To say we are happy over recent happenings in the House of Parliament is an understatement. We are ecstatic and profoundly optimistic that the life of Parliament 2012-2017 would spring a lot of pleasant surprises for Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad.
Yes, we said Sierra Leoneans! We did not, nor cannot say; that this new Parliament, would spring a lot of surprises for the All People’s Congress (APC) party and its supporters; or for the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and its supporters.
We want to believe that Sierra Leone belongs to all of those people in the APC; and all of those people supporting the SLPP; and also belongs to all of those people who support or belong to other political parties that contested the last elections but made no impact.
It can be recalled that on Friday 8th December, 2012, newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) were in Parliament for the auspicious swearing-in-ceremony. It was moments before this ceremony that the unbelievable happened! An SLPP MP, in fact, the SLPP Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, nominated APC MP representing Constituency 110, Hon. Chernor Maju Bah aka Chericoco, for the enviable position of Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament. His nomination sailed through the well of Parliament without any contest, and Hon. Chernor Bah’s nomination as Deputy Speaker went unopposed.
We can safely say that ten to fifteen years back, for an opposition MP to nominate someone from the ‘other side’ to the enviable position of Deputy Speaker, would not only be seen as preposterous, but even treacherous, and a blatant show of disloyalty to the party under whose symbol the MP in question was elected to Parliament!
However, last Friday’s events in the well of Parliament is a pointer to the fact that Sierra Leone politicians from different parties are growing up or are now mature adults as far as politics is concerned.
However, we wish to raise a few points with regard last Friday’s nomination of Hon. Chernor M. Bah for Deputy Speaker of the House of Parliament, by the SLPP Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai.
In the first place, it was a correct move on the part of Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai to have proved to all and sundry that the SLPP is indeed a party that is united and ready to embrace their APC colleagues in Parliament for the overall progress and development of Sierra Leone. It can be said that Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai could not have gone ahead nominating Hon. Chernoh M. Bah Deputy Speaker of Parliament without first consulting with her compatriots in the SLPP. Therefore, we can safely assume that the SLPP looks set this time round to go as far as who goes farthest in the work of Parliament.
We can also say that because of the successful nomination of Hon. Chernor M. Bah, to the position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament, by the SLPP Minority Leader in Parliament, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, we can be rest assured that we would no longer have boycotting or walk-outs of Parliament as a way of showing discontent or disagreeing with policies debated in the well of Parliament.
It is not unreasonable to say that the new SLPP Members of Parliament, would not disappoint the people they are there to represent, by doing anything contrary to the spirit of the tolerance, unity and magnanimity they have shown by being an opposition party, that elected another Member of Parliament for the position of Deputy Speaker, who belongs to the ruling APC party. Otherwise, the new SLPP Members of Parliament, along with their Minority Leader, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, would simply be doing a disservice not only to their the people who voted them to Parliament but to the country as a whole.
On a more serious note, we are quite sure the new SLPP Members of Parliament, this time round, would behave more maturely than their predecessors by not staging walk-outs or boycotts but would assume the mantle of responsibility in ensuring they debate as best as they can issues for the general good. There can be no good government without a robust opposition.
We end by admonishing all the new SLPP MPs to diligently serve the hundreds of thousands of people who voted for them because posterity would judge you tomorrow. Maturity is the name of the game!