Chaos In Parliament

 

Tension and open confrontation between the Members of Parliament of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and their chief antagonists, the All People’s Congress (APC) not always too far from the surface.

It boiled over into open hostility on Friday, 10th November, 2018 in the Well of Parliament over a motion raised by an SLPP MP, Hon. Hindolo Moiwo.

Hon. Moiwo moved that the contract that was granted by the former government to NetPage to print Sierra Leone passports must be revoked and the contract granted to a new company.

Leader of the APC in Parliament, Hon. Chernoh “Chericoco” Bah rose to counter that the motion should not be accepted by the House. He cited that the contract with NetPage makes provision for review which the government has not exploited. Therefore, he implied that revoking the contract would be illegal.

The Deputy Speaker countered that the call for the contract to be revoked is based on the premise that the government already has a company that has bid to provide the passports at US$70.

The motion was put to the vote, and according to Hon. Mohamed Bangura who spoke to this press on the issue, he reported that they “Nays” had the majority; adding that SLPP MPs that were against Hon. Moiwo’s motion abstained from the vote.

Parliament, Hon. Mohamed Bangura said, was thrown into turmoil when the Speaker announced that the “Ayes” had the vote. The unwelcomed Speaker’s announcement, he said, led to chaos and walkouts in the Well.

After tempers had calmed down enough, he stated that the House was reconvened. The Speaker, he said apologized for his mistake and declared as a corrective measure that any MP that has a counter-motion can do so within 7 days.

Meanwhile, it could be recalled that in a similar situation, instead of revoking the contract for supply of electricity to Freetown that had been signed by the former government with the Turkish power provision ship, the new Minister of Energy and the ministry renegotiated the contract on more favorable terms to the government and people in Sierra Leone that resulted in the saving of over US$30 million for two years supply.