The first full session of Parliament since Sierra Leone became a Republic last April was opened on Friday (11 June) by President Siaka Stevens.
The first full session of Parliament since Sierra Leone became a Republic last April was opened on Friday (11 June) by President Siaka Stevens. But the opposition, who fear Republicanism could lead to a dictatorship, boycotted the meeting. The opposition also challenged the power of the house by refusing to take the Parliament oath - but on Tuesday (15 June) they were prevailed upon to do so by the Vice. President, Sorie Ibrahim Koroma. Vice-President Koroma told the House that anyone who cannot take the oath would be committing a state offence.
SYNOPSIS: In Sierra Leone, the first full session of Parliament since the country became a Republic last April was opened on Friday by the President, Dr Siaka Stevens.
But although the event was a colourful one, with the same ceremony as when a Governor General represented the Queen of England, there was trouble behind the scenes. The opposition members refused to attend the opening ceremony - they've always feared that republicanism could lead to a dictatorship. But their attempt to disrupt Parliament by not taking the oath failed on Tuesday. The opposition took the oath after Vice-President, Sorie Ibrahim Koroma told House that anyone who didn't take it would be committing a state offence.
After the fanfare and the guard of honour, Dr Stevens outlined to Parliament the government's programme for the coming year. He said that his foreign policy would continue to be based on the principle of non-alignment, friendship towards all states and non-interference in their internal affairs.