By Ragan M. Conteh
The Parliamentary sitting, on Tuesday 28th April 2020, was very interesting especially when the Chairman and Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), who was recently appointed by President Bio as Chairman of National Commission for Privatization (NCP), Dr. Prince Harding, resurfaced in Parliament.
Dr. Harding, commonly known as Bullet, according to sources, was expected to receive Parliamentary approval as Chairman of the National Commission for Privatization, but he was never mentioned on the order paper.
The Leader of the opposition, Hon. Chernoh Maju Bah, upon the arrival of Dr. Prince Harding, asked the latter the purpose of his being in the House.
It could be recalled that the Leader and Chairman of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Dr. Prince Harding, the Secretary General, Napoleon Koroma, the newly appointed Leader of Government Business, Hon Matthew Francis Nyuma, Deputy Leader and Hon. Bashiru Silikie on 16th April 2020 were spotted at the conference room of the ECOWAS Speaker in a close-door meeting.
It was reported that the meeting was to address what was becoming an embarrassment for the governing SLPP party.
Many MPs, who saw Dr. Harding in the Well of Parliament on Tuesday, recalled that Hon Sidi Mohamed Tunis was sacked as Leader of Government Business, replacing Hon. Matthew Nyuma and Hon. Bashiru Sillikie as Leader and Deputy Leader of Government Business, respectively.
This development did not go down well with many MPs. Because of such development, both the former Leader of Government and Dr. Harding took to the media venting their contrary views on the situation, thereby exposing the government’s ineptitude to handle such situations amicably without public disclosure.
The unprecedented absence of Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis, during the first sitting on Tuesday 28th April 2020, sends a major signal that all is not well within the SLPP as a governing party.
What could be the deal for the absence of Hon. Tunis in Parliament last Tuesday, during the sitting, left many with speculations, but it is believed that the status quo will remain for a while with no significant development.
Although Hon. Mohamed Sidi Tunis have sent a message earlier, stating that, “My dear brothers and sisters, I have agreed with government to honorably leave the office of Leader of Government Business but to remain in the Leadership of Parliament. Government will provide me with a vehicle and new office. I believe this is good for our party and going forward for our government. Win-win situation for everyone,” Hon. Tunis said.
However, the resurfacing of Dr. Prince Harding in Parliament, some say, is to lobby for his approval as Chairman of NCP, while others say it is to ensure that those he appointed as Leader and deputy Leader of Government Business are endorsed and accepted by both sides of the House of Parliament.
The new Leader of Government Business told newsmen that his predecessor is sick, the reason why he failed to witness their introduction to Members of Parliament.
By Ragan M. Conteh