During a parliamentary session on the 12th of October, 2023, Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Abass Chernor Bundu, firmly urged opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) to promptly return to their seats in the house before the expiration of their amnesty period.

Speaker Bundu stressed the importance of adhering to the legal timeframe, warning,

I am ready to welcome the absent MPs, provided their return falls within the legal timeframe.”

In addition, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament announced that there are only seven more parliamentary sittings left before the amnesty’s deadline and cautioned that failure to comply would result in legal consequences.

Furthermore, Speaker Bundu emphasized the gravity of the issue, referencing constitutional provisions in Section 77 (e) and Standing Orders 77 (q) related to absenteeism. During the session, he expressed hope that MPs from both the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and All People’s Congress Party (APC) would take their oaths and resume their parliamentary duties in the sixth parliament.

However, he expressed concern about the slow pace of the opposition MPs’ return, stating, “I understand the members of the opposition are on their way, but their progress is slow.”

Speaker Bundu directed Hon. Mohamed Bangura, acting as the opposition’s leader in parliament, to inform his colleagues about the limited time available for their return.

He said, “I charge you as the acting leader of the opposition to convey that I am eager to see them, but time is running out.”

In response, Hon. Mohamed Bangura reassured the Speaker and the entire parliament that his colleagues from the APC are in discussions with the SLPP government to expedite their return to parliamentary seats.

He affirmed, “I want to reassure this house that the honorable MPs of APC will take their seats. They are currently engaged in consultations with the government, and I am confident that, pending the outcome of these consultations, they will take their seats this week.”

As the deadline for their return approaches, the political landscape within Sierra Leone’s parliament is undergoing significant changes.