Tuesday, 13 January 2009 10:52 AM

Sir Allan Kemakeza

I find Alfred Sasako's views in relation to the motion moved by the Prime Minister for Parliament to extend Sir Allan's membership to Parliament until his appeal to the court of appeal is disposed of interesting and misleading. The motion is a procedural motion complying with section 51 of the Constitution. Alfred Sasako should look at the Speakers private view on this issue on last Saturday's Solomon Star News Paper. In no uncertain terms is the Speaker saying that Sir Allan losing his seat? In fact Sir Allan is still the Member of Parliament for Savo/Russell until the outcome of the court of Appeal. Legally Section 51 gives the leeway for such action to be taken by Parliament and there is nothing there that should imply that such action by Parliament infringes on the separation of Power issues. I am not sure why Sasako is advancing the issue of separation of powers here because the separation of power issue is a non issue in this case, our constitution is very clear on this and one including Sasako should not use a cowboy interpretation of the constitution to suit his own agenda. This is the full text of Section 51 (1) of the Constitution that provides for the action of Parliament:

(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, if a member of Parliament is sentenced by a court in any part of the world to death or to imprisonment (by whatever name called) for a term of, or exceeding, six months, including a suspended sentence, he shall forthwith cease to perform his functions as a member of Parliament, and his seat in Parliament shall become vacant at the expiration of a period of thirty days thereafter:

Provided that the Speaker (or if the office of the Speaker is vacant or he is for any reason unable to perform the functions of his office, the Deputy Speaker) may, at the request of the member, from time to time extend that period for thirty days to enable the member to pursue any appeal in respect of his conviction or sentence so however that extensions of time exceeding in the aggregate one hundred and fifty days shall not be given without the approval of Parliament signified by resolution

For those like Sasako who would like to a make a claim that the motion is interference by Parliament with judiciary, perhaps it would assist if those making such assertion first understand what that doctrine means in terms of parliamentary privileges and procedures before jumping to conclusions. I am not sure whether Sasako himself even understand what he terms as fine lines of the separation of powers because if he does he would not have made a big deal on this in relation to Sir Allan's case.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Abraham Dumusiko and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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