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Sierra Leone News: Majority Leader blasts MDAs

The newly appointed Majority Leader of the House of Parliament and Head of Government Business, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu has unequivocally stated that the incessant absence of officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) during budget and presidential debates in the House is tempting the House to invoke Sections 95 and 96 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone as a way of forestalling that habit.
During the ongoing presidential debate in the House yesterday 29th January, 2014, it was conspicuously noticed that the seats, which, in most cases, are occupied by MDAs were vacant much to the annoyance of the Speaker and the general membership of the House.
When this malaise came to the notice of the House, the Leader and Head of Government Business asserted thus:
“In respect of the Budget Speech, i.e. the Appropriation Act, Vote Controllers are required to attend not only its delivery by the Minister of Finance, but also the five allotted days of debate by the House. Regarding the State of the Nation Address delivered annually by His Excellency the President at the State Opening of Parliament, Heads of MDAs are also required to attend and follow through the subsequent debate proceedings.
Over the years, there has been a disappointing apathy on the part of MDAs, whose representation is an important complement to the proceedings. Vote Controllers and Heads of MDAs provide direct oversight in the implementation mechanism for fulfilling the Agenda for Prosperity. Thus, we see the picture of complementarities between Parliament and actors in public administration  we enact laws for good governance and you implement.  Therefore, your full attention to the debate processes only twice a year, is required, so that Government as a whole can function much more efficiently.
Let me cite what is now a pattern of MDA disregard for these proceedings by your systematic absence at these debates. No witch-hunting intended, but as we strive to do our part, you must also do yours. Note that this is against a background of repeated warnings and exhortations to MDAs.”
Having expressed utter bitterness, the Hon. Leader traced instances in which MDAs had absented themselves during parliamentary debates relating to their discipline. To that end he disclosed, “On the 16th February, 2011 Poor attendance of MDAs at “Presidential” Debate cited by Mr. Speaker & several Members. Strict registration prescribed. On the 5th December, 2011 a Point of observation was raised by late Hon. Elizabeth Alpha-Lavalie & 12 others at Budget Debate during which only 10 MDAs were present.”
He went on “On 7th December, 2011 an Issue again was raised by the Leader of the House at the Budget Debate.  5th February, 2013 the Minority and the Speaker expressed serious concern over non-appearance of MDAs. On Tuesday 28th January, 2014, the House painfully observed the absence of leaders in public administration who implement state policy as outlined in the Presidential Address, despite repeated radio & TV announcements to the effect.
Hon. Ibrahim Bundu therefore established, “In light of the above instances cited and repeated warnings from this House, can you now please explain (not here and now) why Parliament should not invoke sections 95 & 96 of the Constitution against MDAs failing to appear at this time?
He however admonished MDAs to send a respond to the above provision to the Clerk of Parliament Hon. Ibrahim Sesay within hours
By Poindexter Sama
Thursday January 30, 2014

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