By Amin Kef-Ranger
The All People Congress (APC) Party, which is the main opposition party in the House of Parliament is currently in the majority having a total of 59 Seats followed by the SLPP with 58 Seats , C4C 08 Seats, NGC 04 Seats, Independent MPs 03 Seats and 14 PCMP, bringing the total of Members of Parliament to 146.
The twist came as a result of the outcome of the bye-election that was conducted in Constituency 056 in Tonkolili District by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, which saw the emergence of the APC Candidate in that Bye-Election, Jawah Sesay, as the winner.
On the 13th July 2022, the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Paran Umar Tarawally administered the oath of office to the newly elected Member of Parliament, Hon. Jawah Sesay as made provision for by the Third Schedule of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.
After the oath was taken, the Clerk of Parliament handed copies of the Standing Orders and the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone to enable Hon. Jawah Sesay to do his work in Parliament. The new MP was conducted to his seat in Parliament by the Principal Table Clerk, Anthony C. Kamara.
The current composition of Parliament is now as follows: SLPP 58, APC 59, C4C 08, NGC 04, Independent MPs 03, and 14 PCMP, bringing the total to 146.
In his statement, the Leader of Opposition, Hon. Chernor R.M. Bah welcomed the new MP and thanked the Electoral Commission for the conduct of the bye-election. He insisted that, the first credit goes to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone and asked all and sundry to support the institution. He used the opportunity to ask colleague MPs to be patriotic.
Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma thanked the new MP and applauded the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone. He also made reference to the Leader of Opposition, in light of the felicitation extended to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone. The Leader wished the new MP well and encouraged him to work in the interest of the State.
On his part, the Speaker welcomed the new MP and referred to him as ‘the last born’. He re-echoed the felicitation of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone. “Mr. Chairman we want to see NEC to continue what is right”, he stated and asked Parliament to support the independence of the institution.
In another development, Parliament has continued its debate on the Public Elections Act 2022.
The Bill seeks to repeal and replace the Public Election Act, 2022 (Act No.4 of 2012), to provide for supplementary provisions to sections 32 and 33 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991).
In his submission, Hon. Daniel Koroma said the memorandum and objects of the bill did not capture the intention of the bill and underscored that Section 32 is applicable, but questioned the relevance of Section 33 in the Bill.
“We only received constitutional amendment for 32 and not 33,”he concluded. He said the bill is not properly before the House, cognizant of Section 33 as stated in the long title of the bill and the memorandum of objects and reasons. He also questioned the mode of registration as cited in the bill, and underscored that it contravenes the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone. He also cited other provisions in the Bill that contravene other election-related matters.
A Dilatory Motion was moved for the suspension of the debate to a later date by Leader of Government Business Hon. Mathew Shar Nyuma and it was seconded by the Deputy Leader of Government Business Hon. Bashiru Silikie.