The Speaker of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) parliament, Dr. Mohammed Sidie has called on women and youths in Sierra Leone to come out en masse to participate in the June 2023 general elections.
The speaker made this call during a two-day symposium in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, which opened on Friday at the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Academy.
The symposium, aimed at sensitising the public on proportional representation of women in politics titled: “Scaling up Political Partnership between Men and Women, intends to unleash the potential of women and youth in politics and Entrepreneurship.
According to Speaker Sidie, “The collective interest of the people we represent is paramount as we look up to Almighty God for wisdom and strength to proffer solutions to age-long problems confronting our citizens. Leaders across every sphere have the moral obligation to share the success formulas in politics and entrepreneurship with the next generation of decision makers. This further instills hope and confidence in the future.
“Fortunately, the ECOFEPA Platform has given us a rare opportunity to directly interact with the citizens of the Sub-region and transfer the subtle art of real-life politics and skills that cannot be acquired through the books. By participating in this campaign, delegates will have a chance to nurture ideas derived from political practitioners.
“This will subsequently propel them to develop leadership insight, resilience, emotional intelligence, political competence, strength and dexterity, needed to navigate through various divides. I am, therefore, very hopeful that all participants will take advantage of this forum to develop new skills that would push them further.
“The ECOWAS Parliament believes strongly that scaling up political partnership between men and women in politics is a step in the right direction. Partnerships between the duo is a matter of equity and human rights, which are cornerstones of a democratic society.
“The equal presence of women leadership and perspectives in decision making is essential to ensure greater responsiveness to citizens’ needs. I am certain that as the country goes to elections come June 2023, women and youths in Sierra Leone will be actively involved, not just in campaigning for the candidates of their choice but vying for elective positions to fill gaps as provided for by the new law”, he said.
On his part, the representative of the European Union, Mr Manuel Müller, emphasised the need for participation of women in decision making so as to achieve gender equality and full human rights potential.
“Gender equality is a fundamental human right. The place reserved for women in a society tells much about the level of democracy and development of that specific country.
“Women’s empowerment and participation in decision making is key to achieving gender equality and full realisation of human potential. Women constitute over half of the population and they may not and must not be left behind “, he said.