By Joe Tucker
With support from the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the United Nations Development Programme, Parliament has yesterday inducted new members in Freetown on the workings of the House of Parliament.
This session is the first in the Fifth Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
The theme for the 2018 induction is “Building the Foundation for an Effective Parliament.”
Samuel Doe, Country Representative for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), who officially launched the Induction Ceremony, informed the House that the concept of induction is about starting a journey ‘at the beginning of something you are about to take – so you are being inducted to move something.’ According to him, it is about craving the necessary tools that will help them along the structural journey they are about to take in the next five years.
“You have been elected to be here until 2023. Every journey has certainties and uncertainties. It is good to reflect/ask yourselves what should I be remembered for in this long journey I am about to take? What should be the footprint to leave behind towards this long journey (five years)? How indelible will this footprint be and of the people I am going to share with? These are the things you should think of as of now.” Mr. Doe told the legislators.
The UNDP representative advised the MPs to protect and strengthen institutions such as the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) so as to further consolidate Sierra Leone’s democracy.
He further reminded the legislators that their business in the House is to make laws, represent their people and undertake oversight responsibilities, amongst other duties.
“The questions most parliamentarians should ask themselves are: What are the issues I want to carry along? What issue I am going to fight for? Are you here to fight for land? Are you here to fight for environmental degradation or here to fight poverty alleviation?
He reminded Members of Parliament to consider these areas as they undertake this journey, while calling on them to also engage the presence of God in all their plans.
Tom Vens, Ambassador of the European Union to Sierra Leone, congratulated the new Members of Parliament on their appointment. He stated that democracy and government is about checks and balances. It is about the voice of the people, which, according to him, “should be your priority in the next five years.”
He assured the legislators that EU support will target Parliamentarians’ constitutional performance, and gender equality.
He ended by calling on MPs to put the Ebola and mudslide behind them and move the country forward.