Merely two weeks after the Speaker of Parliament, Honorable Justice Abel Stronge proceeded on his annual summer vacation, Parliamentarians representing the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party and the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) have started ‘pulling daggers’ at each other’s throat as to who should occupy position of Acting Speaker of parliament. The House which is expected to be an honorable institution was on Tuesday 14th August 2012 reduced to a scene like of a market place as elected MPs disrupted the entire session for nearly three hours unabated.
The unwarranted situation stemmed when the Deputy Speaker was unavoidably absent to act in the absence of the Speaker for a sitting which was supposed to discuss issues pertaining to the all important motion on the nomination fee for presidential candidates, Members of Parliament, Councilors and District Chairpersons, recently announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
A motion was moved by APC’s Hon. Yapo Conteh to elect APC’s Hon. Manley Spaine to act in the capacity of Speaker for the session while SLPP’s Hon. Elizabeth Lavalie nominated SLPP Hon. Dr. Brima Kamanda in a counter motion. The situation generated into a controversial and uncontrolled verbal argument to an extent that the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay, called for an election so as to choose between the two nominated MPs. This move aimed to quell down the situation but sadly again, the situation further deteriorated when the APC MPs moved for an open ballot election whilst the SLPP MPs preferred a secret ballot.
The two main political parties could not see sense with reason and the uproar and angry words exchanged got to be so heated that the Clerk of Parliament quickly adjourned the sitting to Thursday 16 August 2012.
Earlier, the said MPs held a meeting in one of the Committee Rooms to pre-discuss the Motion. That meeting also ended abruptly as MPs from APC supported the nomination fees pronounced by NEC while those of the main opposition SLPP stood firmly against it. It was in that mood of high antagonism that the two sets of MPs had moved into the Parliamentary Chamber turning the honourable chambers into a rowdy and riotous scene.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.