With the support of the HD-led project ‘TA in Support to Civil Service Reform, Parliament and the electoral cycle in Sierra Leone,’ on Wednesday the 28th of August 2019, leaders of Parliament adopted a peaceful declaration titled, “The Bo Declaration 2019”.
During the deliberations, former and current leaders of the various political parties in Parliament and head of administration voiced their commitment to working in harmony, irrespective of their political affiliation. The reconciliation retreat adopted several recommendations that are geared towards the smooth running of Parliament in the interest of the state.
Among several critical actions agreed to by the leadership at the retreat were the identification of key areas in their Standing Order that “require immediate review”, and the review of the Parliamentary Service Act in line with the current political context of Parliament.
The consultative and dialogue program also adopted several affirmative actions including the promotion of genuine and sincere consultations as well as adhering to upholding Parliamentary Procedures to running the Business of the House and working to enhance an effective administration.
In his concluding statement, the Leader of NGC in Parliament, Hon. Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, said his party will commit themselves to the declaration. “We have been very opened and frank in our discussion” he noted and went on to advise all his colleague MPs to adhere to the declaration. He hypothetically stated that if they work in collaboration, their behaviors will serve as an agent of change throughout the country.
In his final statement, Leader of C4C, Hon. Saa Emerson Lamina, described the declaration as a rebirth for Sierra Leone and urged all members to implement the declaration sincerely in the interest of the state.
He applauded the organisers and urged them to conduct similar retreats for others to build bridges among political parties.
Representing the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Hassan Sesay of APC said the retreat will move the state and shape the political process of the country. He described the process as a step in the right direction. “Whatever we do in Parliament reflects on our constituencies” he stated. “The upcoming by-election is a litmus test for this Bo Declaration” he maintained, adding that, “inclusivity is the key to our progress and development”.
The retreat ushered in several important personalities including former Leader of Government Business, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu, Former MP and Ambassador, Hon. Ibrahim Sorie, Former Minority Leader, Hon, Dr. Bernadette Lahai and former Clerks of Parliament to share their experiences.
Additionally, the retreat dramatically set the stage that ushered in reconciliation between former and current MPs who were in “political malice”.