The Umbrella body for all Women's groups in Sierra Leone, WOMEN'S FORUM, has elected the team that will take them through the next four years until the year 2021. Incumbent President Mrs. Maude Peacock got a landslide victory of 78% of national votes over Revd. Mrs. Martha Chigozie who democratically challenged for the position but only got 22% of votes. The elections in Kenema, conducted by high NEC standards were done amidst an atmosphere of friendship and sisterhood at the association's Annual General Meeting held in Kenema and which started yesterday March 31st 2017 and completes on Sunday 2nd April 2017.
Formally opening the AGM was the Honorable Minister of Social Welfare, Gender & Children's Affairs Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden. She commended the Forum for hosting their AGM outside of Freetown for the first time in 23 years of the existence of the Umbrella body. She said the choice of a provincial location fitted perfectly with the current policies of H.E. President Koroma which placed premium on bringing rural and provincial women into mainstream government activities.
|Hon Dr. Blyden and the newly elected Chairlady of Women's Forum
Hon. Dr. Blyden said this month makes her exactly one year in office and so "there is very little now that I don't know about the gender sector in our country". She also used the chance to debunk recent claims from some quarters that government intends to finalize and approve the draft strategy against FGM which was developed by UNICEF for Sierra Leone. She assured that Government of Sierra Leone had long ago trashed the proposed UNICEF Draft as it was totally unfit for this country and so, she said it was now in the dustbins of History.
To a very loud applause from a jam packed room of Sierra Leone women, the female minister assured the women of Sierra Leone that the Government's position which Cabinet sent to Parliament in 2015, during ratification of Maputo Protocol with reservations, was to respect the rights of women to voluntarily do what they want with their bodies whilst Cabinet endorses a vigorous protection of any girl child under the age of 18 years.
|Hon Dr. Blyden and the newly elected executives of Women's Forum
The Minister later received a special gift from the women in recognition of her "tremendous and sterling service to the cause of Women in Sierra Leone". The gift, which was a gara design material, was presented with warm hugs by Mrs. Aminata Koroma, the Northern Province Coordinator of the Women's Forum on behalf of all members.
Distinguished women like Hon. Revd. Marie Yansaneh, Dr. Nana Pratt, Mrs. Rosaline McCarthy and other veteran gender activists, all received specially carved wooden plaques to mark appreciation of them as they embarked on their retirement from various professional cadres. As each awardee received their plaque, they burst into singing School Songs of their alma maters to which fellow alumni in the crowded hall, re-echoed the words in jubilation. It was a really fun-filled event to see a huge galaxy of women from all over the country in great camaraderie and sisterhood.
|Social Welfare Minister and a cross section of members of Women's Forum
Meanwhile, the Outcome of the election:
President- Maude Peacock,
Vice- Rosetta Sovula,
General Sec- Gladys Hasting-Spain,
Treasurer- Pamela Williams,
Western Region- Sally Adams,
South- Mary H Bundu,
North- Marion Koroma,
Eastern region- Doris Kaliah.
Everything went on very well with plenty of photographs, love and hugs in the beautiful city of Kenema.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.