Your trusted place for Sierra Leone and global news
HomeFeaturedEducational Qualifications for Members of Parliament in the New Constitutional Review of Sierra Leone should be Specific

Educational Qualifications for Members of Parliament in the New Constitutional Review of Sierra Leone should be Specific

Educational Qualifications for Members of Parliament in the New Constitutional Review of Sierra Leone should be Specific

Since Sierra Leone’s independence, the country has had ministers and members of parliament who had limited education and exposure to international politics and as a result the country becoming a player in international politics and development is limited.   In the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone, qualifications for membership in Parliament, in article 75C states that in order for individual to be qualified for a Member of Parliament “he or she is able to speak and to read the English Language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of Parliament.”  (Photo: Joseph Sherman, author)

The Sierra Leone Parliament is an expression of the faith that the people of Sierra Leone have in principles of democracy. The role of Parliaments around the globe has transformed tremendously over the years. It is no more confined to enacting legislation only. Parliaments have now become multi-functional institutions. The Parliament of Sierra Leone is a depository of varied functions as delineated by the Constitution and, obviously, also of those powers and functions which inherently and conventionally rest with Parliaments. Like other Parliaments, our Parliament has also emerged as a multi-functional institution. It is the political nerve center of the country, acting as a mirror of the society, accommodating the needs of changing times, shouldering responsibilities and engaging itself fully in the process of running our parliamentary polity. Parliament now performs a variety of functions.

Some of the cardinal roles and functions of Parliament are: ensuring Executive accountability, law making, and control over the Budget, constituent functions, representational role, educational role, informational functions, training and recruitment of leadership, besides other miscellaneous functions.  The Member exercises the legislative power of the State in accordance with the Constitution.  This is done through the introduction and passage of Bills.  They also participate in all deliberations on matters of national and international importance. Parliament exercises constitutional authority over the use of public funds and the operations of Ministries, Departments and Agencies through inquiries and investigations. It is the duty of a Member to assist the House to execute this mandate through Committees that enable Members to examine in greater detail, legislative and fiscal proposals from the Executive and its agencies.

Mechanisms, such as Statements and Question Time, present Members with the opportunity to draw attention to issues of public or national importance.  These mechanisms also serve as a means of obtaining assurance from Ministers on actions being taken on the issues raised

Therefore, in order for an individual to become a member of parliament there should be a minimum level of education, that the minimum qualification should be a university first degree.

The cry of many  Sierra Leoneans is that members should at least measure up to a certain standard academically so they can rub shoulders with their foreign counterparts and not just people who can indulge in dissonance, are popular in their constituency, very philanthropic in nature among other things. It’s all good though but backed by a very solid academic background makes it best. We the good people of Sierra Leone are not saying that all members should be professors.

Although one may argue that this cannot be proven scientifically, also those who subscribe to the phenomenon of “Common Sense” that maybe true to an extent but beyond a certain level it stops.  This is not an attack on our Honorable Men or Women who are not highly educated though; they can always enroll in higher institution of learning etc to upgrade themselves. Some Members of Parliament are doing creditable well regardless of their shortfalls on the academic ladder but it is believed that with all those performances, backed by higher education, their performance will be tremendous. We are very much aware of some members who still hold their Middle SchoolnLeaving Certificates (GCE), “O” & “A” levels but are still doing well, we are just beseeching them to upgrade and fall in line with current trends prevailing elsewhere.

Finally we the good people of Sierra Leone are making an innocuous appeal to all stake holding agencies to add their voices to this noble course to strengthen our legislature and make it a powerful institution worth its sort in the effective and efficient discharge of its mandated duties obligations.

By Joseph Sherman, Editor-in-Chief, Salone Monitor, Washington, DC

Stay with Sierra Express Media, for your trusted place in news!

© 2013, https:. All rights reserved.

Share With:
Rate This Article
No Comments

Leave A Comment