Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 September 2020:
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 September as the International Day of Democracy, with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy, hence last Tuesday, 15 September 2020, an Afrobarometer report which discusses what Sierra Leoneans think about their parliamentarians was published.
The latest Afrobarometer 2020 report comes on the heels of another study published two weeks ago by the Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law in Sierra Leone (CARL) which found that the country’s parliament is the second most corrupt institution after the police force.
According to the Afrobarometer 2020 report, most Sierra Leoneans say their members of Parliament (MPs) are ineffective, rarely visit or help their constituents, and are untrustworthy.
Things cannot get any worse for the image of Sierra Leone’s parliamentarians. Meanwhile the head of the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) – Francis Ben Kaifala, said last week that his investigations into corruption in parliament is now at an advanced stage, as confidence in the ACC itself begins to wane.
The Afrobarometer 2020 report also found that the Office of the Presidency (State House) is the third most corrupt public institution in the country, after the police and parliament.
Survey respondents’ negative assessments add up to a scathing indictment of the performance of parliamentarians.
While citizens want MPs to listen to their constituents, represent their needs, and deliver jobs and development to their communities, a majority of survey respondents say their MPs are ineffective at these tasks, as well as at making laws for the good of the country.
Although demand for accountable governance has increased in Sierra Leone, very few citizens believe MPs are effective in holding the president and government accountable.
The study also found that MPs are among the least trusted officials and are widely perceived as corrupt.
The most recent elections saw a high turnover in Parliament, as eight out of 10 parliamentarians elected in 2012 lost their seats in 2018.
Key findings of the Study
- Seven in 10 Sierra Leoneans (71%) say it is more important to have a government that is accountable to its citizens than to have a government that “gets things done” (Figure 1).
- Demand for accountable governance has increased by 28 percentage points since 2012 (43%).
- The two most important responsibilities of MP’s, according to Sierra Leoneans, are to listen to constituents and represent their needs (52%) and to deliver jobs or development (26%) (Figure 2).
- Very few respondents cite making laws for the good of the country (9%) and monitoring the president and government (4%) as the most important responsibilities of MPs.
- Large majorities think MPs are “not very effective” or “not at all effective” at delivering jobs or development to their constituency (79%) and listening to their constituents and representing their needs in Parliament (75%) (Figure 3).
- About half say they are doing a poor job of holding the president and government accountable (48%) and making laws for the good of the country (49%).
- While almost eight in 10 (78%) want MPs to visit their constituencies at least once a year, only half as many (40%) say MPs do so. Similarly, six in 10 citizens (60%) expect MPs to provide financial assistance for individuals in their communities, but only 13% say MPs “sometimes” or “often” give out resources to help community members.
- MPs are among the least trusted public officials. Only one-third (33%) of Sierra Leoneans say they trust MPs “a lot” or “somewhat,” while 64% say they trust them “just a little” or “not at all”. Eight in 10 citizens (81%) say “all,” “most,” or “some” MPs are corrupt, second only to the police among key officials.
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE: