker. His critics should find a good lawyer to educate them in this regard and get them out of their kingdom of fanciful imagination and distorted thinking.

    There was a miscarriage of justice when on an ambiguous injunction some parliamentarians were thrown out , thus denying them the chance to vote for the speaker of their choice.This is not democracy.

  3. Its saddening to note that Kandeh always make decisions that can clearly put his level of thinking below expectations. Kandeh must understand the laws of Sierra Leone properly if he is to represent his Kambia people well in parliament. When a temporary injunction is placed on an elected member of parliament, that elected member is suspended from all proceedings of parliament for a stated period of time.

    So those 16 APC elected members of parliament were politely asked by the clerk of parliament to leave the wells of parliament due to that injunction from the high court and not from the SLPP. Therefore, if the other 53 APC elected members did not see reason to stay in parliament on to continue the business of that day, well and fine, its their prerogative. Parliament is an organ of a democratic government which makes the laws of the land and those laws are interpreted and implemented by an other organ of a democratic government, the judiciary.

    There is no excuse for Kandeh and his four NGC not voting. It only shows his prematurity in politics and ignorance by not participating in the speaker election thereby depriving himself, his party and his people. Kandeh, you are still pushing yourself deeper into the political wilderness. When you left the SLPP because you and your praise singers see you as the only man on precious earth to be president of Sierra Leone, we your critics said it clearly that your political career was finished.

    You came with your NGC thinking you were going to kick out the two grand old parties to win the elections outright, we again predicted that you cannot pass a 6% mark. Today you are only four in parliament, and its so early again that you have started pushing yourself behind thinking that will make Sierra Leoneans sympathize with you and elect you president.

    Again, here is my prediction for you, “no political party can defeat SLPP and APC in any general elections in Sierra Leone be it free and fair or not till the end of our current generation”. SLPP can win a free and fair election and APC can win a crook and cook election, so where do you see yourself near the executive seat for the next 50 years?

  4. There is a fine line between politics and other carers. KKY is better off wherever he has been, teaching the world how to sustain energy. This fine gentleman has never voted for anyone. he has only voted for himself. He abstained when there was a run off. He abstained in parliament to vote for the speaker and he expect people to vote for him.

    If you abstain it means you support the oppressor. Let KKY understand that no third party will easily survive in Sierra Leone. If he cannot make decisions he better quit politics. There will be a time when he will be on his own because even his supporters will abandon him.

    He was calling the current government junta democracy, what did he do when APC MPs elect stormed the parliament and disrupted the whole place? APC was not ready to negotiate anything. It was a well organised thing to come in and disrupt the peaceful process that was going on. I think KKY should start to be honest by speaking the truth because the whole drama unfolded under his watch. We are watching him closely.

  5. I personally want to know whether Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella has any regrets about his whole mission in his 2018 entire presidential campaign. I see no reason for him to abandon SLPP and created his own party in order for him to become a flag bearer. It doesn’t make sense.

    But yet, he made a very good pathway for President Bio, because, God has already appointed Bio as our next commander in chief and he deserved it. Your Excellency Rtd. Brig Julius Maada Bio, we love you yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. Long live Bio long live Mama Sierra Leone.

  6. I think Kandeh Yumkella has to return back to his previous job of tree hugging to save the planet and make the environment more cleaner through the use of sustainable energy.

    My advice to him is to stay away from the kitchen if he can’t handle the heat. Politics around the world is all about political maneuvering as was the recent case of appointing of one justice to the US Supreme Court when the Republican Party used the nuclear option just to get president Trump’s nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed without a two third majority from both parties as stated in the constitution just to score political advantage in order to pursue their political ideology and agendas.

  7. Bravo to our able Leader (NGC) and Hon.Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella for the positive stance you took. Integrity, principle, discipline and truth is the blue print of such a leader as you. Keep it up sir and God richly bless and watch over you.

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