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Commonwealth schools Sierra Leone MPs

Commonwealth schools Sierra Leone MPs

Commonwealth support to assist Sierra Leone to rebuild its democracy continued yesterday when a team of experts begin preparing the recently elected Members of Parliament to perform their democratic duties.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), yesterday opened a two-day professional development seminar in Freetown, five months after the West African nation staged its latest presidential and parliamentary elections. The elections, endorsed by a Commonwealth Observer Group, were the first Sierra Leone organized on its own after eleven years civil war which ended in 2002. Elections in 2002 and 2007 were organized by the United Nations. The CPA also held a Post-Election Seminar in Sierra Leone after the 2002 elections

The 124 MPs elected in mid-November, 2012, will spend an intensive two-day discussion on the different roles played by parliamentarians and on other aspects of parliamentary practice and procedure. The discussions will be led by a team of Commonwealth experts under the direction of CPA Secretary-General, Dr William F. Shija (in photo) who will share their experiences to assist the Sierra Leonean parliamentarians, approximately 66 percent of whom are new to parliament, to function effectively in parliament, in their committees and in their other political duties.

Joining Dr Shija on the team are: South Africa MP, Hon. Jerry Thibedi;  Ombudsman and former Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone, Justice Edmond Cowan; former Clerk of the Parliament of Ghana, Rex Owusu Ansah; the Gender and Political Development Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, Kemi Ogunsanya, the Regional Coordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s African office, Wilhelmina Mensah including staff from the CPA Secretariat.

The team has paid a courtesy call on the president of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma and has visited development projects in Freetown.

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