“We recognize Hon. Bernadette Lahai’s good service as Minority Leader of the House of Parliament. The fact that she wants to give other people the opportunity to serve their people is a good venture and it shows leadership and humility on her path”, SLPP Acting National Public Relations Officer, Rtd. Lt. Lahai Leema said.
He made this statement to Awoko Newspaper on the 5th September 2016 after Hon. Lahai representing Constituency 013, Kenema District disclosed in a press conference that she will not be contesting for a seat in the next Parliamentary elections that are proposed to take place in 2018.
According to Leema, the Female opposition Member of Parliament entered the House in 2002 adding that by 2017, she would have served for 15 years stating that in all of those years she had not serve this country in her own personal terms rather in the representation of the SLPP in the house of parliament.
Much as the general membership of the party may be looking at the things she could have done better that she did not do, “we should not forget the fact that she had done enormously to put the party on the map”, he said, adding as a party they recognized the valuable contribution she had made in promoting the interest of the party and the name of the party.
Deliberating on things she could have done “but did not vigorously do”, Leema said “as at the time she had become the Minority Leader, she would have stood up to the test of time and challenge certain policies the Party has taken position on; for instance the issues involving the discharge of the democratically elected Vice President.”
Another issue he highlighted among others is the toll road which according to Leema, people are forced to use those roads.
He said there should be an alternative road which is well constructed “but during their debate we did not hear them vigorously challenging those issues.”
“It was a lapse that they did not accomplish among other issues. We want to see them challenging government on issues in the interest of the public.”
However, “we appreciate the good work and for the fact that she is not running anymore for her seat is a laudable venture because she is giving others the opportunity to come and taste power and to see how far they can represent their people in parliament through national service.”
Leema vividly stated that “Hon. Lahai not running again for parliamentary seat does not mean she is disengaging from active politics. She will continue politicking in the SLPP. We believe in her and we respect the valuable contribution she made in spite of the fact that she had her own weaknesses.”
If the SLPP had provided a viable opposition in parliament, the Minority Leader has been on board and has joined forces with others to create a vibrant opposition.
Meanwhile, the Minority Leader during the press conference had said that rumours about her interest to contest for the SLPP presidential candidate are untrue.