A section of Women in Sierra Leone have decided to hold their President right in the spotlight by taking advantage of his Public Apology to Women, whether the President was sincere or not, to move to actualize worthy dreams for a 30% Quota of Women in the decision making processes of Governance. It is in this light that Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) in collaboration with the Women Solidarity Support Group and the UNDP, last Thursday 15th July 2010 held a one-day orientation meeting at the Mamba Point Hotel in Freetown. The meeting was in fulfillment of a recent report that urged for intervention through advocacy in order to achieve the desired quota of a minimum 30% of Women in all aspects of Governance in Sierra Leone.
Welcoming participants during the opening ceremony, one of the organizers, Madam Barbara Bangura highlighted that women have come a long way in advocating for their rights and she opined that a lot of opportunities demand to be exploited especially against the recent backdrop of President Koroma's public apology to women at Moyamba while commemorating the international women's day.
Barbara Bangura underscored that since 2012 should be an election year, it provides an opportunity to demonstrate the Ernest Koroma APC government's commitment to increasing number of women contesting parliamentary and local elections in winnable seats through the implementation of the minimum 30% quotas provision. She urged women and women's groups to show solidarity with one another for proper coordination. This Barbaba Bangura stressed would curtail duplication of functions and waste of resources.
Making a statement at the function, the UNIFEM representative Ms. Eunice Njovana registered her admiration of Sierra Leonean women's drive towards gender equality among other things. She disclosed that the U.N. is pleased to see women from all walks of life converging with determination to push their agenda. She commended government and the general citizenry especially the male populations whose willingness to empower women is exemplary. Ms. Eunice Njovana called for a robust course on the government so that President Koroma's verbal commitment can be translated in trainable and result oriented deliverables. Concluding the UNIFEM rep assured women of UN's unreserved financial and technical support towards making their dreams come true.
In his lecture on the constitutional review process, Dr. Bu-Buakay Jabbi Esq. divulged that in his view the process is being delayed. According to him, certain sections of the constitution demands review before the 30% quota will ever materialize and so he proferred that for now, only lip service was being paid to the lofty ideals. The opportunity for 2012 Elections to be the one where women will succeed with the minimum 30% might be lost if certain clearly stipulated provisions are not in place before then. He pointed out that constitutional review processes are expensive and time consuming so he advised women to be focused and determined because 2012 elections are just round the corner.
Others who served as resource persons at the five session inactive meeting included Iyesha Josiah-Kamara of WSSG, the Executive Director of the Society for Democratic Initiatives Emmanuel Saffa Abdulia Esq and Mr. M. N. Conteh, the Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) whilst Women present expressed a desire to be educated further so that they can comprehend fundamental issues of quota and electoral system.