Parliament must debate on motion, says judge

A member of the three-man Supreme Court bench that deliberated on the Opposition’s application today said the motion must be debated and decided on, whether it is successful or not.

Speaking in court this morning, Justice Collin Makail said the motion of no-confidence going before the Committee on Private Business is not a trivial matter; it must be given importance.

“Whether it is successful or not, it is a matter for parliament to resolve. It must be debated and decided on,” Justice Makail said after the court granted a declaration ordering the speaker to recall parliament within 5 days, starting today.

Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia, in reading the decision of the high court today, said the motion filed by the Opposition complied with all five technical requirements.

Those technical requirements are that; the motion must have name of the Prime Minister it will be moved against, it must contain the name of the alternate Prime Minister, it must contain the name and signature of the MP moving the motion, name and signature of the person who seconds/supports the motion and the signature of not less than one-tenth of MPs who support the motion.

Sir Salamo said the function of the Committee is nothing more than to clear the motion after it is satisfied that the five technical requirements are met. He added the committee is not required to scrutinise the validity of the signatures.

The court found that if parliament had been informed of the motion by the deputy speaker and chairman of the Committee of receiving the motion the previous day, it was likely that parliament would not be adjourned to Aug 2.

Sir Salamo said other reasons for the adjournment such as the disturbance at the university that morning on June 8 is not sufficient in the court’s view. It was the court’s view that an adjournment to allow situation to settle down before parliament can return to conduct its normal business is not sufficient.

He went on to say the conduct of the speaker and those in charge of parliament has frustrated the process of moving a motion of no-confidence, which is becoming a dangerous trend as four motions filed in a space of seven months have not gone past the committee.

The court also found that the Opposition Leader inconvenienced himself when he delayed the filing of the no-confidence motion on the Speaker’s office. However, it was of the view that what was at stake before the court is the conduct of the speaker and not Polye.

The three judges said the cost to reconvene parliament will be enormous but the constitution is at stake and parliament must be recalled regardless of the cost.

Sally Pokiton