The speaker of Parliament Dr. Chernor Abass Bundu, on Tuesday 21st March 2023 informed Members Parliament about a request made by civil society organizations (CSOs) to reconsider a decision made by Parliament about female representation.

The request is geared towards making MPs compel political parties to not only appoint one female among any three political appointees but also to enact another law that would determine where those females should be selected from.

In his response, the Speaker stated that the call is to determine where these political parties should appoint one female among the three appointees

This means the CSOs were asking that it should be binding on political parties as to where they should appoint the one female among the three appointees, and not the political parties to determine where they will appoint the one female ahead of the 2023 election.

The Speaker after reading the request of CSOs, instantly questioned their demand and furthered that it should be the duty of the political parties to determine who and where the female appointees should come from.

He continued that it is to prevent Parliament from micro-managing political parties and influencing their decisions, adding that Parliament has done its best in ratifying the Gender Empowerment Act which has given the influence to political parties to include one female in any three appointments ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The speaker further stated that Parliament only enacts laws and it is not their duty to enforce these laws stating that Parliament has no business in the internal structures of political parties and hence he has thrown the responsibility to the political parties to determine their appointees, and where they shall be appointed.

He assured them that female representation will certainly increase in the next Parliament, calling on CSOs not to worry about who and where the appointments should be, but rather give chance to political parties to do what Parliament has enacted in the Gender Empowerment Act of 2023.

Going further, the Speaker said the parliament has enormous duties at hand and barely had a month to go for recess for the election. He said on 25 April this year, Parliament will close until after elections when the House shall resume with the Sixth Parliament which according to him will bring a quantum leap in female representation.

The Leader of Government Business, Hon Matthew Sahr Nyuma, in his response said there was no need to waste time on the CSO’s appeal stating that the current Parliament has done a lot to empower women and such must be appreciated by the public and there should be no fear about female underrepresentation as the Gender Empowerment Act of 2023 has given women a huge space in the political landscape of Sierra Leone.

There will be more women in the next Parliament than ever before,” he ended.