Hon. Rebecca Y. Kamara has said in Freetwn that Members of Parliament are hugely indebted and that creditors are running after them for their monies. “Our accounts are in red,” she lamented.
She noted that the conditions of service. for MPs are deplorable and that some of them could barely drive their vehicles owning to challenges to buy fuel. She said the position of her C4C party is in total support of the proposed welfare bill for MPs once it is brought before the House for discussion. She made the statement in Parliament on Tuesday 14/6/2022 during the discourse of the proposed Welfare Bill that is yet to be laid before the House for consideration.
She referenced approval of the budgetary allocations for the Local
Councils to carry out developments in their localities while she insisted that it is the MPs who are doing the work these councils are supposed to do. In his submission on the issue, Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma said he is very disappointed in the level of bashing from a cross-section of the general public on the proposed bill that talks about the welfare of MPs. He asserted that there are lot of social media bashings of MPs without consultation and cross-checking with Parliament.”It is not going be a secret to present the bill to Parliament On Mps’ welfare.
He dilated that it’s their constitutional right to uphold the constitution and that’s why they are requesting for improved condition of service within the frame of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone . The senior lawmaker referred the public to Act No.6, section 74 (4) of th 1991 Constitution, which states that: “Members of Parliament shall be entitled to such salaries, allowances, affecting private Rights.” gratuities, pensions, and such other benefits as may be prescribed by Parliament.” Interdent with Standing Order 61, which talks about the “Bill affecting private Right
He said: “We are under tremendous pressure and elastic demands from our constituent but we are not in a rush to pass the Bill as responsible parliamentarians.” The Leader of Government Business used the opportunity to highlight the challenges encountered by MPs in their daily lives, which they do not deserve. He said if there is a Welfare Bill for MPs, wage bill and any other bill, Parliament would deliberate on them and do the needful in the best interest of the nation.
“We are not fake MPs, we are responsible MPs who are always ready to work and develop of the nation,” he stated. He commended President Bio for supporting the Parliament of Sierra Leone on welfare issues, stating that it is in the best interest of the nation. “The conditions of service for MPs are appalling and we are suffering to match up with other sub-regional Parliaments,” he asserted.
He said in light of all the bashings, MP’s will not renege on their responsibilities to make laws, shy away from their oversight roles and representations. He insisted that people should stop using the social media to blast Parliament, noting that the House is open, transparent and accountable to its people and therefore kindly encourages them to always engage MPs on any issue they do not understand for clarification.
The acting leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress, (APC) Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said Parliament is not going to apologize to anyone for seeking the welfare of MPs and acknowledged the support of the President of parliamentarians. “As opposition, we are in support of the Welfare Bill,
whenever it is brought before the House for debate.” He said the bashings of MPs are unacceptable and their conditions of service must be improved as prescribed in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leon Hon.
Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, leader of NGC on the other hand, said he also supported the position of the Leader of Government Business and highlighted the constitutional provisions and the Standing Order, relating to the welfare of MPs.
He said controversies are important in the practice of democracy which he said can sometimes help the people to understand the dynamics .
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Segepoh Soloman Thomas adopted the position of leaders of the House for the proposed Welfare Bill of MPs, adding that in the last Parliament this same issue came up.
He said: “Our brothers and sisters who are receiving over forty five million leones for only them and their families while they are receiving less than twenty million leones are sharing it with their constituents by paying tuition fees, medical bills and take care of funeral arrangements amongst others.
He used the opportunity to highlight the challenges MPs are facing. He said issues of MPs should be a national conversation. “Members of Parliament are the most indebted people in
In spite of the bushings, the lawmaker have however taken solace in the statement of the Speaker of Parliament Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu who said he believes that the entire country is not against the welfare of MPs and that it is just a tiny fraction of the general public. He said as a speaker, he understands the plight and suffering of parliamentarians. He noted that Sierra Leone is not the poorest country in the world and referenced Uganda, Ghana, Kenya and Liberia who he said are using their national constitutions and national budgets to upgrade the welfare of their legislators.
He disclosed with heavy heart that six of their colleagues have passed away from preventable diseases. He assured the general public that anything Parliament intends to do about the welfare of MPs will follow the due process of the law, whilst noting that Parliament is transparent, open and accountable