Commission Of Inquiry Debate Today

 

After dawdling in the Well of Parliament, lawmakers will today Monday 22nd October, 2018 spend the entire session debating the three constitutional instruments that are expected to be enacted, thereby allowing a Commission of Inquiry to be set up by the government.

With the debate finally taking place, the 68 Members of Parliament of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) have scored a democratic victory in being able to force the Speaker of Parliament to change an earlier statement that there would be no debate on the constitutional instruments because an APC Member of Parliament quoted a wrong Standing Order (SO) for a debate on the constitutional instruments. The APC MPs had however argued that as an opposition, they too were an integral part of the country’s governance infrastructure and hence their voices must be heard.

According to the Speaker, after consulting with other legal minds on the matter, he announced after recess on Tuesday 2nd October, 2018, the day Instrument No. 67 was laid in the Well of Parliament, that he was now favorably disposed to entertaining debate on the three constitutional instruments that would give legality to the proposed Commission of Inquiry.

As such, the Honourable Speaker, Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu declared that any Member of Parliament who wanted the debate was free to do so, but must do so under correct SO. On Thursday 18th October, Hon. Chernor Bah of the APC raised the motion, with the Ayes having the majority.

Constitutional Instruments 64, 65 and 67 were laid before Parliament by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice asking the House to approve a Commission of Inquiry that will look into the conduct of 52 officials that served in the former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s Government between November, 2007 and April, 2018.

When the APC MP, Hon. Moses Conteh stood up to ask that the instruments, because they were of national interest be debated by the House, the Honorable Speaker refused him, stating that he made the request under the wrong SO.

That elicited strong protest from Hon. Chernoh Bah, Hon. Hassan Sesay and Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, who charged that the Speaker was trying to muzzle the opposition. The House went into recess without any definite statement from the Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament on whether or not the debate would hold.