Members of Parliament (MP) yesterday started debate on the speech delivered by President Ernest Bai Koroma during the state opening of parliament. Five allotted days have been given to MPs to debate on his speech.
Proposing the motion of thanks to the president, Hon Ibrahim Sorie of the APC called on MPs to give suggestions and analyses that would help in governance of the country. He said the APC/PMDC alliance was elected on a platform of change.
Mr Sorie explained that part of the president’s speech was based on a vision he had for the country to be followed by a plan of action and a commitment which the APC government wished to accomplish in the following years for a better country.
He spoke of the president’s priority areas of instituting a round-the-clock electricity supply in urban areas and three major towns of Rokupr, Lunsar and Lungi and also the provision of clean and safe drinking water.
Hon Alie S. Sankoh also of the APC who seconded the motion said what caught his eyes in the president’s speech was the desire to fight corruption “as with corruption there will be under development”. He proffered the solution for a better condition of service for workers as a way of reducing corruption.
Making his own contribution, Hon Kemoh Sesay of the APC started by acknowledging the prayers of Sierra Leoneans for a God fearing president which, he said, had been answered.
Explaining what he meant by that he said “in examining the speech, His Excellency started with God and ended with God”. He quoted, “ ‘it is the will of God and the consent of the people that I address you here today as president”’
Mr Sesay also said the president ended up his speech by praying: “I pray to God for our beloved country so that God will guide me in my daily endeavours to serve this nation of ours and may God bless us all.”
From the minority Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Hon Emmanuel Tommy reminded MPs about a statement made by the president that he was elected not as a president of the APC but for Sierra Leone.
He expressed concerns about the continued intimidation and harassment of SLPP supporters since the announcement of the presidential results. He said they too were not spared as during the state opening of parliament they were intimidated and given public disgrace by APC supporters.
From the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Hon Shiaka Musa Sama rhetorically commented that he was surprised to hear from the minority SLPP party calling for police neutrality and also complaining of intimidation.
He said, “some of us suffered greatly under the SLPP and also some of us suffered the injustice my colleague is now crying against, but I am happy we now have a president that is ready to respect the fundamental human rights of the people.”
Hon Tamba Kaibenje of the SLPP said they as the minority would give the president their fullest support for the progress of the country. He too mentioned the series of attacks on SLPP supporters especially in his constituency, Kono. Statements were also made by Hon Veronica Kadie Sesay of SLPP and Hon Legacy K. Sankoh of the PMDC.