7 May 2018

Sierra Leone: As 69 MPs Take Oath of Office, Parliament Approves 12 Presidential Nominees

Parliament last Friday, May 4, approved the first set of twelve presidential nominees after adopting the report of the Committee on Appointments and Public Service, chaired by Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis.

The twelve presidential nominees include: Mr. Jacob Jusu Saffa - Minister of Finance; Brigadier (Rtd) Simeon Nasiru Sheriff - Deputy Minister of Defence; Dr. Alpha T. Wurie, Minister of Health and Sanitation; Alhaji Kanja Ibarhim Sesay - Minister of Energy; Hon. Edward Amin Soloku -Minister of Internal Affairs; and Hon. Emma Kowa - Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Also, the House endorsed Kabineh M. Kallon - Minister Transport and Aviation; Ms. Baindu Dassama - Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children's Affairs; Dr. Bonapha Jonathan Tengbeh - Minister of Water Resources; Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray - Minister of Information and Communication; Mr. Adekunle Joliiff Milton King - Minister of Labour and Social Security; and Mr. Alpha Osman Timbo - Minister of Primary and Secondary Education

In another development, Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Representative and Leader of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament expressed their satisfaction that the Sierra Leone Parliament was now complete.

On April 25, Members of Parliament elect of the main opposition All People's Congress (APC) were thrown out of the Well of Parliament following chaotic scenes by the lawmakers prompted the Clerk of Parliament to call the police to evict them. The opposition lawmakers were aghast that 15 of their colleagues had been asked to leave parliament because of an interim injunction slammed against them by the High Court.

Also, one ruling party lawmaker was affected by the injunction.

But all of the affected Members of Parliament took the oath last Friday after the intervention of the ECOWAS and the United Nations Office in West Africa.

Speaking in Parliament, Leader of the ECOWAS Parliament, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe, commended former President of Ghana, John Mahama, for his immediate intervention to help diffuse political tension that ensued after the presidential run-off elections on March 31st.

Hon. Snowe also extended gratitude to President Julius Maada Bio and former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Coalition for Change and National Grand Coalition parties for what he referred to as their display of quality leadership and upholding peace and tranquility among themselves.

Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Abass Bundu, also commended the ECOWAS Parliamentarians for their collaborative effort throughout their stay in the country, noting that they came into the country during a crucial period.

"The honour is given to you for your courage in handling the issue that was very challenging for us. Your mission has been well accomplished and I must congratulate you for extremely traversing among all the other political parties," said Skeaker Bundu.

One of the opposition Members of Parliament who was affected by the High Court Injunction, Hon. Osman Timbo of Constituency 130 in the Western Area Urban was elated after he took the oath of office last Friday.

"I am happy for taking the oath of office as MP. I want to do my best for my people that voted for me and also for the young people of this country. I have learnt a lot from the past incident and will continue to learn more. There are many things that I will have to do for my people but all will be done through lobbing with my colleagues in the APC and the ruling party. People are expecting much from us and we have to work for them," he said.

Hon. Timbo said his constituency is one of the poorest communities in the Western Urban with seven slum communities, adding that much is expected of him to deliver.

He observed that the percentage of youth representation in the country's political governance was minimal, and that more lobbying was needed to bring onboard more youth.

"We all know there are a lot of challenges faced by the country and how it has affected us young people. I will do my work as a lawyer and as the people's representative. No conflict of interest will be in carry out my work as I am still advocating for my people in both jobs," he said.

Also, Hon. Katherine Zainab Tarawally of Constituency 37 in Bombali district expressed delight that the 68 APC lawmakers have taken their oath to carry out their constitutional mandate, thus commending the leadership of the party and the ECOWAS Parliament for their immediate intervention.

On his part, Leader of the National Grand Coalition, Hon. Dr. Alhaji Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, commended the APC Members of Parliament for taking subscribing to the oath.

"As notable men and women, we all can work together in making the 'New Direction' agenda a successful one for the country. We are happy that the House is now complete," he said.

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