Sierra Leone: The Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Abass Chernor Bundu on Wednesday 21st July 2021 ruled that only persons who are serving or had served in elected offices or who are serving or had served in the superior court of judicature, or conferment of such title by Parliament should be called Honourable.
He said he has noticed the use and misusing of the title ‘Honourable’ by various persons outside Parliament especially when referring to a Government Minister or Deputies. He maintained that going forward and in pursuit of best practice of good governance and more particularly to avoid further misunderstanding or misinterpretation, the title ‘Honourable’, as a general rule is a title that is reserved and apply exclusively for persons who have served or is serving in an elected office.
These according to him, includes the President, Vice President, all Members of Parliament present and past, members of the executive arms of government such as Ministers and Deputy Ministers who prior to their appointments actually served in Parliament. He added that by customary issues Justices of the Superior Court of Judicature, and persons on whom such title is conferred on by Parliament pursuant to Section 94 of the 1991 Constitution can also carry it.
The Speaker of Parliament explained that prior to the 1991 Constitution no person will be qualified to be appointed to the position of a Minister or Deputy Minister by the President unless he/she shall have been first elected and sworn to the oath of office as MP, maintaining that this was the primary qualification to be fit for someone to be appointed as Minister or Deputy.
In this light, once a Minister or Deputy has been sworn in as MP he automatically carries the title ‘Honourable Minister’. He further explained that with the introduction of the 1991 Constitution the Executive and Legislative Arms of Government were separated as one cannot belong to both arms at the same time any longer.
“Therefore, persons other than the above, when appointed to serve as Ministers and Deputy Ministers should be addressed as “Mr. Minister or Madam Minister and not Honourable Minister” he maintained, assuring that it is good and respected in such a way rather than carrying a title that does not apply to them.
A motion was then moved by the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma and seconded by the Deputy Leader of Government Business Hon. Bashiru Silikie for onward submission to the executive branch of government for consideration.
It’s no secret that over the years appointed Ministers and their Deputies have been referred to as ‘Honourable Minister’ even when they have never been elected MP’s some have even demand that such title be added to the word ‘Minister’ when it is left out in addressing them.
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