Parliament of Sierra Leone is the legislative arm of Government responsible to make Laws, ratify treatises, policies, scrutinize budget and carry out oversight scrutiny for the wellbeing, of the people of Sierra Leone.
Members of Parliament (MP’s) comprises of directly and indirectly elected representatives who meet to debate, amend and pass laws for the good governance of the country,The Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic has a composition of 146 Members.
Each of the country’s fourteen districts is represented by Paramount chiefs from these 14 administrative districts whilst 132 members are directly elected concurrently with the presidential elections.
The administration of the Parliament of Sierra Leone is headed by the Clerk of Parliament, assisted by a Deputy Clerk and 10 heads of department that are responsible to provide technical and administrative support and advisory services to enable Members of Parliament effectively and efficiently execute their constitutional mandate (Parliamentary Service Act, 2007. Part II, Section 3).
The total staff strength as at April, 2018 is 133 including contract workers of the Parliamentary Service; fulltime staff is: 125 and Contracts: 8.
Parliamentary Service staffing management is subdivided into three categories:
Parliament has two buildings which are used by MP's and staff for parliamentary functions and activities. The main building has the Chamber; where the Speaker and Members meet to transact the business of the House by deliberations. It also hosts offices for the Parliamentary Service Commission and Parliament Leadership.
The Administrative building has offices that are occupied by a variety of functionaries, including Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen of Committees, Consultants, Directors and Committee Clerks; it boasts a conference hall to host workshops, meetings and seminars.
These two buildings are used concurrently to process and provide information that is use to transact the business of the House for one hundred and twenty days in a year, by regularly meetings on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays as stated in the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone and the Revised Standing Orders, 2006.
The mandate of Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone is broadly described under Section 73(3) of the 1991 Constitution which is: Representation; Legislative/Law Making; Oversight of the Executive arm of Government; Approval and Scrutiny of Budget Allocations
The vision defines where Parliament will be in the future. It reflects the general optimistic view of the future.
A Parliament that is a beacon of peace, hope, democracy and good governance
Making government work for the people, by giving a voice to the voiceless through law making, transparency, accountability and equitable distribution of resources
Accountability: Parliament will strive to act in a fair and equitable manner, ensuring that the needs of citizens are addressed.
Inclusiveness: Parliament will strive to take into account all shades of opinion in every decision the House makes.
Gender Mainstreaming: Parliament will recognize and value the diversity between men and women in legislation and policy.
Transparency: Parliament will act openly and make all its activities and decisions accessible to citizens.
Integrity: Parliament will be guided by high ethical and moral standards in the discharge of its duties.
Impartiality: Parliament will be objective at all times and guided by the interests of all citizens.
Professionalism: Parliament will strive to achieve the highest level of skill and competence in discharging its duties.
Respect: Parliament will value the views and opinions of all citizens at all times.
First Parliament of the First Republic of Sierra Leone, Elections conducted on the 15th May, 1973
Elections were held to renew all the Members of Parliament, after their terms of office had been extended by one year and the previous elections had taken place in March 1967.
On the 18th April, 1973, His Excellency President Siaka Probyn Stevens dissolved Parliament and a state of emergency was declared throughout the country the next day in view of the upcoming electoral campaign. Nomination day was set for April 25. The rather troubled campaign was marked by accusations of intimidation of candidates filing their nomination papers.
The Sierra Leone People's Party, which had held 11 seats in the previous Parliament and figured as the major Opposition, altogether boycotted the election. As a result of the elections - the first since Sierra Leone became a republic in April 1971 - the All People's Congress (APC) emerged de-facto as the country's sole party. It captured 84 of the 85 seats at stake, with the remaining seat taken by an Independent. The 12 Paramount Chiefs themselves traditionally join the Government.
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||84|
In the election itself, only 41 of the directly elected and one of the indirectly elected paramount chief seats were contested (in the remaining 36 directly elected and 11 indirectly elected seats, the All People's Congress was the only party with a candidate). In a campaign marred by violence, elections in eight constituencies were not held on the day of the election, but were contested at a later date.
The following year, a referendum approved a new constitution that made the country a one-party state with the APC as the sole legal party. Elections were held under this system in 1982, 1985 and 1986. Another referendum in 1991 returned the country to multi-party politics, and the next pluriform elections were held in 1996.
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||70|
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||15|
|Democratic National Party (DNP)||-|
Parliamentary elections were held in Sierra Leone on 1 May 1982. They were the first elections since the country had become a one-party state under the 1978 constitution, with the All People's Congress being the sole legal party.
Following an amendment to the constitution in 1981, prior to the election, primaries were held to choose up to three candidates (all selected by the APC) to stand in each of the 85 constituencies, As a result, elections in 66 of the 85 constituencies were contested (13 of the 19 seats left uncontested were held by cabinet ministers).
The elections were marred by violence in which up to 50 people died. The APC used the army to crush opposition SLPP supporters in what became known as the "Ndogboyosoi [bush devil] war"
The results in 13 constituencies were cancelled due to "serious irregularities". By-elections took place on June 4.
40 sitting MP's and two ministers lost their seats, whilst a woman was elected to parliament in a constituency seat for the first time
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||85|
Parliamentary elections were held in Sierra Leone on 29 and 30 May 1986. As the country was a one-party state at the time, the All People's Congress was the only party allowed to run. They were the last elections held under the 1978 constitution, as a 1991 referendum returned the country to multi-party politics.
The elections were held ahead of schedule following the early dissolution of parliament. This was reportedly done in order to "choose a Parliament that would reinforce the "new order" of economic reform and public probity advocated by the new President", Joseph Saidu Momoh.
Since the 1982 elections the parliament had been enlarged from 104 to 127 members, with an additional 20 elected MP's and a further three presidential appointees, The APC nominated 335 candidates to contest the elections, which had been due to be held on 15 and 16 May, There were around 2 million registered voters.
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||105|
General elections were held in Sierra Leone on 26 and 27 February 1996 to elect a President and Members of Parliament. A second round of voting in the presidential election was held on 15 March. It was the first election since multi-party politics had been reintroduced following a referendum on a new constitution in 1991, and the first multi-party election held in the country since 1977.
The parliamentary elections were won by the Sierra Leone People's Party, which returned to power after a 29-year absence. The All People's Congress, which had governed from 1968 to 1992 (from 1978 to 1991 as the sole legally permitted party) finished fourth. The presidential election was won by the SLPP's candidate, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. However, he was deposed by a coup led by Johnny Paul Koroma on 25 May 1997. On 10 March 1998 Kabbah was returned to power by Nigerian-led ECOWAS forces.
The SLPP won the most seats in the elections, but fell well short of a majority, with only 27 of the 68 elected seats.
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||27|
|United National People’s Party (UNPP)||17|
|Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)||12|
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||5|
|National Unity Party (NUP)||4|
|Democratic Centre Party (DCP)||3|
For the first time since the civil war was declared officially over in January 2002, elections were held for all seats in Parliament. General elections had previously been held in February 1996.
Five months after the civil war was officially declared over, more than 2 million voters went to the polls on 14 May 2002 to elect a new President of the country and the 112 directly elected members of Parliament.
Although the electoral campaign was quite peaceful, there was a clash three days before the polling day between supporters of the former rebel group and now a political party, the Revolutionary United Front Party (RUFP) and the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). After this event, leaders of seven political parties and the National Electoral Commission signed a joint statement condemning the violent clashes and urging supporters of political parties "to refrain from any acts or threats of violence and intimidation."
Final figures released by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) showed that 2,329,161 persons were registered to vote in the elections, including some returned refugees who were eligible for late registration. Nineteen parties were registered by the NEC, but only ten contested the parliamentary elections.
Election officials noted some irregularities but no violence on the polling day. The most serious breach reported was one presiding officer at one polling station apparently thumb-printing an untold number of ballot papers. International observers also declared that there had been some irregularities, including under-age voting and possible double-voting. One universal complaint, by international and local observers, was that more civic voter education was needed. Despite a poster campaign, sponsored by the United Nations and other organizations, many voters still did not know how to fill in their ballot papers. But all agreed that the polls were by far the most peaceful in the country since independence from the United Kingdom in 1961. The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in Sierra Leone praised the organization of the election and the way people had behaved.
President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won the presidential election, triumphing as the man who brought peace to the country after a decade of civil war.
In Parliament, 83 of the 112 seats at stake went to the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), giving it an absolute majority. The All People’s Congress (APC) took 27 seats in the North and the West districts of the country, while the Peace and Liberation Party took the two remaining seats. None of the other seven political parties, including the former rebels of the Revolutionary United Front, reached the 12.5 percent threshold needed in any electoral district to enter Parliament.
On 10 June 2002, the twelve traditional leaders from the twelve districts were elected to seats in Parliament reserved for paramount chiefs.
On 25 June 2002, Parliament held its first sitting and re-elected Hon. Justice Edmond Kadoni Cowan as its Speaker.
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||83|
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||27|
|Peace and Liberation Party (PLP)||2|
General elections were held in Sierra Leone on the 11th August 2007, Seven candidates competed in the first round of the presidential election; no candidate received the necessary 55% of the vote to win in the first round, and a second round was held between the top two candidates, Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress (APC) and Solomon Berewa of the Sierra Leone People's Party(SLPP), on 8 September. According to official results, Koroma won the election with 54.6% of the vote.
566 candidates stood in the Parliamentary election, in which 112 seats, out of a total of 124, were at stake. Voting for seats in parliament were done on a first-past-the-post constituency basis, rather than the system of proportional representation used previously.
The 124 Members of Parliament were sworn in on September 25. Hon. Justice Abel Stronge was elected as Speaker and the APC's Victor Chukuma Johnson was elected as Deputy Speaker. Edward Turay was chosen as Leader of the Majority Party, and Momoh Pujeh was chosen as Leader of the Minority Party.
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||59|
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||43|
|Peoples Movement for Democratic Change||10|
General elections were held in Sierra Leone on 17 November 2012, the result was a victory for incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People's Congress (APC), who received 58.7% of the vote.
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||70|
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||42|
|Paramount Chiefs (12-Districts)||12|
|Number of Women|
|All Peoples Congress||8|
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||7|
|Political Parties||Number of Seats Won|
|All People's Congress (APC)||57|
|Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP)||59|
|Coalition for Change (C4C)||8|
|National Grand Coalition (NGC)||4|
|Paramount Chiefs(14-Districts) (PCMP)||14|
|Vacant||1 Constituency 110|
|All Peoples Congress||7|
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party||5|
|Coalition for Change||1|
|Members with Visible Disability|
|All Peoples Congress (APC)||1|
|Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)||0|
|Coalition For Change (C4C)||2|
|National Grand Coalition (NGC)||0|
|Paramount Chiefs (PCMP)||0|
The oldest MP is 83 years and the youngest is 29 years. The average age of the new Parliament is 48 years. This is below the average age of MP's across the world which stands at 53 years. See table below on age dis-aggregation;
|Age bracket||Total MP's||%|
The new Parliament has limited experience as a result of the high attrition rate. Out of the 146 MP's (Elected & Paramount Chief Representatives), 33(23%) have either come for the second or third term while 113 (77%) are new comers. The table below shows innings by political parties and Paramount Chiefs regarding experience in Parliament:
Educational level Attained
The highest educational level of the MP's is Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and 7 MPs (5%) have PhD's. A total of 46 MP's (31%) have Master’s Degree while 8 (5%) have LLBs. 36 MP's (25%) have First degrees. The other 49 (34%) of MP's have Higher Certificate, Certificate and Advanced & Ordinary Level qualification. The constitutional eligibility of MP's is ‘to read and write’. All 146 MP's meet the eligibility criteria of becoming MP's. See chart below:
Procedure in the Chamber of Parliament:
Order Papers, Votes & Proceedings, Hansards, Bills, Govt. White-paper, and other relevant documents are being sent to MPs’ pigeon holes informing them about the programs for the coming sitting.
The Minister initiating the bill sends it to Law Officers Department for legal drafting preparations etc.
After drafting from Law Officers Department, the Minister submits the drafted bill at Cabinet for their input and approval
The draft bill is submitted to the Law Officers Department again for possible additional input from Cabinet
The draft bill is submitted to the Government Printer for gazetting on at least two consecutive dates/times for a minimum period of nine days and made available for public purchase.
The Minister then arrange with Parliament for a Pre-Legislative briefing. This is to enable the Minister discuss the details of the bill and its entirety with MP's before the bill is formally submitted for legislative proceedings.
The bill will be read the first time by the Minister, in the case of a Government Bill or by a private Member, in the case of a Private Member’s Bill. At this stage, only the title and general principle of the Bill are read.
After this stage the Bill is read the second time. The merits of the Bill are discussed in detail and debate commences.
Committee stage: The Bill will be examined clause by clause and technical and legal aspects reviewed, as they relate to existing legislations. The Committee of the Whole House reports to Parliament.
The Minister commits the bill to the third stage/reading and recommends that the bill be read the third time and passed into law.
After the bill has been unanimously passed by Parliament it is further taken to the Law Officers Department to effect any necessary amendments made by Parliament and sent to the Government Printer for draft assent copy.
The Clerk of Parliament certifies the assent copy and sends it to the President for his assent
The bill then becomes law, as an Act of Parliament, with the signature of the President
Thereafter, the Clerk of Parliament will forward the assent copy to the Government Printer for gazette publication. This publication will be available for sale at the Government Bookshop.
Main Activities in Summary
Oath Taking of Elected Members of Parliament administered by the Clerk of Parliament.
Section 83 of the Constitution Act No. 6 1991 provides that "Every Member of Parliament shall, before taking his seat in Parliament, take and subscribe before Parliament the oath as set out in the Third Schedule"
Election of the Speaker of Parliament
Qualifications as specified in the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act, 2013
Oath Taking of the Speaker of Parliament; As given in the Third Schedule of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Act No.6 of 1991)
Election of the Deputy Speaker; As amended by the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act 2013
Oath Taking of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament
Felicitations to Hon. Speaker & Hon. Deputy Speaker
Chamber Procedure on the First Sitting Mace Covered.
Officer-in-charge – Clerk of Parliament
The newly elected Members of Parliament take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament
The Clerk of Parliament offers Prayers
The Clerk brief Members of Parliament on the procedures for the Oath taking of elected Members.
Members of Parliament will take and subscribe to the Oath of Office as given in the Third Schedule Constitution (Act No. 6 of 1991)
This may be done in groups of 10 using Bible and Quran for both Muslims and Christians.
Next item on the Agenda will be the Election of the Speaker.
Procedures for the Speakership Election (Speaker and Deputy Speaker)
Election of Speaker is given under Section 79 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone
Section 79 was amended in 2013 by the Constitution of Sierra Leone (Amendment) Act, 2013 which now reads as follows:
VOTING is done as per Standing Order 8:
The election of a Deputy Speaker shall be conducted in a similar manner to the election of a Speaker, save that Mr. Speaker shall preside, and that any motion for the election of the Deputy Speaker shall be declared to have been agreed to, if it is supported by the majority of Members present and voting.
Budget in democratic governance, refers to the statement on the Government’s fiscal and economic policy measures relating to its annual revenue and expenditure decisions. In Sierra Leone, the legal credence to the budget process is provided in Section 110 to 119 of the 1991 Constitution, Parliamentary Standing Orders 63 to 69, the Government Budget and Accountability Act 2005. Like in most other countries, there are generally four stages of the budget process in Sierra Leone: preparation, approval, implementation and evaluation. Sierra Leone Parliament is mainly involved in the approval stage and to a lesser extent in the evaluation, while those of preparation and implementation mainly rest with the executive.
The budget preparation starts with the issuance of a Circular (Budget Call Circular) to all Vote Controllers of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by the Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance at around June each year, requesting them to submit the financial proposals to the Budget Bureau no later than end of August. The Circular outlines the macroeconomic and policy guidelines of the Government and indicates ceilings to the Heads of Expenditure of the MDAs which they are encouraged not to exceed. This is followed by strategic planning wherein Vote Controllers and Management Teams of the MDAs prepare planned activities, objectives and expected outcomes for the ensuing financial year relating to Heads of Expenditure, especially for development programmes.
Then the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Technical Committee sits together with the MDAs to arrange their budgeted programmes and activities in line with the MTEF process (quarterly allocation per annum of a three year budget) ensuring that they budget for incomplete projects from the previous year(s) or that medium term projects are evenly projected into the following year(s). This is followed by public discussions on the budget proposals. Although the process at this stage is still mainly the business of the Executive, sometimes some Members of Parliament (MPs) and Councilors are invited by the Budget Bureau and the MDAs to participate in public discussions on their budget proposals to get views on the appropriateness or otherwise of their needs and selected priorities. The budget figures are then confirmed by the MDAs after budget hearings and submitted to the Budget Bureau as budget estimates for the Appropriation Bill for that financial year.
Budget Approval/Legislative Process
Step 1: Budget Speech/First Reading: The presentation of the Budget by the Government in Parliament is one of the most closely followed events in any Parliament. This is generally followed by an extensive debate which attracts wide public attention. The Minister delivers the Budget Speech (which is the First Reading) and lays the estimates on the Table of the House as a Bill, being "an Act to provide services for Sierra Leone for the Financial Year". Thereafter, the Appropriation Bill journeys through the legislative process. The Appropriation Bill shall be put down for Second Reading (S.O. 63/3) for not less than two clear days.
Step 2: The Second Reading: After the First Reading (which comes in the form of a Budget Speech), five days are allotted for the Second Reading with the debate limited to the financial and economic state of the country and general principles of Government policy and administration as indicated by the Bill and its estimates. On the last day of the five allotted days at 14:30 the proceedings of the Second Reading are brought to an end with the necessary question put by the Speaker; unless if the debate comes to an end earlier.
Step 3: Committee of Supply: At the end of the Second Reading, the Bill is committed to the Committee of the Whole House which for the Appropriation Bill is called the Committee of Supply (S.O. 64/1 &2). The Finance Committee in Parliament takes the lead in organizing the process of the Committee of Supply by dividing Members into Sub Appropriation Committees (these are Sub Committees of the Committee of Supply or of the Whole House), fixing timelines for ensuing meetings and summoning Vote Controllers of MDAs to defend their Heads of Expenditure, taking into account expenditures for programmes and activities for the previous Financial Year (FY) and those for the current FY. This exercise takes into consideration the policies underlying the estimates, priorities, effective and efficient use of both human and financial resources, the constraints of the MDAs, the adequacy or inadequacy of these resources and report to the Committee of the Whole House.
Step 4: Third Reading/Enactment: After the Sub Appropriation Committees report to the House and where there is no notice of amendments, a motion for the Third reading is made by the Minister in charge which is decided without debate.
Budget implementation or execution is done under the hand of the Financial Secretary and supervision of the Budget Bureau and Accountant-Generals’ Department of the Ministry of Finance. The Budget Bureau prepares the quarterly budgetary allocations which are forwarded to the Accountant-Generals’ Department under the hand of the Financial Secretary as directives to allow the processing of payment vouchers to MDAs up to the amounts allocated. The MDAs on their part raise vouchers for their activities and programmes of expenditure to access and utilize their quarterly allocations. The PET forms are in line with the MTEF and Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to ensure prudent financial management that monies are spent for the activities for which allocations are made.
Sub Appropriation Procedures and its Financial Provisions
At the end of the Fiscal year, the Minister of Finance will lay on the table of Parliament the Budget Speech, Profile, Financial Strategy Statement and the Appropriation Bill for the First Reading.
After that, it shall be put forward for the Second Reading with a 5 allotted days for continuous debate on the Second Reading.
The Appropriation Bill and the Allocated budget estimates given to MDA's will be sent to the Committee of Supply to carefully scrutinize the budget allocated to every MDA's.
An open-ended questionnaire is sent out to all MDA's in line with S.O. 66(1).
Vote Controllers are requested to respond to questions relating to their budgetary allocations, state their challenges and provide a comprehensive summation of how they have been carrying out their mandates.
After the exercises the Minister will again move the motion for the Appropriation Bill to be Read the Third time. It will then be passed into law for government to undertake capital and recurrent expenditure.
So soon as the Appropriation bill has been reported to the House, a motion for the Third Reading shall be made by the Minister in Charge. Such motion is not required to be seconded, and shall be decided without amendment or debate.
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