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About Parliament of Sierra Leone

The Parliament at present has 32 Committees the latest one being the Committee on Statutory Instruments set up in October 2013. Out of the 32 Committees, 7 are House related Committees which includes Committees for specific tasks such as vetting of Appointments by the Office of the President; Legislative Committee which analyzes draft Bills, etc., 3 are finance related committees namely, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Finance Committee and the Transparency and Accountability Committee and the rest of the 22 are subject related oversight committees covering the different MDAs/areas in the executive.

Each Committee is headed by a Chairman and a Deputy Chairman and generally has 16 members with certain exceptions. The Committees in the Parliament are serviced by 14 Committee clerks which implies that most of the clerks manage at least two committees. One positive aspect is that generally Committee meetings are open to the public.

History of Parliament

Parliament of Sierra Leone, like its counterparts in former British colonies, began as a Legislative Council; It was inaugurated in 1863, but re-named the House of Representatives in 1954.

The first decade of Independence (1961 – 1971), often referred to as the golden age, was a momentous period in the country’s Parliamentary evolution.

When the British crown took management of the colony in 1808, no African was represented in the colony’s administration. The Governor, with a few white officials ruled the colony by a body known as the Governor’s Advisory Council.

By the mid nineteenth century, the Creoles were determined to have a say in government.

A Committee of Correspondence, constituting a group of Creole businessmen was formed in 1853, and was later replaced by the Mercantile Association in 1858 with the primary objective of securing the right of political representation for Colony citizens.

Petitions and newspapers to the Secretary of State for Colonies served as pressure, calling for a new constitution and an elected assembly for Sierra Leone.

In the 1863 Constitution, the legislature was reorganized and inaugurated but with no provision for popular representation. The current Sierra Leone Parliament owes its origin to colonial constitutional developments dating as far back as to 1863 when the British colonial authorities established both Legislative and Executive Councils.

The Executive Council constituted the following: the Governor, the Chief Justice, Queen’s Advocate (Attorney-General), Colony Secretary and the Officer Commanding Troops.

The Forecourt where the President inspect the Guard of Honour
The Duke of Kent greets the Leaders at the Official Opening Ceremony of Parliament in the Eve of Independent
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