You certainly cannot say that it is boring, can you? Itís been on-the-edge-of-your- chair stuff for weeks past and post election developments have kept up the pace.
Who could imagine, for instance, an Attorney General suing Parliament, although, mind you, it was not so long ago that the Minister of Finance was also keen to pull off the same stunt.
But who is being sued in this particular instance – members of the last Parliament who approved the amendment which allowed them to vote secretly rather than by show of hands – the matter at issue – or those who now constitute the new Parliament?
It’s certainly not clear to me. How can people who may have voted against the amendment or perhaps were not even there be sued?
But this seems to be happening with reports suggesting that the Attorney General is suing the three parties; the UDC, BDP, and the BCP not the individual members of those parties.
But this again seems a bit tough because the UDC was not even represented in the last Parliament and can hardly be blamed for approving the amendment. Can it be the implication, therefore, that the Attorney General is keener to stop Parliament from implementing the amendment than she is to punish those who approved it? But again, can the various elements that constitute Parliament be legally separated so that the members of the political parties represented comprise one legal unit, as it were, whilst the Speaker, the President and the legal counsel, represent another?
But then the President, as we know, cannot be sued so how can it be possible to sue the party whilst excluding its leader? All very baffling.
But then again, how can the Attorney General be acting on behalf of the BDP, as a political party when suing the BDP, as the party represented in Parliament?
Is there a legal difference? But then again, there will be many who will want to know how Newman Collins once again came into the act, who instructed them to tell the Attorney General to do her job, and who will pay their substantial bill? Will it be the person who instructed them, presumably the President or someone acting on his behalf, or, as ever, the poor abused tax payer?
But then the implication would have to mean that the only leader who could reasonably be sued would be Saleshando – Boko not being present when the amendments were approved.
But this would seem to be extraordinarily lacking in generosity
As a token of its appreciation, the BDP majority in Parliament could have brought him in as an elected appointed member, and then, afterwards, its leader, appointed him a Minister. That, surely would have been the minimum, given that the said Saleshando would now be Vice President and possibly Minister of Finance had he thrown in his lot with the Umbrella.
Now instead, he finds himself without a constituency, leading a party which was supposed to have swept the election but finds itself with with just three seats rather than the 30 or so it had anticipated.
In other democracies, the members of a party who were deemed responsible for such an electoral humiliation would be pushed aside and new leaders rapidly elected. Here of course, the style is different because resignation is rare. Indeed the comments of the leadership of the BCP, to date, have suggested that far from recognising any need for change, it is digging in for the long haul and implicitly preparing for the next election when it will rout its foremost enemy, the BMD – thus party first, country second – which is precisely how it happened that it handed the BDP a relatively, easy victory. Its leadership will not see it that way, of course but then neither will those who, clutching at available straws, attribute the party’s misfortunes to the commercial media and to the Westminster system.
But for those who voted in the recent election, there must be astonishment that the process of government can be stopped dead by a difference of opinion about voting methods, hands publicly raised with those voting to show their preference or votes cast in the way that the electorate votes, secretly so that no one can know or later intimidate.
Instead of suing anyone, always messy, why not ask the new Parliament to unam by its predecessor members? It might be worth trying.
For the outside commentator, however, it must seem unbelievable that this country, of all countries, could have got its nickers entangled in a constitutional mess over an issue which would probably embarrass a village committee anywhere in the world.