From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP Returns to Parliament
By Augustine Samba
Dec 3, 2010, 17:14

Members of Parliament (MPs) representing the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have returned to the House of Parliament following their walkout on November 22 2010 in protest of the refusal of the government to denounce violent attacks against their party members, supporters and offices in Kono.

The protest ended in the wake of a press statement issued by the Office of the President condemning the violent attacks.

The SLPP MPs returned to parliament on Thursday 2nd December 2010 without apologizing as earlier demanded by a private member motion which was endorsed by MPs representing the All People’s Congress (APC) and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC).  

As a result of the walkout from Parliament, the SLPP did not participate in the debate of the 2011 Appropriation Act (2011 National Budget).

The main opposition held in abeyance their participation in the business of Parliament on grounds that they cannot participate in a budget debate amidst violence.

It was during this period that the Parliamentary Chief Whip Hon. Ibrahim Bundu of the APC moved the motion for the SLPP MPs to tender an unreserved apology, stating that the move to boycott the debate was tantamount to contempt of Parliament.

The said motion was seconded by Hon. Thomas I. Mansaray of the PMDC and endorsed by the House, but it came as a surprise to many to behold the return of the SLPP MPs without an apology.

Following this, it is now widely believed that the action of the SLPP to walk out of parliament was justifiable, thus no need for an apology.

At yesterday’s parliamentary proceedings, Minority Leader of the SLPP, Hon. Momoh Pujeh, drew the attention of Parliament to withdraw the private member motion in order for the business of the House to continue.

He argued that the SLPP has justifiable reasons to boycott the budget debate and therefore owes no apology.

Hon. SBB Dumbuya, Majority Leader of the APC, spoke on the need for parliamentarians to see themselves as one family so that the common goal of seeking the interest of the people can be achieved.

Following deliberations on the issue, Hon. Mohamed Suffian Kargbo of the APC, on behalf of Hon. Ibrahim Bundu, who was absent in yesterday’s sittings, moved that the private member motion be withdrawn.

It was seconded by Hon. Thomas T. Mansaray of the PMDC.

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