The main opposition in the House of Parliament, the All Peoples Congress (APC) party has kicked against the tabling or laying of the legal instrument that should set up the Mid Term Census.
This came about after an emergency sitting was summoned by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio for tabling of the instrument, for which the opposition maintained that they were not informed by the Leader of Government Business in the House of Parliament.
That the decision to proceed with the sitting without them being informed prior to the sitting is against a specific section in the Standing Orders of Parliament which states that there should be a consultation with the majority and minority party leaders in the House of Parliament.
Challenging the legality of the proceeding, the Leader of the opposition in Parliament, Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah called on the attention of the Speaker of the House of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Bundu that the Standing Order (SO) 4 (3) proviso cannot allow him (Hon. Bundu) to proceed with the sittings.
That according to SO 4 (3), not less than twenty-one days before the days of a meeting, the clerk shall transmit to each member a written notice specifying the date, time and place of such meeting, Hon Bah referenced.
That the proviso is very clear that any meeting be it emergency or otherwise like the situation they now find themselves in, they should be informed of such a meeting.
“In the case of any emergency, of which notice is given to Mr. Speaker by the President, a meeting may be summoned on such notice as Mr. Speaker may determi8ne in consultation with the Majority and Minority Party Leaders of the House and the Clerk of Parliament. Notice of such meeting may be given to Members in such manner as the urgency of the matter permits,” Hon. read.
The Speaker of Parliament disagreed with the Leader of the opposition on the referenced proviso quoting the 1991 Constitution which gives the power to the President and ordered the Clerk to read out the proclamation.
“It is my understanding however, that the particular provision is inapplicable in this particular instance for the reason that we have before the House a proclamation made by Mr. President pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution, particularly Section 86 (1) which empowers the President to summon a meeting of Parliament at any time,” the Speaker stated.
“I will therefore, invite Mr. Clerk to read out the proclamation,” the Speaker ordered.
This order by the Speaker resulted to a chaotic scene in the Bintumani Conference Hall as opposition members of parliament stood their grounds that the sittings will not hold.