He went on to inform his audience that the UNDP supports parliaments in more than 60 countries and that they do so primarily in recognition of the important role of parliament institutions in a democracy, and as an effective democratic oversight institution for accountable governance.
The UNDP Country Director went further to state that the aim of the induction process is to help MPs to quickly familiarize themselves with the parliamentary procedures and processes.
“Parliament is the central institution through which the will of the people is expressed, laws are passed and government is held to account,” he said, adding that parliament is uniquely positioned to promote peace, pluralism and gender equality through dialogue, debate and decision-making.
He informed his audience that for the first time in the country’s history the ruling party is the second largest party in Parliament while the opposition party has more seats than the ruling party.
He maintained that with the current composition of the House, it is his estimation that it holds the potential for a vibrant parliament, as it demands the finest skills for dialogue and necessity to reach across the aisle to forge alliances for the good of the country and its people.
“The composition of the Fifth Parliament makes majority power less certain and less probable thereby reducing the risks of executive influence,” Mr. Doe maintained.
It should be noted that this is the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone. The First Parliament was formed after the 1996 elections. Each successive election brings in a new Parliament.
In 2002, the Second Parliament was formed. In 2007 the Third Parliament was formed, and in 2012 the Fourth Parliament was formed. Sierra Leone is in its Second Republic, constituted following the first multi-party elections in 1996.
The former Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sorie, informed the newly-elected MPs of their roles in parliament; to make laws, provide representation and oversight. He said one of the major challenges they will face is failing to visit their constituents who will be putting all their burdens on the Members of Parliament.
“The people’s expectations from MPs are very high. This will force you to avoid your constituencies,” he said but encouraged them to make use of the opportunity to provide proper representation for their people and contribute to debates.