Constitutional crisis averted

National

By Malum Nalu
A serious Constitutional crisis would have arisen in Parliament on Wednesday had either Acting Clerk Kala Aufa or Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia walked out under the crossfire of Sinasina-Yongomugl MP Kerenga Kua, Aufa said.
He said Wednesday’s unruly shouting and bench-thumping in Parliament came as  Opposition MPs demanded that certain Government MPs be removed from the chamber because they were “strangers”.
Aufa said had he or Sir Salamo left, it would have jeopardised the whole Parliament session, and would have resulted in MPs not making and signing their declarations. The argument was led by  Kua as Aufa and Sir Salamo stood by and watched for at least 30 minutes before it abated.
“This is my second or third time to have that sort of experience with Kua,” Aufa told The National.
“I knew I was following the process.
“If I was wrong, I would have backed off.
“If I backed off, there would have been a Constitutional crisis.
“If the chief justice and I had decided to walk out, there wouldn’t have been any MPs.
“The Standing Orders say I must conduct that meeting, so we stood firm.
“I was just watching the chief justice and waiting for him to give me the commission (for MPs), so that we can swear them in.
“When the MPs slowed down (shouting), I said “go ahead, we can’t wait”.
“When the chief justice signed the commission, that’s when I read out the names of all the electorates and MPs.
“I’m thankful that the chief justice also stood firm and did the right thing.
“He’s not a small boy, and if he did walk out, he would not have come back to conduct the meeting.
“I have not seen such an uproar in Parliament for a long time.
“We had one last year during the vote of no confidence, but this time we had the chief justice in the house.”

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