• June 9, 2020

Remembering the “Illegal” Removal APC MPs from Parliament

Remembering the “Illegal” Removal APC MPs from Parliament
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By Joseph A. Kamanda 

The House of Parliament forms for supreme and solid foundation of any country’s democracy and not reversals of democratic decisions that have already been taken during elections by the people, as was done by the Government to please selected ruling party representatives who  illegally became “members of parliament” without the electoral mandates of the people.

Parliaments everywhere in the world serve as platforms for the consolidation of democratic progress countries actually practicing true contemporary democracies. In such, opposition par

ties are always actively involved in national development programmes and activities irrespective of parliamentary representatives’ individual political indifferences, parliamentarians are always at the hearts of those processes and are expected to place their country fist above all partisan interests, work in closed collaborations.

Back home in Sierra Leone, it is the exact opposite of what is presently happening in nowadays parliamentary democracy. Completely strange in its entirety and those new undemocratic cultures are rapidly undermining the country’s democracy if at all we are to label issues by their right names in trying to correct them now going forward.

That is not the situation in Sierra Leone since the then minority ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) changed the code of practice therein parliamentary procedures barely a year and few months ago, when armed personnel of the Operational Support Division (OSD) of the unprofessional Sierra Leone Police, forcefully stormed the honourable well of parliament, and rudely dragged out the then majority main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party Members of Parliament from the chamber on orders from above. An incident that took all and sundry by huge surprise including foreign diplomats and at the end of the day the incumbency went away with impunity.

For civilized democracies, it was an insult to Sierra Leone democracy for only one position in the House procedures were blatantly disregarded in favor of misrepresentations of the nation’s democratic values.

Though very much strange, the cheap and undemocratic political gimmick marked the preparatory assassination of Sierra Leoneans’ hard earned democracy, wherein the SLPP secured that the position of Speaker of the House of Parliament went to them.

The post Dr Chrenor Abass Bundu now holds in the House. And you may want to ask us why the forceful invasion of the well by armed Police personnel in the first place? Was it due to the lack of negotiation initiatives by the ruling SLPP elites? Or were they just bent on using their incumbency powers against the determined opposition APC?

We condemn those disrespects for our democratic principles and want to urge authorities in the House of Parliament to run the affairs of democracy applying the rights procedures and approaches moving forward bearing in mind that the world is patiently watching Sierra Leone in whatever we are doing as a country.

Anyway the precedent left an indelible mark in the political annals of the country, without remorseful redress mechanism from the ruling SLPP leadership in the House, besides other undemocratic onslaughts are still being against the APC MPs unabated and unchecked, up to the peak of forcefully taking the leadership of the House of Parliament from the then majority APM MPs and subjected them into minority, through a politically motivated judicial process that saw ten main opposition lawmakers out of their legitimate seats.

These among series of other issues including constant attacks faced by APC MPs remained unaddressed, onto politically driven petitions filed against ten of the embattled opposition lawmakers, at the High Court of Sierra Leone presided over by an APC regime promoted lawyer, Justice Komba Kamanda. He was no stranger to the electoral process.

Justice Kamanda knew very well that the ten APC MPs were certified by the National Electoral Commission and had already served for over a period of one year, but went ahead and removed them illegally from the House on 31st May, 2019 High Court verdict that turned in their seats to selected the SLPP representatives the House worriedly swear in whiles the APC National Secretariat on No. 11 Old Railway Line Brookfields Freetown, was transformed into a battle front by armed OSD personnel.

And the unprofessional Police in their desperations to prevent the main opposition APC from taking to the streets of Freetown in protests against the unlawful removal of their MPs attacked the party’s secretariat building, unleashed massive beatings, injured, arrested so many members, supporters and detained them in cells at the notorious and unethical Criminal Investigations Department. A day and incident the APC will never forget not to talk of the affected MPs in their various political careers.

The ten removed APC MPs are; Hon. Osman Timbo of Constituency 130, Hon. Kemokoh Conteh of Constituency 108, Hon. John Sattie Kargbo of Constituency 111, Hon. Sirajin Rollings-Kamara of Constituency 127, Hon. Kadie Davies of Constituency 110, late Hon. Sheriff Carew of Constituency 122, Hon. Ahmed Mansaray Constituency 121, Hon. Hariyatu Bangura of Constituency 116, Hon. Momoh Kamara of Constituency 120 and Hon. Abu Sillah of Constituency 128.

Like jobless public and civil service workers of the last APC administration, fired by the same SLPP government, the removed APC MPs are going through in the hands of horrors of unemployment as if working with the former regime was a crime.

Moreover, considering the democratic gains that had been made in the last twenty years by late former President Dr Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah and former President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, the illegal removal of the ten APC MPs was a mere disgrace to the country, especially when moral guarantors of Sierra Leone peace and democratic governance processes including the international community, couldn’t say a word as if they were not aware of all the abuses to democracy and the people’s rights.

Under the so-called new dispensation, everything seems to have been watered down by the present state of affairs under the watchful eyes of the President Julius Maada Bio, as the said “father of democracy” led SLPP Government, to an extent that even the selected SLPP “lawmakers” lack the academic capacity to take part constructively in parliamentary debates.

We therefore continue to urge government and the appropriate authorities in both the House of Parliament, the Sierra Leone Police and the Sierra Leone Judiciary to safeguard the country hard earned democracy and fragile peace for the general good of generations yet unborn by desisting from disrespecting the supremacy of Parliament, the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone the rampant denials of the will of the electorates

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