• November 13, 2023

What Kept You Away – Speaker asks APC MPs

What Kept You Away – Speaker asks APC MPs
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By Donstance Koroma

In his welcome statement of the 52 Honorable Members of the All People Congress (APC) to the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic after the June 24 pools, the Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Bundu asked the APC MPs in the Well of Parliament what has kept them away? He said: “Honorable Members, Permit me to start with the question: what kept you away?

He disclosed that on several occasions he tried to plead with APC’s MPs to see reason and come to the House to perform the sacred constitutional duties for which they had been elected by their people. Instead, they chose to boycott.

The Speaker continued that they should have come a long time ago just as the SLPP MPs did and also as their Party comrades, Hon. Mohamed Bangura and Hon. Alfred Thompson had done so gloriously on July 13th, 2023.

“Although nearly four months late in arriving, nonetheless it’s better late than never,” he stressed. More especially, the Speaker continued, i feel deeply gratified that my urgings didn’t fall on deaf ears entirely. Today this Sixth Parliament can proudly say its whole membership is now fully seated and in full conformity with the multiparty democratic Constitution of 1991; a Constitution that vehemently and vigorously eschews any return to anything even remotely resembling the one-party dispensation of yesteryears that it had ingloriously banished to the nauseating attics of history,” Speaker said.

The Speaker recalled July 13, 2023, when the Members of Parliament of the ruling SLPP Party subscribed the oath of office and November 7, 2023, marked yet another milestone in the life of the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic as 52 Members of the Opposition APC Party that followed the dictates of their Party to boycott Parliament subscribed the oath of office as Members of Parliament.

He disclosed that he consider it as a great honor to welcome all 52 MPs to the Chamber of Parliament.

The Speaker therefore was hastened to pay special respect and honor to the determination and perseverance of the Independent Commission on Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC) for living up to its legal mandate and to the expectations of the general public. According to the Speaker, differences of opinion, perception and persuasion in the political arena, by definition, form an integral part of any truly functioning and vibrant democracy.

The Speaker noted that  it is of the utmost importance that national institutions are established and capacitated to speedily enter into the breach and provide the much needed relief where such party differences occur and particularly so where such party differences exhibit the potential of exploding into a national crisis and possible violence.

Speaker called on both the Executive Branch and the Legislature deserve the fullest commendation for having had the foresight to propose and legislate into existence the ICPNC which he noted has worked tirelessly to bring about what he called  exalted and much desired outcome.

By the same token, the Speaker added that he would like to convey on behalf of the entire House their  profound appreciation and debt of gratitude to the special peace envoys deployed to our country by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the Commonwealth Secretariat and  all those that spared no effort in discharging their collective role as international interlocutors and moral guarantors to ensure the successful outcome of the dialogue between the ruling SLPP Government and the APC Opposition  completed by APC  agreeing to terminate their boycott and to assume their seats in the Well of this House to start process of discharging their constitutional responsibilities to the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic to which APC MPs were  duly elected by their people.

We welcome our APC colleagues from the shadows into the limelight of Parliamentary politics and banter, the Speaker Said.

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