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Cabinet approves Decentralization Policy

By Mohamed Bangura (Intern)

The Cabinet of Sierra Leone has approved a draft decentralization policy put forward by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina.

The new policy will paved the way for all Paramount Chiefs, representatives of Village and Tribal Headmen, as well as Members of Parliament within the localities to be added to Local Councils as Non-voting members.

Also, with the new policy, a person seeking to be a member of a local council as an elected Councilor shall present him/herself to the electorates as an independent candidate and not a member of a political party as it is presently.

During the weekly press briefing of the Ministry of Information and Communications on Thursday November 26, 2020, Local Government Minister, Tamba Lamina, said the approval of the policy by cabinet came after a nationwide consultations and deliberations with the relevant stakeholders.

He disclosed that the new policy will be transformed into a bill which will be taken to the house of parliament at a later date for enactment into law.

He stated that the objective of the new policy is to help create an atmosphere of integration and also ensure that there was partnership among local authorities.

Minister Lamina added that the usual tribal relationship of less harmony will be a thing of the past as functionaries and units will now be harmonized in councils.

“This policy will strengthen the decision making capacity of Local Councilors. A person seeking to be an elected Councilor in a Local Council shall present him or herself to the electorate as an independent candidate. Local Councils are going to be non-patrician,” the minister said.

According to the Local Government Minister, the electoral year of Mayors and Chairmen of Local Councils will be changed from 4 to 5 years and that person seeking to become a Councilor would be required to have WASSCE or School Leaving Certificate, while candidates for Mayors/Chairmen should have a university degree.

“What will also hopefully change in the new bill is the level of penalties with non-compliance to bye-laws. We are proposing five million Leones as opposed to five hundred thousand leones in the 2004 Local Government Act,” he noted.

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