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Maiden Address of the Hon. Conteh, Acting Speaker of Parliament

The Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, the newly elected Deputy Speaker of the Sixth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone, gave a moving address to Members of Parliament (MPs) following his election (94-47) as Deputy Speaker and acting presiding officer of the House during its 49th sitting on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. He expressed his sincere gratitude to God almighty, President Julius Maada Bio, Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) for electing him as Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

In his inaugural address to his fellow MPs, the Hon. Ibrahim Tawa Conteh, MP for the Western Area Urban District representing the SLPP West Region, expressed his gratitude for being unanimously elected as Deputy Speaker, alongside Hon. Solomon Sengehpoh Thomas as Speaker, to serve MPs.

He reflected on the significance of his election, noting that it had been 33 years since a Limba man had occupied the position of Speaker. He acknowledged the support of President Julius Maada Bio, the SLPP, and the APC in demonstrating their commitment to democracy.

He extended his appreciation to the Paramount Chief Members of Parliament, recognizing their wisdom and guidance in leading the House.

“This is a service that has come at an unexpected time. I have never in my wildest imagination dreamt I would be the Deputy Speaker at this time. Reminiscing on the role and for the fact that I am presiding over Parliament today, particularly taking into consideration it was thirty-three years ago that the last Limba man sat on this Chair (applauds and table beating by MPs) from across the aisle. Today I seat on this Chair as a Limba man under the SLPP. I want to thank His Excellency President Maada Bio and the leadership of the SLPP and the APC parties in Parliament for coming out and showing that democracy is what we practice and democracy is the order of the day, thanks very much.
To my revered Paramount Chief Members of Parliament; they are the guiding symbol of this House, the voice of wisdom, they have been here for us, and we continue to encourage them to guide us through this difficult path. It is not easy to lead at this particular point in time but we believe their wisdom will guide us in keeping the House together and engender parliamentary unionism for the good of Sierra Leone and Members of Parliament, thank you.”

In his first official act as Acting Speaker, the Hon. Tawa allocated the First-Floor to the Hon. Mamoud Kamara, APC, his political rival in the Lumley Community and its environs in the Western Area.

The decision was met with resounding support and solidarity from members of both political parties, who demonstrated their unity through shouts and desk banging.

Hon. Mamoud expressed his gratitude to the MPs for electing his elder brother from the Lumley community, Hon. Tawa, as Deputy Speaker of Parliament. He prayed for wisdom and Allah's guidance for the new Speaker.

In his response, the Hon. Tawa assured Members of the House that he would uphold the dictates of the Constitution of Sierra Leone. He announced that he would preside over a short sitting lasting until 12:00pm.

Hon. William Joseph Lamin (SLPP Bo District) commended Hon. Conteh contributed to critical debates, acknowledging his dedication and commitment to his role as Deputy Speaker. He expressed confidence in the new leadership and pledged the support of the people of Bo District.

The Acting Speaker, Hon. Tawa, heeded the suggestion of Hon. Neneh Lebbie, his replacement as Chief Whip Two, that three minutes be allotted to every MP taking the Floor, marking his second ruling as acting Speaker of Parliament.

Hon. Rosy Kanu (APC Western Area Urban) congratulated both Speakers on their elections and assured them of the opposition's support in creating a conducive working environment in the Sixth Parliament. She encouraged the Speakership to superintend the House in consultation, engagement, and consensus, reminding them to rule with conscience and the fear of God.

Other MPs, including Hon. Saa Musa Fofana (SLPP), Hon. Dr. Unpha Sorie (APC), Hon. Jalloh (APC), Hon. Tarawally, Hon. Veronica Kadie Sesay (SLPP), and Hon. Tongus from the PCMPs, also offered their felicitations to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Sixth Parliament.


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