In solidarity with the alleged raped women and the attacks on their headquarters, the Opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) Members of Parliament were yesterday dressed in black in Parliament as their acting leader said if actions were not taken, they would with hold their services.
A private member’s motion proposed yesterday by Hon Elizabeth Lavalie of SLPP seconded by Hon Ibrahim Bundu of APC was adopted by Parliament. The motion was about the matter of public concern on national security and patriotism and for them to unequivocally condemn the political violence perpetrated in the country, which if allowed to continue, will derail the hard won peace so far achieved.
Hon Elizabeth Lavalie narrated the events on the attack of their offices and the recent ones in Freetown on Friday 13th and Monday 16th which led to the alleged rape of women in the SLPP office. She explained that it was now time for perpetrators to be named and shamed and to remove the culture of impunity.
Hon Lavalie said when the President returned home and when he delivered his message to the country on the spate of violence, he did not condemn the act of rape. She condemned the desecration of a woman’s body and that what happened to those raped victims was a serious crime. She demanded that they in the opposition needed their own political space and say in the democratic process.
The seconder of the motion, Hon Ibrahim Bundu of APC condemned violence of all forms as he gave statistics around the country of gender based violence. He called for the issue not to be personalized nor politicized.
Hon Bundu mentioned that the establishment of the two political party radio stations, the location of both the Mayor’s office and the SLPP office at the same location smears most of the violence. With that he called “Let us as a parliament treat this matter as a matter of urgency”.
A PMDC MP Hon Siaka Samai too said violence posed a serious threat to the country’s stability but stressed that lip service was again for the love of the country. He cautioned his colleagues to desist from using miscreant gangs to cause instability and to also put away tribe and party before country. He also said the APC and PMDC who when in opposition were crying against violence, should now be seen as the first to condemn it rather than allowing it to continue.
P.C Vafie Benya went on to challenge the political parties in providing good roads, health facilities, schools and clean drinking water and also the MPs to have time for their constituents. He stated “what I have seen here is that when we come to Parliament, we play politics rather than coming to help our poor people. Let us do what is best and good for Sierra Leone” the chief said.
Hon Dr. Bernadette Lahai cautioned that if the concerns were not treated with all sincerity and honesty, the country risks not attracting investors and benevolence. She commented that women were precious and that no one would love what happened to the alleged rape victims to be done to them.
Hon Ibrahim Sorie of APC used his experience to caution the new entrants in Parliament not to be emotional on serious debates that will ensure peace, stability, freedom and sustenance of the rule of law. He said they as MPs are the moral guarantors to ensure that by becoming upright in dealing with serious issues, they needed to go beyond condemnation and to move on to positive action.