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Sierra Leone News: Women urge President Bio to fulfil Manifesto promises

In the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) New Direction Manifesto, the SLPP promised to promote gender equality, equity, empowerment, and the protection of the rights of women.
The SLPP Manifesto further focuses on specific actions to support for women’s led organizations in rural areas to participate in economic and political activities, domesticate and implement national and international instruments in support of women empowerment and increase the chances of women in politics.
In the two recent appointments under President Bio’s administration, the commitment to increase women in politics and to reach the minimum 30% quota has been reflected.
On Thursday 12 April 2018, the newly elected President Julius Maada Bio appointed only two women to serve as Ministers. Emma Kowa and Baindu Dassama were appointed as Ministers of Marine Resources and Social Welfare and Children Affairs, respectively.
Regrettably, the number of women in the transitional team falls below that threshold with also 20% women representation. With a total of 26 appointments made by President Bio, only four women were in the two sets of appointments.
Women representation in parliament has been described as the worst since the call for a minimum of 30% quota started with only 10% women representative. In 2002, there were 18% women representation and the last parliament have 12.1% women.
Saddened by the trend of women representation in the two appointments, Nemata Majeks Walker, Founder and First President, 50/50 Group Sierra Leone, expressed disappointment over the low percentage of women representation in the current administration.
Walker disclosed that with such promising commitments on the SLPP Manifesto to empower women, it is shocking to learn that out of the 26 appointive positions, women fall below the 20% threshold.
She recalled the Women Situation Room meeting with President on the need to include more women in governance. Walker pointed out the President’s assurance to gender sensitive in his administration during the meeting. But, words are cheap and actions take strong political will.
Fatu Taqi, President, 50/50 Group, also deliberated on the manner on which women’s issues have been ignored over the years, despite the advocacy and lobbying. She said if the government is to live up to such commitments, they should reflect it in every in every appointment.
Mohamed Rado Swaray, appointed Minister of Information, assured women would be given consideration in government appointments. He added, “There are more appointive positions pending and the President is committed to be a gender sensitive President. The government’s plan is to promote gender equality, equity, empowerment, and the protection of the rights of women but also to create a platform to lift women out of poverty.”
By Sylvia Villa
Monday April 16, 2018.

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