By Omar Bah
The National Assembly Member for Busumbala on Wednesday clashed with the Speaker over his request for the Justice Minister to update the assembly on the stage of implementation of the TRRC recommendation for the dismissal of persons adversely mentioned.
Shortly after Muhammed Kanteh finished asking the question the Speaker intervened to say the question seemed to be a substantive question with no bearing on the issue being discussed.
But Kanteh disagreed and further argued: “Honourable Speaker, the Justice Minister is ready to answer my question and it’s his own TRRC report we are talking about here.”
But the Speaker argued that it is not the minister’s preparedness to answer the question that determines whether it’s relevant to the issue being discussed, but the Standing Orders.
At that juncture, the NAM for Central Baddibu Sulayman Saho intervened to say the question raised by his colleague is relevant and should be entertained by the Speaker.
“I am ruling that the question is not in order,” the Speaker countered.
However, Kanteh insisted that his question is in order and should be entertained. “Honourable Member, your question is out of order,” the Speaker argued again but Kanteh insisted that his question is not out of order.
At that point, Sulayman Saho intervened again to inform the Speaker that the Busumbala NAM’s question is related to the original question.
“You can tell him to summarise the question but you cannot rule it out. Honourable Speaker, you are not doing justice to him or the parliament,” Saho said.
The Busumbala NAM then resumed his argument: “We are elected to represent our people here – you cannot rule out my question like that.”
The Speaker then asked Kanteh to stop shouting. “If you do that again I will …”
But Kanteh seemed not bothered and continued: “You can do whatever you want to do, Honourable Speaker. If you want to do something, do it.”
“That is not parliamentary,” the Speaker responded, adding, “Why do you have to disregard our own Standing Orders because you are not happy about [them]. You know the process.”
Kanteh further argued: “Your ruling is unfair. It is biased. I demand the Honourable Minister to answer my question, not the Speaker. You cannot answer my question, the question is for the minister to answer. You cannot be ruling biasedly like that.”