Sierra Leone: President Koroma Hosts Commonwealth Parliamentary Association

His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has received in audience a delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) led by its Secretary General, Dr William Shiya at State House, Freetown.

During the snappy but productive meeting, President Ernest Bai Koroma said the visit of the CPA delegation was timely in many respects as the more capacity parliament has the more democracy will improve in Sierra Leone.

He said that a strengthened parliament means a working and effective democracy.

the Chief Executive also noted that Sierra Leoneans are determined not to be defined by their past, saying "we are determined to move the country forward as you saw during your tour of development projects around Freetown and the provinces".

Introducing the delegation, Speaker of the Sierra Leone Parliament, Justice Abel Stronge informed President Koroma that the team from the Commonwealth was in Freetown to organize a two-day post elections seminar for members of parliament most of whom are new members.

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Dr William Shiya said the team from the CPA was in the country to help rebuild its democracy by preparing its newly elected MPs to perform their democratic duties effectively.

He pointed out that the delegation was drawn from all over Africa to ensure it was representative of the CPA.

"This is an effort by the Commonwealth to assist individual parliamentarians to do the work they are expected to do in parliament", he said.

He noted that this was his second visit to Sierra Leone as the people are very much accommodating and receptive. He commended the water project in Kambia being done by JICA, adding that the project should be sustained by any means possible.

In the delegation are Hon. Jerry Thibedi, MP, of South Africa; Justice Edmond Cowan, Ombudsman & former Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone; Mr. Rex Owusu-Ansah, former Clerk of the Parliament of Ghana; Dr Rasheed Draman of the Parliamentary Centre's Ghana Office; Ms Kemi Ogunsanya, Gender and Political Development Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, and Ms Wilhelmina Mensah, Regional Co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative's African Office, supported by CPA Secretariat staff Mrs Musonda Sandy, Assistant Director, International Coordination and Ms Anna Schuesterl, Executive Assistant to the Director of Communications and Research; and the CPA Sierra Leone Branch.

The following subjects will be discussed during the two-day post elections seminar for parliamentarians:

Relations between Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary,

Parliamentary Committees,

Women in Parliament,

Parliament and the Media,

Parliament and Human Rights and

Administration and Financing of Parliament.

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