December 16, 2019
By Yusufu S. Bangura
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has on Thursday 12th December, 2019, ended a three-day workshop to review a Taskforce Report on the National Decentralization Policy &Local Government Act of 2004 at the Golden Tulip Hotel ,Aberdeen in Freetown.
Giving a brief update on the process, Member of the Taskforce Committee, Michael Yamba, said the process consulted various stakeholders including local councils, ward committee members and youth groups across the country.
He added that the process targeted 16 districts, but only five regions held the process-Kailahun, Kenema, Kono, Tonkolili and Bombali.
“The three days workshop would look at the findings of the taskforce before a revised Local Government Act and the National Decentralization Policy is presented to parliament,” he said.
The National Consultant for the review of the Local Government Act, Fluad Davies, said the taskforce proposed that local councils should set up their own police force that would be paid by the central government.
He added that some of the districts had proposed that in terms of elections, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor should run under the same ticket.
He said it was also proposed that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) should be required to register with local councils, adding that candidates for the position of Mayor should have university degrees and those for Councilor positions should have at least a certificate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
He continued that one of the key areas during the validation process was the personnel of local council staff, adding that the manner of recruitment which is indicated in the policy and law has not been implemented.
“There is no sub-structure in the Local Government Service Commission for staff to be employed as a procurement officer should remain as a procurement officer until retirement. Over the years, we have found out that local council staff remain in the same position for four to five years even after several trainings. As a result, they got frustrated and move to another field of work,” he said
He said they were hoping to achieve an outline on how the policy must look like and to get the views of the people about what they want to be in the Local Government Act before passing it into law, adding that different people representing different sections or areas in Sierra Leone have brought their recommendations but that they cannot put all those recommendations in the policy.
In his statement, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Tamba Lamina, said the Act should ensure that women’s participate in local governance issues are captured.
“Let us think seriously on how we can include women into local governance and specifically to determine statutory instrument that speaks to the issue of women participation,” he said.
He continued that in Uganda example, there is a Local Government Act that makes provision for women to be included in local governance especially in terms of elections for Councilors.
He said the structure that should be put in place must be able to ensure service delivery in the local governance sector, adding that the structure has become too big for service delivery in Sierra Leone.
“Remember, we are completing a document of review for a long period of time. It’s time for us to go to work and put down our guards and think Sierra Leonean, so that whatever comes out would become history in the making,” he said.