In few days from now, Sierra Leone will soon have a new Speaker of Parliament who will have the legal mandate to regulate all debates within the Well. As the country just concluded Parliamentary elections there is now in place a new team of Parliamentarians who are expected to pass legislations that will be legally binding as well as for various committees that will oversee Ministries, Departments and Agencies. One good thing about the new Parliament that is going to emerge is that it will comprise APC with 68 seats, SLPP with 49 seats, C4C 8 seats, NGC 4 seats, Independent members with 3 seats and 14 PCMPs totalling 146 seats. To many such will largely contribute to make the House of Representatives very vibrant which in itself will be good in deepening our democratic dispensation.
Yet for now the current Speaker of Parliament, Hon. SBB Dumbuya is still in post until a new Speaker is elected by MPs in the first sitting of Parliament following the conclusion of a General Election.
The date of the first sitting of Parliament after the conduct of a General Election is the same date on which Parliament will be dissolved for the 2023 General Elections. The proposed date by the Office of the Clerk for first sitting of Parliament is on Thursday 19th April 2018 that will be preceded by a briefing meeting with duly elected MPs by the Clerk of the House on preliminary parliamentary procedures.
Votes of not less than Two Thirds of all the duly elected MPs, including 132 OMPs and 14 PCMPs should be cast in favour of a preferred candidate nominated to become the next Speaker of Parliament. If any of the nominated candidates fails to secure 97 votes, which is two thirds of 146 MPs after three successive casting of ballots, it will be settled by a fourth option of a simple majority of all the MPs.
Voting for both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House is by secret ballots.
MPs will take and sign oath of office to be administered by the Clerk of the House as in the Third Schedule of the 1991 Constitution, before participating in the election of the Speaker. The Clerk will preside over the election of the Speaker, and the Speaker will likewise preside over the election of the Deputy Speaker.
The 2013 Constitutional Amendments Act have made the Speakership of Parliament the exclusive domain of MPs who are 40 years and had served in such capacity for 5, 10 or more years, applying to both current and past MPs.
The Deputy Speaker is also elected from among MPs for a period of five years.
The Office of the Speaker of the Parliament of Sierra Leone is an extension to the Presidency of Sierra Leone. In situations where both the President and his Vice President are for any reasons indisposed or unable to perform the functions of the said Office, then the Speaker shall take the Presidential Oath of Office to be administered by the Chief Justice as in the Second Schedule of the 1991 Constitution, before acting as the President of Sierra Leone.