By Sahr Eric George
Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – The return of the remaining 52 opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) from the All People’s Congress (APC) Party was marked by a compelling and inspiring speech delivered by the House Speaker as he welcomed them to parliament.
Honourable Abass Chernoh Bundu questioned the fifty-two APC MPs about the delay in taking their oaths as MPs and spoke about the numerous efforts he personally made to reach out to them, urging them to fulfil their parliamentary duties. He thanked them for finally taking their oaths, remarking, “I tried to plead with you to see reason and come to the house to perform the sacred constitutional duties for which you had been elected by your people.”
After taking their parliamentary oaths, the speaker welcomed all fifty-two APC MPs and encouraged them to contribute to the smooth functioning of the parliament. He cited the examples of their colleagues, Hon. Mohamed Bangura and Hon. Alfred Thomson, who had taken their oaths earlier in the year, and asked, “Honourable members, what kept you so long? You should have come a long time ago, just like your honourable colleagues along the aisle on July 13, and like your comrades Hon. Mohamed Bangura and Hon. Alfred Thomson.”
Referring to the exemplary growth of Singapore, a small Asian island nation that gained independence four years after Sierra Leone, the speaker suggested that Sierra Leone could learn valuable lessons from Singapore’s development.
“I invite all of us present in this chamber today to borrow a leaf from Singapore’s enviable book of development,” the speaker urged.
He highlighted Singapore’s emphasis on educating and training its people to the highest standards, with the expectation that scholarship recipients would return to serve their country. This sense of patriotism, combined with competence and leadership based on meritocracy, propelled Singapore’s rapid development.
The speaker emphasized that Singapore’s development plans are meticulously executed over decades, regardless of the political party in power.
The speaker also commended the Independent Commission on Peace and National Cohesion (ICPNC) for facilitating productive dialogues between the government and the opposition.
“In his closing remarks, the speaker emphasized the importance of transformative leadership that is purposeful and incorruptible, drawing parallels with Singapore’s development. He pointed out that Singapore’s phenomenal growth over 60 years was achieved through good and transformative leadership that was highly educated, locally-driven, focused, motivated, dedicated, purposeful, and incorruptible.
Hon. Abdul Kargbo, the leader of the opposition APC party in parliament, pledged his commitment to ensuring the unity of his party in parliament. He vowed to work in accordance with the party’s structure and constitution, which aligns with the 1991 national constitution.
“I have one moral obligation, which is to unite the party in parliament. I will do my best to ensure that every vote or agreement we make will be done collectively,” Hon. Abdul Kargbo pledged. SEG/8/11/2023