Some few months back, when they were canvassing the electorate, they toured the length and breath of this small but beloved nation of ours. They flew in from overseas with their dollars to ‘buy’ party symbols from party officials ranging from the SLPP, APC and maybe down to PMDC.
Most were not loved by the people; they were not voted into parliament because they were popular but because of the political parties under which they contested. They came, they saw the suffering of the people, and because they could not be seen as ‘messiahs’ now and may be, till “thy kingdom come”, Sierra Leoneans have gone mad with them.
For others, had there been the chance, they would have preferred a cavalcade for their parliamentary inauguration. It is a reality that, the ruling party has the largest number of parliamentary seats in the current parliament and their highest number of seats came from the Western Rural and Urban districts.
The national constitution of 1991 provides for the responsibilities of parliamentarians to their people. They are supposed to represent people at all levels, they must advocate for and also must be seen promoting the development agendum of the constituencies they represent in parliament. As such they are, I suppose, for the people and must be seen closer to the people. They are bound to make laws that fit the developmental strides of their people – they are expected to be above party politics and put national interest at the top echelon of their thoughts.
I have spoken to people; I have seen frustration on their faces over the attitude and non-caring tendencies of the people they chose recently to represent them in parliament. Not everybody will be a parliamentarian, I know but those voted for, to serve must serve with diligence.
Hon. Rtd. Capt Abdul Rahman Kamara is the Member of Parliament for constituency 101 in the Western Urban. Also, he is a committee chair for Defence and Internal Affairs in parliament. He was a member of the NPRC and his role those days in the military junta could not be overemphasized. He went to all corners to ask that Kissy residents vote him into parliament and at the end he succeeded. But is he actually representing his people to their expectations? This is a million Leones question. Many say he lives miles away from them. Prior to his election into office, he was in the eastern part of Freetown but today, he lives in the western part and kissy residents say he is not adequately representing them in parliament.
Politics is all about interest and interest must be seen transcending beyond party politics and in this situation, attention must be given to taking development to the people. Kissy happens to be one of the very deprived communities in Freetown. It is a populated community and largely accounts for the capital’s youthful age. It houses the Mental home, which perhaps is the only one in Sierra Leone. The community could not boast of safe and proper drinking water. There is the Koroma ‘NPA’ but not for every corner of Kissy.
No one expects Hon Abdul Rahman Kamara to play magic within the shortest of times but he must be seen initiating development programmes. How many times has he attempted to visit his constituency? Has he ever gone to say a big thank you to them? Can the APC explain the circumstances under which some of these MPs got their symbols? The APC in my opinion is beginning to bury itself before the 2012 presidential and parliament elections. I implore all citizens to look at the result of the pending elections as a case study for my conclusion.
My premise is two-fold, people want development and development could reach them through their parliamentarians. Therefore, failure by any parliamentarian to do the obvious is tantamount to disaster, and this would definitely be a political disaster; ‘we nor dae vote again for APC’.
We have heard of, or seen situations where Parliamentarians lobby to be Ambassadors in other countries, much to the dismay of people. This, in my opinion, is complete betrayal of the people’s hope and expectations. ‘We voted him and if he fails to do what we expected, we are going to vote for a change come 2012’, these are the words of one strong APC supporter in the eastern part of Freetown, named Ernest.
Women have been advocating for an equal representation in governance and over the years, some have proved to be meeting the challenges ahead such demands. Bernadette Lahai is the Member of Parliament representing constitutrency 13 in the Kenema district. In retrospect, she seems doing well in her effort toward taking development to her constituency. She has proved to be a vocal person as far as debates on issues of national development are concerned in the chambers of parliament. Take the Government oil refinery for instance. She and others knew, it was a far fetched idea that, they were going to defeat the ruling party on the issue but she was blunt in questioning the manner in which government was handling the issue. Or do I need to tell you what Hon Chernor Bah, aka Chericoco is doing for his people in constituency 110? Ask residents of Wilberforce. Even Hon. Nuru Deen is said to impress his people, although, like Hon Abdul Rahman, he abandoned his people and relocated to Lumley following his election.
The issue of JC politicians is a common talk within the APC fold. Some few months back, I had gone to constituency 34 in the Bombali district where Hon Kondeh Yapor Conteh is the MP for that constituency. His life as a politician, I could not elaborate on, but one thing I know for sure is that, he came from the diaspora to contest for a parliamentary seat under the APC ticket, and this to me indicates, he is not au fait with the people’s suffering. Constituency 13 covers the Safroko and Berewa chiefdoms. I am of the opinion that, people are well aware of political happenings in the Biriwa chiefdom during the latter days of Kabbah’s presidency. Anyway, his people believe he is bound to succeed with their support.
There is a lot to be done in that constituency and in this regard, Hon Kondeh should be seen taking development to his people. Where are the schools, I mean quality schools in that constituency? Binkolo township, under the constituency of Hon Kondeh hardly talks about development. The people are waiting for an answer. They have been ignored over the years especially during the SLPP rule. They need good drinking water, good health facilities, even as they wait for the arrival of Bumbuna, may be they could be among the first benefactors from that project.
I had the opportunity of meeting one Legacy Sankoh once, and that was months back when the PMDC was at its embryonic stage. I engaged this man in an interview in Bo. I was particularly interested to explore the possibility of an alliance between APC and the PMDC as we were at the time moving towards elections.
Months later, I learnt he was Member of Parliament for constituency 69 in Bo district under the PMDC. He is the chairman for the committee on NaCSA in parliament. But his performance at the moment could not be checked; only that, he, like some of his colleagues, is interested in party politics than anything. Remember, he decided to abstain from voting recently in favour or against a motion on the decision by government to reclaim oil refinery. I was a bit disappointed over that.
Anyway, this is just a glance at some of our parliamentarians. Nothing bad intended anyway. Just a retrospect .Till then, bye!!!
By John Baimba Sesay