Ahead of constituency 001 parliamentary bye-election in Kailahun town, the two main political parties, the All People’s Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have committed to awarding their party symbols to female candidates.
The two party representatives made strong representation on behalf of their parties to the over four thousand five hundred (4,500) women in Kailahun during an engagement by the Kailahun Women in Governance Network (KWiGN).
Following the death of the SLPP Member of Parliament representing constituency 001 in Kailahun town, Hon. Patrick Foyah, the National Electoral Commission is expected to conduct a bye election for the constituency representation to parliament.
During their lobby engagement, the President of KNiGN, Lucy Gordon on behalf of women in the district said the government’s goal for the Agenda for Prosperity is to generate gender-equity employment to support the building of a stable economy which, according to her, can be achieved through empowerment of women and the acceleration of human development and support international competitiveness.
She pointed out that “despite the national priorities for women empowerment, it is sadden to note that women continue to be under-represented in decision-making and in leadership roles in several areas. For example, out of the eight Members of Parliament, only one is a woman even though women constitute more than half of the population of Kailahun District,” she revealed.
The President said their organization believes in equal participation in the decision-making process as a necessary condition for the empowerment, protection and inclusion of women because without the active participation of women in governance and decision-making at all levels, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved. She revealed that women who participate in decision making at all levels are more gender aware and gender responsive, and that they are ready to advocate for women in various platforms.
The Kailahun women pointed out that they prefer to use dialogue to encourage the two parties to award the symbols for constituency 001 bye-election to women aspirants to contest because there are competent and willing women in the two parties that have contributed to the existence and successes in the two parties.
The Young Generation Chairman of the opposition SLPP party, Gbassay Jusu Jaka appreciated the women and pointed out that their party is woman friendly and gender sensitive, stating that they take gender parity as a must. He highlighted the enactment of the Gender Acts in Sierra Leone as their initiative, guaranteed of Vice Presidential flag bearer to a woman in the last general election.
He assured the women of Kailahun that he had heard their requests which he will pass on to their party hierarchy with his personal pledge and appeal for women representation for constituency 001 in Kailahun.
The Kailahun District Secretary General for the ruling APC party, Musa Dominic Gottor, on behalf of his party said their women’s empowerment program is an outstanding pillar in the Agenda for Prosperity from the President’s efforts in appointing more women representatives in his cabinet. He assured the women that their party will strive hard to see that a woman is nominated and awarded the symbol to contest constituency 001 in Kailahun town.