It was like a scene out of a movie and held spectators in Parliament spellbound as each second unfolded itself to the delight of all patriots present. It was the country’s main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party’s (SLPP) MPs and their ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) counterparts who were starring in a show of political unity that have left tongues wagging far and wide. Political Unity took center-stage last Friday 7th December 2012 in a nation that had suffered weeks of divisive messages. It all happened as SLPP MPs unanimously commended and nominated the All People’s Congress (APC) Member of Parliament Hon. Chernor Maju Bah aka ‘Chericoco’ as the most outstanding MP for the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament. Earlier, the SLPP parliamentarians had also endorsed the APC’s choice of Speaker of the House of Parliament to be Hon. Justice Abel Nathaniel Stronge.
This was done during the official swearing-in ceremony of newly elected and endorsed Members of Parliament at the Well of Parliament on Friday. After the installment of the Speaker for a second term, it came to the turn to elect a Deputy Speaker for which Hon. Stronge asked for any nominations.
It was a scene full of surprise to political parties’ supporters, newsmen and invited guests at the ceremony when they saw the SLPP MPs, led by Hon. Komba Eric Koedoyema of Constituency 27, Kono district nominating APC’s Hon. Chernor Maju Bah for the position.
The SLPP’s motion was seconded by Hon. Ibrahim Bundu of the APC representing Constituency 52 Port Loko district. The scene was described by several invited guests as being a rare event wherein two political parties are demonstrating such oneness.
Making his contribution, Hon. Rado Yokie of the SLPP representing Bo district said, Hon. Bah deserve to be elected unopposed for that position.
According to him, Hon. Bah started manifesting his good leadership qualities since his days at Fouray Bay College, when he was serving as a member of the Auradical Club and as a students’ union politician. He said during the last parliament, Chericoco associated himself with all Members of Parliament, irrespective of their political ideology and affiliations. He said the decision of APC and SLPP to jointly sponsor a candidate would send out a strong message to the world that Sierra Leone was not divided.
Hon. Paramount Chief Kanagbaro Sanka II on behalf of the paramount chiefs, expressed happiness that Sierra Leone politicians are now seen to be putting the country’s interest first and politics second. He said the nomination of Hon. Bah shows that Sierra Leone is united and committed to peace and development, adding that as paramount chiefs, they are happy to see politicians coming together to work in the interest of their country and not their respective political parties.
For his part, Hon. Alimamy Kamara of APC representing Bombali district said the appointment of Hon. Bah as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, is manifestation of commitment to promote youthful leadership. He advised Hon. Chernor Bah not to betray the confidence of the youths, whilst further calling on him to use his position to advocate for and support young people of this country.
Newly appointed Minority Leader of the SLPP Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai said Hon. Chericoco is someone who does not believe in ethnicity and tribalism, adding that he can easily work with all sort of people irrespective of their political belongings.
Meanwhile, Hon. Sheku B. B. Dumbuya was also elected as Majority Leader and Hon. Ibrahim Bundu as Deputy Majority Leader, whilst Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai was elected Minority Leader and Hon. Ansu Kaikai as Deputy Minority Leader. Hon. Dr. Matthew Teambo is the Chief Whip to be ably assisted by Hon.Claude Kamanda as Deputy Chip Whip. Hon. Sidi Tunis of the SLPP was elected as Minority Whip.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.