By Lansana Fofanah……………………………………
Campaign for Good Governance has engaged women’s organizations in the Western Area Rural District Council (WARDC) in support of women’s participation in the civil and voter registration process.
The women’s dialogue forum which was held at the WARDC Conference hall on Friday saw the participation of over 80 women’s groups who made a clarion call for women’s involvement in the coming civil and voter registration process.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Program Officer at CGG, Bernadette French said that in the past, women had been known for organizing cooking and wearing political T shirts without taking part in governance issues. But this time, they should be involved actively in participating and that can only be done by starting to register which will enable them to have power to be elected and elect.
The Program Director of CGG, Marcella Samba said that the 2004 election survey shows that 70% of women were not aware of the election registration and dates, but through popular advocacy, 2017 has shown that they have gained more consciousness by knowing the exact date and procedures for the registration process.
Mrs. Samba said that in 2012, women accounted for 53% of registered voters but that did not provide any meaningful results as only few women were elected. She then called on women not to only register but to vie for political positions so that their voices will be heard in terms of decision making in their constituencies.
Search for Common Ground team leader, Mahmoud Idris Tarawalie said that the recent International Women’s Day celebration showed that women have become conscious of their rights and they can improve on that more if they participate and occupy for political positions.
Mr. Tarawalie said that symbols should be awarded to women in their constituencies where they have the chance to win.
The Director of the Office of National Security (ONS), Francis Languba Kaili said that the ONS has the total mandate to provide security for the whole election process. Mr. Kaili said that mechanisms have been put in place to ensure the process is smooth and transparent and that people must be law abiding so that a level playing ground will be maintained.
A representative from the National Electoral Commission, Rosetta Thomas sensitized the attendees on what should be done and what not to be done. She emphasized on the benefits of this process which will ensure every citizen get a chance to get a national identification card which is valid across West African countries.
She called on everyone to go with a proof of citizenship to the registration center, which is a criterion they must fulfill before any get the chance to register.
Neneh Kargbo of National Disable Women’s Forum said that there has been no recognition of the disables throughout the process as there is no sign or symbol for the impaired or deaf and dumb to benefit from the sensitization.
In response to that, Mrs. Thomas said that the concerns of every Sierra Leoneans are being addressed and everyone irrespective of his or her status will benefit from the process.