Parlamentarians commend effort of new speaker
The new Speaker, Hon. Tebuai Uaai, was highly praised by the President, H.E. Taneti Maamau, and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Titabu Tabane, for his excellent speakership of the ten day recent meeting of Parliament which ended a few days ago on Tuesday 20th December , 2016.
Hon. Speaker Tebuai Uaai
There was great doubt at the start of the meeting when the speaker elect was first appointed and when he first placed himself into the Speaker’s chair which was rather too large for his medium sized figure. The doubt was well founded on human nature given the fact he was known nationwide to be the first member of parliament in the history of Kiribati to be ordered out of the Parliament chamber and including the public gallery part of the House for more times than any other member for allegedly violating a rule of the House regarding conduct of members during meetings and proceedings of the House. His removal from the proceedings of the House were ordered by the then Speaker, Hon. Taomati Iuta, who was in the habit of intervening and issuing orders of removals without prior caution whenever Mr. Uaai or other strong Opposition members criticised or attacked the Government ( now playing the Opposition role) heavily on the floor of the House, thus confirming the strong attachment that the then Speaker had with the then ruling party in which he had earlier served as Vice President for three years and as a cabinet Minister for about twelve years. Based on the harsh and rough treatment that he had received many people predicted that the new speaker would be inclined to apply an eye for an eye old testament rule on those who had made him suffer during the time he was playing the Opposition role and in particular the current Opposition Leader, Mr. Titabu Tabane, who not only debated hard in Parliament against him and occasionally pressurised the then Speaker to remove him but also succeeded in taking the Tabiteuea South parliamentary seat from him during the last general election about twelve months back. But instead of doing the expected, the new Speaker Uaai had taken everyone by surprise when he began by assuring the House in his inaugural speech about two weeks ago that he would do his best to ensure that every member of the House is granted the respect that his/her people would normally accord to him /her. Throughout the entire session he displayed a great sense of fairness and impartiality and great respect for all members and there were times when he appeared to be over generous to the Leader of the Opposition. It was therefore understandable why the President and more so the Leader of the Opposition expressed their heartfelt appreciation for the fine and excellent leadership of the new Speaker in allowing members to debate as hard as they could without any interference from the Chair except on points of orders initiated by members themselves which were quickly determined by the Speaker with minimum disruption to the flow of debates.