A new crop of 121 parliamentarians took the oath of office yesterday (September 25) whilst 3 members which should have brought the total number to 124 parliamentarians were absent.
The first task for the new Members of Parliament as provided for in section 70 sub section 1 of the 1991 constitution – which is to elect the Speaker of the House.
Honourable Eddie Turay, the All Peoples Congress (APC) Majority leader in Parliament nominated Justice Abel Nathaniel Stronge, while the APC’s Honourable Kemoh Sesay seconded the motion and went on to describe Justice Stronge as “a man of impeccable character and a man who will put aside his private interest for the public interest of Sierra Leone”
The Clerk of Parliament who was the presiding officer for the election of the Speaker of the House laboriously explained the rules and procedures of the election.
He pointed out that any nominated candidate needed a two-thirds majority of the house which is equivalent to 82 votes.
Justice Abel Stronge being the sole candidate nominated for the position did not stop an election taking place which is according to the procedure.
The Clerk then called out the names of parliamentarians who walked briskly to cast their vote which they had marked either “Aye” or “Nay” according to their preference.
The parliamentarians voted 112 Ayes and 8 Nays for Justice Stronge, while 3 were absent and surprisingly there was one void vote.
Justice Abel Stronge was led out and brought in again led by the Sergeant-at-arms holding high the mace of parliament to be sworn in as the new Speaker of the House.
As he assumed the seat of the Speaker he immediately went into his first function which was to preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker of the House according to section 80 of the 1991 constitution.
The Honourable Ibrahim Bundu (APC) nominated Honourable Victor Chukuma Johnson (APC) and the motion was seconded.
Again as the sole candidate for that position the same proc edure was followed with the names being read out and the parliamentarians walking up to the well and casting their ballots in a plain bowl.
Again the parliamentarians voted in Honourable Victor Chukuma Johnson with 115 Ayes, 4 Nays with one void vote and 5 absentia thus making him the Deputy Speaker of the house.
The Speaker of the House then swore him into office.