“We Will Boycott Parliament If Procedures Are Not Followed” APC Parliamentarians Declare In Parliament
In the parliamentary sitting of Tuesday 26 March 2019, Hon. Daniel Koroma of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), quoted section 11.8 of the Standing Order of Parliament, which highlights matters relating to procedures and rules in parliament and said that he was not pleased with the violation of these rules and proceedings. He cited the procedure relating to the Order Paper, a document that informs members of parliament about future happenings in parliament, as one that has been grossly neglected and even violated.
Hon. Daniel Koroma, who is also a Lawyer, said the Standing Order says, all order Papers should always meet members of parliament not later than 24 hours or a day before the sitting of the parliament commences but it has been a normal practice of the present Parliamentary Secretariat to always give the Order paper to members of parliament just few minutes before parliament is to sit. He said that this has made it very difficult for them to do any research on the topics put before them for deliberations.
To make their point clear, APC members of Parliament boycotted the approval process of presidential nominees for various institutions, including 7 High Court Judges, scheduled for that day.
Speaking on behalf of the leader and other members of the APC in parliament before leaving the well of parliament, Hon. Lahai Marrah said that they have no problem with all the individuals nominated. He went further to say that Mr Edmond Alpha who was nominated for NEC Commissioner South is qualified but the APC has problems with NEC as an Institution, as according to him, it lacks the capability, integrity and ability to conduct a free and fair election under its present Leadership. Therefore they in the APC are calling for the immediate removal of N’fa Alie as NEC boss. He ended by saying that as far they in the APC are concerned, they will not be taking part in anything relating to NEC until their request is met.
However, the Leader of National Grand Coalition (N G C) Hon. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella said that they in the NGC will not disrupt the parliamentary proceedings but said that they are also not happy with the NEC boss because they also believe that the recently concluded election in Tonko Limba was not done with integrity, honesty and democratic standards. He ended by saying that such actions by NEC will undermine the country’s hard-earned democracy and also demanded that the NEC boss must go.
The Leader of Government business in Parliament, Hon Sidi Tunis of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), said that he was surprised by the behavior of the main opposition as before sitting commences he had series of meetings with all the leaders of the opposition parties and he was shocked to hear what the APC members were saying. He however stated that they will move ahead with the business of parliament as they have already formed a quorum.