By: Mohamed Jalloh

Given the challenges, bickering and sometimes physical violence that marred the 5th parliament of the 2nd republic which was a hung legislature, there exists the possibility of Sierra Leoneans witnessing a less squabbling 6th parliament after the June 24th elections.

 This was made clear by Hon.Mathew Nyuma (then leader of government business) who assured of an SLPP dominated 6th parliament of the 2nd republic.

The assurance was made in an exclusive interview with A-Z on Thursday 25th May 2023.

Hon Nyuma said looking at the development trend of the Bio led government it certain that the people will vote overwhelmingly for the SLPP to dominate the 6th parliament whenever it is constituted after the June 24th Elections.

He expressed dissatisfaction at the way the SLPP and other less nationally entrenched parties were disenfranchised in the first past the post system. According to him, if a party secures more than 40% of votes in a parliamentary election, that party should be accorded the opportunity to have a representation in parliament.

Hon Nyuma stated that in previous elections including the 2018 elections, the SLPP was able to garner more than 40% of votes in many areas but only the party with a higher percentage of votes was permitted representation under the simple majority winner takes all electoral system.

He said for example, the SLPP won three seats in Freetown during the 2018 elections, but went further to note that , if it were the proportional representation the SLPP will be guaranteed to win plenty seats without rendering the decision of many voters futile.

“With the 11.9% threshold issued by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone for parliamentary and local council representation, even so called smaller parties will be given an opportunity to have their own bite”, Hon.Nyuma pointed out.

Hon. Nyuma made comparative analysis with Europe and noted that only England and partially France is operating under the first past the post system and went further in acknowledging that many countries across Europe and around the world are operating under the proportional representation electoral system.

He said the popular voting system does not guarantee a fair and equitable system of representation, which according to him, he sees as unfair and disadvantageous because it does not guarantee equilibrium in terms of total votes garnered.

Hon Nyuma disclosed that the proportional system of representation will reduce political tension synonymous with the simple majority system of representation as is normally evident in bye-elections that is characterized by win or die battle.

“politics is not about making people uncomfortable, it is about making the state a better place for everyone whether you are apolitical or political”, he remarked.

With the current economic challenges, Hon. Nyuma explained that Billions of Leones are expended to organize a bye election in a ward and a constituency, whiles multitudes are suffering as a result of poverty.

According to Hon. Nyuma, the proportional system of representation will eliminate the need to conduct bye elections and the candidate in line of waiting on the party list will automatically fill in the vacant seat.

“Thereafter Billions of Leones will be saved and utilized to ameliorate the sufferings of the people”, he noted.

He extolled the late former president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah for using the proportional system during his government to consolidate the hard won peace and similarly expressed optimism that the PR system under the Bio led government will help in fostering national cohesion.

“Even less nationally popular parties will feel part of the system because they will have the opportunity to be represented at local and parliamentary level as opposed to the first past the post system were they feel excluded and marginalized”, he explained.

Hon Nyuma envisaged a more consolidated 6th parliament and a united Sierra Leone as opposed to the 5th parliament which was characterized by wrangling and acrimony.

He concluded by urging voters to vote overwhelmingly for president Bio because of the current socio-economic transformation happening across the country, and his accomplishments with his previous manifesto promises.

He therefore appealed to the electorate to give president Bio another social contract because he deserves a second term to complete the unfinished work.

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