CHRDI calls on government of Sierra Leone to reject salary increment for members of parliament

CHRDI Director - Abdul Fatorma

CHRDI: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 7 June 2022:

The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) draws the attention of the Government of Sierra Leone, CSOs and citizens, to stop the current initiative in the Sierra Leone Parliament to increase the salaries of the Members of Parliament.

This attempt to increase MPs’ salaries, including benefits such as wardrobe allowances, demonstrates that out Legislative is tone deaf to the continued suffering of the people of Sierra Leone.

The people have, for years now, suffered the harsh economic and social impacts of the global pandemic, coupled with multiple failures by the government to deliver on the promises they made four years ago.

So, at a time when families in our country have to tighten their belts even more than before, it is preposterous for the Parliamentarians to ask that their salaries and benefits be increased.

The rift between the voting public and the government, including the Parliament, has been widened in recent decades with little done by the elected officials to restore the trust of the public in the highest offices of the country.

As it appears, political representation in a liberal democracy such as Sierra Leone is a straightforward concept. Every five (5) years, at a national level, there is an election where citizens elect their representatives in Parliament.

CHRDI believes that a strong representative democracy needs an open and transparent government, and that Politicians should represent their communities and protect the public interest, and not their private interest.

CHRDI notes with concern the gap between what the politicians promise to do every 5 years during elections, and what happens in actuality once they settle comfortably in their seats.

This Bill to increase salaries and benefits is the definition of the lack of respect and honesty to the voters. Before increasing their salaries, have these politicians asked themselves what they have done to improve the lives of the people they represent?

As a rights-based public social-policy advocacy organization, we are charged with the responsibility to draw attention to the commitments of duty-bearers to uphold human and civil rights. We are actively involved in promoting participatory democracy, accountability, and gender equity through social, economic, political, and human capacity building.

At a time when the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the country’s medium-term growth prospects, and citizens are battling with severe hardships, parliamentarians are now telling us that their top priority is to fatten up their wallets.

Sierra Leoneans are faced with crushing difficulty in paying rents and many families with children are at risk, or already face eviction.

In late 2018, Parliament made the same attempt to push this unreasonable request for increased salaries and benefits for themselves, but the people of Sierra Leone rejected it.

This is what we hope happens now. Only when the Parliament votes to increase the minimum wage in the country, only when the Parliament and the government can prove that the lives of ordinary citizens have improved as a result of their work, only then will they be morally justified to award themselves with a salary increase.

We see this disgraceful Bill as a total disregard to the majority of Sierra Leoneans’ will to build a better economy after a decade of alleged plunder by many of the same politicians who seek better pay now, and we wish to reiterate our avowed stance against rewarding incompetence and failed promises.

Therefore, we are calling on Parliamentarians to withdraw their proposal with immediate effect in the public interest.

We are not against rewarding hard work. So, if Parliamentarians want higher salaries, they must show what they have actually done to bring the bread and butter to the people’s tables.

Women in the villages still have to beg for a square meter of land to plant food for their children. Nothing changed for them.

When things get better for many of the hard-working mothers of our land, then our Parliamentarians can until then morally request to increase their salaries too.

Note:

Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) is a Rights based Public social-policy advocacy Organisation. We Draw attention to the responsibility of duty-bearers to uphold human rights and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights. CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to many UN Agencies.

 

4 Comments

  1. This article about our Parliamentarians requesting for an increment in salaries and so many other amenities is shocking and if it is true, its beggars belief of such proposal. Our Parliamentarians need to stop now with such proposal and think about the ordinary men and women of Sierra Leone that are finding it hard to survive on day to day basis. It is a beggars description and I can not imagine that they will even think of such proposal at this time of economic hardship that tis hitting the whole world. I bet those requests are not only coming from a single party parliamentarians but from all parliamentarians of other parties. Parliamentarians with big hearts, remember the ordinary men and women in the streets of Sierra Leone that elected you to serve them and our beloved country. So please your being in the house of Parliament is to help make the lives of Sierra Leoneans better first and foremost and then yours afterwards.
    There was a clip I saw on the social media about the main opposition party mainly the Parliamentarians telling the entire nation that the current government hasn’t got enough money to run the country – DE GRON DRY. Knowing this, why on earth are they siding with other Parliamentarians to propose for an increment. My people of Sierra Leone, you see how our Parliamentarians are playing with our minds and banging our heads against each other. Money unites them in Parliament but to improve and develop the country disunite them simply because they wants us to LAY BELLEH at their feet for help at all times. BO MAKE DIS COUNTRY BETTEH NOW FOR WE ALL FOR GOD SAKE.

  2. What an outrageous, ridiculous, reckless tactical benefit/welfare political manoeuver by our parliamentarians. I did not respond to this article because I was waiting for a reply from the parliament leadership. Now, we have heard from the clerk of parliament. What I found strange was that the clerk did not deny nor condemn the proposed document. Until he does that, I don’t buy his statement. In my view, the clerk of parliament has to condemn this document outright for him to be credible on this issue. We are waiting to hear from other parliamentarians in parliament—especially those who want to become president of Sierra Leone. God bless Sierra Leone, where they stand. Are they with the people or with parliament? Nonsense! TBC.

    • Oh my goodness. How could someone come for an interview with Ms Kadhija Bangura without preparing? If you do that, you flip flop, dodge or fumble with your answers. What happens next? You end up explaining and complaining instead of addressing the issues and answering the questions. Ladies and gentlemen, listen to this radio conversation between Ms Khadija Bangura – one of Sierra Leone’s most intelligent, recognised journalists and a radio presenter with a so-called government official. Thank you very much, Ms Khadija Bangura, for using the queens’ language most effectively to ensure that those in authority tell the truth when they come for an interview. Stumbling, dodging, flip-flopping, and complaining mean something is not just right. Kudos to you, Khadija and your colleagues at FM98.1. Yeah.

      Listen to this – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PgCZzh8-ns

      This is a follow-up to my last comment on this issue. Listening to this radio interview tells you that transpired. Let’s be honest with ourselves, ladies and gentlemen. Our parliamentarians have the right to make such demands. But, I don’t believe this is the right time for it. In my view, they should probably have gained support from the population if they had taken this matter to their constituents for consultation. But they seldom consult their members on the issues. That has to change. Also, they should have added the salaries and conditions for every worker in the republic. Hon Lahai made some fair comparisons in terms of wages amongst specific well-placed individuals. Thank you very much, Hon Lahai, for coming forward and telling us what the Clerk of Parliament, also representing the leadership, failed to say to us.
      My advice to our parliamentarians is to pass legislation concerning ministerial positions. I believe ministerial positions should be for people who won elections. That will allow people to be responsible for duties as ministers. Think about that. God bless Ms Khadija Bangura and the FM98.1 team.

  3. This proposal to increase the salaries of our members of Parliament is a kick in teeth for our underpaid and undervaluved , and overworked public sector workers , that have seen their own monthly salaries and wages been swallowed up by a run away inflation and a mounting cost of living crises on food prices and other household items that for most families is now out of reach that the ordinary family budget can afford to buy. Thanks to Bio and Putin war of choice in Ukraine. Now that we know the war in Ukraine is going to drag on for the foreseeable future , where are the policies that help mitigate the hardship facing government workers and their families,?That is if these public sector workers salaries are even paid on time .I have in mind our medical doctors , nurses , teachers , fire fighters , community outreach organisations, district and city council workers , refuse collectors and many more .Whilsts they are the real unsung heroes that keeps our country going , our corrupt and lazy politicians are always coming up with ways to look after their own welfare nevermind the welfare of the real public sectors workers that continues to work selflessly some times paid or not paid but still managed to turn up on time in their offices to carry out their duties to the state of Sierra Leone .

    It appears to me this Boi government is using public money to run a Punzi scheme that pays dividends to his acolytes whilst the rest of the country suffers .The campaign for human rights and international development is right in saying politicians of all colours should be looking after the welfare of their people.They are the elected servants of the peoples not the other way around as we seemed to be in Sierra leone..Is this is an other way to give more money to MPs so they can buy the public vote in their constituencies so Bio can maintain his majority in Parliament after 2023 ?

    Transparency and accountability is the only warranty that ensure the promises made by our elected politicians is delivered to the people .In the absence of that , what is the points of holding elections in the first place ?This proposed inflation bursting salary increase for our fat cat and corrupt politicians should not even be on the table given the cost of living crises facing for example Fatu Bangura and her husband and five children , living in a pan body in Kingtom,Calaba town or Blackhall road,with little or no source of income not knowing what the next day holds, or how to feed those children ,but just a stone throw away from State House and Parliament building at Tower Hill,you have Bio the millionaire and well to do members of parliament demanding for more money to boost their salaries on the back of Fatu Bangura and many others struggling families like her up and down the country that have to put their children to bed hungry and frustrated with a system that condemns them to that fate . Usually salary increases is calculated on performance related pay .But for crying out loud what has this body of elected politicians that are always on each others throats achieve in the last four years? Are we increasing MPs salaries because of who throws the best puch like Iron Mike Tyson?As the president of Senegal told Putin the warmonger, the War in Ukraine that is happening thousands of miles away from us , is having a devastating impacts on lives in the Africa .And when you have a government that doesn’t know its priorities then we should brace ourselves for more cost of living crises .As always is we the ordinary man and woman in Sierra Leone that put up with the greatest burden of government inaction.We have reach our limits.Our shoulders are not broad enough.

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