It can be recalled that a press release from the Office of Speaker of Parliament, dated yesterday 23rd April, 2018 stated that the first meeting of the new parliament earlier scheduled for today 24th April, 2018 has been postponed until further notice.
Part of the press release that was signed by the incumbent Speaker of Parliament, Hon. S.B.B. Dumbuya states: “In view of the current confused situation which has resulted in a state of uncertainty and unrest among many Members of Parliament, the First Meeting of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic scheduled to commence on Tuesday 24th April, 2018 in the Chamber of Parliament is postponed until further notice.”
The release added: “This is consistent with the Provisions of Section 79(2) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act No.6 of 1991 and Standing Order 8 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Sierra Leone.
In similar development, the Office of the Clerk of Parliament also last evening issued a press release contradicting the order of the Speaker, challenging his authority to postpone today’s parliamentary meeting.
The press release signed by Hon. Paran Umarr Tarawally-Clerk of Parliament, called on all newly elected Members of Parliament to attend the scheduled meeting today in the House stating: “Let it be noted that H.E. The President had earlier instructed the Hon. Clerk of Parliament pursuant to Section 86(1) of the 1991 Constitution which reads; “The President may at anytime summon a meeting of Parliament”.
He said in line with this therefore, the action of the Speaker to unilaterally postpone the first sitting of Parliament is illegal and of no effect. Hon. Paran Tarawally’s press release therefore called on all elected Members of Parliament to take their respective seats in the well of Parliament this morning at 10:00am for the administration of their Oath of Office and conduct of the elections of the Speaker and deputy of Parliament.
However, the yesterday postponement of today’s first meeting of parliament by Hon. S.B.B. Dumbuya did not come as a surprise to most people as there were already rumors and reports doing the rounds about pending petitions to be served by both the APC and SLPP parties against each other’s Members of Parliament for various reasons/anomalies.
Some of the reasons according to our investigation are bordered on parliamentary candidates suspected of receiving salary under the Consolidated Revenue Fund who should have resigned months ahead of contesting for parliamentary seat.
Other allegations for APC and SLPP petitioning each other’s parliamentary candidates are centered on allegations that some of them are ineligible as they carry dual citizenship status which is illegal.
Yesterday the Law Court building in central Freetown was a bevy of activity with both APC and SLPP members parading the courts either to respond to petition summons as respondents or appear in court as litigants.