Speaker Resigns

 

Like an unexpected lightning bolt, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) elected Speaker of the House of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu yesterday 1st April, 2019 announced his resignation from the post.

Giving the reason for his decision to resign as Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass C. Bundu said “that is me. That is my character. I am driven by my own conviction.” He averred that he is not moved by whatever people say about him. “Once my mind is made up, I am on the right track.”

It could be recalled that quite recently, Hon. Dr. Abass Bundu openly expressed in Parliament during one of the many hostile altercations between Members of Parliament and the main opposition All People’s Congress MPs that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle wanted to send him to an early grave, given that on several occasions, he had to struggle to maintain decorum and civility in the House.

Dr. Abass Bundu asserted that the continuous commotion in Parliament is owing to the fact that ruling SLPP does not command majority in the House, adding that as a neutralist in a deeply divided House, it is incumbent upon him as the Speaker to remain impartial and neutral to give respect to the seat he is occupying.

Asked if his resignation was due to rumours that he was under pressure from both his party and the opposition, the veteran politician replied that people have right to their opinions but as Speaker, he said, he uses soft approach to controversial issues in the House.

Hon. Dr. Bundu was born in 1948 in Gbinti in the Port Loko District to Fullah and Themne parents. He was controversially elected Speaker of Parliament on 25th April, 2018 in a very highly charged atmosphere that saw all APC lawmakers walking out of Parliament, thereby leaving 70 MPs to elect him.

A politician with a long history of serving his country, Hon. Dr. Bundu entered Parliament in 1982 and was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment. In 1986, he was appointed Secretary General of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a position he served until 1992, when the APC regime was overthrew by the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta. Hon. Dr Bundu also served the military regime as Secretary of State, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation during which he was accused of the infamous passport deal.

He contested the 1996 multiparty elections as presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) but did not make any impact. In the same year, he was arrested and prosecuted for alleged sale of Sierra Leone passports under the Immigration Investment Programme. In 2005, he was exonerated of any wrongdoing in the absence of new evidence.

Hon. Dr. Bundu, who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law from the Australia National University and Master’s and PhD in International Law from the University of Cambridge in England, attended the St. Andrews Secondary School in Bo, Methodist Boys High School and St. Edward’s in Freetown.

Meanwhile, Parliament yesterday issued a news  release stating that the Office of the Speaker is not vacant at the moment either by way of resignation or otherwise.

According to the release, “The Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu is still Speaker of the House and the general public is therefore advised to ignore his purported or concocted resignation this morning on FM 98.1 during the course of broadcasting its flagship programme ‘Good Morning Salone.’”

The release therefore urged the general public to consider the broadcast as ‘April Fool’s Day.’