Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 July 2016
Few people in Sierra Leone trust their elected representatives. The reasons – dereliction of duty, corruption, misappropriation of funds and abuse of power.
Never before has confidence in the country’s public officials generally dropped so low.
While this view may be one of perception rather than reality, the fact remains that elected politicians in Sierra Leone are failing to project a positive image, based on the principles of transparency, accountability, probity, openness and trustworthiness.
Critics are accusing the country’s parliamentarians of putting themselves above the constitution and the laws of the land. Parliamentarians say they are self-regulated.
But how does the process of parliamentary self-regulation and accountability work in Sierra Leone? Who monitors the standards of behaviour of the elected representatives in public life? Who is responsible for policing the law makers?
Many in Sierra Leone would say that the majority of people in the country are far too poor and illiterate to understand, appreciate and prioritise the importance of holding parliamentarians accountable.
While this may partly explain the reasons for parliament’s lack of accountability, perhaps one of the most crucial factors is the relationship between the majority ruling party elected members and their opposition counterparts.
Is there an overt cross-party conspiracy by parliamentarians to hoodwink the electorate, while enriching themselves, rather than work assiduously to improve the well-being and prosperity of the people?
Rights group – Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) is calling on the parliament of Sierra Leone to release documents regarding MPs’ expenses. They are demanding explanation as to how its members (MPs) are spending their allocated community development funds paid by the taxpayer. They want this information to be made public.