Following the conclusion of the 2007 elections, 124 parliamentarian representatives including 12 paramount chiefs were elected to parliament. Yesterday 25th September 2007, all the 124 MPs were successfully sworn in. Only sixteen(16) of these members were women of which nine (9) represents the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), five(5) the All Peoples’ Congress (APC) and the remaining two(2) represent the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC).
|Hon. Victor Chukuma Johnson: Deputy Speaker of the House|
The Parliamentarians chose Honourable Justice Abel Stronge to be their new Speaker whilst he will be deputized by Hon. Victor Chukuma Johnson of the APC.
|Emmanuel W. Tommy: Deputy Minority leader|
Other appointments included Leader of the Majority Party who doubles as Leader of Government Business, Hon. Edward Turay of Bombali who will be deputized by Hon. S.B. Dumbuya whilst Hon. Ibrahim Bundu of Port Loko will be the APC’s Chief Whip. Leader of the Minority Party is Hon. Momoh Pujeh from Kailahun who will be deputized by Hon. Emmanuel Tommy from Kono. Chairperson of the Parliamentary Council will be Hon Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie. For the PMDC, their leader will be Hon T.I Mansaray and he will be deputized by Hon Legacy Sankoh.
|Hon. Ibrahim Sorie: Former Chief Whip of the APC.|
In a snap interview with Awareness Times, Speaker Stronge said he was delighted over his election and promised to be neutral in making decisions. Speaking also to Awareness Times, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chukuma Johnson assured his neutrality whenever he would be called to act as Speaker. Hon. Johnson said he was very happy to be elected Deputy Speaker and promised to work hard to promote Sierra Leone.
Also speaking was the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Emmanuel Tommy who asserted that now that Parliament has been constituted, they will not tolerate any lawlessness from anybody be it their supporter or not. He prompted elected parliamentarians to sensitize their electors on what was lawful as he said lawlessness will never be tolerated. Hon. Tommy reminded all that the incoming administration inherited a stable and peaceful Sierra Leone and thus implored all to uphold the peace the SLPP government handed to them.
Another MP, Hon Kai Banja from Kono said that the SLPP MPs already know the needs of the people as they were the erstwhile ruling party who brought peace and stability to the country and had been poised to take the country into rapid development. In answering a question on the activities of Koidu Holdings, the SLPP parliamentarian from Kono sad that the KHL Project was on track and over fifty houses had been bult so far
Hon Komba Koidoyoma from Kono who is also the Minority Chief Whip promised that he will strongly advocate for the construction of the roads leading to his district as it is one of the main business centers in Sierra Leone.
Hon Ibrahim Sorie from Kambia, the former APC Chief Whip in the last parliament stated jocularly that now that his party had the majority in parliament, he looked forward to work with the minority to develop Sierra Leone. He promised to faithfully serve the interests of his people from Kambia District.
The PMDC’s Hon. Salieu Conteh from Pujehun, a former local councilor who beat SLPP strongman Hon. Ansu Kaikai at the last elections, also spoke to Awareness Times and said that he had effectively faced up to the challenge of being an elected councilor and he would use his experience from his years as a local government councilor to serve his people in the national parliament. He expressed that even though it was a bigger challenge, with the help of the almighty he would succeed. Hon. Conteh also expressed delight at the statements from his colleague parliamentarians who refrained from using the term "opposition" when referring to colleagues from other political parties.
Famed SLPP Iron Lady, Hon. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie in a chat with Awareness Times said she felt "gratified" to be back in the halls of parliament even though her party was now "on the other side of the aisle". She promised that her party though now in the minority, will do its best to make the APC Government of Ernest Bai Koroma, accountable to the people. She pointed out that since President Koroma has repeatedly campaigned on a ticket that promised to "tackle corruption" in the executive, she and her colleagues in the SLPP now have the onus on them to make sure that he indeed tackles corruption. Awareness Times will shortly publish a more extensive interview with Hon. Elizabeth Alpha Lavalie.