By S.U.Thoronka & Lansana Fofana………………….
After a protracted two days debate on a private member motion, Parliament is yet to resolve the issues that have to do with boundary delimitation instruments on constituencies, wards and district that were tabled in Parliament on the 16th March 2017 for ratification.
Briefing Members of Parliament in the Well, both the Majority Leader Hon. Leonard S. Fofanah and Minority Leader Hon. Hon Bernadette Lahai said that during a committee meeting in Parliament with National Electoral Commission (NEC) and notwithstanding the blunder that had occurred the latter was asked to suggest the way forward so that they could lay the matter to rest once and for all.
It was agreed that out of the four statutory instruments that were before Parliament, that is to say 44 which deals with the extension of voters registration and 45 which addresses the execution mandate of NEC be maintained and that 46 and 43 which concern boundary and ward delimitation be withdrawn and prepared properly so that they can be presented to Parliament in the proper manner as prescribed in the Parliamentary Standing Order.
In his contribution as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, noted that rejecting those instruments will be deemed inappropriate as both documents are inseparable and the ongoing voters’ registration is being done based on the statutory instruments 46 and 43 that are under scrutiny.
According to the Attorney General, the documents submitted by NEC to his office were based on the provisional result of the national census which cannot be sent to Parliament until after Statistics Sierra Leone had presented the final result a process that ended in January.
Mr. Kamara said that his office did not violate any protocols and that he was not in Parliament to cast aspersions or defend anyone but to proffer an amicable resolution.
The Attorney General said that if the two instruments are either withdrawn or thrown out of Parliament, creating new ones would lead to a whole process that would last up to November which the public will see as a ploy to extend the political mandate of this government.
The Deputy Speaker Hon. Chernor M. Bah said that the duty of Parliament is only to approve or reject and the statutory instruments been in the custody of Parliament without approval will be useless therefore, they should be withdrawn.
Hon. Bah said that the registration is ongoing based on documents that are not properly before Parliament.
The mover of the motion, Hon. Sualiho Koroma said that since everyone is caught in the web, the statutory instruments should be approved and later amended in order not to interfere with the electoral calendar.
The Speaker of the House, Hon. SBB Dumbuya said that Parliament should not be seen to satisfy the wishes of people at the expense of what is right, adding that anything concluded by them, will one day face the test of time by the same public that they are trying to satisfy.
Members of Parliament voted unanimously for the continuation of the voter’s registration that is ongoing and that stopping the process would create insecurity.